've always thought that the Republican Party had diversified its political portfolio just fine over the years, branching out into all manner of immorality and unconstitutionality, in fiscal and foreign affairs alike.
But it turns out that a deficit of principles is not the GOP's main problem. Assorted election post-mortems have found the Republicans deficient in far more mundane ways.Puled
Minnesota's Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty:
"We have a large deficit with women, Hispanics, African Americans—people with modest incomes and modest financial circumstances. That is not a formula for a majority. We cannot compete, and prevail, as a majority governing party if we have [such a] significant deficit, as we do."
The liberal media alighted on this message. In their haste to rehabilitate the left faction of the Republican Party, media men have been energetically promoting what Time magazine
calls "saner, compromise-friendly" Republicans.
Charlie Crist, for one. Florida's Republican Governor is another of those "moderates" calling for a more upbeat and diverse GOP. Ditto California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. I've never thought of Arnold as a member of the "saner" Republican guard, if only because his state is insolvent. But, insolvency, it would seem, can shore up a moderate's credentials.
Time clearly equates insolvency with generosity. According to the magazine, a "conservative zealot" is one who hankers after "smaller government." Time is equally careful to attach the adjective "rabid" to right wingers with such outlandish ideas. (In Obamao's America an idea equals a policy. And a world without a policy for every human malady, and "clever" commissars to call the shots, is a world without ideas.)
Another "new-generation Republican" is Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels—tabula rasa
on almost all issues
other than "renewable energy."
Having spoken openly about decentralization and devolution of power to the states, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is considerably more conservative than most of the revivalists attending the Republican Governors Association conference in Miami. Not being as pale as Palin—he is of Indian descent—Jindal has diversity on his side. He is therefore less likely than, say Sarah, to be condemned as a "conservative zealot."
Chief among the leftist factions that would hate to see a recrudescence of the Right are neoconservatives. Enter David Brooks,
whose sinecure at the New York Times is a testament to the "mushy middle ground" he has so successfully occupied.
Brooks was not bothered by the growth of government under Bush and has had no particular urge to apostatize over the invasion of Iraq. (Another ditherer, P.J. O'Rourke
, is also of the opinion that perpetual immigration and war are the way to go.)
Although Brooks has flourished in the neoconservative sorority, he, nevertheless, now sees fit to reinvent himself as a Republican "Reformer." Brooks the Reformer has been brooding about the dangers of "slashing government," if the Republican faction he calls "Traditionalist" manages to unseat neocons like himself. (Brooks must have been buoyed when the Cato Institute
crowned Bush "the biggest-spending president in 30 years.") But mostly, Brooks worries that "Traditionalists" will fail to "pay attention to the way the country has changed."
Or more accurately, "is being changed."
Since 1965, elites have been dissolving the American people and electing another. Writes Buffalo's exit-poles buff Jim Ostrowski
: "The people are supposed to choose their leaders; however, the leaders have outsmarted them by choosing their people."
McCain The Moderate voted Latino again and again. How did that work out for him? For pandering to Hispanics like no other—McCain spoke of amnesty as though a form of worship—he got 31 percent of the Latino vote. Nine percent less than Bush in 2004. "Minus recent immigrants," surmises Ostrowski, McCain would have won the election.
Thanks in no small part to Republican "Reformers," Latinos are the fastest growing group in the US.
As on most matters of national identity—language and faith, for example—elite and public attitudes diverge on immigration. "In nineteen polls from 1945 to 2002," writes Samuel P. Huntington, in "Who Are We?", "the proportion of the public favoring increased immigration never rose above 14 percent." Between 70 and 80 percent of Americans want immigration cut. In their calls for even more identity politicking from GOPers, Republican governors reflect America's deracinated elites, who're committed, in Huntington's words, to transnational and sub-national identities.
At bottom, what does Brooks, the "Reformer," mean when he instructs "Conservatives … to appeal more to Hispanics, independents and younger voters"?
"Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods," wrote H.L. Menken. "If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner."
"Appealing to," or "reaching out," is political prattle for promising stuff. Republicans—"Reformed" and Unreformed—have taken away from their defeat that they should be flogging more stolen goods in communities where such stuff is ESPECIALLY coveted.
These "Reformers" want to ensure that the unreformed voter knows what's on the menu next time around.
Time magazine would agree: "Thou Shalt not Covet" is so passé. (Or "so yesterday," as the hip would say.)