GOP establishment wooing Jeb Bush

A number of Republican leaders and donors–motivated by pragmatism and looking for a candidate who is moderate enough to actually win the next presidential election–are trying to persuade Jeb Bush to run.  Of course, these are the same win-at-any-cost pragmatists who gave us Mitt Romney and John McCain.

Whatever the virtues of Jeb Bush, the Bush “brand” is surely a liability, and choosing candidates from a family dynasty is surely a monarchical instinct and unworthy of a free republic.  (The same holds true for Clintons and Kennedys.)  Or am I missing something? [Read more...]

Millennials aren’t so liberal after all

Contrary to the conventional wisdom that paints the Millennial generation as being the new base of Democratic party liberalism, studies show that their political beliefs are much more complicated than that.  As Kirsten Power points out, Millennials are more likely to support gay marriage than other demographic groups, but they are less likely to support abortion.

Their main political characteristics are independence, changeability, pragmatism, and disdain for static ideologies.  That means Democrats can’t take them for granted and Republicans have a shot at their votes. [Read more...]

Shutdown countdown

The federal government runs out of money at the end of the day today and will shut down tomorrow unless the House of Representatives and Senate can strike a deal to keep the money flowing.  Republicans, who control the House, are saying they won’t pass such a resolution unless Obamacare is delayed for a year.  (They earlier wanted to strip funding from it entirely.  Now they are settling for a delay.)  Democrats are refusing to back down from their signature health care legislation (a major part of which goes into effect tomorrow).

So now we are on the brink.  Tomorrow the government may shut down AND the Obamacare insurance exchange sign-ups begin.

What do you think will happen?  Do you predict a last-second compromise?  If the shutdown takes place, what impact will that have?  What impact would that have on the Republican Party? [Read more...]

Republicans as the new 1989 Democrats

Today’s Republican party is in exactly the same situation as the Democratic party of 1989 and making exactly the same excuses for why they can’t win a national presidential election.  This is the point made by two Democratic strategists who revisit an essay they wrote way back then, only this time they apply it to Republicans. [Read more...]

The two paths for Democrats

We talked about the two paths for Republicans.  Apparently there are also two paths opening up for Democrats.  Two columns in the Washington Post cite a growing schism in the Democratic Party between old-line pro-union economic liberals and big business Democrats who favor Wall Street.  What the two factions have in common is social liberalism (pro-abortion, pro-feminist, pro-gay, etc.), but the party’s former solidarity on economic issues is coming apart.  (Which may be the opposite of what is happening among Republicans, with the big business faction and the populists agreeing on economics but differing on social issues.) [Read more...]

The Chris Christie path vs. the Rand Paul path

Washington Post political columnist Chris Cillizza has written an interesting column saying that the Republican Party must choose between two different paths, as represented by two likely presidential candidates:  the moderate pragmatism of New Jersey governor Chris Christie; or the purist small-government principles of  Kentucky senator Rand Paul.

Mr. Cillizza casts the Rand option in terms of being more conservative.  In doing so, I think he completely misses what Rand Paul represents.  He is a libertarian, appealing strongly to young people and the politically-disaffected.  But he is also pro-life.  He is also the peace candidate, stealing that issue from the left.

Someone who can attract the internet crowd and pro-lifers and free market business types and evangelicals and peaceniks and the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Streeters has the makings of a paradigm-breaking and very formidable candidate. [Read more...]

Rand Paul courts Christian conservatives

Sen. Rand Paul is presenting himself as a “libertarian Republican” rather than a “libertarian,” and is courting evangelicals and other Christian conservatives.  In an apparent effort to position himself as a credible GOP presidential candidate, Paul is backing away from conventional libertarian positions, such as legalizing drugs, and is nuancing his support for gay marriage. (I believe he has always been pro-life.)

I know lots of readers of this blog have long supported the Pauls, both father and son.  Are you bothered by Rand’s attempt to appeal to the GOP establishment?  Or do you support him in trying to make himself electable?  And, for you Christian conservatives leery of libertarianism, do these efforts  make you likely to support him? [Read more...]

Is libertarian economics what’s killing the GOP?

Most diagnoses of what ails the Republican party have been focusing on social conservatism, saying that Republicans need to stop opposing gay marriage and abortion if they want to start winning national elections.  But now some are arguing that the Republican commitment to libertarian economic policies–that is, a commitment to an untrammeled free market–that’s really to blame. [Read more...]

How today’s Republicans are like 1980s Democrats

Republicans have lost the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections.  Demographics, geography, and the trends of the day are working against them.  Just like the Democrats in the 1980s.  See Dan Balz in Republicans today can learn lessons from the Democrats’ past. But will they? – The Washington Post.

Civil war within the Republican party?

The John McCain wing of the Republican party and the Rand Paul wing of the Republican party have been attacking each other over military policy and who is to blame for losing the presidential election.  Now at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week, the so-called establishment Republicans and the so-called tea-party Republicans ridiculed each other.  Observers are seeing schism, if not civil war.

Interestingly, Mario Rubio and Jeb Bush are being described as “establishment” figures, though they used to be considered hard-core conservatives.  So I suspect some of this Republican break-up talk is wishful thinking from Democrat-leaning pundits.  But here is a prediction:  Both the “pragmatic” professional politicians in the Republican party–the ones fixated on winning elections–AND the newly insurgent libertarian wing associated with Rand Paul will come together to advocate gay marriage.  If this happens, where would that leave you (us) social conservatives?  [Read more...]