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.