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November 9, 2006
Time To Start Campaigning?

La Shawn Barber makes the case for cancellation of all political vacations and an immediate start to the 2008 campaign in her Examiner editorial today. She writes that conservatism won even while the Republicans lost, and that conservatives have to continue the fight:

Republican politicians may have been ousted, but conservative policies prevailed, particularly the ban on so-called same sex marriage. Something similar happened during the 2004 presidential election. In response to a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling declaring the state’s ban on homosexual “marriage” unconstitutional, all 11 states with measures protecting marriage passed those measures, including states that [former presidential candidate] Sen. John Kerry won.

Despite clearly supporting certain conservative ideals, voting Americans rejected the men behind the policies. ... Our system of government has its problems, but it’s still the best around. Democrats wanted their chance to govern, now they have it. Campaigning for 2008 begins —now.

It's true that a number of social-conservative ballot initiatives won on Tuesday, even in the same states that gave Republicans the heave-ho. It's also true that the Democrats won with a more conservative slate of candidates than they've fielded in a generation. What does that mean? It means that conservative ideals still resonate with the American public, but that they have tired of this slate of Republican leadership, probably George Bush most of all.

I disagree with La Shawn to some extent. We cannot begin campaigning until we know in which direction to take the party. Republicans need to take some time for soul-searching to determine what First Principles to use in developing policy. In the end stages of our majority, a lot of our efforts seemed more intended to retain power than to advance a coherent agenda. For a party that believes in limited government (or professes that belief), that kind of activity is self-defeating at best.

We need to have our ideas and our ideals prevail, and stop thinking in Beltway terms about how to gain power. Tom DeLay and his K Street Project should have taught us that lesson; power is a means, not an end, and sublimating the ideals of limited and clean government in order to gain more power means you never get back to them. I understand that one has to achieve power in order to create change, but if we ever hope to significantly reduce the size of the federal government and its intrusive reach into the lives of Americans, K Street lobbyists will not be our natural allies.

We're entering a period where governance has been stripped from us. This allows us to think about how we want to rebuild our party in order to really achieve our goals. That process is more important than the campaign trail at the moment, especially since we need to know who we are before we can decide who will represent us. Let's take that time and get it right this time.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 9, 2006 6:44 AM

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