Today, prompted by an anecdote at the American Thinker, The Other McCain (the conservative Hunter S. Thompson for today) wrote about finding and convincing future ex-Democrats that conservatism is the shiznit. Also, on RedState pilgrim wrote that the Thugocracy Will Yield a Bumper Crop of Ex-Democrats.
I think that I shall never see,
A billboard lovely as a tree Future Ex-Democrat.
(Ogden Nash, mostly)
Like many another unique snowflake, I am going to apply my own unique point of view to the problem. Here goes.
Luckily or not, most Republicans were raised as Republicans. Their parents were Republicans. Their parents' parents were Republicans. The party is like mother's milk to them, a comfort and a refuge. The other, rarer kind of Republican is the convert from either political don't-give-a-dammism or the Democrat side of the aisle. I am going to be writing about Democrats in this article, but everything applies equally to don't-give-a-dammers. Future ex-Democrats eventually get turned off by something in the Democrat party. It may be the economic or regulatory insanity, the alliances with America's enemies at war, the vicious abuse of those whose opinions differ from the mob's consensus, the egalitarian attack on equality, the Orwellian torture of language to mean its opposite, the shameless hero worship and narcissism of the movement, the treatment of women, gays and blacks as pet minorities who vote for Democrats but should really shut up, the morally inverted insistence on killing children in the womb plus saving terrorists and serial killers from the death penalty, or the general acceptance of "the lie" as the way the world is supposed to work; something about Democrats turns Future ex-Democrats off.
When that turn-off happens, as it inevitably will, one of two things happens. Either the turned-off Democrat gets homesick and rejoins the Democrats, while tabling the turn-off. Or the turned-off Democrat finds something about the Republicans that is different enough, and compelling enough, to convince him to sever part or all his attachment to the Democrat Party. With some Democrats, this process will occur several times. With others there is only one chance.
So we had better seize that chance!
To effectively nurture turned-off Democrats and grow them into ex-Democrats and possible Republicans, Republicans need to be ready. They need to know their strengths and the corresponding Democrat weaknesses. They need to be tough instead of wishy-washy politically correct nincompoops. In other words, Republicans who wish to recruit Future ex-Democrats need to distinguish themselves from Democrats, who are wishy-washy politically correct nincompoops.
Remember, if the turned-off Democrat wants to find someone who is just like a Democrat they would simply rejoin their old party. Imitating Democrats does not fool anyone. It just brings admiration from the media and Democrats (but I repeat myself) who do not have Republican best interests at heart.
There are three main appeals that Republicans can make to turned-off Democrats, corresponding to the three legs of the conservative stool: Fiscal; Social; and National Security.
Fiscal Conservatism and Free Market Economics
As R. S. McCain points out, the biggest problem with Democrats in 2009, the year of the not-a-stimulus Stimulus and the $1.8 Trillion deficit (46% of spending and trending up), is their numbers don't add up. Democrat economics have not ever worked, do not work now, and will never work. They are based on the same old discredited Keynesian, fascist, and socialist caveman-economics nostrums that have failed in every modern country in which they've been tried. To the extent that the US travels (once again) down the socialist road, that will be more wasted time, economically speaking. It always is. Compare their economics, and the economics of the middling Republicans-lite who currently dominate the leadership councils of the Republican party, to the free market economics that Reagan employed to power the American economy into 30 years of growth, that JFK used to jump start the economy in 1961, and that the underrated Harding used to recover from the Depression of 1920-21 and usher in the roaring twenties. In one year the US economy suffered a 21% contraction in GDP and unemployment up +133% from 2.1M to 4.9M, now the incident is forgotten because Harding's approach fixed it so quickly.
Of course there is an alternative to a socialist economy that Obama and his advisors may take. Often called corporatism or mercantilism, or fascism if you're being technical, this path combines private ownership and government control of companies, with profits being privatized and losses coming out of the taxpayer's wallet. That sounds like a bailout; doesn't it? To the extent that the Democrat team tries to turn the American economy into another fascist command economy like that of China it will be an economic loss, and a loss of freedoms for all.
