Right Turn is on vacation and will return Jan. 2. Until then, enjoy some suggested resolutions for Republicans:
1. Never, ever base presidential debate criteria on national polling. (It’s meaningless early on and only entices celebrity candidates.)
2. Do not imagine that the entire party is made up of the most vocal, extreme elements in talk radio. There is no sign — not in respected polling or election results — that the party is entirely, or even primarily, made up of nativists and “very conservative” voters. You might think so if you are elected from Texas or Alabama, but thinking that is a microcosm of the country leads to disastrous results.
3. The country has accepted gay marriage, so move on. There are not sufficient states for a constitutional amendment nor is any president going to be able to stack the court with justices willing to overturn the gay marriage ruling. (The court won’t even find Obamacare unconstitutional.) Preaching defiance of the court is crazy talk and simply tells voters that Republicans are out of touch.
4. If House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is not “conservative,” then “conservatives” make up a tiny sliver of America. Stop voting off the island elected Republicans with a lifetime record of conservative votes and positions simply because in tone they do not sound unhinged.
5. Do not give money to groups that promote gridlock, stir conspiracy theories, attack Republicans for good-faith compromises and back candidates (see the 2014 Senate primaries) who lose consistently.
6. Stop arguing that protectionism and opposition to immigration are “conservative” stances. They are nativist stances — based on fear and resentment of outsiders — that have nothing to do with conservative free-market, limited-government principles.
7. Give up the fixation on the mainstream media. Yes, there is coverage that is tilted, invariably in the liberal direction. Yes, conservatives are held to a different standard. It should be called out. But so what? It’s not an excuse for failure, and voters don’t want to hear a lot of whining about how the deck is stacked. Moreover, Republicans benefit from being tested in interviews and debates by those with whom they disagree.
8. You do not need to deny climate change to object to harebrained schemes that don’t get to the issue. If you read anything over the holidays, take a look at “Conservatives and Climate Change,” by Peter Wehner and Jim Manzi.
9. Cheer up. Republicans have House and Senate majorities, 31 governorships and control of more state legislatures than at any time since 1928.
10. Pyrrhic victories are for losers. Find winnable fights and win them. Otherwise, all that Republicans are doing is spreading resentment, paranoia and a minority mentality. That may satisfy those in No. 2 and No. 5 above, but it does nothing to further the conservative agenda.