Sunday, January 13, 2013

Jim DeMint Falls Short In First Heritage Post.Conservative Ideas Need A New Messenger-Not "A New Message"

Here is a quote from Jim DeMint's column "Conservative ideas need a new message" in 'The Washington Post'. Senator DeMint is speaking about his new role in April as president of the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation.

"November’s election results and exit polls suggest that a majority of Americans agree that government does too much yet still voted for more of it. The election taught conservatives that we can no longer entrust political parties to carry our message. We must take our case to the people ourselves, and we must start where all good marketing starts: with research. Conservative policies have proved their worth time and time again. If we’re not communicating in a way that makes that clear, we are doing a disservice to our fellow citizens. We need to test the market and our message to communicate more effectively."

DeMint is of course correct in advising that the conservative message must be taken directly to the people, but he is off the mark in the degree that he appears to wish this to happen. He is off the mark too with the message conveyed by the posts title (if indeed he wrote it instead of the editor presenting his work with that introduction). And he blames the 2012 election loss on "political parties" (why the plural when it was only one party which lost which was supposedly conveying the conservative message?)

There is absolutely no question that in the light of the overwhelming preponderance of the media, including Hollywood, promoting leftist views that the conservative movement must mount a vigorous defense of conservatism.

Conservative ideas, in their absolute basic Reaganite core do not need "a new message." Common sense solutions, like keeping a reign on government spending, on having the lowest possible taxation in accordance with a fair society, of encouraging the entrepreneur, of a strong defense, and of safety nets for the disadvantaged are timeless.

So too in the social sphere are conservative ideals of respect for life, and for the traditional family. Conservatives believe strongly in responsible immigration, and they support the right for Israel to live in peace and security. There is no need for a new message in these and other basic conservative ideas and ideals.

There is no question that yes, a percentage of voters voted for more, or continuous at the current level, government. But to consider that that was the only reason the Republicans lost is wrong. They also lost because they had as a candidate someone who represented the very worst image of a conservative-an almost caricature of a fleet of Cadillac's, multi-home owning plutocrat who ran an appalling campaign, and who was a member of a religious sect which turned off conservative Christians  They lost because the ran a wooden vice-presidential candidate with no mass appeal, and they lost because Mitt Romney did not run as a Reaganite.

The conservative message does not need adding to in any major way-it needs enunciating by conservative politicians who are clearly seen as genuine conservatives and who have the trust of the rank and file that they won't be flip-floppers once elected. Ted Cruz, a Palinite, is a classic example. So yes, "political parties" can be trusted to deliver the conservative message if they are composed of genuine conservative representatives.

Sarah Palin would be the antithesis of Mitt Romney as a presidential candidate, and could be trusted completely not only enunciate conservatism, but to put conservative policies into place once elected.

DeMint is half right, the conservative message must be delivered anew. Delivered to the great mass of Americans not necessarily in a revised form, by not only by the Heritage Foundation and the like, but also by conservative politicians and the Republican Party led by conservatives. 

The responsibility for the latter rests with the voters in the primary elections and they will be better able to do that if they are armed with the conservative message delivered by the likes of the Heritage Foundation. But it must be a three pronged effort-education, genuine conservative politicians, and leadership/candidacy from Sarah Palin or a Palinite presidential candidate shoudl she choose not to run.