Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Yes, Newt

Now lookit, Peter, I know the arguments against Newt, but on the other hand, people need to get their story straight. Mark Lilla argues today in the Wall Street Journal that Palin represents a retrograde anti-intellectualism among conservatives. I disagree, but to the extent that conservative populism is problematic (the argument is not baseless), what could be more opposite than Newt?

Moreover, I recall that when the Republican Congress in the 1990s sported three Ph.Ds in leadership positions (Newt, Dick Armey, and Phil Gramm in the Senate), it never got the GOP any credit with the same media folks and observers who now decry the GOP’s "anti-intellectualism."

Now, maybe Palin can study up the next couple years and emerge on the stage somewhere by quoting the famous Monty Python line, "She turned me into a Newt!" (Okay, maybe not. . .)

Discussions - 15 Comments

I'll trade you two Ph.D.s in economics for one B.A. in prudence.

These attacks on Palin are little more than the evidence of the cracks on the right over the direction on the social issues, the so-called social cons vs libertarian split within the right that have been going on since 96/98. And the split is also manefest between the two parts of the right wing pundity. The first, the 'egg-head' right who kinda are rather chummy with the liberal media elite who respect these guys/gals smarts and let them have a bit of the crumbs they have to offer. The second group, are the popularist, up from their boots straps guys from the right, who are more concerned with the issues and politics that pushes the conservative actors forward. This group have little in common (both socially, culturally and politically) with the people and groups that make up the liberal media elite and are thus seen as rubes, fools, hicks, rednecks, morons, etc.

Now anyone fool enough to think that the first group can be really political effective, they really need to read carefully the history of the conservative movement and read it carefully. Cf. Sam Francis's Beautiful Losers as it is a useful reminder about the old rights political sucess.

What the right and the republicans needs now is to cultivate new faces and new players on the political screen. And to be frank, Palin is a wonderful start. And given she was dumped into this race with little or no prep, she saved McCain from the disaster his whole campaign was. He lost this race by being John McCain. But lets us thank BO that from now on campaign finance is now a dead letter. And the right need to start to establish a widespread regime of 525s and do so at both state and local levels. We need to grow these networks from the bottom up, unlike the liberal one's who start with the true believing blogers and activists. The true strength of the conservative movement is at the roots and if we can take that capital and run with it and allow it to grow leaders and actors, the future looks good for the right.

Palin-Gingrich 2012?

Steve, come on... how can you take seriously Lilla's nonsensense. No matter how much one like WFB, Kristol senior, or even Jean K (whom I wanted to draft in 88!!!) one must admit, these guys are intellectuals and not politicians. I would recommend you'all to go READ Tom Perrola's Election... and the comment between why George Will would never be politically viable. The voter never likes to be told how dumb they are and if the right wants to take that turn then gee look how well the left does when those types are their candidates.

Again, I think Palin saved this race from being much worse than it did turn out. Look McCain was his best when he was at the Al Smith dinner and on SLN! That shows why he lost. Gee, he botched this election from the get go by sticking to campaign finance which given BO broke his word on the issue and gave us a political campaign that makes CREEP's 72 campaign look like choirboys (esp given the media was in the BO camp the whole time).

I think, for my part, I'd rather see Gingrich working as a coach for the up-and-coming bench. I don't see him having any appeal with the younger generation that is in need of so much persuasion. The story of this election is not turnout (as Schramm has noted) but a certain kind of persuasion. Obama got 10% of the young voters who voted Bush last time. He got a ridiculously high number of single women. And he won in spectacular ways among blacks, hispanics and even Asian voters. How does Gingrich get a toe-hold on that crowd's mountain? I don't see it. If I see a role for him it's as a sherpa for our new talent. In his way, he was good at that in the early 90s.

I think I agree with Julie here. Gingrich is a thinker and strategist that the Republicans may need. But I have always been a little wary of his historical Toffleresque affinities.

If either Gingrich or Palin is top of the ticket in 2012, I'll quit the GOP. Neither has any solutions. Julie is right that Gingrich is a policy coach potentially, but his electoral appeal is slim. Palin borders on intellectual embarassment. The good thing about this election, is like George Allen in 2006, she revealed her flaws before we gave the really big nomination.

We need Newt and Armey's principles, but they need to be repackaged by a different politician. Jindal, Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels, seem like leading contenders. In the House, Pence and Cantor seem solid. Republicans need a "suburban strategy." This means first and foremost fiscal discipline. Balanced budgets, spending cuts in welfare and social programs for the lazey. In government spending, we need to focus on infrastructure (both traditional like roads, bridges, and modern like telecommunications, internet, etc), crime/terrorism. Both of these appeal to suburban voters. Above all competence. Social issues win the rural areas, where people don't expect the goverment to do much, but in the suburbs people expect government to keep the road paved, the environment clean, etc. What Bush-at least in image-lacked was competence. He got painted as a bufoon, and the GOP really fell into this image. We need a guy like Jindal who knows how to enact policy at the micro level. A competent person who keeps the lights on and keeps tab on everything. Policy wonk with electoral personality-that's the goal. Bush was too much personality. McCain all personality.

