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Rick Perry’s CPAC Delusion

Via Fox Nation:

"The popular media narrative is that this country has shifted away from conservative ideals, as evidenced by the last two presidential elections. That’s what they think. That’s what say. That might be true if Republicans had actually nominated conservative candidates in 2008 and 2012," Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) said in his address at CPAC this afternoon.

No doubt, this is a popular position at CPAC and amongst many in the GOP base.  However, the problem for the Republican Party remains not that their candidates are insufficiently conservative, it is that their candidates have been insufficiently interested in governance.

The quality of the GOP’s 2012 candidate was pretty low and beyond that, the GOP was in a bad position in 2008 not matter who the nominee was.

On the ideological spectrum, despite crazy rhetoric from some (for example), the honest to gosh truth is that the Democrats, especially at the Presidential level, have moved rightward.  Further, the GOP’s problem on the ideological front is not the lack of conservatism, it is that their leadership has started acting as if the sound bites are unalloyed truth (e.g., tax cuts are not the answer for everything).

The best hope that the GOP has at this point, in truth, is that (as often happens) that the public simply gets tired of Democrats in the White House and then only has one option:  to vote for Republicans.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Mark Ivey says:

    Rick Perry needs another drink..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  2. Scott says:

    Rick Perry (unfortunately, my Governor) has had a very fortunate political life. Blessed by incredibly weak political opponents with state finances kept afloat by the Federal Government, a sea of oil, and lots of borrowing, he has made himself a very comfortable life as a lifelong State employee. So lifelong that he pulls downs a $92,000 state pension while drawing a Governor’s salary.

    Yep, a true conservative. The only conservative part about him is his social conservatism which I suspect is also purely situational.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    the honest to gosh truth is that the Democrats, especially at the Presidential level, have moved rightward.

    Steven, we all know Obama is somewhere to the left of Lenin and your obfuscations aren’t helping.

    (got my word for the day in)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  4. deathcar2000 says:

    And how do you get your candidates elected while attacking half of the country and appealling to an ever shrinking base. . . more conservative positions on things isnt working to sway voters.

    The conserative base has written Bush Sr, Bush Jr, Jeb Bush, Mc Cain, and Mitt off as swishy moderates. Who are these other great conserative heros that have yet to arrive? Marco Rubio has already failed the grade by supporting immagration reform. Chris Chrisie drop’d the ball when failing to attack Obama during clean up/recovery of the north east. Rick Perry had three great points to make and couldnt remember the third. Paul Ryan didnt win and therefore not a conservitave. Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal. . . . well, do i need to say any more.

    The GoP needs to stop blaming the Canidates and start looking at their policy positions and with that list up there….. well maybe blame the canidates also.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Al says:

    Isn’t this the same thing we hear every time a Republican candidate looses? Isn’t somebody always claiming that real conservatives never loose with the cherry picked election results to back it up? I wasn’t just imagining that, right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  6. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    The relationship between “Republican” and “Conservative” is not one of synonyms, but of a Venn diagram. While there is considerable overlap, there are quite a few who are one but not the other. That is why Chris Christie wasn’t invited to CPAC — he’s a very successful Republican who isn’t much of a Conservative.

    And that is not meant as pejorative; he’s in an environment that’s very hostile to conservatism. He’s as conservative as he can be and still succeed in NJ.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  7. gVOR08 says:

    Further, the GOP’s problem … is that their leadership has started acting as if the sound bites are unalloyed truth

    That’s always the problem with conservatives, they believe their own BS.

    The best hope that the GOP has at this point, in truth, is that (as often happens) that the public simply gets tired of Democrats in the White House and then only has one option: to vote for Republicans.

