Jennifer Rubin, conservative blogger and columnist for the Washington Post, has just written a wonderful and brave editorial. It is so needed for conservatives to say what she said, not just for the sake of the Republican Party but for the country and the world. The Republican Party is quickly becoming obsolete, and we need two good parties for this country to run.
Her primary message is in her headline: “Tear down this icon: why conservatives have to get over Ronald Reagan.”
Her main point is the one I have been making ever since I started blogging over three years ago: Reaganism was needed in 1980, but new thinking is required over thirty years later.
How to find the "new" conservatism?
Isn't the heart of conservatism the empowerment of individuals? Isn't it about empowering the middle class? What is all this guff about taxes or gay marriage or contraception or abortion or high capacity spray guns or immigrants or endless wars in the Middle East or .. or .. or all of the things that so enrage or frighten the permanently enraged and frightened?
Or for that matter what has an ever smaller government to do with conservatism?
In 1979 Reagan was right when he said government was the problem. Back then the country was over-regulated and over-taxed. But now, after a near worldwide financial meltdown as a result of an under-regulated blood thirsty financial industry, that is no longer true, no longer true, no … longer … true. How does the government empower the individual by being eviscerated? How does the individual become empowered without the context of civilization that can only be created if it includes the essential factor an effective government?
I switched my registration from Republican to “Declines to State” in California about four years ago. My history is that I voted for: Cleaver, McGovern, Carter, Reagan, Reagan, HW, Clinton, W, W, Obama, Obama. The Rigid Right drove me from their ranks, which I am sure is exactly what they wanted to do. I am certainly not one of them. Thank goodness. But I am not a Democrat either.
When I changed from liberal to conservative in 1980 I was aflame with the new ideas of conservatism. It was conservatives who were coming up with creative new ideas, and it was liberals who were trying to relive the glories of FDR and LBJ. The liberals were worn out, and had nothing much to offer other than the same old same old.
But, the creative and innovative thinking of today is now coming from the left. All Rush and Glenn and DeMint and the '80s crowd are doing is hitting the replay button - old, old, old, tired, tired, tired, lazy, lazy, lazy, regurgitation. I recently heard Rush say his job was ideological purity. How true. Simple job. Thinking not required. All he is is a replay button on the old jukebox. All that is missing is the revolving mirrored ball with the Bee Gees playing for the dancers on the floor.
Republicans need to innovate or die, to find the real heart of conservatism and create from there.
They should start with empowering the individual and the middle class. The Democrats have figured out the middle class part. It’s now up to the conservatives to come up with better ideas to get that done by focusing on the individual empowerment part.