The Corner

Groundhog Day

They just don’t get it. From Bob Costa’s piece today on Chris Christie

“His early moves have been good,” says Steve Schmidt, a veteran Republican operative who managed the McCain-Palin presidential campaign. “He’s now looking at a decisive reelection victory this year in a blue state, and then he becomes chairman of the Republican Governors Association next year, which will enable him to build all of his relationships to an even greater extent than he has done already. There will always be commentary about [the Sandy controversy], but I don’t think a photograph from five years ago will be an issue in a primary that’s driven, as almost all Republican primaries have been, by electability over ideology.”

Emphasis mine. Conservatives can be forgiven if they feel as trapped as Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, forever awakening to the same Sonny and Cher song, this time as performed by the likes of Steve Schmidt and Eric Fehrnstrom. The Republicans really have become the party of entrenched losers, forever peddling the same failed nostrums, with largely the same results.

“Electability”? You mean, as in John McCain and Mitt Romney, on the tried-and-disproven theory that the least offensive candidate, who most closely resembles a Democrat, is the one with the best chance against a party that, for worse instead of better, knows what it believes, understands its goals, and is ruthless in its pursuit of them? 

As for “ideology” — the word Schmidt is looking for is “principles.” And until the party stops listening to people like Schmidt and the Romney crew and starts relocating its principles, we’re going to continue to wake up each morning at 6 a.m., wondering when, if ever, we’ll be released from this awful nightmare. 

Oh, wait — here’s some of those principles now:

This Convention of Delegates, assembled in pursuance of a call addressed to the people of the United States, without regard to past political differences or divisions, who are opposed to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise; to the policy of the present Administration; to the extension Slavery into Free Territory; in favor of the admission of Kansas as a Free State; of restoring the action of the Federal Government to the principles of Washington and Jefferson; and for the purpose of presenting candidates for the offices of President and Vice-President, do –

Resolved: That the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence, and embodied in the Federal Constitution are essential to the preservation of our Republican institutions, and that the Federal Constitution, the rights of the States, and the union of the States, must and shall be preserved.

There follows a series of resolutions, all of them based in morality and adherence to the Constitution. Even then the nascent Republicans were complaining about Democractic thuggery, ineptitude in conducting foreign affairs, and a lack of national vision. The peroration:

Resolved, That we invite the affiliation and cooperation of the men of all parties, however differing from us in other respects, in support of the principles herein declared; and believing that the spirit of our institutions as well as the Constitution of our country, guarantees liberty of conscience and equality of rights among citizens, we oppose all legislation impairing their security.

That was the first GOP national platform, constructed for the election of 1856; four years later, the unelectable Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States. 

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


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