Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Mark Sanford gets it

Sorry for the long delay between posts. Late November/December is tough. I had a trial and two papers I had to write and finish.

There's a reason I've hoped he was going to run back in 08, and why he would be my first choice in 2012. Mark Sanford wrote this in Politico back on November 29.

Mark Sanford - What's next for the GOP

Our party took nothing short of a shellacking nationally. Some on the left will say our electoral losses are a repudiation of our principles of lower taxes, smaller government and individual liberty. But Election Day was not a rejection of those principles — in fact, cutting taxes and spending were important tenets of Barack Obama’s campaign.

Instead, voters rejected the fact that while Republicans have campaigned on the conservative themes of lower taxes, less government and more freedom, they have consistently failed to govern that way. Americans didn’t turn away from conservatism, they instead turned away from many who faked it.


Mark Sanford walked the walk. THAT is why I hoped he was going to run. This governor had the courage of calling out big spenders in his own party, and did it in a fashion that brought much attention to the problem. When the state legislature gave a bloated spending bill to Governor Sanford, he line item vetoed it. To add insult to the injury, he brought two pigs to the capital, named one pork, named the other barrel, had a press conference with them. That sent a message, and it wasn't even partisan.

Sanford had three prongs on rebuilding the GOP.

First, let’s go back to the principle of saying what you mean and meaning what you say. A political party is much like a brand, and brands thrive or wither based on how consistently they deliver on what they promise. Along those same lines, it’s important for brands to stick to their knitting. If John Deere’s tractor sales are declining, they don’t say, “Tell you what, let’s make cars and airplanes, too.” Instead, they focus on producing better tractors.

I make that point because there’s a real temptation in Republican circles right now to try and be all things to all people. We tried that already — it was called “compassionate conservatism,” and it got us nowhere.


Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The GOP got lucky in 2000 and 2004. While the Bush campaign are good organizers, they are poor strategists when it comes to message. In 2000, they barely beat a real bum in Gore, and in 2004, they ran against a traitor in John Kerry and barely beat him. It was buying time, because Congress did not keep the big spending parts of Bush in camp and simply followed him. Nobody respect followers.

Compassionate Conservatism was never real popular with the base. Bush got buy with much of the base because of social issues, bad opponents, jerks in the media and on the left we wanted to see lose (the old he's a son of a bitch, but our son of a bitch), and many on the left wanting to see a war lost for political reasons. (Politics stops at the border, and that continues now with Obama as president).

Eventually though, when the Republicans act like democrats, voters are rather going to have the real thing than democrat-lite. No Child Left Behind was a joke. Prescription Drugs including Viagra paid for by the feds? McCain/Feingold? Panic driven handouts after Katrina? Deficit Spending? Bridges to Nowhere? And now the trillion dollar plus bailouts. What the hell are you guys doing? I never signed up for any of that, and that is why I am a 1994 Republican and not a Bush Republican.


Second, our loyalties need to be to ideas, not to individuals. Ted Stevens in many ways personified the opposite of what the GOP is supposed to be about, reveling in his ability to secure pork and turning a blind eye to ethical lapses.

There needs to be a high standard for our franchisees. In other words, I believe Republicans and conservatives must agree on our core principles. St. Augustine called for “unity in the essentials, diversity in the nonessentials, and charity in all things,” and while I believe there should always be a big GOP tent, there must also be a shared agreement on the essentials — including expanding liberty, encouraging entrepreneurship and limiting the reach of government in people’s everyday lives.

First, let’s go back to the principle of saying what you mean and meaning what you say. A political party is much like a brand, and brands thrive or wither based on how consistently they deliver on what they promise. Along those same lines, it’s important for brands to stick to their knitting. If John Deere’s tractor sales are declining, they don’t say, “Tell you what, let’s make cars and airplanes, too.” Instead, they focus on producing better tractors.

I make that point because there’s a real temptation in Republican circles right now to try and be all things to all people. We tried that already — it was called “compassionate conservatism,” and it got us nowhere.

Second, our loyalties need to be to ideas, not to individuals. Ted Stevens in many ways personified the opposite of what the GOP is supposed to be about, reveling in his ability to secure pork and turning a blind eye to ethical lapses.

There needs to be a high standard for our franchisees. In other words, I believe Republicans and conservatives must agree on our core principles. St. Augustine called for “unity in the essentials, diversity in the nonessentials, and charity in all things,” and while I believe there should always be a big GOP tent, there must also be a shared agreement on the essentials — including expanding liberty, encouraging entrepreneurship and limiting the reach of government in people’s everyday lives.


I can't disagree with any of that.

Finally, we need to look toward the states for answers, rather than toward Washington.

I am struck by how many of my colleagues around the country were quietly advancing the kinds of reforms and conservative principles that Washington politicians would do well to emulate.

In Louisiana, Bobby Jindal is making market-based reforms to his state’s Medicaid program, while over in Georgia, Sonny Perdue is tackling health care affordability with a Health Savings Account program. Sarah Palin has cut spending and fought corruption in Alaska. Rick Perry in Texas has balanced the budget while cutting taxes, creating more than a million jobs in the process. Mitch Daniels in Indiana is innovating when it comes to building infrastructure.

I could go on, but the bottom line is that you don’t have to look far to find examples of how sticking to conservative principles not only yields a better-working government but, frankly, yields electoral success as well.


When Washington is the problem, change isn't going to come from Washington leadership like Blunt, Boehner, and McConnell. Instead, the following people need to be the voice and faces of our party. Sanford. Jindal. Palin. Pence. Hensarling. Coburn. That is the future of the party.


We’ve thrown $2.3 trillion toward bailouts and a stimulus this year with little to show for it in the way of results, with seemingly hundreds of billions more being contemplated by Congress each day. Borrowing from Medicare, Social Security, our grandkids and the Chinese to remedy a problem created by too much borrowing strikes me as odd, and hardly the “change” Americans really want.

Where change must come, though, is in once again making our party one that governs on the principles it professes. That change starts with each of us in elected office, and more importantly, with each person who cares about returning to conservative principles making their voices heard.


One thing I liked seeing was the Livingston County GOP putting up billboards and a commercial that subtlely mentions the good thing the LOCAL Republicans have been doing. We need to first and foremost regain the fiscal responsibility mantra in our party. That starts by walking the walk, and calling out all sides that do not walk the walk. It's time for more Mark Sanford and less government conservatism and less George Bush and "crap sandwich" "conservatism".

2 comments:

RightMichigan.com said...

Amen and preach.

Ultimately it comes down to what each of us does in our own communities and whether or not we're going to go through the motions and practice sleight of hand or whether we're going to give everything we've got and refuse to be outworked or out-hearted.

Starts and ends in your neighborhood and sphere of personal influence. And mine.

700 days.

--Nick
www.RightMichigan.com

J said...

I would say you have missed the message that voters were trying to say.

The message is this-

Put ideas out there. Stop with the power moves.

When you appear to be more interested in retaining power than in solving problems, when you appear to be more interested in attacking opponents through name calling, instead of simply letting the power of the ideas shine through, you cut your own throat.

People tossed out republicans because all they heard was "He's a terrorist, he's a lefty, he doesn't wear a flag pin".

Show us ideas, show your opponents respect, and convince us on the power of ideas, and you'll get the votes.

Show us more of your self-centered arrogance, and I am sure that it will be a cold day in hell before republicans ever get back to a majority.