Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Blogging, Decision '08, GOP Reform, Politics, conservative reform — Rick Moran @ 8:41 am

The prospect of being slaughtered next Tuesday is concentrating the minds of some prominent conservatives wonderfully.

Patrick Ruffini, Jon Henke, and John Hawkins are beginning to flesh out their thoughts on what a post election conservative on line community might want to accomplish in the future. Let’s take the meat of their arguments one at a time.


Actually, I don’t think it’s ironic at all that the analysis of problems on the Right is similar to the arguments made by the Netroots Left. For one thing, the “claims made by Markos Moulitsas” are in many ways intentional recycling of the movement on the Right.

The underlying systemic inputs are very similar. The political/electoral culture and incentives, and the emergence of the internet as an important social and technological phenomenon impacted both the Left and Right at approximately the same time.

The difference in uptake and evolution is predominantly due to the political cycle. Democrats went through the wilderness from 1995 to 2003; they found their way from 2003 to 2008. Republicans entered their wilderness in 2007, though I would argue that the Right has been in the wilderness for longer. How long the Right wanders in the wilderness depends, in large part, on how seriously they take the lessons they can learn from the Left.


Will the Right’s netroots movement look like that of the Left? To the extent that the tools, and the social/political dynamics, are similar, I’d say the Right’s netroots movement will look a great deal like that of the Left. The question is not what tools are available, but how they are relevant to the surrounding environment. The components will not be identical, but the basic concepts they represent should be very much the same. Or rather, they will be when the Right regains its footing.

Jon also notes that “the surrounding political environment” i.e., the conservative on line community’s relationship with the Republican party, has to change before much progress can be made.

Hawkins makes somewhat the same point and amplifies the idea of using the netroots model for the rightysphere:

Why has the left side of the blogosphere grown so much faster?

Personally, I think there are two reasons for it. The first is that the Right has a large talk radio presence while the Left doesn’t. That means on the left, strongly motivated partisans have little choice other than to flock to the blogosphere while on the right, they can simply opt to listen to Rush Limbaugh or Laura Ingraham to get their daily fill of conservatism.

The other more salient reason for the Left’s growth is simply that they’ve been out of power and that has produced an anger and an energy that has driven them online. There was similar growth on the right during the nineties when websites like Townhall and Free Republic rose to prominence as a response to the Clinton years. If Obama gets into the White House, it will be terrible for America, but my guess is that the right side of the blogosphere will grow like a weed for the next 2-4 years.

The bad news is that the Republican Party looks at bloggers solely as an alternative means to get their message out. In other words, there’s a completely non-functional top down organizational structure. It’s non-functional because the Republican Party organizations and pols issue talking points and press releases, most of which are of no interest to bloggers, and they are largely ignored. In other words, they spend most of their time issuing unheeded orders to people who, by and large, think they’re incompetent and aren’t inclined to pay much attention to what they say.

There are exceptions: Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, Thaddeus McCotter and a few others — but most of the Republican Party doesn’t really understand the blogosphere or know how to communicate with bloggers.

I would add to Hawkins excellent analysis that the GOP doesn’t want to understand blogs or communicate with bloggers because, in my opinion, they want to maintain control of the message. Not only, as John points out, does the GOP treat bloggers as an appendage of the Republican PR machine, but at bottom, there is a profound disrespect for the blogosphere (except for a select few who have proven useful to them) and they despise the independence of most conservative bloggers.

How many GOP functions will Michelle Malkin be invited to after skewering the party 6 ways from Sunday for immigration, corruption, and incompetence?

Finally, Patrick Ruffini riffs off of both men’s analysis and offers a challenge:

What will it take to turn this around? If you’re a conservative blogger, the question you need to ask yourself is this. Is the main purpose of your blog to express your personal opinion? Or is its primary purpose to build political power for a cause? If you cannot answer yes to the latter, you’re probably not going to be comfortable with making the changes necessary to make online conservatism a political force to be reckoned with.

This is not a criticism, but an observation. Most conservative blogs are still stuck in 2003 — both in terms of the overwhelming focus on media criticism and punditry, and the tendency to outsource electoral politics to the Republican Party. This was in some ways legitimate response to what was happening in 2003-4, when media surrender-monkeys were undermining the War on Terror, Republicans had a kick-butt political operation, and Kos was going 0 for 16.

I don’t fault bloggers for holding on to this point of view in 2003 and 2004. What is unfortunate is that they clinged to it in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 and failed to pivot to the new reality, leaving the Republican Party without a powerful enough force to rein in the self-destructive tendencies of its elite.

Sadly, it’s human nature to cling to the frame in which you came up — traditional media people will never fully reconcile themselves to the blogosphere, talk radio people will always tend to view it as the center of the universe, and even denizens of the “new media” can become easily set in their ways. This is not unlike people who got rich on the housing bubble thinking it could never end. When things first start going wrong, it’s always just a momentary blip, not a sign of an impending crash. Only a catastrophic collapse is usually enough to make people rethink matters.

Building critical mass behind an independent online movement on the right will probably require new people. The old blogs that have been with us since 2003 will not go away. But they’ll need to be joined by people who care more about Indiana’s 8th district than Islamofascism, and MN-SEN more than the MSM.

Allow me to give the perspective of a blogger who has been online for 4 years and may have some unique insights into these matters as a result of my building a modest success of this site and my equally modest success at making a living as a blogger/writer/editor on the net.

All three gentlemen make excellent points about what needs to be done to improve the effectiveness of conservative blogs in making an impact on the political process. Certainly there are things we can learn from the left while at the same time, it is important to recognize that some specific tactics and structural components of the netroots simply aren’t transferable to the rightysphere.

Ruffini and Henke write for The Next Right, an online conservative community. This is the template used by the netroots to organize - large communities of online posters who rail against conservatives, exchange ideas, reinforce their own views on issues, and generally offer a comfortable, enjoyable place to belong.

That is the key - the need to be part of something greater than yourself - that drives the netroots and allows them to connect via these huge communities. The question is, can this model be duplicated by conservatives and further, is it desirable to do so?

Ruffini nails it with his description of conservative blogs being outlets mostly for punditocracy. My one foray into the real world of politics was my advocacy for Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign. This website alone raised more than $10,000 for the candidate in two blog blegs I organized and my efforts to unite conservatives behind Thompson’s fund raising activities in December and January were modestly successful. (I really can’t take much credit when Glenn Reynolds and other large bloggers linked and helped promote both fundraising efforts).

That part of it I didn’t mind. It was burying my native skepticism and critical eye in service to the candidate that discomfited me. In the end, I just couldn’t help myself and wrote critically of the campaign and candidate. But for a while, I was 100% with the program - and I hated every minute, every blog post and article I wrote in service to the cause.

Don’t get me wrong. I actually think Thompson would have been a decent president. He had certainly thought longer and more deeply about many issues than either McCain or Obama and his conservatism was informed by both a love of country and a deep, abiding respect for the Constitution and its principles. But he proved a weak, ineffectual candidate and it was a chore trying to defend him.

Ruffini seems to be saying that he wants bloggers who will shill for the cause. He appears to want bloggers who would subsume their independence and buy into the notion that the “primary purpose” of an individual’s blog is “to build political power for a cause.” That “cause” would be backing specific conservative candidates and issues.

One assumes this would be accomplished by adopting some of the online activist model created by the netroots - the most important in my opinion being the creation of online communities that I mention above. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this idea and I hope it is realized.

The problem, as Patrick mentions, is that many of us old mossbacks are stuck in 2003 and our blogging is unrelated to political activism, except in a roundabout way that presupposes our readers are forced to think about what we write and whose opinion might be altered because of the scintillating brilliance of our logic and reasoning.

Or not.

