After listening to some of both the stupidest and smartest discussions of what the Republican Party and the conservative movement need to do, here’s my list of priorities (written from the perspective of an amateur member of the conservative movement):

  • Principles before programs (principles meaning both values and a clear-headed view of how the universe actually works).
  • Programs before personalities (programs being the practical application of principles).
  • Personalities before political calculus (meaning, getting away from the horserace—especially the premature horserace—aspect of elections in favor of actually examining leaders, their ideas and their readiness to hold a particular office).

Right now, I believe with all my heart that we are going about all this bassackwards, completely from the wrong end of things. That’s why—at least as it appears to me—we have this false divide between “traditionalists” and “reformers.” I think the traditionalists are trying to put first things first: examine and re-embrace First Principles, while the reformers are more interested in expanding the Party than they are teaching and winning hearts and minds with actual conservative principles. (If that is NOT what reformers are actually trying to do, then they need to change the way they’re describing their purpose. It’s their own fault that we’re interpreting them as political appeasers.)


From (one of) the 48

To Mark Hemingway it  was a “bit syrupy, but a nice gesture nonetheless.”

According to Ramesh Ponnuru, it “was really sweet” (I can’t tell. Was he being sarcastic?).

“It” is From 52 to 48 With Love, a paean to—what, exactly?

  • Unity? That we all need to come together now? Now that our guy won? After we’ve spent eight years trying to destroy your guy, tearing the country apart while we do it?
  • Charity? Not theirs, of course. Because, you know, like, if they had any charity, wouldn’t it have been on display at some point during the Bush Years? A little? Once or twice? Hello, hypocrisy?
  • Patronizing Arrogance? Bingo!
  • Kool-Aid? Sorry, never touch the stuff. You’ll have to find some other way to calm me down. To lull me into a stupor while you pillage the country and turn the constitution into your own left-wing papier-mâché construction project.

Frankly, this is one kid who promises to stay awake during the operation.

But back to Mark. A little while after his first post—apparently, after receiving bags of apoplectic emails—he expanded his thoughts, providing what is probably a more adult response than I’m able to muster at this point (I  would have emailed him myself, but my hands were shaking too much from anger and too many Dr. Pepper 2 Liters):

Judging by the torrent of email, my post below seems to have struck a nerve. By linking to such a shiny happy display, I wasn’t suggesting anyone immediately make peace with an Obama administration. Especially since most liberal attempts at reconciliation during the Bush years amounted to “Oh, hey — would you mind picking up the soap?” As one reader put it, “I’m more inclined to dress my wounds, restring my bow, and plan my counterattack than I am to hold hands and sing Kumbaya.”

Fair enough. But I do think that after eight years of “He’s not my President” bumper stickers and trying to put Karl Rove under citizens’ arrest for his role in unconstitutional mattress tag removal, it’s probably necessary that we be the adults here. And that includes acknowledging when overtures are made to make things less rancorous.

Obviously, that doesn’t mean you surrender your principles. The moment Obama takes office and he tries to do anything such as implement his welfare-as-tax-cuts scheme, destroy the private health insurance market, pass card check legislation, confiscate your 401k etc., I fully expect to unleash hell.

None of these things have happened yet, however. And there’s no reason to adopt the left’s Alinsky tactics. We can be better than that.

I think that’s wisdom, Mark. And when I reach adulthood, I’ll be right there with you.

But I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid, thank you anyway.