The Dangerous Good Old Boys of the GOP
Posted by Adam Graham on April 30, 2009
Since the election, the debate has raged. Who is responsible for the 2008 election debacle and the defeat of the Republican Party?
So far this question has centered on various groups’ attempts to reenact the scapegoat scene from Leviticus and cast all the sins of the Republican Party onto cultural conservatives and release their concerns into the wilderness.
The battle has been as entertaining as it has been misguided and pointless. Is there a war between economic conservatives and social conservatives? As someone actively involved in both social and fiscal issues, I’ve seen a lot of crossover between the two sides in terms of people who show up. This crossover is quite common. A leading economic conservative group, Club for Growth, often backed the same candidates as socially conservative groups like National Right to Life, Government Is Not God-PAC, and Focus on the Family Action. Newt Gingrich has begun to go around with slides showing that the most socially conservative members of Congress were also the most fiscally conservative.
I’m going to suggest an alternate conclusion. I’m going to reject the conventional wisdom that the election was lost because of the party grassroots and go out on a limb and suggest that maybe the problem is not the party’s activists. Perhaps (and I know this is shocking) the people who led the party over the cliff are the ones to blame.
The GOP doesn’t have a religious problem, a gay rights problem, or an abortion problem. It fundamentally has a good old boy problem. Let us tell the story of a primary, and we don’t have to name names, because the story is the same across the country.
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