    It’s been my observation for the last 50 years that the presidency defaults to Republicans. Probably because they’re the “party of business” and business has all the money. We elect Democrats after Rs screw up: Watergate, the Bush I recession, the Bush II recession (please God don’t let Jeb Bush get elected). Then when the Dems gets the ship righted, we go back to Rs ’til they screw up again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  8. ptfe says:

    @deathcar2000: ” Who are these other great conservative heroes that have yet to arrive?” Clearly, you haven’t met Reconstituted Reagan Corpse sporting a Conservative(R) SuperSmartener Brain Implant.(TM)

    (Last seen at a diner with Elvis.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. Tsar Nicholas says:

    It’s tough to overcome politics by pure racial identity and the fact that the minimum voting age is about 15 years too low. Then obviously there are the deleterious effects of the liberal media and left-wing academia. It all adds up. And it won’t end well, but that’s for another time and place.

    As for the whole conservative vs. non-conservative dichotomy, shizzle, that’s one of the most numbing political ironies in history. The reality is that liberals in America are a micro demographic. Hell, not even liberals actually are liberal. Not if their own jobs, their own businesses, their own homes and neighborhoods, their own investment portfolios, their own families, their own schooling choices, etc., are at stake. Very few people are that dumb or that loopy. And once you get outside of media-academe circles the numbers shrink further. It’s the case of a tiny tail, waging a big dog.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  10. deathcar2000 says:

    @ptfe:

    Oh yeah, i seen it, just add water and poof instant Reagen. When i open the package i thought “man thats small, that cant be the whole Reagan” but i let him soak in the sink for 20 minutes and sure enough the living breathing glorious reconstituted Reagan was right there ready to topple the Soviet Empire.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. Murray says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Remarkably completely … besides the point. As usual. (You even managed to bring up race in this context :o))

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  12. deathcar2000 says:

    Commrad Tsar has crafted a plan for the MotherLand that will undoubtly work. It seems if we just supress the proletariat vote and the GoP correct party canidates will win.

    Im with you commrad, we will taste victory as soon as we supress the voting rights of at least half the populace. For The MotherLand

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. wr says:

    I don’t understand… the presidential elections aren’t proof that America has turned against conservative ideals, because there hasn’t been a conservative nominated… but if conservatism was so popular, wouldn’t the voters of the more conservative of the two parties go ahead and nominate someone who is conservative?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  14. Barry says:

    @deathcar2000: “And how do you get your candidates elected while attacking half of the country and appealling to an ever shrinking base. . . more conservative positions on things isnt working to sway voters. ”

    Voter suppression and gerrymandering. Then add lots and lots of money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. Barry says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “It’s tough to overcome politics by pure racial identity…”

    Yes, the Southern Strategy worked fine for the GOP from ’68 to ’92, and is still yielding good results for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. Franklin says:

    The question that might be asked of Perry is, “how come a True Conservative ™ didn’t win the Republican primary?” After all, if you can’t even win a primary when being a conservative in the more conservative party, how are you going to win the general election when decidedly non-conservative people get to vote as well?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  17. An Interested Party says:

    It’s tough to overcome politics by pure racial identity and the fact that the minimum voting age is about 15 years too low. Then obviously there are the deleterious effects of the liberal media and left-wing academia.

    Are there any worse victims than certain conservatives? A black single parent mom in the inner city working at a dead-end job or a struggling Native American with no prospects or hopes for the future on a reservation or a handicapped former athlete with no chance of ever walking again would show less self-pity and certainly would whine far less than this WATB…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  18. M. Bouffant says:

    It’s a twisted logic that if the Republican candidate isn’t conservative enough, the voters will then choose the Democraticsocialist /fascist yada yada candidate, as they have for five of the last six Presidential elections.

    It was silly enough they denied what the polls indicated during the election, but do any of them really think Obama wouldn’t have gotten 60% of the vote if Rick Santorum or Michele Bachmann had been nominated?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. Ryan M. Spires says:

    However, the problem for the Republican Party remains not that their candidates are insufficiently conservative, it is that their candidates have been insufficiently interested in governance.

    That seems to be the very thing that cannot get across to any of the conservative channels. Which makes me wonder:

    1. Is it more advantageous for them to “spread themselves too thin” and lose credibility in the immediate turn as a way to “shake off” the years under President Bush?

    2. Is the rightward shift even an honest reflection of the voting population?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0