Why conservatives can't get what they want

Conservatives can’t get what they want. I read Sullivan, Bainbridge, Reason, and the Weekly Standard, and they all agree the Republican Party simply isn’t delivering the changes that it should be delivering. The same conclusion gets lots of support from the conservatives I know in real life and on this and other online communities.

It’s a rather unexpected widespread conclusion. After all Republicans have everything on their side: they control the White House, have large majorities in Congress, control the majority of statehouses and state legislatures, hold enormous advantages in fundraising, control more and more of the media, and many districts are gerrymandered to protect incumbents. Further, the opposing party can’t do anything right, third parties are all but nonexistent, and there are no truly major social movements to rock the boat. Yet even so, conservatives just don’t see the legislation they want. In fact, they see a lot of new legislation from Republicans that they don’t like. Even John McCain says:

The answer lies in the New Republic’s assessment of conservative culture:

That’s somewhat of an exercise in stating the obvious. Just look at the titles of bestselling conservative books, or listen to hate radio for a few minutes, or read a right-wing blog. You’re more likely to hear griping about Hillary’s plan to take the White House in 2008, or the horrors of the NY Times editorial page, or those snooty French people, or Michael Moore, or Ward Churchill, than about the issues that actually affect people’s lives. Increasingly the right’s hatemongers are shifting towards tpoics that aren’t issues at all. Michael Moore, after all, is a filmmaker; if you don’t like him, you can simply refrain from watching his movies. (As for Ward Churchill, I’ve no clue who that is, but I’d bet my savings account that it’s nobody important.) Even worse, the right-wingers header towards issues that are pure fiction. “War on Christmas”, does anyone remember that one?

The end result of all this is easy to predict. Republican politicians respond to what the Republican constituents focus on. If they’re beating down the doors demanding lower federal spending, they’ll get it. If they’re beating down the doors demanding that the French be insulted, then you’re likely to get freedom fries but not much fiscal responsibility. That’s simply applying the fact that Republican politicians will do what brings them votes.

Good thread concept, but duplicative of this one.

I’m not trying to debate what the conservative movement stands for or what the Republican Party stands for. As I said, I’m seeing widespread agreement that it went off the rails. I’m looking for a debate on the usefulness of the right-wing media machine and their focus on bashing the opposite side.

Well, the right-wing media machine has been entirely committed to getting Pubs into office. It has no control over what they do once they’re in.

If we had a multiparty system, ideologically-oriented media might be much more effective at actually getting their ideological goals enacted as public policy. There could be libertarian media machine, a paleoconservative media machine, a neocon media machine, a big-business-conservative media machine, and so on. The parties themselves being more numerous and smaller and more ideologically coherent, their officials could be expected to act more consistently with their ideology when in power; which they would achieve with their media machines’ help.

I’d hardly call “Reason” a conservative rag-- it’s Libertarian to the core. I think we’ll see a different Republcan party once President McCain is sworn in to office in Jan '09 and the Democrats hold at least one house in Congress. I think it’s easy for a party to betray its principles once it controls the government. It’s almost as if power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. :wink:

“Reason” is the magazine you read when your party is out of power, so it should be a big fave here, generally. :wink:

And to further your point - he includes Andrew Sullivan, too. Not exactly conservative.

Can you explain what you mean by this? What exactly do you expect to happen?
Many conservative Republicans can’t stand McCain

Sucks to be them. But McCain’s biggest problem is that he’s just too old. If elected in 2008, he’ll be even older than Reagan was when he took office.

Not really. I’m pretty happy with it.

But snide comments don’t explain how/why the party will change if he were president.

He’s not? I think he’d disagree with you on that.

Well, that’s part of the problem, isn’t it?

McCain actually can work with Democrats, he’s well respected, not prone to demonizing the opposition, and not tied in with the religious right. That ain’t enough for ya? In the context of this thread, I think it’s dead on.

Unless “religious right” is what a given Doper or citizen means by “conservative.” See above.

Well, you know, you can’t always get what you waannt…but if you try real hard…



p.s. Sorry, couldn’t resist…

Working with them or actually being one of them in disguise? Remember when there was talk of him being the VP under Kerry? How does this quality get him elected? I don’t see the core base letting him get past a primary.

I’m about as religious as my dog, but I’m still more conservative than Mccain.

By which particular definition of “conservative”? (See post #13 and link therein.)

Was taht by anyone but desparate moderate Deomcrats who liked McCain? Did McCain, or hell the Kerry camp proper, ever seriously consider that?

Kerrry was talking about it, not McCain.

On what speciifc issues do you disagree with him? Don’t be fooled by McCain being the liberal’s favorite conservative, not by him being a media darling. The guys is a rock solid conservative on most issues.

Is he? (See post #11 and link embedded therein.)

Depends on what you think ‘conservative’ is I’d say. On economics and the size of government I’d say (with a few exceptions) the guys is ‘a rock solid conservative’.