I am not so full of myself that I actually believe my writing makes a difference. But it is mine, my own, and not beholden to a group, a party, or a cause. I suppose that means I will be left behind when this new conservative on line community begins to take shape. That will be my choice and I will harbor little bitterness towards those who choose another path.

But is it the best way for conservatives to achieve power? Is it a way at all?

There is a definite push back on the right these days against the “elites” who make their living inside the Washington-New York axis; where conservative media and commentators exist side by side with their liberal counterparts and it is believed - wrongly in my opinion - that criticism directed at conservatives in flyover country for their passionate embrace of Sarah Palin and the emphasis placed on social issues like abortion is an attack on “ordinary folk” and indicative of the elites’ desire to be accepted at liberal cocktail parties as well as a lack of ideological purity.

I have written that this smacks of a nascent anti-intellectualism (to go along with the anti-science notions pushed by some of the social cons) and that this is an argument as old as the republic itself (populists vs. elites). Questioning the conservative bona fides of Peggy Noonan or David Brooks - two conservatives who have done more to promote conservative ideas than all of their critics combined - doesn’t make sense in any other context except as an indication that many on the right prefer purges to debate and the guillotine to reasoned discussion.

For their part, the elites are, well, acting like elites - seeking a top down, “Live from Mount Olympus” here it is, rubes, take it or leave it analysis that inherently questions the ability of “ordinary folk” to think and act in their own interest and march to their own drummer. The fact that the conservative movement needs both sides to reinvent itself and thrive is lost in recrimination and threats of excommunication.

I have taken my own shots at the anti-intellectuals because I think their take no prisoners attitude is destructive. And if Ruffini et al believes that these purists will be able to see beyond the end of their own nose and participate in any community or movement that isn’t in absolute lock step with their precious notions of who and what a conservative is, they have a lot to learn. Perhaps, as Hawkins points out, the netroots coalesced because they were in the wilderness for so long and that maybe a few years on the back benches in Congress will bring some sobriety to “the base.” I am not confident that will occur.

Last year, I was one of the few conservatives who attended the Yearly Kos convention at McCormick Place in Chicago. What I saw was startling and, for a conservative, not a little frightening. At the time, I was laughed at and roundly criticized for seeing more into what the netroots were up to than was possible. I don’t think too many conservatives are laughing now:

In the summer of 1980, I was a volunteer for the Reagan campaign in Northern Virginia. There were many of us who had come to Washington to work in Congressional offices or fill positions in the burgeoning conservative lobbying industry and “idea factories” that were popping up every other week, contributing to the intellectual ferment that made conservatism so dynamic. It was pretty heady stuff for a 26 year old political neophyte whose bookish ideas of government and the people who ran it was largely shaped by narrative historians and political philosophers.

What was striking at the time was how confident everyone was and how determined people were to bring about a conservative revolution that would sweep the old order away and bring to power those who truly believed in conservative principles. The ideas themselves were important but only as a means to an end. Shaping the ideas, framing them, and packaging them to move the voting public to cast ballots for conservatives was the subject of much discussion in memoranda, position papers, editorials and articles from the few conservative publications at the time.

Anyone who lived through those times and experienced the feeling that ideology and politics had merged so that the ends and means were exactly the same would recognize what is happening at YearlyKos. Top to bottom, inside and out this movement is first and foremost nothing less than revolution. The ideas driving that revolution are pretty standard liberal fare; anti-war, health insurance, environmental protection, education, and jobs top the agenda here at the netroots convention. But the way the issues are being framed by participants in the dozens of panel discussions, workshops, and forums is where the action is. The nuts and bolts savvy of the political activists fuses with the wonks and wise men of the left’s intellectual brain trust to turn out a brand new way to showcase these ideas to the public.

And the netroots are even farther ahead now. They are organizing not just at the state level but all the way down to the precinct level to make the gains they made in 2006 and are going to make next Tuesday into a permanent, liberal majority. This will drive the Republican party to the left - much as conservative success eventually drove the Democrats to the right - and make conservatism an ideology that will be on the outside looking in.

Unless our online conservative wise men like Ruffini, Hawkins, and Henke can figure out a way to tap the enormous potential of the rightosphere and turn its energies toward creating a network of conservatives that can challenge the left at every digital turn.


  1. The Democrats are more superficially united because we’ve been out of power for so long. And because we sense an opportunity. There’s nothing like blood in the water to focus one’s attention. But also because we have fewer cultural differences internally.

    (Don’t assume this internal peace will last. I’ll vote for Obama, but I’m not voting for Markos.)

    In immediate political terms you guys need to help form a new gang of 14. You need enough of a center that you can work with moderate Dems and apply the occasional brake. Otherwise you end up as obstructionists which means you’ll share blame if nothing gets done but get no credit for things that go well.

    Longer term you have big problems resolving the differences between the Money, Bombs, and Jesus wings of the GOP. Money and Bombs Republicans get along fairly well usually, but the Jesus wing is a problem in terms of unity. It’s cultural, not just ideological. And that cultural difference is deeper between Money and Jesus wings of the GOP than between Kossacks and moderates like myself.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 10/30/2008 @ 9:08 am

  2. I am admittedly not a conservative, but the post makes a great deal of sense in that activism at the roots level will be needed to rebuild the GOP and conservatism itself. Since oppositon to whomever is in power is a necessity in our two party system, a healthy GOP/conservative movement will be needed. One thing that is missing in this analysis from my perspective is that a lot of the energy the left has found/created on the net is potentially unavailable to the right. One the right there exists a tremendous energy absorbing talk radio and its listeners. It will be very difficult to capture that energy and convert it to netroots activity as it is ensconced into the right’s collective conscious at this point.

    Comment by still liberal — 10/30/2008 @ 9:10 am

  3. In contracts, anticipatory breach is an established concept. So now bloggers on the right are engaging in anticipatory hand wringing, perhaps to scoop others who will wait to see the results and see what the demographics on men, women, latinos, catholics, gays, and owners of cats named Snowball reveal.

    I think the post is early; I am intrigued about the notion of more coordinated blogging, I loved the Kos convention insight, I’d like more discussion on how the left stepped up its game from faked memos to convincing America we lost the war — but let’s just live in the moment for the next week.

    Comment by Mark30339 — 10/30/2008 @ 9:40 am

  4. I truly enjoy your writing and analysis. I am one of your fans on the left. It reinforces my faith in our system when I find well reasoned arguments on the opposing side presented by intelligent thoughtful people who avoid histrionics.

    While I sincerely hope the right fails to make better use of these potent tools I do hope that we find more reasonable voices like yours online.

    You must be a newbie. Believe me, I have my fair share of posts skewering the left. And my lefty commenters skewer me right back so fun is had by all.


    Comment by emgersh — 10/30/2008 @ 11:03 am

  5. No matter the outcome of this election, the GOP is an endangered animal. And, just assuming here for a moment, if Obama wins he may mark the end of the DEMS as we know them. We may simply find that from all of this a true conservative and democratic party will split from their parents providing the public with a real choice.

    In CA CD-4, the Republicans gave the Republican dominated district a candidate who doesn’t even live in the district. The candidate is the least effective candidate in the history of the party (mho) after 20 years of service.

    It is time for either a new party or new leadership.

    Comment by kurt — 10/30/2008 @ 11:31 am

  6. You say this:
    “Questioning the conservative bona fides of Peggy Noonan or David Brooks – two conservatives who have done more to promote conservative ideas than all of their critics combined – doesn’t make sense in any other context except as an indication that many on the right prefer purges to debate and the guillotine to reasoned discussion.”

