Another Old Guard Republican Speaks Out

The other day I posted an Open Letter To Republicans written by a former card-carrying Conservative and one of the architects of the modern “Religious Right” arm of the Conservative Party, Frank Schaeffer. The key word here is former, since he has not drank the koolaid of the Right since 2000 when G.W. Bush came into office.

In the March 16, 2009 issue of Newsweek, a current member of the Republican Party, David Frum, laments about how the Party of Buckley and Reagan is now “bereft and dominated by the politics of Rush Limbaugh”.

In Why Rush is Wrong Frum spells out exactly what has been wrong with the Republican Party, and basically it is its inability to change with the times and adapt to the totally different set of problems today by attempting to apply solutions for the problems of thirty years ago.

We aren’t in the same world today as we were when Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter in 1980. But when a few people like David Frum dare to suggest that the Reagan era has come to an end, the twenty percenters of the American Public — the Dittoheads — get all bent out of shape.

But Frum speaks another truth:

Even before the November 2008 defeateven before the financial crisis and the congressional elections of November 2006it was already apparent that the Republican Party and the conservative movement were in deep trouble. And not just because of Iraq, either (although Iraq obviously did not help).

At the peak of the Bush boom in 2007, the typical American worker was earning barely more after inflation than the typical American worker had earned in 2000. Out of those flat earnings, that worker was paying more for food, energy and out-of-pocket costs of health care. Political parties that do not deliver economic improvement for the typical person do not get reelected. We Republicans and conservatives were not delivering. The reasons for our failure are complex and controversial, but the consequences are not.

We lost the presidency in 2008. In 2006 and 2008, together, we lost 51 seats in the House and 14 in the Senate. Even in 2004, President Bush won reelection by the narrowest margin of any reelected president in American history. [Emphasis Mine]

It is one thing to push for Conservative programs such as tax breaks for the rich, less regulatory controls, a free-wheelin’ free market and laissez-faire capitalism so that the rich can get richer and hopefully they will send some of that money down to the rest of the 95 percent of the population. But if it doesn’t actually work or the economic situation of those 95 percent gets progressively worse over time, or a major economic crisis rears its ugly head, then those who have been pushing those programs are going to be about as popular as Bernard Madoff in an investor’s meeting. (actually, I am not sure there is much of a difference between Madoff and the Conservative chearleaders who have been pushing their failed programs for the past 28 years)

Hopefully you will take some time and read Frum’s Newsweek article.