There is an unpleasant memory from 2008 for many Republicans. The Ron Paul campaign demonstrated how strong the appeal of free markets can be. The Ron Paul movement tried to take the Republican party over and failed. There were some parts of the movement that Republicans were right to resist. But Ron Paul's economics were the only economics espoused by any candidate in the elections that spoke to what was happening. And to a large degree the same excitement brought to the surface by Ron Paul's campaign has energized the TEA Party movement, a popular grassroots movement for sound economics in a world of fiscal insanity.
Republicans might desire to stick with the Keynesian ideas of the past because they are familiar, but that would be a mistake. Government stimuli have never been known to actually work. The Great Depression was not fixed with government spending. The opposite is true. It was an example of amazingly effective government propaganda and deficit financed payoffs (that we are still paying for).
Republicans should not constantly invoke Reagan, but they should follow his sound economic principles. The free market economics of the Chicago school or the Hayekian and Misesian schools were behind Reagan's greatest successes. If Republicans want to succeed they should wake up and embrace free market (libertarian) economics. It's where the TEA Parties are leading. Republicans should not ignore it. Start at these sites.
Social Conservatism: Life, Liberty, and Property
Republicans believe in individual freedom as opposed to coerced sameness. We believe in law and order and politeness, and that as long as people don't trespass on each others' life, liberty, or property, or break the laws and duties of free men in a free society under the rule of law, they can pretty much do what they like. That does not mean license to live in anarchy, with chaos and thuggery the result, but the respect of armed men and women for each other's unique ideas, opinions, and abilities.
As a side note, this is why Republicans stink at enforcing Party uniformity in Congressional votes. They are all individualists with their own opinions, and they rebel against attempts to rein them in.
The idea of equality as conservatives and Republicans understand it is that we are all unique, more unique than snowflakes, but are treated equally by the laws, with equally applicable individual duties, and are equal in the eyes of God. In nations before the US came along laws applied differently depending on who you were. A noble could ride a horse. A peasant would be flogged for riding a horse. Only the king could wear purple. Only a knight could wear boots above mid-calf. Alcohol couldn't be purchased on Sundays unless you were a noble and member of a private club. A gentleman could flog a peasant without punishment or payment, but if a peasant hit a gentleman the punishment was death. These examples of different justice for different classes of people are an example of inequality under the law. The principle of equality under the law means that as long as people obey the laws they will be treated equally, and if they break the laws they will be treated just like others who break the same laws.
This is the intent at least. Sometimes the execution falls short. But that does not damn the intent, but rather the performance. And performance can be reformed and improved, and is over time. After all, Republicans managed to get rid of slavery over the objections of the Democrat party, passed the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments against the Democrat Jim Crow laws, and wrote and voted for the bill that became the 1964 Civil Rights Act in higher percentages than the Democrats did. Slavery and its successor, Jim Crow, was the greatest injustice in the American land, and it was banned almost entirely by Republicans.
Abortion is the new great injustice that kills over a million children every year, including one out of three pregnancies of black mothers. That's true, by the way. Look it up. And I think 33% killed out of a population qualifies as genocide under the commonly accepted definitions. Yet Democrats, once again, oppose the rights of a certain class of persons. This time instead of denying a class of people, black skinned people, their liberty, they deny a class of people, unwanted or inconvenient children, the right to live.
Egalitarianism: Republicans are opposed to the other concept of equality, called egalitarianism or "equality of results." Under the concept of egalitarianism, the government takes from some and gives to others. This is a violation of property rights. If a private person did it this would be called theft. But when the government does it some claim this makes it okay. It does not. Government involvement does not turn theft into something good; it only turns the government itself into an offender against equal justice, which should protect all equally but is corrupted by a corrupt government.
Life, Liberty, and Property are the three most important human rights according to Republicans. Sir William Blackstone chose them way back in 1765, because as he pointed out, when a tyrant has the right on a whim to take away Life, Liberty (freedom to travel), or Property, then none of the human rights are worth a bucket of warm spit. So these rights are jealously guarded and none have the right to take them away on a whim, but only for an offense against the law and after due deliberation by a duly appointed jury.
Some Republicans may not believe in God themselves, but all Republicans fiercely guard the right of Americans to believe in God in private and in public. They realize that America was founded by people seeking the freedom to practice their religion, not by people seeking to prevent others from practicing their religion. This modern state opposition to religion in public is opposed to everything the founders stood for, was invented by the racist, anti-Catholic bigot Hugo Black, and Republicans would reverse this state hostility to religion in an instant if they could.
