January 26, 2008

Icky compromises...

Peggy Noonan writes, in the WSJ:

....On the pundit civil wars, Rush Limbaugh declared on the radio this week, "I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys [Mr. McCain or Mike Huckabee] get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party. It's going to change it forever, be the end of it!"

This is absurd. George W. Bush destroyed the Republican Party, by which I mean he sundered it, broke its constituent pieces apart and set them against each other. He did this on spending, the size of government, war, the ability to prosecute war, immigration and other issues.

Were there other causes? Yes, of course. But there was an immediate and essential cause....

Sorry Peggy, I think you are nuts.

Actually, I think the problems of the party, and of conservatives, are the problems of success.

We spent decades dreaming of getting control of both the White House and Congress. We thought that THEN we would be in the Promised Land!

But each group was assuming that they would then get all those things it especially wanted, and forgetting that the party has become a big tent, and different elements wanted different things. It was never possible for everyone to get all that they wanted. Disappointment was inevitable.

I could write a lonnnnng list of Bush accomplishments. But they still amount to each faction getting half a loaf. And people are not dealing well with that.

Also, many of the objectives conservatives were actually in agreement on have been achieved! Think of Welfare Reform--we did it, and now the issue is no longer uniting us. Or, even bigger, the fall of the Soviet Union. That used to be the biggest blob of glue holding Republicans together.

And even if all Republicans wanted the same things, there would still be disappointments, because we need to gain the support of "independents" to stay in power. That's just the way it is. And those things we've already accomplished are precisely the ones that were easiest to sell to independents!

Now we are facing the more difficult problems, ones that we will have to finesse, and make icky compromises on. I think Bush has done a fairly good job at this sausage-making task. But it's a totally THANKLESS task, because Republicans just hate to admit to themselves that messy incomplete wins are what they are going to have to settle for these days.

Also, we tend to forget the compromises that were made in the past, especially by St Ronnie! He was always being castigated for "betraying the conservative cause."

Posted by John Weidner at January 26, 2008 7:21 AM
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