The Republican Party is not fighting for the heart and soul of the nation because the Republican Party is fighting for its own heart and soul. Made worse, many in the Republican base continue to idolize some of the men and women in the Republican Party who have caused the very problems the party now faces. It is adrift morally, intellectually, and physically with a depressed base of activists, an out of touch base of rich donors, and a leadership that has spent more time in the Virginia and DC area than the Army of the Potomac under George B. McClellan.
The Republican Leaders choose to talk a good game, but have very little in the way of an offensive strategy other than to offend their base. Made worse, while spending time in Washington talking to and with the "Beltway Burkeans" as my friend Ben Domenech calls them, they've drifted more and more to the repackaged, failed ideas that doom all Republican candidates — the ideas that see them run as Democrats-Lite.
As Domenech noted in his Transom (please tell me you've subscribed), "The Beltway Burkeans talk a good game about shifting the right’s coalition, but the truth is that their agenda represents a much more modest shift, in large part a reworking of the same ideas they’ve been pitching for years."
In particular, led by the likes of Michael Gerson and Pete Wehner, the "Beltway Burkeans" are pushing an agenda that relates to few outside the beltway other than upper income white people, though with some worthy pursuits included. Their ideas include, again from Domenech,
shoving through the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill, expanding environmental and anti-emission regulations, guilt-ridding prison reform, trying to convince Hollywood to promote marriage and family, and making the case for getting involved in Syria is going to be an agenda that matches up with the lived experience of Americans in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
Meanwhile, the rest of us fight for more independence from Washington and more individual liberty. Washington Republicans have deluded themselves into thinking Democrats in charge of government is the problem and not government itself. The party elite more and more advocate a technocratic paternalism with business like efficiency instead of putting trust in the people.
The Republicans in charge of the party at the national level show too much love of their super rich donors, too much contempt for their base, and too little investment in changing the way Washington works since so many of their spouses, children, and friends profit from the city like Harry Reid's family.
To paraphrase Mr. Lincoln to Gen. McClellan, if the GOP doesn't intend to use the party, the base would like to borrow it for a time. The party elite, we should remember, often holds its base in the same high regard Gen. McClellan held President Lincoln.
The base must draw battle lines again like we did in 2010. We must find disruptive conservative candidates who will fight for smaller government and individual liberty. We must find candidates who do not aim to make government more efficient, but aim to curb its powers and reduce its role.
For this reason, at this year's RedState Gathering, I am inviting candidates from across the nation who are prepared to challenge incumbent Republicans and establishment favorites in open seats. The candidates are running for either the Senate or the House in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Tennessee, and more. They probably will not all win. The establishment will be lined up heavily against most. Their friends in the media, the lobbyist community, and even among some of the professional tea party set will try to stop them.
Even though some will lose, some are going to win. Think of the Senate without Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz. Now imagine we can add three more or five more or six more to their ranks — disruptive candidates not willing to play by old rules designed to protect entrenched, bipartisan corrupt interests.
If we are to take the country back we must take back the Republican Party first. I aim to do just that. I hope you will join me. If you want to meet these candidates, come to the RedState Gathering. Together, let's recreate the energy of 2010 for 2014.