Can Republicans Get Back In The Game?

The fate of the Republican Party in recent elections has been closely related to the Republicans failing to address the issues which matter to most voters. Not only are they on the wrong side of the issues, they are so brainwashed by their own echo chamber that they no longer know what the issues even are. They attack Democrats for policies they imagine they have as opposed to their actual positions. Thus we have seen the Republicans become irrelevant in public debate as they take their economic policy from Joe the Plumber and falsely accused Democrats of desiring redistribution of the wealth in a Marxist sense, or for supporting a government takeover of health care. Now they dwell on the Fairness Doctrine, despite the fact that Barack Obama and most liberal oppose this.  When only one political party has actually been discussing the real issues, they are bound to win even if they don’t always have the right solution.

Many conservatives have no concept that their support for teaching creationism, denial of the scientific consensus on climate change, failure to respect the rights of women to control their own bodies, opposition to embryonic stem cell research, and support for intrusion of the government in personal decisions such as in the Schiavo case eliminate the Republicans from consideration as a serious political party by many educated voters.

Ross Douthat seems to be catching on to the fact that the problem is not only that conservatives are on the wrong side of so many issues but that they are not even engaging in the real issues:

On too many issues, conservatives have simply avoided the most important emerging debates, changing the subject whenever possible and leaving liberals to argue against liberals when it isn’t. This is true, too often, in transportation and infrastructure policy; it’s been true for some time in the climate change debate (though I’m hopeful that this changing); and it’s often true in education, where the most interesting arguments are between liberal reformers and liberal interest groups, with conservatives sitting on the sideline talking about vouchers and occasionally praising the Michelle Rhees and Corey Bookers of the world.

This problem is not, repeat not, a matter of conservatives needing to abandon their core convictions in order to win elections, as right-of-center reformers are often accused of doing. Rather, it’s a matter of conservatives needing to apply their core convictions to questions like “how do we mitigate the worst effects of climate change?” and “how do we modernize our infrastructure?” and “how do we encourage excellence and competition within our public school bureaucracy?” instead of just letting liberals completely monopolize these debates, while the Right talks about porkbusting and not much else.

Climate change provides a perfect example of the failure of conservatives to apply their views to problems that matter. There is a clear scientific consensus that there is a human role in climate change. Those who deny this, and think their ideologically based opinion holds up over all the scientists in the field who disagree with them,  have taken themselves outside of serious discussion of the issue. While there is a scientific consensus on the problem, science does not provide a single political solution. Rather than complaining that global warming represents a conspiracy to end the free market economy as many conservatives claim, they should be participating in the debate over solutions with free market ideas.

Republicans will not be able to get back in the game as long as they allow ideology to blind them to reality.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    battlebob says:

    Ron,
    I live and work in the West Michigan Bible Belt.  We have a ton of right-wingnuts who insist that there is no negotiating with anything or anybody.
    They don’t understand that they are simply being left behind in debates about solving issues.
    It is like watching a series of train wrecks.
    They are saying Pallin could win without McCain and will be the Repub standard bearer in 2012.

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