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Required Reading

January 7th, 2014 - 2:00 pm

Ken Gardner:

If, as Republicans, we want to govern and set policy, we must first win elections and become the majority party. If we want to win elections, we must expand our political base. If we want to expand our base, we must ditch the ideological purity tests that drive many otherwise persuadable voters away. At the same time, we must find the areas of broad agreement that will attract more right-of-center voters. As conservatives, we are better off winning with someone who agrees with us 80% of the time than losing with an ideologically pure but unelectable candidate.

On the presidential level, this means finding candidates who can win in purple and even light blue states, not just red states. As a practical matter, there simply aren’t enough reliably red states to get the Republican candidate to 270 electoral votes. Likewise, in statewide races (e.g. gubernatorial and senate races), Republicans need candidates who can win over suburban voters and even some urban voters, especially in the more largely populated states. Again, there aren’t enough votes in red rural counties to win statewide elections in many states.

How do Republicans expand their base and win more elections? In my opinion, we broaden the base by focusing on economic and fiscal issues while de-emphasizing the more divisive social issues.

Read the whole thing.

The first thing you must accomplish in politics is win elections or there’s no second thing you can accomplish.

Our country is more socially libertarian than ever — laissez faire even, if you’ll pardon my French. SoCons can lose on gay marriage as they have been doing, to progressives who are using “the gay agenda” (I hate that phrase) as a cudgel to beat the churches and strip the 1st Amendment of whatever meaning it has left. Or they can lose on gay marriage to small government types, who would get government out of marriage and give it back to the churches where it belongs.

Either way though, they’re going to lose. You can’t fight the zeitgeist. You certainly can’t fight it as a member of the permanent minority.

That’s just one example, but one which illustrates the problem nicely.

Where we can gain lots of allies however is in the gay-friendly, pot-tolerant (legalization now polls 54% nationwide), ethnically-diverse center, which is now getting an education, good and hard, on just how much damage Washington can do to medicine, jobs, banking, and everything else.

So we can insist on purity tests and have Progressives in charge of everything when the stuff hits the fan — and then it’s bye-bye America. Or you can have Republicans, even squishy ones, who will follow the lead of the next Reagan or Coolidge.

I used to vote for plenty of Democrats, if only to shrink my local Republicans’ margin of victory. There’s nothing worse in the world than a politician who thinks he’s safe in his job. But I took a vow after ObamaCare was passed never to vote for another Democrat until it was repealed.

That’s not enough though. We need bigger wins, and that means focusing on the issues — the hard money, real world issues — which Middle America actually cares about.

So I’ll say it again. More Rand Pauls. Fewer Todd Akins.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
"You're saying the McCain and Romney lost because they were social moderates?"

They lost, because they get told they need to "loosen up" and offer a begrudgingly cold hand-job to a voter segment that will ALWAYS go for the hot promise of full-on, condom-less action that the other side always offers.....

The moderates go "meh, just not turning me on" and the conservatives go "eww GROSS!" and we LOSE.

You cant out-wh*re the democrats, so just stop trying.

33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm not sure how having the Beltway elite dictating top-down who is acceptable to run in each of 50 states and 435 House districts makes the GOP more viable.

And winning elections only matters if we haven't already seen abject surrender as the preferred strategy among those on "our side" who win those elections.

The GOP needs to get right with its base. Period.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'll take your observations and turn them on their head.

Almost every time conservatives back off of their principles to run a "moderate" Republican, the first principles that get thrown out of the window are liberty and fiscal sanity. I say "almost" because of Senator Paul.

So what's different about Paul? He's a libertarian who articulates nearly-conservative positions from a liberty-seeking point of view. There's no squish there, he ends up rock-solid in the center.

We don't need conservatives who have turned hypocritical, we don't need "centrists" that have no beliefs beyond the next election, we don't need holier- and weedier-than-thou libertarians who can't abide Christians [which, just to be clear, does not describe OGH]. We need for liberty-minded people to explain why their ideals should appeal to conservatives.

Do that, and win.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (49)
All Comments   (49)
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"So I’ll say it again. More Rand Pauls. Fewer Todd Akins."
You do realize Rand Paul has a 100% pro life voting record as a senator.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm also grown up enough to understand that winning coalitions are built by working with people you don't agree with 100% of the time. This is a lesson too many social conservatives have forgotten.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
And whaddaya mean, give marriages back to the churches? How would that work? How are you going to keep churches that won't marry same sex couples from being sued, sued, and sued into closing? The Left has deep pockets.

Utah wasn't allowed into the union until they banned polygamy. A good thing, too.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
So much wrong here. "Purity tests" are hurting us? How? What's hurting us is the RNC withholding money from successful Tea Party candidates.

The problem with the last DE Senate race was Castle, not O'Donnell. He lost the primary. (Good thing - first elected to Congress as a guy with two cars and a mortgage, 16 years later a multimillionaire. We'd have had to buy every vote from Senator Castle, and the Dems have deeper pockets - think Jeffords and Specter.)