    The above would carry much greater weight were Noonan’s or Brooks’ arguments against Palin based in anything substantive; they were not. Noonan made the astonishing comment that after several weeks, she ’still doesn’t know what Palin stands for’..well, Peggy, you haven’t been listening. Further, as Palin herself points out, it might have been a good idea perhaps to take a moment out and call Palin to ask the question. Not one of the conservative pundits…C. Buckley, Noonan, Parker, Brooks, Adelman…has made anything close to a cogent argument in their criticism of Palin, or McCain for choosing her. Parker has gone so far as to opine that McCain was dazzled by Palins physical beauty…as steaming a pantload as I’ve seen yet. What these people have shown is merely that their loyalty to their perceived intellectual superiority exceeds their loyalty to conservative principles.

    Comment by Bob C — 10/30/2008 @ 1:25 pm

  7. I was just writing this and will post it later today on my web site, but here, fwiw:

    America has moved a long way from its independent roots, and its health is planted in self-reliant individualism, not mutually dependent collectivism. Neither McCain nor Obama will move far from a collectivist government. The only difference is that McCain wants to spend less on it.

    Institutions, such as TV, newspapers, colleges and universities, and government, all lean pretty substantially toward collectivism and these institutions promote any material or person that supports their point of view.

    Late night TV criticizes Republicans more than Democrats by a 7-1 ratio. The Daily Show? Colbert? Lampooning the right as much as possible. The ratio there is likely even more lopsided.

    Libertarians, conservatives, and any other non-liberal/non-progressive types won’t get hired into those domains to make any dent in this institutional thrust to the left. The one area where libertarians and conservatives do have a dominance is radio, and the Democrats want to revive the Fairness Doctrine, a mandate that would require radio stations to give equal time to the right and the left on the air. Except that the left won’t apply this same standard to TV, newspapers, colleges and universities, or the hiring of government employees.

    It’s a narrow space these days to have a freedom-loving voice.

    In the election cycle, Republicans employed brute-force marketing. Robocalls, door-to-door visits, mail, email, TV commercials, radio spots, and sound bite debates that don’t inform at all. Is that the way to do this? Does it help? I’d say no, that a smooth-talking, inexperienced, anti-American-friendly candidate stands a good chance of beating a guy who is uber-qualified to be president. Republicans suck really bad at marketing and communication.

    So how to do it better?

    Let me ask it a different way… would you want any of the following done to you:Robocalls?Someone coming to your door to talk about the election?Incessant mailers?Email?Non-stop TV commercials with menacing tones?Radio spots with menacing tones?Watching sound bite debates that don’t inform anyone?Isn’t the goal of an election to attract people to the candidate? So what’s attractive in the list above? Who would sign up to receive any of that?

    That right there ought to be the standard for any communication. That’s Marketing 101.

    So what is attractive?HumorEntertainmentAmazing featsForget trying to get the news networks to grant an interview like they would give the other guy. Ain’t gonna happen.

    Instead create things that attract people to them, that can be enjoyed at a time convenient to them, that they want to show their friends and family. It’s why I’ve started doing cartoons. I’m not saying I’m good at it, but I am applying myself to it. A cartoon can be absorbed in 10 seconds, and if it’s funny or entertaining or amazing, it can be forwarded instantly via email to others. Remember the popularity of JibJab in the 2004 election? How about YouTube in this election? The MyObama blog network was good for Obama.

    I don’t think Americans are stupid. I do think Republicans are stupid at marketing. When you think of a marketer, is he or she a Democrat or a Republican? You guessed correctly - thanks for playing.

    Let’s be attractive and educate an attracted audience.

    Comment by Brett Rogers — 10/30/2008 @ 1:34 pm

  8. IF the GOP isn’t willing to be conservative anymore, there’s not much difference in the two parties.

    The right wing may be preaching to a shrinking choir.

    But, with so many decent right wing blogs out there, might it not make sense to consolidate some blogs to bring more consumers to ONE blog and increase traffic?

    What will the RW blogosphere rail about? That we got our butts kicked because OUR side didn’t hold to conservative principles?

    Comment by Original Pechanga — 10/30/2008 @ 1:40 pm

  9. erm….Culture 11?

    Comment by wheelers_cat — 10/30/2008 @ 1:47 pm

  10. As someone who wrote rather disparaging about Peggy Noonan and Parker’s attacks on Palin over at Ace’s, I’ll agree with several aspects of your post.

    Whatever I felt about those attacks, I don’t agree with “purges”. One of the other posts I wrote was very simple to the point. The Republican Party in general lacks several important aspects right now that are actually the cause of this undisciplined chaos and, in many ways, relates to the reason that bloggers haven’t really coalesced into a good message machine. I think you hit on it, to some degree when speaking of the “punditocracy” of the right, but I would add that the pundits are left out, not just because the party lacks a concentrated effort to use these devices, but because of the top five things the party itself is missing. And, it relates to why there is a sense of war between the elites and populists.

    1) No central message.

    2) No Leadership

    3) No Organization

    4) No Discipline

    5) No Party Loyalty

    Harsh? Well, it’s ten days out from the main election and the Cannibals are already tearing off chunks of the party and devouring it. They act like it is for the good of the party. Well, somebody ought to tell the Cannibals that it is damned hard to run a race when one of your legs has been chewed off and the cannibals are trying to rip your throat out. A little harsh reality seems to be in order here.

    Why are so many republicans willing to go to the press and leak this or leak that about the politicians they serve? Why are certain commentators on conservative politics ready to devour and spit out parts or whole of the Republican Party and its candidates? Why is the Republican base so lackluster about their candidate or angry with these conservative “elitist” commentators?

    See numbers 1 thru 4 leading to number 5. Don’t blame reason 5 for numbers 1 thru 4. You only engender loyalty by having all of the others. So, here’s a question for you? Who is leading the Republican party? Who is setting the message?

    Can you point to anyone who is setting the message in the party or leading it?
    Let me repeat those here. And, yes, I believe that some on the blogs would like to help set the next message.

    I believe that one of the issues that may become the most contentious is the social conservative aspects of the party v. the libertarian economic and foreign policy hawks. Largely because some social conservative issues do not motivate these folks. Some of them don’t motivate me, either. But there are ways to address them without shaving either the libertarians or social concerns off because there are certain values that we can agree on. It’s those shared values that need to be the message, not necessarily a hodge podge of every message.

    Comment by kat-missouri — 10/30/2008 @ 2:24 pm

  11. There have been several political revolutions in recent years if you would like to stand back and look. This particular revolution is not much of a revolution and is more like 1976 to me than anything else. 1976 was not so much a revolution but a condemnation of the hubris exhibited by the Republicans characterized by Richard Nixon and the Watergate fiasco. And even though Gerald Ford, IMHO, did the right thing by pardoning Nixon, that one act sealed his eventual defeat to Carter more than any other.

    In 1976 Carter was an outsider, with little political experience (one term governor of Georgia) and no ties to the DC machine (sound familiar?). The country voted for Carter as much to deny another Republican administration as anything else and the House and Senate Republican losses were as much evidence to it as the Presidential race. But, even with all of this going for Carter, the race was still a fairly close one. Carter won but did not gain much of a mandate from my perspective.

    This years race has many of the same atributes. The country is tired of the Republican administration - evidence is clear to all in every Obama speech detailing the “failed policies of the last 8 years.” The country is tired of an Iraq war. And the failure of the current Congress to accomplish ANYTHING is nothing but a sideline to the overall political picture. Obama, like Carter in 76 and less so like Clinton in 92, finds himself in the right place and the right time. Nothing more.

    A revolution? I hardly think so but I could be proven wrong. Show me the money! Show me an 8+ point spread between Obama and McCain in next Tuesday’s popular vote. Show me a 140+ spread in the electoral vote between Obama and McCain.

    Show me a close win by Obama come next Tuesday and I will show you another Carter moment for the Democrats. And then it will be up to Obama and the Democrats to show us Obama is more than Carter redux as a President.

