Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The next right or the last right?

I had hoped that The Next Right would become a place for the discussion of new ideas about the future, but it has unfortunately gotten sucked into the day to day handicapping of the presidential race. We need to be thinking creatively about where we want politics to go over the next few decades, developing a long term vision that is built on 21st century realities. This ain't it:

...fiscal conservative maximalism tethered to social conservative maximalism -- a brand of politics Jindal represents -- is still the best way to reignite the Reagan coalition and get the activist core inspired again. This level of grassroots participation is an essential waypoint on the path back to real power.

This is more last right than next right. This is a good example of the exhaustion of the conservative movement. American society is changing and so politics must change with it. The Reagan coalition was a product of its time organized around a politician who was an anomaly. Reagan was a unique politician who was able to appeal to many people across party lines. That coalition cannot be replicated in our time. There is a disjointedness between the prevailing political ideologies of both parties and the times in which we live. We can't move into the future by trying to relive the successes of some prior era whether the New Deal or the Reagan coalition.

This level of grassroots participation is an essential waypoint on the path back to real power.

"Real power" for what purposes? The problem for Republicans is that they controlled the White House and Congress for years and yet completely abandoned any larger vision to guide the exercise of power. Since the loss of Congress in 06 there has been no soul searching, no reflection, no reorganization, no reform, no indication that the party establishment has in any way learned anything from its experience with power and from its loss of power. In 94 the Congressional Republicans were enlivened with ideas, motivation, energy, and a vision of what they wanted to accomplish. They were also an unknown force, we did not know how they would govern and so they were fresh and offered the possibility of something new. Today though it is a different story. We know exactly how Republicans will run Congress. There is nothing new, fresh, or unknown about the Republican establishment. There is no larger vision to guide the Republican use of power. Political parties need to be more than just political machinery for the acquisition of power for power's sake. Political parties need a grand strategy to guide their activities in the same way that we need a grand strategy to guide our national security policy.

3 comments:

Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Political parties need to be more than just political machinery for the acquisition of power for power's sake.

Why?

That is their purpose. That has always been their purpose.

phil said...

Because the pursuit of power for power's sake is a recipe for despotism which the US was founded to avoid. It is not their purpose. The Republican Party was founded to be a vehicle for free-labor and anti-slavery ideals. As times change of course parties survive beyond the life of their original ideals and become institutions for acquiring power. This institutional imperative needs to be tempered and channelled by ideals and principles and a larger vision of a future society. It is a constant battle which is why we have things like gerrymandered safe seats and campaign finance laws that restrict free political speech .
All power needs to be constrained.

Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Even the power of ideas?

Or the power of Good Men to resist Evil Men?

Politics is a dirty business engaged in by money-grubbing megalomaniacal narcissists with unwarranted self-regard and delusions of grandeur. Mr. Smith doesn't go to Washington anymore.

The Republican Party was founded to despoil American citizens of their property without compensation, thus destroying the economy and political power of the section of the country invested in that peculiar institution. They achieved that goal, destroyed the balance of power between the states and the central government, and got a lot of Americans killed, and the supposed beneficiaries of all that carnage vote 95% Democrat now.