Freedom from Blog

Don't call it a comeback . . . .

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Whither/Wither/With Her [Conservatism]

Bill Kristol's latest, on the Republican Governors Association meeting. He asks, "Who are the Kemps and Gingriches today?"

I often mock Kristol, but this is a good question. TMcD and I have been kicking this back and forth for a while now. TMcD agrees with Kristol that the next leaders of the GOP will emerge from the ranks of the GOP governors. This is a reasonable hypothesis, and consistent with recent history (1980, 2000).

My sense has been that the next leaders of the GOP will emerge from Congress. The reason is simple, namely that the current crises are matters of national, even international policy, and that it will be very hard for a governor to show leadership on, say, the credit crisis or the mortgage crisis or even the war on terror (remember that?). The action will be in D.C., and if you are in Baton Rouge, or Juneau, or Indianapolis, you're just going to be left out.

The one possible exception is health care, and reports this week that the annointed one, Bobby Jindal, is going to take on health care in Louisiana have to cheer the hearts of the GOP faithful. Of course, Romney's efforts on health care didn't do him much good, as he ran away from the issue in the GOP primaries.

Kristol's question also points to recent debates in the conservosphere about "traditional" versus "reform" Republicans. But if the best reformers, new ideas guys, you can come up are Jack Kemp and Newt Gingrich . . . man. I would argue that the best GOP ideas in terms of campaign issues in the recent history of the party were probably Reagan's (in 1976 but especially 1980, i.e., "government is the problem") and Bush's
compassionate conservativism in 2000. The trouble going forward seems to be that government has to be a part of the solution to the current morass, and that compassionate conservatism is largely a failed agenda.

Here, again, I think health care is the major stumbling block. (Ironic that we're discussing Kristol, who led the fight against the Clinton plan so long ago.) It doesn't seem that market-based solutions can address the problem(s). McCain's tax credit solution was premised on the need to get Americans to demand less health care. But I think that that is a very hard slog politically. Expectations are expectations. You can't get folks to accept less of something once they've become very accustomed to a certain level. If that's all the GOP can come up with, then they are in trouble.

So let's see what Jindal can do with health care. Also, let's watch the House GOP for emerging leaders. It's not Boehner, it;s not Lundgren. I can't believe that it's Cantor, but maybe Pence. He might be your next "Kemp" or "Gingrich." He already has the white hair. And he's much better on teevee than Cantor.

If you read the column, btw, Kristol still loves him some Palin. Her appeal, um, still alludes me.


At 12:03 AM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

Here's the thing. It is highly likely that NO credible leadership for the GOP will emerge in the next four years.

Start with Congress. There just aren't any plausible heavyweights in the House. Those guys are all pretty dumb. Pence? No frickin' way. Apparently had never heard of the "moral hazard" problem. Those guys are a minority party waiting to get plowed. The Senate is a little better, but my guess is that the "leaders" there will be the folks who have some incentive to reach across the aisle: not just Snowe, Specter, and McCain, but also guys like Alexander and Corker from TN who have more moderate instincts that will now, post-Bush, be liberated from the right's wackadoo caucus. They'll get some things done b/c they're NOT plausible prez contenders.

Meanwhile, the govs will win by not looking like they're losing as much. Still, hard to see a national contender in that crowd. Crist is too moderate and the wingers will still wonder if he's gay (Perry's already confirmed); Barbour looks too much like WC Fields doing the Blue Collar Comedy Tour; Pawlenty, Sanford. . . yawwwwn; Palin, hello, crazytown.

A rough 4 years for the GOP. Romney is still the lead dog in 2012.


Post a Comment

<< Home