    Comment by SShiell — 10/30/2008 @ 2:24 pm

  12. The American “Right” is different enough from the American “Left” that the same type of organizational structure and philosophy wouldn’t work. This means that “conservatives” (the scare quotes are deliberate) have to take a step or two back to survey who they are and wha tmakes them tick and get motivated. On the political level — as in supporting the GOP, for instance — the 2004 model seemed to have worked very well. I found the grass-roots Republican organization to be more sincere than the Democratic one, in that it was largely volunteers, whereas the Democrats were often “for hire” types. Ironically, the Democrats seem to be using the same model this time as they did in ‘04, and it’s working because of more money and greater numbers.

    Comment by Roderick Reilly — 10/30/2008 @ 2:30 pm

  13. The most wonderful part of the article are the comments by non-conservative readers. There comments were honest, incisive, clear and substantive without any of the usual demogogic vitriol. It should be required reading for us regardless if McCain wins or not. It is not enough if McCain wins. The public needs to understand that conservative principles hinge on logical reasoning about running and maintaining a free and prosperous society. Conservative leadership in the guise of Republicans have failed miserably for twenty years to bring faithfully and without shame or fear these principles to so many Americans who are deluged by the messages of the left on the ideology of blame.

    Comment by Sideline Conservative — 10/30/2008 @ 2:31 pm

  14. Can I also suggest that the party of “old white men” actually make a stronger effort to reduce that image? A little?

    If we want to bring in more people to the party, (more young people?) it needs to reflect their ideas of what America looks like a little more. Or, at least we should promote our diversity a little better on the public stage.

    Not just the Thomas Sowells or Condoleeza Rice’s, but at the lower levels of our constituency. and, while I understand during elections we tend to shy away from “lost causes” to consolidate for wins, now is the time to look into communities for good candidates that can challenge the idea that the left has control of “minorities” (swiftly becoming a larger part of our society than ever before).

    And, women, of course. There are so many women in business these days and part of the larger community “activism”. McCain is doing a decent job of promoting that. I don’t mean with Palin, but in starting to have more women on his advisors list. But, community organization is very much a part of women’s lives. You can’t get much more grass roots than that.

    Comment by kat-missouri — 10/30/2008 @ 2:41 pm

  15. Hilarious…did you miss the part where the rumors are that Peggy Noonan is auditioning for a place in the Obama campaign? Kathy Parker is going to vote for Obama and David Brooks is as conservative as a Rockefeller…we know how many elections those Republicans won.

    What is going on is that we are in the process of getting rid of those Republicans who wake up in the morning flip a coin to see which side they are on.

    In the midst of a knife fight with a closet marxist some “conservatives” have chosen to stick their knives into the only person we have in the fight. Im just a country boy but that is just wrong. Those “conservatives” need to be punished.

    George Will, Peggy Noonan, Kathy Parker, David Frum, Colin Powell, David Brooks are the sorts people who desert a person in a fight. Where I am from that is not behavior that should be rewarded with a second chance.

    These “conservatives” are in effect standing up in the huddle of a football team behind by 6 on the 3 yard line with 10 seconds to go and instead of focusing on the opposing team they are moaning about their quarterback. Those sorts of folks should never be invited to play again.

    Comment by Pierre Legrand — 10/30/2008 @ 2:42 pm

  16. I loved your posts on the “Rightroots.” Overall, I thought you both were spot on; but, here are some of the things that need to be taken into consideration.

    1) YouTube Control. YouTube is, and will be over the next decade, the driving force of all politics. End of Story. People like me, a 1 year blogger with an alias, can make videos that get enormous exposure in under a week. Getting over 50,000 subscribers to a particular Conservative YouTube channel should be a #1 priority. It will literally allow people to drive the Internet News each time they post a video on anything as subscribers get an instant email alert for posted videos;

    2) Stop Talking Only to Ourselves. Conservative blogs and literature tend to be like the Jewish religion - They are non-Proselytizing. We all talk to ourselves and admire the strength of our arguments. In fact, we even read the liberal blogs and literature, and laugh at their misguided reasoning. But, what we rarely do is work to pull people who are apolitical onto our side, or even work to convert those on the Left. (Ace has done a pretty good job recently working with PUMAs; but, more people should be doing this.)

    Huffington Post is better than anyone at reaching across the political divide. How? They provide real news with their own slanted headlines, and allow commenting. Essentially, Huffington Post is Breitbart plus commenters and blogs. People can actually read Huffington Post and feel they have a grasp of what is going on in the world, but they know they are getting a slanted view.

    Even people without an opinion on politics can go to HuffPo and find whatever they are looking for for actual News. There is nothing comparable on the Right. We instead pick one or two main stories or ideas (always political) and run with them until we are blue in the face.

    3) Stop Excluding Ron Paul Supporters. Before I lose you, let me explain. I am a libertarian Republican, who did not vote for Ron Paul (Think of Neal Boortz). Paul would be a terrible leader for our Nation. With that being said, libertarians, like you mentioned in your post, were able to control the Internet for 5 months and create one of the largest fundraising programs in American history. The reason is simple: Libertarians are essentially Conservative Ideologues by nature. They have read Hayak, Bastiat, Burke, Mises, Rand, etc., and they accept all of it. Why in the world would Conservatives exclude the one political bloc that can explain limited government better than anyone else?

    I personally think that the treatment of Ron Paul at the debates (Again, I didn’t vote for him), was the dumbest political blunder in America history. We essentially lost 15% of the electorate because their candidate was against the Iraq War. John McCain supports Cap and Trade, shouldn’t that have disqualified him just as easily?

    Yes, I know some of them are just cultists…but many of them really believe more in Republicanism than anything else.

    4) Networking with Guest Bloggers. From what I can tell, only Redstate allows guests to post diaries on its blog. Huffington Post and the Daily Kos do so as well. Huffington Post allows small-time bloggers to blog without being paid (no cost to HuffPo). This continuous content serves to drive traffic to the blogs, because let’s be honest, sometimes people just want an outlet to vent to others.

    Overall, thanks for your work.

    Comment by Devil's Advocate — 10/30/2008 @ 2:43 pm

  17. It wasn’t long ago (Jan-Feb) that Buckley Jr was telling COnservative voters to shut-up and vote McCain, now he is telling Conservatives the GOP is done because Palin is on the ticket. David Brooks is a guy who writes for the NY Times, enough said. Peggy Noonan once wrote some speeches for Reagan and I never bother with Parker.

    Personally speaking, I like Thomas Sowell,Mark Steyn, Jonah Goldberg, Andy McCarthy, Peter Robinson, Michale Ledeen, John Hood, Jay Norlinger, David Horowitz and many of the writers at American Thinker.

    TO me everyone else is all over the place, every month or so I’ll check in with the Instapundits if I have time. So whatever it is you think you are, you are not very clear.

    Plus, the netroots are successful because they have the time to blog eight hours a day and the one thing which keeps them together is their hatred of all things Religious and Republican; unfortunately the instapundits join the raindeer game so why bother building a party around that?

    Anyway, good luck figuring out what you believe.

    Comment by syn — 10/30/2008 @ 2:43 pm

  18. Another thing that ought to be done is to broaden the appeal of the “Right” by thinking more in terms of loving and promoting individual freedom. So-called conservatives and libertarians tend to have a broader notion of what constitutes individual freedom because they include property rights and general economic rights. Promoting this more expansive concept of freedom to a wider audience sans the right-left labels may be the single most effective way to broaden the audience and support for “conservatism.”

    I don’t think it’s either disingenuous nor dishonest to abandon the label “conservative” to attract a larger audience. It has been my observation that many people who consider themselves “liberal” and wouldn’t vote Republican on a bet share some or many of the same core values about self-interest, reason, and common sense as do conservatives and libertarians. I have labeled such people “Liberal Buts,” as in “I’m a Liberal, BUT . . .” because I’ve heard that expression so many times from “liberals” who’ve just been mugged by reality.

