Modern Day Whigs and the rise of the Party of Lincoln and Reagan.
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The Republican base sided with Reagan. Re-opening this old fight would be distinctly unwise. In any contest between the principles of Ronald Reagan and the GOP Establishment, the outcome is not in doubt with the GOP base.
The slavery issue of the 21st century is effectively Big Government. As, once upon a time in the 20th century, it was the Cold War.
An issue seen as so all consuming, so fraught with devastating if not potentially fatal consequences for the country, that it must be engaged across the land. Directly and relentlessly opposed, with no object in mind other than victory. Big Government — and all of its subsidiary issues from the size-of-government to spending to the almost $17 trillion debt to specifics such as Obamacare etc., etc. — is to be opposed not just on good-government or economic grounds — but quite specifically on moral and constitutional grounds.
Driving America into bankruptcy — making it Greece — is not an option.
It is safe to say that this divide the Rove group has quickly personified has over time produced an image of modern day Cotton Conservatives as not only not on board with the GOP’s stated commitment to limited government and the Constitution but like the Cotton Whigs of the 1850’s really an ally of the Old Order. Or, as Ronald Reagan used to say, this is the “pale pastel” not the “bold colors” crowd. To quote Reagan precisely after he watched the Cotton Conservatives lead the GOP to another defeat in 1976:
“We are simply saying, ‘What does our party stand for?’ If the great majority agrees with the philosophy, and some say it’s a philosophy they can’t go along with, that’s a decision for every individual to make. A political party is not a fraternal order. A party is something where people are bound together by a shared philosophy.”
In theory, the Republican Party’s “shared philosophy” stands for limited government. But, alas, is that really true? This is the heart of the problem that is causing the blunt attacks on Mr. Rove.
Just as the heated charge arose from Conscience Whigs back in the late 1840s and 1850s that in some fashion slavery and its extension were acceptable to Cotton Whigs — so today do modern Conscience Conservatives suggest Cotton Conservatives really believe in Big Government. That their goal is to simply manage Big Government better than the other guy — while not really opposing Big Government at all. Merely tinkering at its edges. Barry Goldwater used to call this sort of thing the “dime store New Deal” approach.
A case in point is mentioned in Rove’s own memoirs Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight as Rove discusses the Bush 43 education initiative called No Child Left Behind.
On education, Bush’s core insight was to use the federal government as a lever for reform while respecting that education is a state and local responsibility.
Rove then launches into a description that doesn’t hide the core fact: whatever President Bush’s intention, his “core insight” was getting the federal government even more involved in education than it already was when he took charge of the government. This was done — working with Ted Kennedy and John Boehner — by creating No Child Left Behind. And of course, money was soon on the way out the door — leaving the framework for a more liberal successor to keep the framework and demand even more money. Rove himself admits this is exactly what Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan has been doing, with Duncan lamenting that NCLB is “desperately underfunded.” Rove disagrees — saying “Bush increased outlays on elementary and secondary education by 34 percent.” While, of course “slowing the overall growth of discretionary nonsecurity spending.”
But this misses the point that whether Rove disagrees or not with Obama’s Education Secretary — successor liberal presidents will inevitably seek to take Bush’s program and make more of it.
Everything in Rove’s stated rationale, including his note that the GOP share of the vote from those who count education as their “top issue” increased from 16% in 1996 to 44% in 2000 after Bush “talked about education endlessly” shows the mentality of the modern Cotton Conservative.
And so the government grows.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?