Before all you Romney nuts get excited about his perceived "competency," let me end those dreams. Part of competency is consistency. People don't trust a person as competent if they are on both side of an issue. Romney has flip-flopped more than John Kerry and isn't going to convince people he's competent because he appears to take haphazzard political positions. Competence is key, and to establish that reputation you must be consistent in your principles.

Clint, perhaps you should learn how to spell embarrassment before you accuse Sister Sarah of being one. I think she's still a little unschooled, but that will change. And she's got "the fire in the belly" and good political instincts (which many of our pols utterly lack).

I don't think competence is exactly what people want. I think they want what every spoiled child wants, reward without sacrifice. When a full third of the people don't pay any appreciable income tax (but benefit from Federal/State largess nonetheless), then perhaps you've reached the tipping point. Decadence, I think they call it.

JTPA, then you're falling for "decadence" if you like Palin. One of Palin's main Alaska acts was to tax oil companies. Then, with the budget surplus she proposed to give everyone a $100 gas card every month. Finally the legislature told her that she didn't need to hold everyone's hand and tell them exactly how to his/her money. So she settled for sending them a lump sum rebate. Hmmm, taxing corporations and then giving gas cards to people...sounds like a great Republican idea.

I'd worry less about grammar on a blog if I were you and more about ideas.

The Republican party needs new, younger faces for the next election--Palin, Romney and Jindal for examples. Palin was pulled from her job at the last minute with little preparation and she impressed many with her wonderful conservative values, all of which Obama and his liberal, illuminati left-wingers and that do-nothing Congress stomped on. As the majority of us know, God has the last word no matter the outcome of the election. We need to pray that the damage done by this administration will be minimal.

"God's last word" was a complete Obama victory and his soon to be announcing Hillary Clinton to the supreme court. God's will be done.

That wasn't God's will, it was Allah's.

For people like Lilla, "anti-intellectualism" is identical to "anti-liberalism".

Barrack Obama has the composure discipline and temperament of the supposed conservative intellecutals who are proclaimed dead. Look if Barrack Obama had been a Howard Dean conservatives wouldn't have tried the juxtaposition of a Sarah Palin. Lilla might be right, but if right I don't hear him saying much more than that conservative intellectuals are not at helm controlling the rudder. I can't tell you who is at the rudder, but my guess involves blogs, special interests and talk radio. The way I see it, it is your typical and average american who happens to vote republican in primaries who elect a presidential candidate who then steers the ship.

I had a good feeling that McCain would loose no matter what and that at the very least he should pick a VP he wanted, and lead the republicans on the trajectory he wanted.

I figured that McCain would have preffered a Lieberman, and figured he should pick who he wanted and own the choice.

Regardless of what the rumors are I think McCain did and does own the choice.

In 2008 McCain was at the helm he might be able to blame Bush with good reason, but more or less the buck stops there(caveat: shit always rolls downhill) As far as I can tell McCain owns his loss and he owns his choice of Palin.

I am not on the Palin bandwagon because I am not on an Alaska bandwagon. If you want to get down to populism I figure you do well to understand P. Diddy's Alaska? Alaska? reaction. Alaska while part of the United States is a different enough life, because of geography if nothing else that well it is just hard to think that you have a stable enough set of shared life experiences upon which to build a meaningfull vocabulary. I mean look the lower 48 that is "real" america...Hawaii and Alaska are places for cruises and exotic vacations. I mean lets go further, if it is a place in america where folks will pay cable tv to show a reality tv show...then it isn't real america. 90210: Not real america, Las Vegas, not real america. MTV cribs, not real america. Ice Road Truckers/Dangerous Catch: not real america...Interesting America to be sure, but not typical or mundane or common.

Not all "actual" America is actual for all americans. It would be an interesting sociological project, and republicans have probably abused the conceptual gap, but there is something to it.

In any case I say this to take issue with Clint who takes Palin to task for giving $1200 of welfare to Alaskans...but in Alaska $1200 is nothing new and not unique to Palin. People who live in Alaska have been getting paid oil royalties and dividends since at least 1982. If you are a citizen of Alaska for at least one year you will get paid anywhere from 1000-1600 a year. This is just one major way in which being from Alaska is different from being from Indiana.

Real america stopped being real and started being hyper-real with Reagan. "Realpolitik" has fully materialized in the unreal interaction of all virtual reality codes in the televisual political. The illusion of thinking, the illusion of participation, the illusion of choice, the illusion of democracy, all volitalized in the psycho-sensorial telereality that was the american election.

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