    Keep in mind that the dynamics of the American Left include a remarkable capacity for pissing off their allies. When many of the influential Democrats turned on the Clintons in favor of Obama, it was in large part because of resentment against the general character, tactics, and behavior of the Clintons and their immediate circle. What they are finding out now is that the Obama crowd is worse, perhaps by an order of magnitude (witness the bitterness of the “PUMAs”). Pulling more moderate people away from an increasingly radicalized Democratic Party should be part of the overall strategy for the movement “formerly known as conservatism.”

    Comment by Roderick Reilly — 10/30/2008 @ 2:44 pm

  19. Btw I am a confirmed anti intellectual. Navel gazing has gotten us into the state this country is in right now. Near a depression caused by our best and finest “minds”. If this is what we get when we listen to “Intellectuals” give me less. Common sense is in very short supply amongst the “Intellectuals”.

    Comment by Pierre Legrand — 10/30/2008 @ 2:44 pm

  20. The absolutist view of the current situation is just plain silly and quite childish. Why could or should the words of a P. Noonan, C. Buckley or D. Brooks be so powerful that they would be feared to be in some way dispositive of all that the conservative wing of the Republican Party or indeed of the Party itself has stood for over its lifetime. All the above-mentioned pundits are talented at their craft. The Holy Grail they are not. Grow up people!

    First, I will address those infantile BRATS who sat on their hands in 2006 “to teach a lesson” to conservatives or Republicans or who the heck knows what. Shame on you. Just shame on you. Voting is NOT optional and never has been. And thanks to you we have such things as the debacle currently underway in Ohio - first hand knowledge on my part since I lived in Columbus in 2006. Yes, you do indeed have a right to vote. Equally, you have an absolute RESPONSIBILITY to vote and yes, I am aware that using caps on the internet is the equivalent of shouting. That’s just what I meant to do.

    Second, perhaps the Republican Party infrastructure needs to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century since they still do not in any way appreciate the nascent power of the blogsphere and alternative media.

    Third, we need to start electing Republican office holders - be they “Christianists”, Money people or true believers of the conservative viewpoint - who are possessed of cojones in spades. We don’t need a George Voinovich in the U.S. Senate. And wwe surely don’t need a John Warner either. And while I believe his time has actually passed, we need someone with the vision of Newt who can energize the base, put together a coherent plan for the future which is NOT necessarily touted noisily on the Internet for the Left to see until we have it well organized and ready to roll.

    Start bringing along good people at the local level so that actual leaders can emerge. Treat them well and mentor them and stop eating our own!

    Start courting Catholics more intelligently. The Pope has now labeled the Democratic Party the “party of death”. Those Catholics who aren’t mired in the soup of relativism may be open to seeing just how far away from them the Democratic Party has traveled. The same applies to Jewish voters. I have a number of Jewish friends who wouldn’t vote Democratic if their lives depend upon it - because their lives (or the lives of family members living in Israel) DO depend on it.

    We need to refine and streamline our basic message to potential voters and then communicate it with strength, consistency and above all, the tone of confidence and good will.

    Sounds like a job for Sarah Palin to me.

    Comment by Gayle Miller — 10/30/2008 @ 2:48 pm

  21. Rick,

    What has Peggy Noonan done of substance since the end of the Reagan administration.? She’s been coasting on past accomplishments for two decades now. What’s ironic about Parker’s sniping at Gov. Palin’s looks is that if Peggy Noonan looked like Katherine Jean Lopez of NRO, she’d never have gotten invited to those Sunday morning news shows.

    Comment by Bozoer Rebbe — 10/30/2008 @ 2:48 pm

  22. …a way to tap the enormous potential of the rightosphere and turn its energies toward creating a network of conservatives that can challenge the left at every digital turn.

    Assuming right-wing bloggers are serious when they say an Obama-Reid-Pelosi triumvirate will be disastrous for America, maybe they should start by aiming their fire at the enemy and not each other.

    Or maybe they aren’t serious. I keep wondering where Rush has put his money — stocks or Treasury bonds?

    Comment by John E. Howard — 10/30/2008 @ 2:50 pm

  23. Welcome to the new combative conservatism blog & bullhorn:

    Trust, But Verify


    Comment by Trust, But Verify — 10/30/2008 @ 2:57 pm

  24. Questioning the conservative bona fides of Peggy Noonan or David Brooks [...] doesn’t make sense in any other context except as an indication that many on the right prefer purges to debate and the guillotine to reasoned discussion.

    Total dishonesty, at the worst, argument from ignorance at best. Because you can’t summarize the arguments against regarding Brooks & Noonan correctly doesn’t make the arguments invalid.

    Comment by adamthemad — 10/30/2008 @ 2:58 pm

  25. I am another liberal “fan” of your site. I sincerely value honest discourse, and am not remotely interested in hearing schools of thought for the sole purpose reinforce my pre-existing beliefs. I find that here, quite often.

    It is entirely likely that I would find a lot of common ground with conservatives if I could get past the sites that focus so much attention on divisiveness for the sake of it alone. It seems to me that the conservative base has been narrowed so dramatically that it will take an unlikely sea change within the blogging punditry to give any self-respecting non-conservative appreciable confidence in the ability of the movement to be inclusive enough to be relevant going forward.

    I’m of the opinion that our disparate views can be a force for good in the big picture, but not given the antagonistic tone of today.

    The essence of politics is conflict. Ideas and personalities clashing in the great arena trying to win the hearts and minds of free people.

    There is nothing more dramatic - or important. I don’t share your belief that an antagonistic tone can be avoided. It gives spice to the battle and, as long as it is tempered with a realization that the motives of your opponent are usually honorable, it serves to heighten and highlight the differences.


    Comment by Jennifer — 10/30/2008 @ 3:13 pm

  26. The Rezko lawn is the most concrete proof I’ve ever seen that an individual politician is corrupt and the entire rightosphere basically ignored it. I don’t know why.

    I wrote about that lawn at least 3 times and got linked by Reynolds. It’s a very complex story and the dots are difficult to see - they both hid their tracks well.


    Comment by anonymous — 10/30/2008 @ 3:33 pm

  27. The GOP fails at marketing because it has an elitist mentality. They ignore bloggers or give them nothing to write about. Yesterday the Virginia team sent out an email about a rally with John Warner as the headliner. Warner? OMG. He’s perceived as a turncoat around here. The Democrats have Gwyneth Paltrow and Cheryl Crow and we throw John Warner at our voters.

    If the central message bores, no one will blog about it. Period.

    The GOP wants to control the message too much and is relying on the old methods that people are tired of. When the party called me to ask if I would make phone calls, I said no. Because I HATE phone calls. Does anybody here like getting phone calls? Maybe 10 years ago,it was good to have someone call you. But not today. The old regime needs to go and it needs to be replaced with new ideas, new people.

    Sarah Palin has shown her distaste for the GOP handlers. They want to do things the old way and most people see through it as fake and worthy of distrust. People like Sarah because she doesn’t like the handlers.

    If the GOP WANTS to woo the conservatives, it will find a way to do it. For instance, finding someone who understands alternative media, instituting a central site for bloggers to get press releases, video workshops, etc.

    If the GOP doesn’t care to win back those who have left the party, a new movement will form. That will be something to watch and blog about in itself. Who will come up strongest? There are lots of people who want to lead that new “best thing”. That is a discussion for after next week, I suppose.

    Comment by sara — 10/30/2008 @ 3:33 pm

  28. [...] on another topic entirely (and one that I raised a week or so back), there’s some talk now about the remaking of the conservative blogosphere in light of all of the failures of the current [...]