And after he lost the primary, he refused to endorse O'Donnell, let alone campaign. Dick Lugar, same deal.

Don't gimme Akins. I'll give you that genius who lost to Boxer after making fun of her hair. Get real.

Show me a conservative who took his ball and went home after losing a primary. Show me the "purity" problem.

And moderates don't turn out for moderates, dude! Conservatives were there for McCain & Romney. We'd have come out for a hatrack rather than have a Dem elected. It's the squishes stay home. We need Conservative values articulated to inspire the middle and the Reagan Dems.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
"a collapsed currency, destroyed economy, voided 2nd Amendment, permanent welfare class, and a slightly sweeter taste of misery",

Yes indeed, with RINOS leading the way thanks.

Because when they wear an "R" on their uniform, their un-earned lifetime of privilage and comfort at our expense, is SO much easier to swallow, right?.

F*ck Bonner and F*ck Ryan...
Ryan could have at least TALKED about cutting the aid to Illegals to cover the Military Pensions...

Could have at least asked the opposition to EXPLAIN ON TV why they prefer rewarding foriegn criminals at the expense of Wounded American Patriots...put DEMOCRATS on the spot for once, make THEM uncomfortable for one, rare, hot f*cking minute....

But he's LAZY. Lazy like the rest of the GOP, always eager to appease the "beautiful people", and screw their "base". Taste the Trough, its all good in Washington, and where else ARE those bitter clingers to go?

All Ryan has done is painfully demonstrat he's just another (wannabe) Career Politician, who EPICALLY FAILED a relatively simple Character Test, proving he can never BE trusted again.

You see, when one Politician tries to bang my 12 year old daughter, the guy who "only" wants pictures of her in the shower is no one I can ever trust, do you people get that yet?

The RINO "not as bad as" position is a pathetically awful political argument, and I refuse to listen to it anymore.

Better, or Bullets

Choose











33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I agree with this post...I have principles, I am not a fanatic however and I do realize that we need to win elections. Only a zealot who likes to lose would fail to see the logic in this.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm sorry. I know the idea is practical, logical and probably doable. Just not by me.
When the Reagan Revolution still had currency, yes. But now...after we've been bartered, sold, mislead, shouted down and outright lied to by our very own party the ship of compromise has sailed. And as the 'LEADERSHIP has daily grown closer and closer to the Democrats to the point that whatever difference exists is unidentifiable from the outside. All we can really do is stand our ground and wait for the Republican Party to implode and hopefully pick up enough pieces to rebuild it back to what it is supposed to be.
Now whether the Republic itself will survive to that time is the question.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm gonna be tiresome, but, Carl DeMaio in CA-52. Donate, vote.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm not sure how having the Beltway elite dictating top-down who is acceptable to run in each of 50 states and 435 House districts makes the GOP more viable.

And winning elections only matters if we haven't already seen abject surrender as the preferred strategy among those on "our side" who win those elections.

The GOP needs to get right with its base. Period.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'll take your observations and turn them on their head.

Almost every time conservatives back off of their principles to run a "moderate" Republican, the first principles that get thrown out of the window are liberty and fiscal sanity. I say "almost" because of Senator Paul.

So what's different about Paul? He's a libertarian who articulates nearly-conservative positions from a liberty-seeking point of view. There's no squish there, he ends up rock-solid in the center.

We don't need conservatives who have turned hypocritical, we don't need "centrists" that have no beliefs beyond the next election, we don't need holier- and weedier-than-thou libertarians who can't abide Christians [which, just to be clear, does not describe OGH]. We need for liberty-minded people to explain why their ideals should appeal to conservatives.

Do that, and win.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
"We need for liberty-minded people to explain why their ideals should appeal to conservatives."

Exactly. It's less about expanding the tent and more about having a good carnival barker selling the show inside. And make sure we have a good show.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Get government out of the marriage business by making marriage a legally enforceable contract?
Libertarians are really bad at thinking things through.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you and I sign a contract that I'll mow your lawn every two weeks for a set price, have we put the federal government into the lawn mowing business?

Before you answer... think it through.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Public accommodations, Mr. Green. If you legalize gay marriage, you've just forced thousands, maybe millions, of businesses to serve customers they don't want to serve. Any service a business offers to traditional married couples they will be forced to offer to same sex couples. Even when you don't like the target it is aimed at, the government's gun is still the government's gun.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have several clients whom I either know or strongly suspect may be gay. Their money is still green.I don't know what business you are in, but frankly the baker in Colorado who refused to bake a gay couple a cake strikes me as a fool unless they were engaged in...something?...in front of him. IT'S A CAKE AND HE AND GETTING PAID, not an endorsement of any lifestyle. Does the baker ask all his customers their sexual preferences? Does he refuse fans of hetro sodomy too? What consenting adults do in the privacy of their home is none of my business. But when they cross the threshold of my office the idea is to do my best for them and get paid.

