Our guiding principle has always been to select the most conservative viable candidate. In our judgment, that candidate is Mitt Romney, the former governor ofExcuse me? “A Republican party that abandoned either limited government or moral standards” is exactly what we have governing us right now. The President thinks nothing of straight-faced lies about matters of national security and calls the largest expansion of the welfare state since the 1960’s an example of “compassionate conservatism.” Indeed, from NR’s point of view, wouldn’t it be better to have a conservative of any stripe in the White House than what we have now? NR is not quite his magazine anymore, but William F. Buckley certainly thinks so.
. … Rudolph Giuliani did extraordinary work as mayor of Massachusetts and was inspirational on 9/11. But he and Mike Huckabee would pull apart the coalition from opposite ends: Giuliani alienating the social conservatives, and Huckabee the economic (and foreign-policy) conservatives. A Republican party that abandoned either limited government or moral standards would be much diminished in the service it could give the country. New York
NR has also forgotten two other pillars of the conservative movement – insistence upon fiscal responsibility and the maintenance of overwhelming
Trying to hold on to that old coalition is a mistake. Reagan may have been (in my opinion, was) the man for his times – but these are not Reagan’s times. We do not have to fear the evil empire of the
If the people making the decisions at NR are satisfied with the way things are right now, then I say there are no conservatives anymore – they’ve become the American equivalent of the Tories back in the
A real leader today would forge a new Republican coalition, rather than trying to hold together an old one. We face new political, social, economic, and foreign-policy pressures than we did in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and the best answers to the questions we face today are not necessarily going to be found in an ideological agenda written by Barry Goldwater nearly half a century ago. That doesn’t mean the core ideas articulated by NR – limited government and moral standards – must be discarded; it means that the party’s leaders must possess sufficient suppleness of intellect to make those ideas meaningful in today’s world; sufficient political skill so as to attract a majority of people behind the proposed agenda; and sufficient charisma to be the identifiable faces of that movement.
We’ve been in the wilderness in that respect since 1988; our Democratic counterparts were fortunate enough to have a leader emerge for eight years, and they’re falling into a trap of nostalgia of their own right now. I’ve become convinced that they, too, have a chance to find a new way forward, one that presents risks as well as opportunities for them, too. But that’s a decision they will have to make. On this side of the fence, my big question is – will we Republicans choose theocracy or will we find a new way to govern?