    Pingback by “Feds won’t make Brunner reveal voter mismatches” — 10/30/2008 @ 3:39 pm

  29. Rick, as far as using the Kos model to promote a rebirth of the conservative movement in the wake of a major defeat on Tuesday — step back and ask yourself, in the wake of all the hatred that has spewed forth from the Kos site and from Markos himself, as well as from other similar sites on the left, do you really think a similar community on the right, with right-wing versions of some of the postings about an Obama Administration that we’ve seen about Bush, Cheney, et al over the past eight years would be given the same free pass by the media that the Kos Kids got?

    I think the template used by the netroots would not translate very well on the right as I say in my post. But online communities are about the only way I know of that you can build a movement. My concern was that the independence of conservatives would make such a thing very problematic.

    Imagine having more than a half million conservatives you can go to in one place and ask for money for a candidate? That’s what the left has and I think it might be something we should seek to emulate.


    Comment by John — 10/30/2008 @ 3:42 pm

  30. It seems to me that the discomfort lies at the boundary between the Conservative _movement_ and the Republican _Party_. The _movement_ is based on principles; the _party_ is based on people and power. The Republican Party sees the Conservative Movement as a resource, and any campaign _must_ see it as a means to an end, whereas the Conservative Movement wants the Republican Party to be a means to conservative ends. We need a way to reconcile the question of which is the tail and which is the dog.

    In addition, the ends of the Conservative Movement are largely preservation: defense of the Constitution, preservation of liberties, etc. Political campaigns often need _positive_ messages, which are hard to fit in the Conservative frame. This too must be reconciled.

    In the end, it may be that Conservativism–thinking, breathing, defense-of-libery Conservativism will always have a harder time of it than do-some-thing-at-random liberalism, and for that reason: finding a path based on shared principles is harder than finding a path based on shared desires or hopes.

    But this is the road that beckons.

    Comment by njcommuter — 10/30/2008 @ 3:52 pm

  31. Back up here for a minute. I think the discussion about whether to purge people from the party is about something deeper and more important.

    Parties need leaders. Our major problem right now is absolutely no leadership. The first thing the netroots on the Right needs to do is purge the existing leadership, such as it is, in the House and the Senate. That is different than purging vast swaths of the base.

    I also think purging the leadership - insisting that it step down - is absolutely necessary and a task we will all be discussing at great length next week at this time. Boehner, Blunt and McConnell definitely need to go based on bad results alone. They keep losing. It’s not a matter of their ideological purity. We really need to make sure they are gone.

    Can everyone agree on this?

    Don’t presume this is a sure thing. The leadership purge should have been made after 2006, but DC Republicans remained tone deaf.

    The netroots needs to focus its anger very quckly on these guys in the fallout - not McCain or Palin. They will be irrelevant at that point. We need to fight for leadership of the party. Take aim on these guys and their underlings.

    Comment by The Kreliminologist — 10/30/2008 @ 4:16 pm

  32. My feeling is that we need a conservative party that recognizes and promotes classical liberal values. The Republicans have taken one beating two years ago, and are likely facing another one next week, but they are due to two things: first, Republicans, for whatever reason, abandoned the conservative values that got them elected. People were sick of it, and punished them at the polls.

    This process continues a bit, but has been intensified by a mainstream media that has given up even the pretense of objectivity, which is the second of my concerns. However, we have a chance to reverse things in the next election cycle, certainly by the next presidential election. We will be able to purge any remaining non-conservative and/or corrupt individuals from the party. This should include those who aren’t politicians, but are in the “appendage” category-pundits, analysts, even whole think tanks, if necessary. Many have recently revealed themselves to be fair weather conservatives, and should be dealt with accordingly.

    I believe we will have a better field next time, due in large part to the imminent extinction of the legacy media. Much has been made of the fact that they are in the tank for Obama, less so the fact that they are hemorrhaging viewers and readers at a prodigious rate. This election is their last hurrah. Next time, it will be an internet election. I already get virtually all my information from the ‘net, and suspect the younger (I’m 50) generation does, as well. I can’t remember the last time I read a newspaper, or watched the network news.

    But this will only happen if we take this development seriously, and exploit it as well as our adversaries. There are a number of young, exciting conservatives out there, such as Bobby Jindal, and of course, Sarah. By seeking out and promoting folks like this, we can re-make the brand, while retaining classic values. The fact that, even with the media on their side, and over a half-billion dollars in campaign money, they still can’t manage a better than 50% approval rating, shows that much of the public doesn’t believe they have the answers. It’s mostly that they aren’t Republicans. Four years of Obama should be enough to convince them that Democrats should never be allowed to rule again. But only if we can sustain our core values, year in and year out.

    Heh - you must’ve come from PW. I agree with Jeff, btw. What Ruffini and those guys want is not for me. What he wants is perhaps not shills for the GOP but people who will promote candidates, raise money, and do other political activist stuff.

    Patrick thinks I have a hankering to be like George Will rather than a politico who associates with politicians and (eeesh) even eats with them and stuff. That kind of sharp end of the stick stuff is not for me. First of all, it’s hard work. Secondly, I would have to be nice to people and that would ruin my image. But mostly it’s because that kind of thing is a young man’s game and I am no longer young.

    Good points from you, btw.


    Comment by ginsocal — 10/30/2008 @ 4:35 pm

  33. I would probably be characterized as one of those “elite Republicans” as a 30-year old libertarian that lives in the heart of Obama territory in the Chicago area. Regardless of whether you’re an evangelical or a libertarian, though, kat-missouri hit it right on the head with (a) the 5 things that the GOP is lacking right now and (b) the fact that party loyalty can only be achieved if the other 4 things are achieved, as opposed to the other way around.

    The Republican Party has a choice in the event that it loses big next week - it can work toward becoming an inclusive majority party or it can be an ideologically pure minority party. For the last 8 years, people that have the viewpoints of Peggy Noonan and David Brooks have been called RINOs, closet Democrats, disloyal to the conservative cause, etc. Even if you sincerely believe that (wrongly, in my opinion), the big picture is that if the Republicans ever want to win another national election, it’s going to have to draw in those supposed RINOs, closet Democrats, and people who don’t adhere to a 100% conservative platform. The demographic changes in this country mandate this. Next week, the Republicans are likely going to pay in interior Western states they once held because of increasing wariness in those areas of heavy-handed social conservatism (outside of gun ownership issues) and the influx of Hispanics whose memories of nativist Republican statements are fresh. At the same time, Virginia is likely going to turn blue and North Carolina threatens to do the same as a result of the increase of transplants from the more liberal Northeastern and Midwestern cities. The supposed permanent Republican majority that Karl Rove envisioned, which was really just a “50 plus 1″ model, has turned into a potentially a broad-based Democratic majority where the Republicans need to try to turn 100 or more electoral votes back to their column every 4 years.

    I fear that because the voices that advocate ideological purity are louder, shriller, and more persistent, the Republican Party is going to actually look more like the populist anti-intellectual party that Rick has written about over the past couple of weeks as opposed to evaluating how it can increase its membership. If that’s going to be the case, then the GOP will lose me as a member once and for all. I’m not suggesting that I’m the embodiment of young Republicans today, but the party has done almost nothing to attract people that think the same way I do, where I believe in limited government intervention in not only our financial lives, but our personal lives, as well. In fact, the evangelical wing of the party seems to relish in pushing my type away. That’s fine if you want a lock-step platform that is never challenged. That’s also fine if you never want to win another national election again.

    Comment by Frank the Tank — 10/30/2008 @ 5:20 pm

  34. There is another point missed and it has been documented when the money is followed. Their are a few people at the top funding these netroot sites and filter money through the verious networks. This is how they seem to have a singular voice and it seems to have a beehive mantality. What I enjoy about conservative blog sites is you can browse around and find degrees of acceptance and decent. This helps people form their own opinion and keeps it from being too much of an echo chamber. Take the tax issue as an example. There are people who believe in the Flat tax model and those that agree with the Fair Tax model and others who just want lower rates with in the Progressive rate model. But all agree on lower rates and less government.