Republicans believe in strict Constitutionalism. They believe that the Constitution was intentionally written to be a short document, with a very short list of enumerated powers for the federal government, because Madison and the rest knew the larger the federal government got the more it would steal rights and freedoms away from individuals and the states. This is the way to totalitarianism and tyranny. The United States, founded in rebellion against tyranny, must not descend into it once again. And on the question of how tightly to adhere to the plain language of the Constitution Republicans believe that you either follow the plain language of the Constitution or you're just making it up as you go. There is no middle ground between following the Constitution and making up law by whim.
Religion, constitutionalism, and rights and duties, are important for Republicans because not only do they mean something in themselves, but they also promise that Republicans actually have standards other than the rule of convenience and falsehoods that Democrats use to justify their choices. This reliability and steadfastness is more attractive than you might believe to turned-off Democrats.
National Security: We'd Rather Trade, but We're Willing to Fight for What We Believe
To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.(George Washington)
Republicans generally believe that the United States will only survive and prosper if it maintains its territorial integrity. In other words it must not allow parts of the country or the waters adjoining it to become lawless or governed by foreign laws. The Constitution defines two of the federal government's powers as military self-defense and control of immigration and citizenship.
This means that the borders should be enforced. Illegal immigration must be stopped. Legal immigration, on the other hand, should be fixed. Right now legal immigration policies for countries like Mexico are draconian. They need to be repaired. But the solution to a bad law is not to break the law, but to fix it.
This also means that the US should use its advanced military technology to make America and its allies safer. Missile defense is just such a technology that would prevent some nuclear weapons from getting through to kill people. There is nothing wrong with such a defensive weapon. It would never prevent 100% of Russia's ICBMs from getting through the defensive shields anyway, but it might stop a small flight of nukes from a rogue nation such as Iran or North Korea, both of which have active nuclear weapons programs and long-range ballistic missile programs. To refuse to defend ourselves with the best technology we have is madness.
When the US gets into a war Republicans support the US military until the end of the war, whether it was a Republican fight or not. We don't believe in proportional response; we believe in overkill. Republicans believe that if you go to war with an enemy, first you kill him dead. Then you kill the corpse. Then you bomb the greasy stain. Then you plant grass over the bare dirt and put up a marble statue of a man waving a sword and perched on a rearing horse to memorialize it. There will be no negotiations other than acceptance of our surrender terms once the war starts. The American way of war is to win. That's all there is to it! Any other choice is un-American. To choose America as an enemy is to choose death. That's how it works when Republicans are in charge.
Democrats behave the opposite way. A country that declares its enmity to America will be wheedled and bribed with incredible treasures. See Iran. And when America goes to war with a Republican president in office, Democrats will side with the enemy against their own country. Because to Democrats the political opposition to a Republican president is the most important thing in the world, they will gladly betray their own country and its soldiers to enemies while at war without ever feeling a twinge of guilt. The ends justify any means, no matter how treasonous. This behavior turns off a lot of Democrats in time of war and Republicans should always be ready to exploit it. This is what drove me away from the Democrats.
Of course Republicans should prosecute treason when it happens. Unfortunately they have not been doing so, because they are scared of political in-fighting under the media spotlight. They should not be. Prosecution is the only way to discourage treason when Democrats are in the opposition.
If a nation is friendly America will be the best friend it ever had. Republicans don't believe in foreign aid; we realize the empirical fact that aid money just goes to line the pockets of dictators or pays for troops to oppress and plunder the citizens. Republicans believe in trade with countries because that creates jobs, freedom, and lasting wealth and raises the people out of poverty, instead of just turning a dictator into another billionaire. It also creates markets for American products, and brings in a multiplicity of foreign products for Americans to enjoy.
Democrats behave the opposite way. A country that stands by America's side in time of trouble will be betrayed, or treated like a pet poodle by Democrats. See Iraq.
Please forgive my long-windedness. I hope that somewhere amongst all the extrapolation and digression something has proved useful for Republicans who want to improve their ability to recruit Future Ex-Democrats and convince them that Republicans are the principled, truthful, honest, hopeful, predictable, kind, and winning party.