I enjoy reading Christopher Buckley. For a conservative guy, he makes a lot of sense without the attacks that pretty much define social conservatives and their respective fleas in the popular, mainstream media. For example, our host of conservative bloggers here at LLC who have molded themselves in the wax-likeness of culture warriors, Ann Coulter and Bill O'Rielly.
Yeah, that's a dig.
Anyway, Buckley gives advice to republicans.
1) "One of the oldest rules in politics is: If your opponent is committing suicide, don’t interfere. So were I in charge of the Republican Party, I would send out a coded text message saying: REMAIN CALM. SHUT UP. THIS IS GOING TO BLOW UP IN THEIR FACES."
Buckley is referring to Obama's stimulus plan. And while I make it a rule not to comment on economics (it ain't my strongest hand), his warning that "'sustainability' is all the rage as a buzzword, but a $3.6 trillion budget is not “sustainable" adding that "this is math, not ideology" does indeed resonate with me. Obama's stimulus plan should make anyone reasonably skeptical.
I recall that after 2004, when Bush was reelected and thus a perfect opportunity to hold him accountable for his administration's lying and torturing to get the United States into a war with Iraq, liberal pundits pushed exactly the same theme: wait. We were rewarded in 2006 and again last year.
The other piece of advice is for republicans to abandon the culture wars.
2) "The Republican Party once could lay claim to the mantle of being the fiscally responsible, or “Daddy Party.” That reputation was squandered some time ago, but it could be regained if the party would content itself with that all-important goal, and not instead fight doomed skirmishes over gay marriage, stem-cell research, abortion and creationism, Ten Commandments in the courtroom, and other such issues that the country has by and large already decided upon. The GOP once liked to call itself the party of “the Big Tent.” But America itself is the bigger tent."
Buckley seems to me, echoing a minority of other republican and conservative voices post election, like Meghan McCain and John McCain's former campaign manager to move away from these issues.
He's correct. America is the "bigger tent." The United States is a wonderfully diverse place and not as narrow or as ideologically cloistered that the republican party has apparently become. Like Buckley, I voted for Obama too. I, however, hope that Obama's economic policies do not blow up in our collective faces – because we all may be hosed indeed.
Yet, it is still my hope that a stronger, more evolved republican party comes ready to fight next mid-terms. But I have to tell you, while republicans and their social conservative allies largely control the republican plank, I may still have to vote democrat no matter how bad Obama and his economic policies could possibly hose us.
IMO, the current mix of republicans pose a greater threat to individual liberty (gay rights, privacy, church and state separation, religious freedom, abortion rights) which makes them way too much of a risk for me to even consider voting a republican into office. I could easily vote for a fiscal conservative (I want efficient government and a robust economy after all) but I could never, ever consider a social conservative for office.