    Comment by Luke Williams — 10/30/2008 @ 6:46 pm

  35. The first problem, as some have pointed out, is the lack of knowledge as to what Conservatism really is. We have become rhetoric grabbers; God, guns, and freedom. All worthy ideals to fight for. But where is the basic understanding of why those ideals are so strongly rooted in the Conservative movement. How many have actually read Kirk, Chambers, Hayek, or Burke? How many even know who they are?

    When we look to pundits like Ruffini, Noonan, Krauthammer, etc., all brilliant in their own way, and somehow treat their opinions as “expert,” we do ourselves a great disservice. I feel most of them like many, everyday Conservatives, stop at Reagan or maybe Goldwater, as far as our history is concerned. There is a whole unexplored world of history that most have not even tapped into. Understanding it would equalize the present identity crisis we are going through.

    As far as the Right organizing its own netroots or even nutroots, depending on your perspective. Its already starting.


    Comment by CriticalThinker — 10/30/2008 @ 6:48 pm

  36. Rick, I think you missed one of the reasons that the Progressives and Democrats have migrated more to the internet as opposed to emulating the conservative movement and talk radio: those left of center largely tend to be younger. People in their late teens in college, in their twenties and thirties, are more comfortable communicating via technology, i.e. online blogs, being addicted to Facebook and through that organizing parties and get-togethers,and texting on their cells constantly, than are older citizens.

    The older Republican crowd prefers radio, as that’s a traditional form of media that they can understand.

    It isn’t a knock against conservatives. But I know that for myself and my friends, I barely remember the last time I listened to the radio for anything.

    (I have my ipod hooked up to my car radio for music and podcasts along with alternately connecting my Asus Eee laptop. It’s great as a portable jukebox along with popping into a Starbucks or Barnes and Noble to go online, after a day of work.)

    Comment by Jim — 10/30/2008 @ 7:13 pm

  37. Here is an oxymoron you might want to consider. Young Conservatives.

    Comment by the Fly-Man — 10/30/2008 @ 7:42 pm

  38. Malkin and ALL the others who “skewered” McCain AFTER he became the party’s nominee, are the biggest ass wipes on the planet. Great job. We KNOW McCain was not our first choice and that his take on immigration, etc, is garbage. But the choice at that (and this) point was…….BARRY! For God’s sake, that was not the time to show how totally pure a conservative you are (Notice me! Notice me!) That was the time to say hey, he’s not our ideal candidate, but a blind man can see right through the Manchurian Candidate, and the ONLY vote is McCain. AFTER he’s elected, you voice your differences, hoping to challenge and (doubtful) even change him, while SIMULTANEOUSLY running that grass-root conservative American Idol thing for the next election. Idiots. ALL the “pundits” who auditioned for “Conservative of the Century! NO! ALL TIME!!!” have allowed a racist, America-hating POS, to get thisclose to OUR presidency. That is not a badge of honor: it is pure selfishness. I hope they are happy…

    Oh, and, as for their idiotic attempts to try to promote a GREAT American - who is an ABSOLUTELY imperfect candidate - NOW? Go eff yourselves. NOW Wright is pertinent? Effing assholes…

    Comment by JWS — 10/30/2008 @ 8:31 pm

  39. The Republican party is split into two parts, the Establishment and the rest of us. The Establishment is the wing in power. They are the ones who have basically run the right into the ground. These folks are the ones who got Dole into the 1996 race and the ones who rallied around McCain on Super Tuesday (especially in Florida) that drove the 2008 primary season. These are the guys who have “ruined the GOP ‘brand’”.

    Remember, the national race is still close, within the margin of error in some polls. That means conservatives and the right don’t have to go through all of this navel-gazing about the future of conservatism. Conservatism is strongly embedded in a vast number of Americans. That is why Joe the Plumber caused such a stir because the note he struck resonated with “the base”… which is mostly conservative.

    What is needed as a commenter said previously is leadership. There is no single conservative grass roots organization for conservatives that gets candidates chosen and that conservatives can join. Conservative talk radio is a great glue that binds, but they can’t lead and maintain their position. The Newt Gingrich’s in government are tainted by the need to be accepted by the Establishment. The blogosphere, including the Corner, PJM and others including this blog, don’t lead but comment.

    Without a defined conservative movement, not a special interest group or a think tank, that people can join and promote national candidates, we will never make the headway needed to get things done, like term limits, smaller government, etc. etc.

    Comment by OWASM — 10/30/2008 @ 10:17 pm

  40. you know, i was thinking (danger will rogers) back to stats class in grad school, why don’t we look at the RCP, and eliminate the so called outliers in the RCP average. take away the two highs (8, 11)(why, because they do not repeat and they are outside the spread of the data, this is why we keep the two 3’s), what do we get with the simple stats, so we count gallup’s two poles as 50% as RCP does, and the spread is now more realistic at 4.8. well what the hell does that say? i know, i know the bradly effect doesn’t exist, except of course, where it does exist. take W Pa and john murtha’s opinion of us, well maybe he is right about W Pa, but alas it doesn’t end there, W Pa is a lot like many other places in the USA, why does this matter? well, hmmm, i’ll let y’all figure it out. mind you, i was at the palin funtion today in the heart of the erie liberal “darkness” and they were not letting more people in, fire hazard, too many people, she stayed on topic, national security and the economy, damn did she hit it out of the park, no mention of abortion or rezko, or ayer’s or … y’all have thrown your towels in, i will hold mine a bit longer, screw buckley and screw novak, something strange but good is happening… maybe we should say strange but ‘mccain’

    Comment by jambrowski — 10/30/2008 @ 10:19 pm

  41. Really enjoyed this column and the comments above. At this point, the Democrats/liberals seem to me to be listening to what people are concerned about and then nipping around to the head of the mob to ‘lead’.

    The Republicans/conservatives, on the other hand, plan to have their “major players” meet in Virginia next week to “chart the next course for their movement” from the top down.

    The reason the liberal netroots are surging is because those bloggers have a perhaps illusory belief that their opinions are important to and can persuade/guide their party, while the conservative netroots are stagnant because they have to wait for the word on what the “major players” want them to say. It’s certainly been demonstrated that those not in step are likely to be savaged.

    I honestly don’t know how to solve that dilemna, since the “major players” do not seem to have any interest in what their party members actually find important but instead seem to regard them those who should do as they’re told. Blogging takes up a great deal of time and energy, to invest that out of personal passion and enjoyment is one thing; when the role is restricted solely to mouthpiece or cheerleader the time and energy may seem better spent elsewhere.

    Comment by crowepps — 10/30/2008 @ 10:24 pm

  42. [...] a comment » I just finished reading Rick Moran’s “Remaking the Rightroots,” an article that I can only describe as a long, rambling, open question asking “how is the GOP [...]

    Pingback by Rick Moran’s GOP: A Party Doomed by Triangulation « Stop Global Laming — 10/31/2008 @ 2:32 am

  43. There is much conflation here between being Republican and being conservative. I am the latter, not the former. The conservatism that peaked in 1994 was a very simple ideology; limited government, low taxation, accountable governance, strong national defense, free markets. There was nothing in the Contract With America about abortion, about gay marriage, about religion…and there is a good reason why. None of these issues are, or should be, viewed as those with which the federal government ought deal. The nation’s owner’s manual, the Constitution, is pretty clear on that.

    I find it amusing that the debate on the direction of the Republican party seems to on one hand complain about social conservatism ‘taking over’, while at the same time other strains…libertarianism for example…wish it excluded. Perhaps one of the reasons Republicans have difficulty maintaining power in government is that the tent is TOO big; it would be difficult to argue that Democrats are more diverse; they are more willing to march in lockstep for the purpose of winning elections.

    Put simply; there are overarching issues that Republicans of most stripes agree upon, which have been listed above. Reagan knew that. Gingrich knew that. Is it impossible for the party to rally round them when Novembers roll around? It seems so, doesn’t it.

