Back in November of 1976, columnist George Will wrote this:
"If nature is not as bountiful, or men’s capacities as equal, as once was assumed, then equality must be forced on men. That is a paralyzing thought for liberals, whose philosophy derives its name from the word liberty.
Conservatives are comparably disarrayed. True conservatives distrust and try to modulate social forces that work against the conservation of traditional values. But for a century, the dominant conservatism has uncritically worshiped the most transforming force, the dynamism of the American economy. No coherent conservatism can be based solely on commercialism, but this conservatism has been consistently ardent only about economic growth, and hence about economies of scale, and social mobility. These take a severe toll against small towns, small enterprises, family farms, local governments, craftsmanship, environmental values, a sense of community, and other aspects of humane living.
Conservatism often has been inarticulate about what to conserve, other than “free enterprise,” which is institutionalized restlessness, an engine of perpetual change. But to govern is to choose one social outcome over others; to impose a collective will on processes of change. Conservatism that does not extend beyond reverence for enterprise is unphilosophic, has little to do with government and conserves little."
It rings true today with where the GOP finds itself — intellectually bereft of actual conservatism, replaced instead by pretty faces, spray on tans, and platitude. When it actually advocates sound, conservative policies, it wins. It won in Michigan last night on union issues. It won in Wisconsin. Hell, we kept our 2010 tea party gains that were won on reining in government.
Barack Obama won because his campaign team ran a tremendous ass kicking ground game while the Romney campaign clearly ran smoke and mirrors so convincingly inside the echo chamber of the GOP as to fool a lot of great Republican pundits and Dick Morris.
But Barack Obama also won because the public knew him and stacked him up to a nothing burger on the other side. That nothing burger was not, per se, Mitt Romney, but the GOP as a whole. Consider, if you will, the GOP’s Senate nominees, many, but not all, of whom were backed by the party establishment.
Tommy Thompson, Heather Wilson, Connie Mack, Pete Hoekstra, Linda McMahon, Todd Aiken, and Richard Mourdock were not exactly founts of rhetorical genius or articulate mouthpieces for conservatism in the way Mike Lee, Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz have been.
Add to them Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and the like and the GOP has had very few skilled salesmen for conservative ideas and values. The party then put its fate in the hands of a moderate from Massachusetts who, just trust the GOP, was really more conservative than he let on. Conservatives, many of whom did not buy it, were happy to be loyal soldiers because he was the nominee — a loyalty that too few establishment Republicans send the other way to conservatives when the establishment gets beaten.
In the next two years, conservatives are going to have some fun fights within the GOP to move beyond a cliched defense of free markets into really articulating a vision for defending free markets and what it means. At the same time, it will be forced to deal rationally and charitably with the issue of immigration. And it will have an opportunity to drive out those who now think the time is right to give up on fiscal conservatism or social conservatism. Primary season 2014 should be spectacular.
Compromise? Like hell. We’re going to keep fighting. And we will find someone who actually doesn’t speak conservatism like he learned it from Rosetta Stone last week. http://www.redstate.com/2012/11/07/status-quo...