Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Question for Conservatives

Ross Douthat, today:
What you see in today’s Republican primary campaign is a reaction to exactly these kinds of follies — a revolt against the ruling class that our meritocracy has forged, and a search for outsiders with thinner résumés but better instincts.
But from Michele Bachmann to Herman Cain, the outsiders haven’t risen to the challenge. It will do America no good to replace the arrogant with the ignorant, the overconfident with the incompetent.
In place of reckless meritocrats, we don’t need feckless know-nothings.
If you agree (and if you don't, what is Douthat missing): why have Republicans fallen short? Whose fault is it? What should be done about it, and by whom?


  1. I agree with Ross.

    The masses and the conservative elites are both at fault but I would place more blame at the elites. It is part of the elites role to have a policy agenda that addresses the country's problems and that the voters will support. The elites are still promoting an agenda of cutting taxes, reducing Social Security and having the US as world policeman. This agenda did not work with Bush and the majority of voters do not want it. The result is GOP politicians who emphasize identity politics, like Cain, because the voters will not support the supply side agenda, like 999 plans, candidates promote.

  2. Mercer, I'm not a conservative, but, I got a good chuckle from this:
    "The result is GOP politicians who emphasize identity politics, like Cain, because the voters will not support the supply side agenda, like 999 plans, candidates promote."

    We don't want the to drive a truck, trucks are bad. No, we want that sweet ol' Ford F10 in red, please. But not blue.

    Thanks for the chuckle!

  3. I'm a liberal, but I'll address what I see going on, because I don't think that it's only a conservative issue. Douthat is trying to say that it's some kind of revolt against the intelligentsia. I think he's trying to make the current movement to unique.

    It's populism, pure and simple. It has always been an element of American political thought, and it ebbs and flows as things are going well or not. The dislocations of the industrial revolution, as late as it came to US shores, saw a rise in populism in the late 19th century. Now, the Great Recession causes a resurgence as well, as we're coming to face modern realities that we were largely spared from facing for a half-century because we were such an economic powerhouse.

    People are unhappy because their lives don't look like they imagined they would. Thus, they challenge the existing order and insist that "the common people" get treated better. It's behind OWS and the Tea Party. The particular issues that motivate them are different, and their solutions are radically different. But, both movements are ultimately caused by the system not "working."

  4. Seems to me the current GOP is still reeling from the massive failure of the Bush admin. I'm pretty impressed with their quick turn around from the 2008 beating they took, but it's more a case of 'quicker than is healthy'. The GOP has devoted little time and seemingly less interest in examining what they got wrong, and how to adjust their platform accordingly than they've spent concocting a new and divisive political message to come back to power. They quickly turned around and tapped into the popular anger that took them out of power in 2008. It's an admirable performance in it's tenacity, but it's empty of any real ideas. Depending how the message shapes up (and the economy fares), this empty message could give them a solid loss and become emblematic of the party in the next few elections.

    The question then is what ideas can the GOP generate that haven't been pretty soundly rejected already? (such as 999, which is definitely a loser)


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