    Comment by Bob C — 10/31/2008 @ 6:01 am

  44. [...] and thinking about the rebuilding the right side of the blogosphere… It all started with Rick Moran’s post which quickly lead me to Jon Henke then to John Hawkins then to Patrick Ruffini and then to Ace and [...]

    Pingback by On Building A Rightroots Movement… And missing the point « Selling The Right — 10/31/2008 @ 7:28 am

  45. ginsocal #32 said:
    “We will be able to purge any remaining non-conservative and/or corrupt individuals from the party. This should include those who aren’t politicians, but are in the “appendage” category-pundits, analysts, even whole think tanks, if necessary. Many have recently revealed themselves to be fair weather conservatives, and should be dealt with accordingly.”

    Frank the Tank #33 said:
    ” In fact, the evangelical wing of the party seems to relish in pushing my type away. That’s fine if you want a lock-step platform that is never challenged. That’s also fine if you never want to win another national election again.”

    That sums it up for me — the Alpha and Omega of the argument (purity through pogroms or selling your soul for fun and profit), and they were even sequential comments.

    I may not agree with most of the text on this page . . . but I love this site.

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/31/2008 @ 8:37 am

  46. busboy33,
    those were my thoughts too. Purging?? Holy Smokes; reminds me of Stalin in the 20s and 30s. Not a pleasant thought and not helpful in rebuilding the conservative movement.

    Comment by funny man — 10/31/2008 @ 10:44 am

  47. I will admit it, I came from PW.

    The problem noted in 45 concerning 33 dreading the “prophecy” of 32 is kind of a major FAIL, in that 32 did not mention religion, the religious right, God, etc, and 33 did. So whatever purge is proposed, it is not automatic to assume that the religious folks would be doing the purging. In fact, many of them are concered about being purged, too. That stuff cuts both ways. They won’t be going to the Democrats, but the Constitution Party would welcome them–at least looking at the platform of that Party. The idea that non-Christian Republicans would go to the Democratic Party is also a problem, because most of them are small government, fiscally responsible types, and whatever one can call the Democratic Party, small government and fiscally responsible they’re not. They would be closer to the Libertarians.

    Somewhere along the way, there’s a great deal of anti-Christian sentiment. Sometimes more evidenced than anti-Islam sentiment, and I have to say that I don’t understand that. It seems to be OK to hate Christians, but not Muslims. It seems to be OK to accomodate Muslim prayers in settings where Christian prayer is frowned upon. Don’t get that either.

    As contradictory as it may seem, I fall in both of the two categories juxtaposed in 33. That would be a somewhat religious libertarian (note the lower case). I really don’t want some sort of purge, because I would have to saw myself in half and half of me would have to leave. Or I could stick around and continue to have one half or the other mad, sometimes BOTH.

    I do think that the Republican Party Washington elite has gravitated back to the “country club” establishment role. Although it appears that many of its members do not fit in that demographic.

    Comment by David R. Block — 10/31/2008 @ 1:14 pm

  48. @ David R Block:

    I didn’t mention religionin my comment, but I don’t think it is an unfair term that you’re using. If I were to describe the “religious” purity center of the Republican Party though, I’d use ther term more metaphorically (although there is obvious overlap between Theology and the Republican Base).

    IMHO, the “religion” of the zealot base is the religion of the One True Faith, Republicanism — Christian faith is merely the trappings. The “purge” has nothing to do with where you go to church on Sunday, but where you worship when you turn on the evening news. Do you demonstrate your damnation by watching godless, (perhaps more appropriately “Reganless”) MSNBC, or Fox? As Rick mentioned in his “quit calling me a RINO” post, the inner core seem to have their political Bible, and like all ideas based on faith as opposed to reason either you accept them utterly and completely . . . or you are a heretic.

    As Frank mentioned in #33, he’s not a Dem but he and his compatriots are being ostricized because their political faith is not pure enough to satisfy the fanatical.

    That was the “soul” I was referring to, ideological rather than theological purity.

    IMHO, it seems self-evident in (with repect) comments like #32. Conservatives theoretically subscribe to the “traditional” ideals in regards to politics. What is more Founding Fathers traditional than the concept of governing by consensus, seeking to find the common ground among disperate beliefs to (presumably) serve whole of the citizenry? #32 seems to be saying that they would rather weaken the influence of the Party by purging the political heretics (notice not “political heretics” as in Anarchists or Socialists, but heretical in the sense that their demonsterable conservative ideals “isn’t conservative enough”) rather than grow the Party by working with others who believe (just not totally) similarly. If the entire point of politics and political parties is to govern, what is the point of shrinking the Party in a system that requires (at least nominally) some form of “majority” acceptance before you get Power? From #32, it seems like it would be better for Republicans to shrink their party rather than be associated with the unwashed political heathens. Better to be pure than effective. To me, that’s religion.

    Comment by busboy33 — 10/31/2008 @ 6:42 pm

  49. Purge them! Purge the elites! As stated above, sounds like something from a Red Guard rally during the cultural revolution. Go ahead and kick out the RINOs and have your “ideologically pure” party, who wants dissention and the give and take of ideas anyway. What you want is a liberal bashing cult where you can drink the kool aid, open the Holy Book of Unassailable Truths, and froth at the mouth every time you read the word “liberal”. It’s going to be a loooong time in the wilderness.

    Comment by grognard — 10/31/2008 @ 7:49 pm

  50. [...] Moran (Right Wing Nuthouse) on Remaking the Rightroots Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Hymowitz: Freedom FetishistsMcCain Will Get The [...]

    Pingback by Dodds and Stark on the McCain Campaign « The New Centrist — 11/2/2008 @ 9:44 am

  51. President Washington said it best.Power of party, indesciminate alliances, bloated military, divisiveness, trade as a weapon/reward, public indebtedness are all warned agaist.
    This single address could be pointed to as a how to for the destruction of our Republic and our politicians have been hard at work to do everything we were warned against.A caveat, I’m pro military but we need to admit to ourselves we would not need a military budget as large as we have were it not for “alliances” that are not in our interest.

    Comment by M. Wilcox — 11/2/2008 @ 3:42 pm

  52. I am tired of hearing excuses about why our party lost. We can blame the media, the dems, and every other excuse that pops up. Fact is, we were trounced. Now, let’s act like Republicans, initate some very tough self criticism, fire our current leaders and start the process of getting back to the party of Reagan. Anybody remember how effective he was at talking to the American people?

    I am a proud Republican who truly belives that we have the best ideas for our country. BUT we do a very poor job of communicating these ideas in ways most people can relate to. McCain sounded like the belt way guy he is. Obama sounded like up the street. I know, his ideas are wrong. But face the fact he resonated with people. What we have to figure out is why.

    I stand ready to go door-to-door to get out our party’s message. Who will join me?

    One final thought: I have heard many party pundits talk about getting back to the “basics”. I agree, but the basics I want to get back to are the fundemental ideas that founded our country. I read the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence last night in their orginal forms with all of the additions and deletions. Very instructive. Also read some of the writings from the founding fathers. This passage from Thomas Jefferson, in a Note on the State of Virginia, struck me as relevant to our current siuation:

    “The time to guard against corruption and tyranny, is before they shall have gotten hold of us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold, than to trust to drawing his teeth and talons after he shall have entered.” — 1784

    But probaly the best passage is this one:

    “An elective despotism was not the government we fought for, but one which should not only be founded on free principles, but which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits, without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.” Thomas Jefferson, 1784

    For the record, I am in no way calling Obama a tyrant. He is my president. I will rise above all the left wing idiots and wish him well. I will not cheerlead for his failure. I will NEVER denigrate my country like that.

    Comment by Redleg — 11/8/2008 @ 11:02 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress