Author Topic: Conservatives seek to regain control of Republican agenda  (Read 365 times)

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Offline mystery-ak

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Conservatives seek to regain control of Republican agenda
« on: May 16, 2014, 10:47:33 AM »
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/conservatives-seek-to-regain-control-of-republican-agenda/2014/05/15/aaa20c80-dc6e-11e3-bda1-9b46b2066796_print.html

Conservatives seek to regain control of Republican agenda

By Robert Costa, Published: May 15

Although many Republicans are optimistic about their chances in this year’s elections, some of Washington’s leading conservatives gathered Thursday to privately vent frustrations about what kind of party they will be left with after November.

The group, alarmed by a resurgence of the GOP establishment in recent primaries and what activists view as a softened message, drafted demands to be shared with senior lawmakers calling on the party to “recommit” to bedrock principles.

Some of those principles laid out in the new document — strict opposition to illegal immigration, same-sex marriage and abortion — represent the hot-button positions that many Republican congressional candidates are trying to avoid as the party attempts to broaden its appeal.

Several attendees said they fear that elected Republicans, even if they succeed in retaining control of the House and winning the Senate majority, would cast aside the core conservative base.

“Conservatives ought not to delude themselves that if Republicans win the Senate majority, it will somehow be a conservative majority,” said L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Media Research Center, which monitors perceived media bias. “We should have no expectation whatsoever that they will listen. That’s why we’re fighting.”

Others worry that a toned-down campaign message by the party would dim GOP turnout and undercut Republicans in competitive races.

“I’m terrified that Republicans will blow this election if they are not going to stand for something,” said Michael A. Needham, the chief executive of Heritage Action, a conservative group.

Thursday’s gathering at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner, Va., was coordinated by Reagan-era attorney general Edwin Meese III and former congressman David McIntosh (Ind.) as part of an initiative called the Conservative Action Project.

It included dozens of leaders from across the conservative movement, including tea party organizer Jenny Beth Martin and interest group executives such as Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. The meeting, which featured speeches from Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Mike Lee (Utah), marked the first time this year that prominent national conservatives have come together to candidly assess the GOP and their strategy for shaping it.

The day-long session underscored how simmering tensions between rival factions in the Republican Party appear to be growing, even as polls point to the potential for a major GOP victory in midterm elections in the fall.

Congressional Republicans have been grappling over whether to compromise on immigration, some Republicans are calling for a smaller military, and same-sex marriage is fading as a top issue in this year’s campaigns.

Meanwhile, mainstream GOP business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have lifted establishment candidates to victory in a Senate primary in North Carolina and a special House election in Florida. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) is expected to easily defeat a tea party challenger in his primary Tuesday.

Many GOP strategists and party leaders think that tea party activists’ successes in recent years nominating ideological purists resulted in weak candidates and crippling general-election losses. They worry that efforts to revive the base could threaten Republican hopes again.

“What’s clear is that we ought to be focusing on economic security for the future, not divisive social issues. That’s how we lost several key Senate races last cycle and plays into the Democrats’ hand,” said GOP consultant Brian Walsh, a former communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

As conservative leaders mingled Thursday over coffee and deli sandwiches, they sounded exasperated about the way the party appears to be siding more with its cautious leadership, rather than making an aggressive conservative pitch.

In the 10-page pamphlet finalized Thursday, they called on party leaders to champion lower taxes, a well-funded military, and the idea that “married moms and dads are best at raising kids.” The document warns Republicans against signing on to an immigration overhaul unless the U.S. border is “fully secure,” and it argues that support for school prayer, a balanced-budget amendment and antiabortion legislation should remain priorities.

But even in the tightknit room, there was not universal agreement. Norquist, for example, supports legalization for many illegal immigrants and has pushed for more scrutiny of the defense budget. In an interview, he said he attended Thursday’s meeting to back the broad efforts on the right to unite, rather than endorse the document line by line.

Most activists expressed dismay that they seemed to have a diminished voice in the party.

“What we’re doing and saying is not resonating, so we are trying to come to grips with that,” said Grace-Marie Turner, the president of the Galen Institute, a conservative research group. “We have to learn to relate our solutions to people’s struggles.”

Some said conservatives had not made their case effectively, and different leaders offered their own visions for the right approach.

