The ‘New Conservative Manifesto’ Doesn’t Sound New at All

Meet the new GOP, same as the old GOP.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin (R) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) recite the Pledge of Allegiance at a rally supported by military veterans, Tea Party activists and Republicans, regarding the government shutdown on October 13, 2013 in Washington, DC. The rally was centered around re-opening national memorials, including the World War Two Memorial in Washington DC, though the rally also focused on the government shutdown and frustrations against President Obama.
National Journal
Emma Roller
Add to Briefcase
Emma Roller
May 16, 2014, 12:50 p.m.

As the con­ven­tion­al wis­dom goes, the Re­pub­lic­an Party is in the midst of an iden­tity crisis. Should the party stick with the so­cially con­ser­vat­ive val­ues of its older base, or should it em­brace the new rash of liber­tari­an­ism?

If a doc­u­ment draf­ted this week by party lead­ers is any in­dic­a­tion, they aren’t ex­actly giv­ing their views a makeover. At a se­cret­ive event Thursday, con­ser­vat­ives gathered in Tyso­ns Corner, Va., to plot their strategy for the elec­tion year. As Robert Costa re­por­ted, the group gathered to ex­press their dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the GOP es­tab­lish­ment. But go­ing by the ideas that this meet­ing pro­duced, they shouldn’t be too wor­ried — their goals are vir­tu­ally identic­al to Con­ser­vat­ive Clas­sic.

Now, Time‘s Zeke Miller is re­port­ing that the tea party has re­tali­ated with its own mani­festo:

At­tendees agreed on a nine-page doc­u­ment out­lining the “con­sti­tu­tion­al con­ser­vat­ive” prin­ciples for which they be­lieve the Re­pub­lic­an Party needs to stand, in­clud­ing lower taxes, a stronger mil­it­ary and op­pos­i­tion to abor­tion and same-sex mar­riage.

Lower taxes, a stronger mil­it­ary, fight­ing abor­tion, and op­pos­ing same-sex mar­riage — how new, ex­actly, are these ten­ets of the Re­pub­lic­an Party? If the GOP were a soda com­pany, its slo­gan might be: “Great new look, same great taste!”

Even Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has been openly walk­ing back his po­s­i­tion on gay mar­riage — avoid­ing talk of a fed­er­al ban in fa­vor of the “con­sti­tu­tion­al” ar­gu­ment to let the states de­cide. Judging by re­cent ac­tions in Idaho and Arkan­sas, that might be an un­wise bet for so­cial con­ser­vat­ives to make.

An­oth­er piece of con­ven­tion­al wis­dom is that both parties need to ap­peal to young voters if they want to win elec­tions. A re­cent Pew poll found that half of mil­len­ni­als now identi­fy as in­de­pend­ent, but they still tend to vote along Demo­crat­ic lines.

There is room for the Re­pub­lic­an Party to seize upon young people’s de­sire for a more mod­er­ate polit­ic­al al­tern­at­ive, if only party lead­ers would tone down their rhet­or­ic on so­cial is­sues. Op­pos­ing gay mar­riage and abor­tion may be part of the con­ser­vat­ive con­science, but they are also polit­ic­al losers when you’re try­ing to tar­get young voters.

This mani­festo isn’t a doc­u­ment that lays out con­ser­vat­ive plat­forms so much as shows how con­fused Re­pub­lic­an lead­ers are about which val­ues they should trum­pet and which they should put on mute.

What We're Following See More »
PLANS TO CURB ITS POWER
Pruitt Confirmed As EPA Head
3 days ago
BREAKING
WOULD HAVE REPLACED FLYNN
Harward Turns Down NSC Job
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward turned down President Donald Trump's offer to be national security adviser Thursday, depriving the administration of a top candidate for a critical foreign policy post days after Trump fired Michael Flynn." Among the potential reasons: his family, his lack of assurances that he could build his own team, and that "the White House seems so chaotic."

Source:
REVERSES OBAMA RULE
House Votes to Let States Block Planned Parenthood Funds
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"The House passed a resolution Thursday re-opening the door for states to block Planned Parenthood from receiving some federal funds. The measure, which passed 230-188, would reverse a last-minute rule from the Obama administration that said conservative states can't block the women's health and abortion provider from receiving family planning dollars under the Title X program."

Source:
FORMER PROSECUTOR
Alexander Acosta to Get Nod for Labor
4 days ago
THE LATEST
12:30 PRESS CONFERENCE
New Labor Secretary Announcement Coming
4 days ago
BREAKING
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login