Crazy people you turn away. Which I did this very morning. Cannot draft a will for an admitted schizophrenic at any price.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Incidentally, respect your right to think gays are icky or whatever. I even respect your right to run your business like a thumb-sucking fool.

I don't respect your insistence on making public policy out of your prejudices.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is wrong in so many ways. The baker does not want to be forced to promote a message with which he disagreed. Its not the cake, its not the customers being gay, its the message the baker was being forced to promote. Why is this so hard to get?
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Can you give me a date when belief that marriage should be between man and woman became a prejudice?
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
If your business is already turning away paired customers who are on average better-educated, above-average-income earning, and probably without children disposing of their disposable income, then you are an idiot.

I mean, dumb to the core.

If you aren't turning them away, then what matter is it to you what private contract they may or may not have signed?

Before you answer... think it through.

Also? Why won't you answer my original question before going off on non-sequitors?
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't think about homosexuals one way or the other.
Explain to me again how the state ordering people to recognize same sex marriage increases their liberty?
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ordering whom to do what? I'd turn over marriage to the churches, to recognize as they see fit. My church might recognize gay nuptials, your wouldn't. Anything more than church recognition would be handled as civil unions under simple contract law.

Let's say you own a hotel. Two men check into a single room. Maybe it's me and my buddy just trying to save money -- we flipped for it and I'll take the sofa. Maybe it's me and my gay lover. Maybe it's me and my (presumably gay) husband.

Under none of those circumstances are we asking you to recognize us as anything. Travel companions, lovers, married couple -- absent *government* licensing of marriage, you may choose to see us any way you like: Travel buddies or heathens.

Or turn us away. Frankly, I'd rather not give you my business, much less let you know what it is.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hell, I could check into a hotel with a girl and tell the straight-laced couple that owns the joint that she's my sister. No harm no foul. But that's not what gay marriage does, is it? It makes it illegal for the straight-laced couple to treat an SSM couple differently than they would treat any other married couple, regardless of how they feel about SSM. As a libertarian, their motivation for doing so shouldn't matter to you at all. You aren't allowed to use the state to impose your moral vision on others.
I understand that you would like to get the state out of the marriage business, but that's a different matter altogether. What you want the GOP to do is to drop its opposition to the state recognizing same sex marriage, with all its legal benefits and obligations. In 2013, in the United States, that would decrease, not increase, the liberty of the people.
Just out of curiosity Mr. Green, would you be opposed to making racial discrimination by businesses legal? This isn't a gotcha question, I would like to know just how libertarian you are.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
No, state-licensed SSM does that. Which is why I want to respect your rights (and theirs) and get Uncle Sam out of the marriage business. It's clear he hasn't done it any good, and with the Vile Progs in charge, he means to do it a lot more harm.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I like to tell people that I am opposed to SSM for the same reason the pagan Greeks and Romans were opposed to SSM. It's ridiculous, like calling a fish a bird because you want it to fly.
I do thank you for the civil conversation.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I accept your thanks, but it wasn't easy -- you came out swinging in your first comment, basically calling all libertarians idiots. There was some serious editing involved in my initial response to that. But, hey, it's the internet and that s*** happens. No hard feelings.

I am VERY strongly opposed to court-ordered or otherwise nationally-mandated gay marriage because of something that you hinted at, in what I must admit I think was a bigoted and somewhat craptaculent way. But SSM *is* a new thing, never before tried -- at least not in a country of our weight class. (Honestly, who really cares what the Dutch do?)

Being a new thing, it should come about organically, locally, through the expressed will of the people. That's what federal/constitutional governance is all about. And to my small-government mind, the best -- perhaps only -- way to bring that about without trampling on all kinds of liberties is to get Uncle Sam out of the business of licensing marriages.

And if you really are a proponent of localized and/or small government, isn't that the best option? It offends me deeply when so-called conservatives think Big Government has a major role to play in what has historically been a religious institution.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry. I've been more than usually irritated by self-proclaimed capital-L Libertarians lately. I think that Objectivism is as weird and anti-human a philosophy as Marxism, even if I believe in small-l libertarianism as the best form of government, at least at the federal level.
Before you can get the government out of the marriage business you need to address the reason that it got into the marriage business in the first place. In Olden Times marriage might have been a religious institution in abstract terms, but mechanically it worked through your local parish, like welfare. Your parish, meaning your neighbors, were under monetary obligation to care for women and children if a husband could not do so or chose not to do so. This made marriage a community business. Government stepped into the role of parish in the 19th and 20th centuries If you get government out of the marriage business today, what takes its place? Are we back to parish obligations? Getting government out of the marriage business should have nothing to do with a discussion about gay marriage.

33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
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