Rove: Republicans Must Stand for Something

Karl Rove has an op-ed in today’s WSJ entitled, “The GOP Must Stand for Something.”

I followed the link to it from memeorandum mostly so as to make a “now he wants to stand for something” comment. After reading the piece, though, the thing that stands out is that it doesn’t tell us what the GOP should stand for. Or, indeed, talk about public policy in anything but the most tangential way, such as, “John McCain and Republicans will prevail only if they convince voters that there are profound consequences at stake in Iraq, and that more and better jobs will follow from the GOP’s approach of lowering taxes, opening trade, and ending earmarks and other pro-growth policies.” So, what’s important isn’t actually standing for something but, rather, drawing vague contrasts.

The string of defeats [in recent congressional elections] should cure Republicans of the habit of simply shouting “liberal! liberal! liberal!” in hopes of winning an election. They need to press a reform agenda full of sharp contrasts with the Democrats.

But, of course, Rove’s legacy is precisely the opposite of that. Indeed, the editorial advises a continuation of Rovism while denouncing it.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, US Politics, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. RW Rogers says:

    Hmm. I’m not voting for McCain, and I don’t particularly like Karl Rove, but your comment is way off-base, James. True, there aren’t details in Rove’s commentary, but the outlines of policy ideas are there: Iraq (McCain and Obama don’t exactly agree on the issue), free trade (as opposed to renegotiating existing agreements), taxes (opposing Obama’s stated intent to raise them), ending earmarks (something both the Congressional GOP and Democrats refuse to consider). And you say those few ideas aren’t standing for something?

    Wow, James. I guess your transformation from being outside the beltway to being one completely immersed inside is complete.

  2. James Joyner says:

    the outlines of policy ideas are there: Iraq (McCain and Obama don’t exactly agree on the issue), free trade (as opposed to renegotiating existing agreements), taxes (opposing Obama’s stated intent to raise them), ending earmarks (something both the Congressional GOP and Democrats refuse to consider). And you say those few ideas aren’t standing for something?

    But we’re already emphasizing those issues. None of that is new or even a shift in emphasis.

    Rove is arguing about optics rather than policy.

  3. Bithead says:

    Rove is arguing about optics rather than policy.

    Likely because he doesn’t consider Repubican policy at issue. McCain, however, along with a number of other RINOs are not doing te best job of implementing that policy, or explaining it.

  4. legion says:

    The modern GOP (and yes, I’m discussing their actions, not how they are on paper) has exactly ONE overriding precept:
    Give more money to rich people.

    There is no principle so sacrosanct that it can not be, and has not been, stepped on to maintain that one item. Abortion? McCain and Rudy both have numerous quotes supporting, or at least refusing to override, Roe V. Wade. They had to to get moderate voters on their side. Small government? Get real. National security? This is the outfit that thinks keeping people from bringing bottled water onto a plane is more important than keeping major port facilities from being bought out by foreign conglomerations. How’s that search for Bin Laden going? Boy, it’s a good thing we eliminated the Taliban, isn’t it?

    Individual privacy and responsibility? I just threw up a little in my mouth. Fiscal sanity? These are the people giving millions in relief to the ones _making_ obviously-flawed home loans, and will never worry about where their next meal is coming from, rather than the people who will actually not have homes anymore. Immigration? Please. Ask Michelle Malkin what she thinks about amnesty.

    But what’s the one thing Bush has consistently championed throughout his term? The policy bone he won’t let go of? Not Social Security reform. Not fighting terrorism. Not building democracies. Not even Mars, bitches.

    Making his tax cuts permanent.

    Bush built this house. McCain pledges four more years of it. That’s what the GOP stands for: more money for rich people.

  5. Bithead says:

    Give more money to rich people.

    Let’s get this straight.
    It’s not the government’s money.
    It belongs to the person the government is taking it from.

    You’re not ‘giving them more’… you’re confiscating less.

  6. mike says:

    “You’re confiscating less” – I agree but you are just going to have to confiscate more in the future when you run up the deficits and spending like the current administration – spending is out of control – I thought conservatives / repubs were fiscal conservatives? What happened?

  7. What happened? Weak and flawed leadership, corruption, and a great deal of effective propoganda from the other side. Don’t get too cocky about it though. Republicans do not have an exclusive claim to corruption or weak and flawed leadership.

  8. Bithead says:

    “You’re confiscating less” – I agree but you are just going to have to confiscate more in the future when you run up the deficits and spending like the current administration – spending is out of control – I thought conservatives / repubs were fiscal conservatives? What happened?

    Several things.
    1: The war, and the need for that to be dealt with. Defict spending is not an unusual happening during a war.

    2: Democrats. Or, more specifically, a thin enough majority of Republicans… a good many of which are RINOS, all of which made it needful to engage in ‘go along-get along” politics, which always runs up the debt meter.

    Answer: The only play that’s not been tried in the last 100 years; A strong enough Republican majority where go along-get along is not a requirment, and where the Republicans aren’t beholding to heir own left as they have been.

  9. Bithead says:

    As to ‘you’re going to have to confiscate more in future’… nonsense.

    Take all the money the top 1% make. I mean ALL of it. Every last farthing. Even in total, it won’t make a small dent in the debt. What it WILL do is kill investment, and thereby the economy.

  10. rory talbot says:

    Yes, what the congress needed was quote, MORE CONSERVATIVES. What a joke! These GOP morons all voted lockstep on EVERY ISSUE with the biggest nincompoop Administration in the history of the United States. You’ve drunk the punch if you believe that.

  11. Jim says:

    Can’t wait until the Dems open a serious can of whoopass on the Repuglicans in the fall. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.

    Of course the Dems are heir to the same sort of failings, but they are not quite so eager to sell the entire nation to foreign interests. It will be a breath of fresh air.