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August 05, 2008

Let's Not Beat Up on Republicans for Being Losers

TheBronze wrote this about the Republicans and their energy agenda:

They'll get to the 5-yard-line and fumble the ball, just like they always do.

I responded, and since I've wanted to write this for a while, I'm moving it up to a post:

I think discontent with Republicans by Republicans confuses two different things:

1) They're doing all the wrong things, ergo, they're posers undeserving of our votes.

2) They're not winning -- ergo, they're losers undeserving of our votes.

Let's not let #2 get confused with #1. No one likes a loser, of course, but if Republicans are doing the *right* things for once (at least in a few areas -- and they are), let's give them a break on being hapless losers who couldn't score with the public if it collectively sat on their faces.

Bear in mind, for a long time (1994-2004) Republicans seemed incapable of *losing,* no matter how hard they tried to, no matter how much they sold out and indulged in corruption and RINOism. They had a groove for a while; they could get it back.

Doing so begins with doing the right things -- which they are.

Or at least some of them are doing the right things in some situations.

It's important to separate complaints about the GOP (or any party) into the two different categories. Pursuing proper policy and politics is within their control: If they fail here, it's entirely on them, and they deserve to be castigated.

But actually succeeding at elections, and convincing a majority of Americans to vote for them, is not entirely within their control, not by a long shot. Not only do they have the media against them, and a dimwitted public which apparently believes they're still the congressional incumbent party, and an ailing economy (which hurts because, well, the dimwitted public wrongly thinks they're setting the congressional economic agenda), they also have the legacy of corruption to handle-- past sins which they might or might not handle properly going forward, but even if they do remake themselves as the real reform party, they're still going to have the weight of Craig and Stevens and Foley around their necks.

Also, it has to be noted: To win electorally when the environment is so very anti-Republican and anti-conservative would require them to tack even further to the left, most likely. (Or at least that's one possible solution.) So let's keep in mind that pursuing conservative solutions and winning elections are not always compatible goals, and while of course we'd prefer both, sometimes we have to choose between them.

The Republicans have been on a three year losing streak. This year may very well be a fourth. And that losing streak might extend ten years into the future.

But let's be careful about holding their failure to win elections against them too much. Certainly we ought not praise them for losing elections, but we also have to remember that winning, we mostly believe, begins with pursuing the right policies in the right way.

And if the GOP is finally showing some signs of actual conservativism, let's give them a break.

It might be they're backing into conservative appeals only because they have nothing else to try. Even so, however they got here, perhaps just out of desperation and cynicism, let's welcome them back.

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posted by Ace at 06:30 PM

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