Thursday, August 14, 2008

Does Conservatism Have a Future?

I sent the following on "does conservatism have a future?" to 100 of my "closest friends," and I've received many replies, some of which I'll post in the coming days. If you'd like to take a shot at the question -- and I hope you will -- please send your comments to me: Thanks.

I've been involved with the conservative movement since the 1964 election. My first (national) published articles appeared in The National Reivew, and I was close to Bill Buckley's sister Priscilla, to historian Dr. Russell Kirk, and several others. I'm older now, but neither daffy nor a Democrat.

When Adam Brickley (of "Draft Sarah Palin" fame and the best young policitical activist in CO or the USA) and I appeared on Doug Gibbs's Political Pistachio radio show, he asked both of us if a truly conservative candidate could win the presidency. Both of us reluctantly said "No."

I sent the following to Bill Smith, a tireless conservative figure in Arkansas. I'd love to hear your views on it -- and, God willing, ultimately put the responses in a book about "The Resurrection of Conservatism: What Must Be Done."

Bill, thanks for all the hard work you're doing. I think after this election, conservatives need to get their (our) heads together and figure out what needs to be done to restore the movement to something approximating its Reagan-era status.

We need a vigorous online presence and a strong effort to turn good groups (like Bev Perlson's The Band of Mothers and Col. O. P. Ditch's Vets4McCain) into huge, effective advocacy groups.

We also need new leadership in Congress. I'm not talking ideology so much as people (like Eric Cantor) who have more than a clue how to grow the Movement. There are millions of people who will vote for Barack Obama -- including Blacks -- that should be voting for Republican candidates.

Additionally, we must ask if the conservative movement can supply enough money -- to conservatives -- so that they can campaign effectively. The money-raising gap is embarrassing. None of the Republican candidates, except perhaps Romney, did a decent job of fundraising.

McCain's online effort, until recently, was pathetic. In every winning campaign in the future, the Internet will play a critical role. One element in building our presence online to attract more young people, "the YouTube Generation."

We need to ask why that's the case. Somehow, we have to get more people to back the more conservative candidates.

I am trying -- and failing I fear -- to get Republican candidates for Congress in PA to take off the gloves and stop going through the motions. Nobody wins by being cautious over overly courteous.

1 comment:

Douglas V. Gibbs said...

the party may have to die to be reborn, as much as I hate to say it.