Wesley Denton, a senior adviser to Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, led a panel called “Breaking Through With a Conservative Message,” and Citizens United President David Bossie spoke about the power of expressing conservatism through films, of which he has produced several.

Perkins led a panel on restoring the “traditional family” as a priority for the party. Thomas J. Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, which has obtained documents related to the 2012 attack on an American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, talked up his group’s ability to pressure the White House through Freedom of Information Act requests.

Alfred S. Regnery, a conservative lawyer and former publisher, said the group convened “to provide the substance to Republicans and guide them. That’s the way this is supposed to work — they should be listening to us.”

Cruz, who has clashed with top Senate Republicans over budget issues and is considering a presidential bid in 2016, told the crowd members that they are still the party’s most influential bloc.

“Some say, ‘Yay, our team is winning,’ ” he said, referring to Republicans’ confidence about possibly taking control of the Senate. “But we win when we stand for principle and we lose when we give in to Washington’s status quo.”

Many there likened the session to one that took place in 1960, when the late National Review editor William F. Buckley Jr., Bozell’s uncle, met with allies to craft a statement of principles for a young conservative movement.

Bozell, Meese and many of the same people at the Ritz-Carlton on Thursday had held a similar session in 2010, ahead of the tea-party-led GOP sweep that year.

To guide them on Thursday, the 2010 principles, called the Mount Vernon statement because it had been signed on the Alexandria estate once owned by George Washington, was displayed throughout the day next to the ballroom podium.

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Offline sinkspur

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Re: Conservatives seek to regain control of Republican agenda
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2014, 10:51:06 AM »
Quote
“I’m terrified that Republicans will blow this election if they are not going to stand for something,” said Michael A. Needham, the chief executive of Heritage Action, a conservative group.

Needham had to throw in the towel on defeating incumbent Senate candidates, so now he's going to fundraise by bitching and bellyaching about the "agenda."

Money, money, money.  That's all these PACS are about and they are going to kill any chances of the GOP taking the Senate by focusing on social issues that divide the party and the electorate.
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Offline Bigun

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Re: Conservatives seek to regain control of Republican agenda
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2014, 11:09:49 AM »
Good! I wish them EVERY success!
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Offline truth_seeker

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Re: Conservatives seek to regain control of Republican agenda
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2014, 12:14:10 PM »
What do all of the entities in attendance have in common? They raise funds.

What do the leaders of the entities have in common? They get commissions on funds raised and again on advertisements placed.

The supposedly "grassroots" tea party entities, have pros at the top, making big money whether they win or lose.

Exactly like Rove, Morris, etc. They are all the same. Smooth talking political operatives. Far more smooth than their candidates, in too many cases.

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Offline speekinout

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Re: Conservatives seek to regain control of Republican agenda
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2014, 09:09:30 PM »
This does get frustrating. Voters need concise, meaningful statements. Ones that they can believe. Long lists of dreams and meandering stories of unicorns are pretty, but they don't motivate voters on election day. The GOP has to communicate clearly what they are for, and what they think they can do. And they shouldn't promise more than is reasonable to do. A 2 year Congressional session is probably only long enough for routine business and about 3 major initiatives.

In my ideal scenario, the GOP would list all of its principles - like pro-family, for limiting abortion, for traditional marriage, for religious freedom, against Sharia law, for capitalism, (and I'm sure I left some things out). And it would list the three things it would accomplish in this Congressional session - I would hope those would be replacing 0bamacare; restoring our military (including the VA); and reducing the deficit (they shouldn't even try to claim they can balance the budget in the next two years). OK, maybe 4 things - doing something about illegal immigration (and I refuse to think that amnesty is the only solution to that) is also important.

But they can't promise everything to everyone, or in two years they will be a failure and we will be back to dim dominance.

Offline MACVSOG68

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Re: Conservatives seek to regain control of Republican agenda
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2014, 09:33:09 PM »
Quote
OK, maybe 4 things - doing something about illegal immigration (and I refuse to think that amnesty is the only solution to that) is also important.

It isn't, and it never has been.  Take a look at the Senate bill in 2007 (S.1348) that was filibustered.  And then look at where we are today.  As for repealing Obamacare, how about the candidates coming up with actual fixes?  What does restoring our military actually mean? 
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Offline speekinout

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Re: Conservatives seek to regain control of Republican agenda
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2014, 10:06:13 PM »
It isn't, and it never has been.  Take a look at the Senate bill in 2007 (S.1348) that was filibustered.  And then look at where we are today.  As for repealing Obamacare, how about the candidates coming up with actual fixes?  What does restoring our military actually mean?

