Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Circling the Party Wagons

Via Fits at Shooting the Messenger, we have this, from the New York Post's John Podhoretz:

Past "liberal" GOP candidates and would-be candidates have sought the nomination by taking strong stands counter to the views of the party's conservative base - like Elizabeth Dole opposing handguns in 2000. Those candidates, that is, were engaging in battle against the social conservatives. They were fighting a culture war within the GOP, trying to rally the party's more socially liberal elements - women and suburbanites in particular - to defeat the hard-line element.

Podhoretz was trying to draw a contrast between Giuliani and these past lefty GOP candidates, but it should be noted that he put "liberal" in quotes, and he calls people like me the "hard-line element." (And to think the New York Post is more or less touted as the Big Apple's conservative paper!) Call it nitpicky, but to me that says a lot about how Mr. Podhoretz and his ilk view a lot of conservatives. I guess living in a place like New York really warps one's views, but for someone who sees himself as a member of a party and/or a subscriber to a political philosophy that supposedly calls for limited government and more personal freedom, this is absolutely inexcusable. (Incidentally, it should also be noted -- yet again -- that the Democrats have lost more than a few votes in the last 13 years' elections due to their positions on the gun issues. Bill Clinton himself said the Ban on Scary-Looking Weapons was a large part of the reason his party took the beating it did in the 1994 midterms, and more than a few have said that Al Gore lost the Southern states largely because of his stance on "gun control.") I'd love to see the GOP retain the presidency in 2008, but what good is having a Republican in the White House if he or she is going to implement an agenda contrary to the above principles?
And Podhoretz doesn't think this fight for the soul of the GOP is still being waged? His column is prima facie evidence that it indeed is, and it likely will be escalated as we go into the 2008 election season. At least it better be. I'd hate to think we lovers of liberty would just roll over. I could be wrong here, but I'm betting Bob Owens over at Confederate Yankee speaks for a lot of people with these observations:
A lot of folks seem thrilled that Guiliani's throwing his hat in the ring, but I'm not one of them. His 9/11 leadership was extraordinary (compare his inspired performance to Ray Nagin's quivering collapse after Hurricane Katrina for juxtaposition), but his personal failures and his overtly liberal positions on a whole raft of issues leave me cold.

The only thing that Rudy brings to the table over our current President is his ability to articulately explain why he won't enforce or borders while increasing the bloat of the federal government.

Factor in his pro-gun control views, and Guiliani's a Republican candidate not worth having... one of many.

And this question from a commenter desperately needs to be asked, early and often:
"Do you get the feeling the choice for Republican nominee is being made by the media, the pundits and the political class, everybody but the majority of the people themselves?"
My answer? Absolutely. The power in this country has basically gone from the masses to the mass media and the political class (and really, when you get to the Boston-New York-Washington level, those two get to be more and more one and the same), as they inherently have the power to shape public opinion and this power has only grown as the media has, albeit only to the extent the American people believe what they read. No matter to what extent that is, though, it's profoundly discouraging, because people like Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul are going to get the short shrift. They're either not going to get any coverage, or they're going to be painted as some sort of whackjob (John Hawkins, call your office). I try to retain some optimism, but every now and then I just can't help but think that things are going to get a hell of a lot worse before they get any better.