The Republican's have suffered because of two holes in their platform.
1) Something they stand for that means more than "Conservatism" to the voters. Eight years ago after Clinton "Maturity" was the theme, as in "Isn't it time to let the adults take charge?" The pork barrel politicing that cost them the Congress two years ago made that a tough theme to run on. My suggestion is that they run on the theme of "Civilization." We are for it and it is worth defending. A good politician can make this an inclusive and uplifting approach. Reagan did this brilliantly.
2) We do need something to run against. It better not be seen as running against the woman or the black guy. Running against "Liberalism" is as tired and empty to the average voter as running for "Conservatism." At one time Republicans were very successful in running against Tip O'Neill. He became the poster boy for the old corrupt sounding insider politics we didn't want to be identified with. My suggestion is that Republicans run against the Trial Lawyers Association. Dan Quayle was unsuccessful in attempting this but the problem may have been the messenger more than the message.
The failure of the Democrats to pass the intelligence bill could be best attacked not on narrow legal or policy grounds. If we go down in those weeds the Democrats will flood Jim Lehrer's News Hour and other shows with windy explorations of the procedures of the FISA courts until America goes to sleep. In fact they have already started. If we attack it as a full employment gift to Trial Lawyers then we can build a band wagon.
The Democratic party rests financially on four interlocking pillars. One is the public service employees unions, especially teachers. Second is the inherited wealth of trust fund babies. That includes the management of the Foundations that have effectively inherited much of the great wealth of the Industrial Age, such as the Ford Foundation. Third is a very narrow self referential Arts and Culture elite. Finally there are the Trial Lawyers. Anything that redistributes power away from these four groups is good for America and good for the Republican Party.
2/16/2008 04:02:00 PM