When I mentioned amnesty, it was only because that's what the msm always talks about. I know there are better proposals, but they're not talked about in the media that most people see/read.

And yes, they can't just say "repeal 0bamacare" - they have to be specific about what they'd do. I have heard several proposals that I could support, but I'd almost certainly support any one that the GOP decided to unite on. But they have to be united on one - campaigning against each other on different proposals is a loser idea.

Restoring our military is probably a pipe dream on my part, but I'd like to see us get back to the readiness levels we used to have. The number of people in each of the services has been cut, and readiness levels have been reduced so that women could qualify for combat jobs and so there are the appropriate number of minorities and gays in each key area. We also have had far too much money directed toward politically advantageous programs instead of the ones that really are needed for defense.

Yes, I am being vague, but I want those areas covered - I don't have one specific solution I must have; there are multiple answers I could live with, as long as the GOP has a united front.

Offline truth_seeker

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Re: Conservatives seek to regain control of Republican agenda
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2014, 10:15:27 PM »
It would be helpful to hear specifics about a GOP health care alternative,  a GOP immigration alternative, etc.

Not just political buzzwords. Specifics.
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Offline Fishrrman

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Re: Conservatives seek to regain control of Republican agenda
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2014, 10:38:51 PM »
MAC wrote:
[[ What does restoring our military actually mean?  ]]

How about:
- The removal of gays from the military (at least go back to "don't ask, don't tell")
- The end of women in close-quarters with men (i.e., on submarines)
- The permanent ban of women from combat or near-combat positions
- An end to the "dumbing down" of skills in training that are shams to "make women equal to the men"

How's that for a start?

Offline speekinout

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Re: Conservatives seek to regain control of Republican agenda
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2014, 10:42:20 PM »
It would be helpful to hear specifics about a GOP health care alternative,  a GOP immigration alternative, etc.

Not just political buzzwords. Specifics.

Exactly my point. But I want to hear those specifics from the politicians running for office, not from bloggers or posters. There are no doubt several specific proposals that could get fairly wide support - which one would be brought before Congress if the GOP takes over the Senate this year? And I want them to pick one before the election - I don't want to have a GOP majority Congress whose major effort is arguing with each other about which conservative idea to implement.

Offline speekinout

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Re: Conservatives seek to regain control of Republican agenda
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2014, 10:43:37 PM »
MAC wrote:
[[ What does restoring our military actually mean?  ]]

How about:
- The removal of gays from the military (at least go back to "don't ask, don't tell")
- The end of women in close-quarters with men (i.e., on submarines)
- The permanent ban of women from combat or near-combat positions
- An end to the "dumbing down" of skills in training that are shams to "make women equal to the men"

How's that for a start?

I like it.  :amen:

Offline MACVSOG68

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Re: Conservatives seek to regain control of Republican agenda
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2014, 08:21:16 AM »
MAC wrote:
[[ What does restoring our military actually mean?  ]]

How about:
- The removal of gays from the military (at least go back to "don't ask, don't tell")
- The end of women in close-quarters with men (i.e., on submarines)
- The permanent ban of women from combat or near-combat positions
- An end to the "dumbing down" of skills in training that are shams to "make women equal to the men"

How's that for a start?

The social engineering that's been going on in the military hasn't exactly added to our readiness capability, more so in the Navy from what I've read.  I don't think women are currently permitted to serve aboard a submarine as part of the crew.  But once you integrate the military in any fashion, it's very difficult to pull back, especially in the area of gays and expanded women's roles.

But outside of the social issues, there's much the military can do to enhance it's capabilities and readiness, including reviewing its operational command structures in the aftermath of the past 12 years of operations.  Looking at rules of engagement is a must.  With each new advancement in technology, training and operations have to be reviewed.  Better use of the dollars appropriated in R&D, building, and equipment has to be made.  And it can't just be slogans. 

If we ever go into a major operation again, we have to seriously look at the mistakes we made in both Iraq and Afghanistan (and they were serious).  We need to look at how better to integrate our operations with our active allies. 

Obama wanted the position of commander-in-chief, but he didn't want the job.
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