The Spectacle Blog

The Great GOP Debate

By on 4.30.09 | 7:10AM

"A broader party or a purer one," asks the New York Times?  The problem, of course, is that the issue is rarely so clear.  Absolute purity will never be possible in politics.  But why bother to create a party if it stands for nothing?  If the goal is simply to seize power, then let's strip away the pretense that the parties stand for anything.

If the Republican Party is going to be relevant, it should at least advocate smaller government.  That is, people going into the voting booth would know that a vote for the Democrats was a vote to expand the state while a vote for the Republicans was a vote to shrink the state.  In contrast, today voters know that the Democrats want, and will give them, a lot more government while the Republicans say they want a little bit less government but are likely to expand it a lot.  That is, both parties, in practice, are promoting much bigger government.  Not much reason to support the GOP.

This explains why Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) just doesn't get it.  Reports the Times:

Mr. Graham scoffed at the notion that the party was suffering because it was not conservative enough.

"Do you really believe that we lost 18-to-34-year-olds by 19 percent, or we lost Hispanic voters, because we are not conservative enough?" he said. "No. This is a ridiculous line of thought. The truth is we lost young people because our Republican brand is tainted."

Yes, but how does he think the brand was ruined?  Republicans were tainted because they cheerfully spent money faster than the Democrats going back to Lyndon Johnson.  The GOP further federalized education, added a massive new welfare program, bloated virtually every federal department, initiated an unnecessary war, and demonstrated all-around incompetence.

Ideological purity might not be the answer.  But genuinely standing for--and acting accordingly when in power--individual liberty and limited government would be a major step in the right direction.

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