Monday, May 18, 2009

Why Should Republicans Take Advice From John Weaver?

Exactly why should the Republican party take advice from ex-McCain strategist and Jon Huntsman adviser John Weaver?

In a statement to Byron York regarding the Jon Huntsman appointment as Ambassador to China, Weaver says "If it's 2012 and our party is defined by Palin and Limbaugh and Cheney, then we're headed for a blowout." According to York, unless the next Republican candidate is a moderate like Huntsman, or Crist, we're doomed. This from the guy that managed the McCain campaign debacle.

An interesting thing about the York article is his triangulation of the 2012 and 2016 races. York focuses on the removal of Huntsman from the 2012 presidential race by this appointment (read: exile) to China. We are, it seems, supposed to see this loss of Huntsman as a potential presidential candidate as a real blow to the conservative movement.

Some analyists seem to be conceding 2012 to Obama's second term and looking at the Huntsman acceptance of this appointment as a strategic move to position himself for the 2016 race when he will be only 56. Weaver says that he believes "that Huntsman and people like him are the prescription for what ails us." To believe this is to believe that the only way the Republicans can ever regain power is to become like Democrats.

I beg to differ. Huntsman is not as far to the center as McCain, for example, on some issues, but he is no true conservative either. Huntsman's support of civil unions is an example of his centrist views as well as his support of an initiative that supported a regional cap and trade program.

To believe that Republicans must be like Democrats is to ignore the voices of those who attended the Tea Parties. It is to ignore the 13.5 million people who tune in to Rush Limbaugh's program. It is to ignore the energy and the huge audiences that Sarah Palin brought to John McCain's campaign. It is to ignore the shifting views of Americans on issues such as the right to life, which now shows a pro-life favor for the first time since Gallup first polled this issue in 1995.

I contend, like others before me, that there is nothing wrong with the Conservative movement and we could do worse than to have Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh as the faces of our party. Marco Rubio is an energetic, young, fresh conservative face and one would be naive to count him out of the future of the Republican party.

In April, Huntsman was uninvited from speaking at a Republican Party event in Michigan because of his centrist views. Of this rift between Huntsman and the Michigan Republican Party, former Representative Tom Davis said "It says in spades what is the problem with our party: We're driving out the heretics, and they're looking for converts."

The Obama administration is playing the odds; they are already prepping for the 2012 election, according to Matthew Continetti, by "co-opting centrist Republicans like Huntsman." But, as Continetti goes on to say, "what is 'mainstream' changes over time."

The Obama administration can absorb all the centrist Republicans they want. They can have Specter, they can even have Snowe and Collins, because I'm betting by the time 2012 comes, the American public will have had enough. By the time Americans see the true cost of the Obama administration, they'll be done.

Davis's view of driving out the heretics and absorbing the converts reminds me of the conflict between Cassius and Brutus in Act IV of Julius Caesar. Cassius wants to remain in Sardis and wait for the opposing army to come to them, "So shall he waste his means, weary his soldiers / Doing himself offense" and becoming easier to defeat. Brutus wants to march on to Phillipi because to remain in Sardis would enable the enemy to "make a fuller number up" and "Come on refreshed, new-added, and encouraged."

As it turns out, the march to the center advocated by Brutus did them no favors and they were defeated anyway. Had they held their position and waited for the other army to burn itself out they would have been better off.


  1. I personally like Huntsman, despite his flaws, and think he would of made a much better President than McCain would of been.

    Despite that, I believe we need to truly find that line between people like Specter, Snowe, Arrr-nold and Collins (the so-called moderates [read: waffle populists]) and those like Huntsman who, while having certain views that don't mesh with the overall conservative movement, are still worthy of being part of the new party.

    And I'm probably trying to cover for Huntsman on civil unions and on cap-n-trade, but Utah has been California's exdous destination for decades. In the Salt Lake Valley, there is one conservative paper and about a million liberal papers both corporate and independent. The reason he's popular and can do things like propose a market based solution to health care, cut social services, etc is the perception he isn't a hardline religious conservative.

    As much as many wouldn't like that, it may be one of the only ways to slip in a free marketer into the White House. Something I believe is the top concern for the party along with national security. Fix Obama's statist mistakes, then work on everything else.

  2. If people would rememeber, in 1994 the Repulicans won control of Congress quite handily. Why? Because we had a populist president and a runaway Democratic Congress. The Republicans, behind Newt Gingrich, developed what was called the Contract With America, which encouraged the Republican party and southern Democrats. We thought we had a group of representatives who wanted to put Americans first with conservative ideals.

    WRONG! It wasn't immediate, but they got away from the Contract on America as fast as they could. They spoke the right words to get elected, but didn't want to act on those words.
    This manure that the elites are spreading about moderating the party, is just that - manure. Remember 1994 and how the Republicans took power in Congress. It wasn't because they became moderates.

    Remember how the Republicans were beat in 2006 and humiliated in 2008. It was because the party went to the center. Most conservatives didn't see one plug nickel's worth of difference between the two parties.

    I didn't vote for McCain because I liked him. I voted for him because there were no other choices. Give the people a conservative choice, and see what happens.

    I remember, because I was one of them, who secretly hoped the Republicans would lose in 2006, so it would teach them a lesson. Danged if they didn't learn from it. They thought they needed to become more moderate to win. They became more moderate in 2008 and got it handed to them.