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Robert Wargas


March 19, 2013 - 4:24 pm

I suppose I’d have to write a post like this sooner or later. All the cool kids are doing it — diagnosing the ills of the Republican Party and then offering a few of their own analgesics. Most of these articles strike me as smart if a little naive. Too many of them fall for the false dichotomy on which the notion of “rebranding” is based: that the Republican Party needs to be either completely and totally orthodox conservative, Jessie Helms-style, or completely and totally orthodox centrist, Lowell Weicker-style. This kind of all-or-nothing logic is going to keep us all arguing in circles until we lose the next election.

I use the word “we” somewhat lightly, as I’m technically a registered independent. As a classical liberal independent, however, I see no reason ever to vote for a Democrat. I know plenty of Dems on a personal level and find those particular individuals to be wonderful people, but let’s face it, the national party is a gang of thieves and liars. I know this is the part where I’m supposed to berate “both sides” for doing it, but you know what, I’m sick of that. Pick a side and fight for it, even if you don’t agree with it 100%. I’ve picked my side and am going to fight for it, even though I disagree with conservatives and Republicans all the time. No two people agree on every issue. It would actually be creepy if they did.

So don’t “rebrand.” Screw THAT. If you don’t agree with gay marriage, then don’t agree with it. Me? I happen to think the government should not be involved in anybody’s marriage, which means I’m a de facto supporter of gay marriage. Some conservatives will hate me for this. Fine. I am not changing to make them happy, nor do I expect the traditional marriage people to change to suit me. Instead, we should band together and keep the fusionism thing alive, because ultimately we both agree that the problem is the Juggernaut State and its gang of grifters and hangers-on that is destroying the United States of America. There’s no marriage to save, gay or traditional, if we’re all poor and unemployed.

How does this translate to the level of pragmatic strategy? I’m not exactly sure. But whatever it is needs to have a very large cultural component to it. Moving to “the center” will do nothing because the legacy media will, at the end of the day, happily assassinate the centrists at election time. What good does that do? Ask not-President Dole and never-was-President McCain and never-will-be-President Romney how that all worked out.

Perhaps try to infiltrate the universities? Start a MASSIVE fundraising campaign to set up scholarships for conservative students and Young Republican clubs? Could work. It’s worth a shot. Beef up their presence a little bit. This isn’t rebranding so much as it’s branding in the first place; conservatives currently have no voice on campuses. Other students, many of whom are naturally conservative, are deathly afraid to speak up.

That’s the general idea. There’s no magic bullet to solve this problem. It simply involves getting ordinary people interested in conservative ideas. This doesn’t necessarily mean standing around like Lyndon LaRouche groupies and handing out flyers, but it means getting people’s attention in charismatic ways. I hate to use this language, but there needs to be a new cultural vanguard out there, or at least a decent counterweight to what we have now. (Easier said than done, I know). There’s a LOT of talent out there that needs to be mainstreamed. I would like to see a guy like Andrew Wilkow with his own prime time TV show on Fox. Mark Levin, too. These are rhetorical geniuses who wipe the floor with just about everyone who argues with them. Who else out there can do this? Can we recruit any young conservative commentators from the U.K.? Think of what a British accent would do for us.

The question is not what the Party is going to do, but what are you going to do? When you get up in the morning to eat your Wheaties or drag that razor over your tired face, ask yourself: What am I going to do today to help promote my ideas? Will you donate? Will you attend rallies? Will you start a think tank? Will you start a publication? Will you help set up a Conservative Healthcare Charity for those who don’t have insurance?

The most important thing is not to feel sorry for yourself. And DON’T apologize. And definitely DO push for school vouchers, because that’s part of the cultural drive as well.

That’s all for now. As you can see, I didn’t solve the problem with a magic math equation. Nor did I resort to pol worship and say how wonderful and oh-so-beautiful and great and perfect will be the future under Marco Rubio or Rand Paul or Paul Ryan any of these other people.  We should learn from Hayek that central planning can’t solve a problem like this: we all need to do our part individually and the invisible hand will take care of the rest.

Robert Wargas is a contributor to PJ Media. A native of Long Island, he was educated at the City University of New York and Yale University, and has also written for The Daily Telegraph of London and The Weekly Standard. Outside of opinion writing, he has worked as a professional historian for a major research laboratory and university, documenting the history of biotechnology since the 1970s. He has also reported for both weekly and daily newspapers, including Newsday. He maintains a personal blog/website at Follow him on Twitter @RobertWargas

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Im going to join the Constitution Party.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is no need for Republican rebranding without a fundamental change when the brand is irretrievably damaged. You dump the damaged brand and create something new. You work hard to disassociate yourselves from the failed Republican brand. You dump the people who are closely associated with the failed brand (e.g., the Bushes, McCain and Graham). Numerous polls and articles show that many people will NEVER vote Republican. They hate the brand name and there are many good historical reasons why (including many reasons now commonly recognized by lifelong Republican voters). Drop the Republican Party name and its amorphous principles.

The new brand should be clearly different from the Democrat and the failed Republican brands. It should encompass simple, clear, concise, and popular general principles. It should only include politicians who convincingly demonstrate that they believe in the new party's principles.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The problem with that comment is the "popular" bit. Popular today means liberal. If this new party adopts popular, liberal principles, it might as well stay the Republican party.

Also, just because something is popular doesn't mean it is the right or best thing for the country. Right now handouts and freebies are very popular but they are bankrupting the the country, for just one of many examples. The point should be to distance the party of the New Ideas which never work out in the long run and go back to the principles that do work, those "old fashioned" principles that work because they were created not in some delusional academic's mind but by millions of interactions between millions of people over thousands of years. Eventually society will come back to those things, though it will most likely take the utter collapse of the New Ideas and the attendant suffering and misery first.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Popular" (whatever that means) does not equal "liberal". Forty percent of the population self-identifies as conservative, thirty-five percent as moderate and only twenty-one percent as liberal. Unfortunately that twenty-one percent controls 99.99999% of the media and use that advantage to make it appear that the liberal agenda is more popular than it actual is.

What's with the re-branding? The Republican party doesn't need to re-brand, we need to get back to our roots. We are the party of small government, self-reliance, and liberty. That is something to be proud of! Our problem is that we are not consistent in how we apply our principles. If we truly believe in small government then the question of marriage becomes a non-issue. Government should play no role in what is essentially a religious tradition. Further, our great document says "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" not "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for everyone except those pesky unborn". Abortion is inconsistent with our principles.

I agree that we need to do a much better job of promoting the Republican party and that each of us has a responsiblity towards that ends. Let us start by being firm about who and what our party is.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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