A strategy for the next two years
Well, we've had enough time to mourn and lick our wounds. Now, it's time to go back to work and restore the conservative philosophy to its ascendancy.
How do we go about doing this?
There's a 7-step plan developed by the cracked research team here at either orr.
1. Where's the plan? This is the fundamental component. The left, through its political arm of the Democratic Party, has done nothing but criticize. It has yet to offer an alternative, probably because it has none that can gain traction with the American public. Demand a plan. Then, be ready to tear their plan apart and offer a viable alternative. The 2006 election was a negative election, which is always bad for the party in power. Presidential elections, on the other hand, tend to go to the candidate who offers a more positive vision. It's been that way since Truman, at least.
2. Adhere to the basics. The principles of conservatism speak to the idea of less government, not more; less spending, not more; and definitely wiser spending. Every time the left offers a spending bill, demonstrate how little actually gets to the intended recipients and how much is siphoned off the top by the bureaucrats. Show that the same amount of money can actually do more with less bureaucratic skim -- and that's what it is, skim.
3. Expose weakness. There's plenty of it to go around on the left, believe me.
4. Get the rearguard action up and running. There are a lot of skeletons hanging around the closets of the likes of Reid, Pelosi, Conyers, Rangel and their cohorts. Be ready to spring open the door at an opportune time -- not all at once; that would be overkill. But pick spots to expose their hypocrisies and when the time comes, use 'em.
5. Develop a "shadow" government. Get prospective candidates lined up early and give them exposure as critics of the left's actions. Then, when the race begins in earnest, they will have a degree of recognition that will be helpful. Also, you'll be giving greater exposure to the better ideas that conservatism offer.
6. Give smart people in the movement real opportunities. Despite their losses on Tuesday, folks like Michael Steele and Ken Blackwell are a real opportunity to continue to drive the wedge into the near-monopoly the left has on black votes. And don't walk away from other people who were swept aside by the leftist tide.
7. Do not fear disagreements. Abortion is the great dividing issue of our generation, especially within the conservative movement. The compromise position that I, a fundamental pro-life sort, could live with is this: We believe that moral persuasion is a more effective way to minimize the number of abortions in this country. Addressing the issue in that way builds bridges and offers a positive, not a negative. (It also takes the terms of the argument away from the left, which is something conservatives must do more often.)
Finally, contemporary conservatism is the philosophy of hope. Contemporary liberalism is the philosophy of fear. Never forget to offer hope for something better (which shouldn't be hard, once the left starts wielding power).