Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Channeling Karl Rove

Posted by Craig Westover | 9:07 AM |  

In case your neural implants were down and you didn't get Karl Rove's talking points last month, in the February Issue of Townhall Magazine Rove responds to a question from Mary Katherine Ham about the 3 things a Republican nominee must do to beat Hillary. The question may already be dated, but Rove's answer is not. It applies not just to a potential Republican presidential candidate, but also to every conservative. Here's what Rove said.

"First, our candidate must introduce himself again … he must create a narrative that explains his life and commitments … our candidate must not be afraid to say something controversial. The American people want their president to be authentic.

"Second, our candidate must also tackle issues families care about and Republicans too often shy away from … concerns like health care, he cost of college and social mobility will be important. The Republican nominee needs to be confident in talking about these concerns and credible in laying out how he will address them.

"Third, our candidate must go after people who aren't traditional Republicans – aggressively campaign for the votes of minorities … emphasize how his message can provide hope and access to the American Dream for all."

That's not a bad outline for all conservative voices to follow. I'd say the left has done a great job of casting conservatives as the party of "no" – no abortion, no gay marriage, no immigration, no new taxes – except the right has given the left so much help cartooning conservatism that it has hardly been a challenge.

Instead of using blog space to always roil against some obvious idiocy on the left, perhaps its time we reintroduced the notion of philosophical conservatism – the commitment to limited government and individual freedom.

Perhaps it's time to test controversy on our friends rather than our enemies by standing up for conservative principles even when the outcome might fly in the face of the outcome we personally desire.

Perhaps it’s time to stop harping only on issues of concern to fiscal conservatives and realize that there is a whole country out there with more pressing daily concerns that Republicans must be able to address to be relevant – address with principled conservative (free market) approaches, not liberal lite capitulations.

Perhaps it’s time Republicans actually went out and talked to minority groups on their turf. Maybe even looked at minority groups as something other than a voting block but as people with the same desires and hopes that we have for ourselves and our families. We need to get away from the idea that conservatism is something that protects us from them and start preaching conservatism for what it is – liberation for all people enabling all people to participate in the economy of the country.

Perhaps it’s time to stop crying in the wilderness for a conservative messiah and take up the cross ourselves.