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Newt, Sarah and a New GOP


"Sometimes party loyalty asks too much," said JFK.

For Sarah Palin, party loyalty in New York's 23rd congressional district asks too much. Going rogue, Palin endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over Republican Dede Scozzafava.

On Oct. 1, Scozzafava was leading. Today, she trails Democrat Bill Owens and is only a few points ahead of Hoffman, as Empire State conservatives defect to vote their principles, not their party.

Newt Gingrich stayed on the reservation, endorsing Scozzafava, who is pro-choice and pro-gay rights, and hauls water for the unions.

Scourged by the right, Newt accused conservatives of going over the hill in the battle to save the republic, just to get a buzz on. "If we are in the business about feeling good about ourselves while our country gets crushed, then I probably made the wrong decision." How Scozzafava would prevent America's being "crushed" was unexplained.

The 23rd recalls a famous Senate race 40 years ago. Rep. Charles Goodell was picked by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller to fill the seat of Robert Kennedy in 1968. To hold onto it, Goodell swerved sharp left, emerging as an upstate Xerox copy of Jacob Javits, the most liberal Republican in the Senate.

In 1970, Goodell got both the GOP and Liberal Party nominations, and faced liberal Democrat Richard Ottinger. This left a huge vacuum into which Conservative Party candidate James Buckley, brother of William F., smartly moved.

Assessing the field, the Nixon White House concluded that, with liberals split, Goodell could not win. But Buckley might. Signals were flashed north that loyalty to the president was not inconsistent with voting for Buckley. To send the signal in the clear, Vice President Agnew described Charlie Goodell to a New Orleans newspaper as "the Christine Jorgensen of the Republican Party."

The former George Jorgensen, Christine had undergone the most radical sex-change operation in recorded history.

Liberals went berserk, calling on New Yorkers to rally to Goodell, who began surging, at Ottinger's expense. Buckley scooted between them both to win. Hoffman may also. But even if he does not, Palin, a conservative of the heart, did the right thing.

And the GOP has been sent a necessary message.

For, according to Gallup, 40 percent of Americans now identify as conservatives — only 20 percent as Republicans. If the GOP is not the conservative party, it will never be America's Party.

But what does "conservative" mean in 2009? And where do conservatives come down on the great issues? For what the right is against — any repeal of the Bush tax cuts, the $787 billion stimulus, Obamacare — is much clearer than what the right stands for.

In 2010, this may not matter, as the Obamakins rule the roost and will be held accountable, and Republicans can unite around what they oppose.

Year 2012, however, is problematic.

Then the party must declare itself. And the reality is that the GOP remains a house divided.

What, for example, is the conservative view of the war in Iraq and the Bush economic policies that cost the party both Houses of Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008?

Why did President Bush leave with 27 percent approval? Did Bush policies the GOP once applauded have anything to do with it?

Was Bush free trade responsible for the decline of the dollar and the loss of one in four manufacturing jobs? Is globalization still good for America and NAFTA the deal of the century?

What is the conservative position on reaching out to Russia, as BarackObama has done, on bringing Georgia and Ukraine into NATO, and on canceling that anti-missile system Bush planned in Poland?

"We're all Georgians now!" John McCain declared. Are we?

What is the party position on a "long war" in Afghanistan?

For if America has soured on the war and opposes more troops today, will America be enthusiastic about soldiering on in 2012, after 1,000 or 2,000 more American dead have been shipped home?

Do Republicans support negotiating with Tehran, or cutting off gasoline and starting up the escalator to air strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities that are today under U.N. inspection?

Will the GOP propose to stimulate the economy with tax cuts after four straight trillion-dollar deficits? Will the Bush line, "They'll pay for themselves," still be credible after Bush's deficits?

If the largest federal outlays are for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense and interest on the debt, followed by education, housing, homeland security and transportation, where would the GOP use the knife to balance the budget?

According to Gallup, America is moving closer to the Republican position on regulations, abortion, guns and union power. But half of all Americans now favor cuts in legal immigration. Are Republicans willing to call for a moratorium on immigration to tighten the labor market and force wages up? Or does the Chamber of Commerce still call the tune?

Ronald Reagan arrived with new ideas that fit the needs of his time. Where are the Republican ideas that fit the needs of this time?

Patrick Buchanan is the author of the new book "Churchill, Hitler and 'The Unnecessary War." To find out more about Patrick Buchanan, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



2 Comments | Post Comment
Scuttlebut has it that Newt Gingrich is considering a 2012 run. I hope not.
Most Americans truly want a third party candidate as neither the GOP or Dems fit their mindset anymore.
The problem is.....there is no one emerging as the ideal candidate who can rouse the masses and who has the leadership and money to cast out the two parties. Sarah Palin is not the answer. I hope to heaven that in 2012, we are again not forced to make a choice between two evils.
Comment: #1
Posted by: frantic
Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:13 AM
So many questions, Byuke. How about some answers? As "frantic" says, need some leadership here... By the way, I and many like me identify ourselves as "conservatives." Increasingly we conservatives are worried about the environment and what the environment our grandkids and theirs and theirs will look, feel, taste, and smell like. I don't want them to inherit a planet consisting of a forest-bare, toxic garbage dump surrounded by a big parking lot surrounded by sewers that used to be living oceans. I want them to inherit a world with polar bears, tigers, and lions actually living in the wild. I want them to learn in their place of worship that we respect all of God's beautiful creatures and don't send them to extinction just because they can't survive in a world that worships the false religion of making a buck and breeding more and more people. I want the kind of world a true conservative wants. I'm not interested in the latest phonied-up program of hate and ignorance-based gimmicks some Republican or right-wing apologist for the wholesale destruction of God's world is offering up for the sale of the moment.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Masako
Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:00 PM
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