From a Victorious British Conservative, Some Advice for the GOP

Kenneth Irving is feeling pretty pleased with himself, and for good reason. Early in June, Kenny managed to take the UK Independence Party (UKIP) to their best election result ever. They managed to put the ruling Labour party, and the Liberal Democrats, below them in vote percentage.

Considering they were thought to be all washed up when high-profile member Kilroy Silk sauntered off into the wilderness, and with Labour and the establishment painting them as no better than the neo-Nazi British National Party (BNP), this was quite a result.

I asked Irving to share his insight into the modern political process and any tips regarding how the right can claw its way back in the age of Obama. As someone who knows how to fight against electoral odds, I thought he might provide good counsel on the topic.

Dodge: As the guy behind the historic performance of UKIP in the Euro-elections, what advice would you give the right in the U.S. on how to react to Obama electorally?

Irving: The right in the U.S. needs to have a principled leader who can unite the Republican Party, the think tanks, and pressure groups (both conservative and libertarian). That leader will emerge over the next couple of years and may be an unknown who comes to prominence.

The right needs to abandon the religious rhetoric and offer a pro-freedom program as an alternative to Obama. It must also admit mistakes -- the deficit, spending, and Bush's abysmal record on civil liberties and human rights (Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib).

The right needs to broaden the coalition to include libertarians (not LP types) and market-oriented liberals. A large proportion of the latter groups voted for Obama and delivered his victory.

The right also needs to champion its black advocates, like Tom Sowell. It cannot allow the Democrats to get over 90 percent of the black vote unchallenged. It needs to engage with pro-liberty black groups.

The big problem is that the American people will give Obama the benefit of the doubt for the first 18 to 24 months of his first term. During that time, the right can build the necessary philosophical, intellectual, and popular alternative program to rebuild its credibility with the media and opinion formers.

Above all, it must invest in the necessary wider institutional and grassroots movement. Grover Norquist can lead that initiative if the neocons stop persecuting him for marrying a Jordanian.