The long and short of it is that conservatives should adhere to our principles, but make some changes to our agenda and our tactics and help lead this country into the future.Read the rest of that. And now Friedersdorf:
My wish list includes a base that doesn’t mete out support according to how stringently a politician is criticized by the left; talk radio hosts who oppose misbegotten GOP initiatives with as much energy as they oppose Democratic measures; tolerance of dissent and engaging dissenters on the merits of their arguments, rather than heretic-hunting or accusations of disloyalty/bad-faith; a right-leaning media that engages in robust debates about the appropriate direction for the country, rather than thoughtless cheerleading or opposition bashing; and general intolerance of lies, misleading statements, and intellectual dishonesty, even when perpetrated by political or ideological allies.And you can read the rest of that, too. This is just the first of three rounds. Friedersdorf begins his history in 2000 and seemingly blames The Right for everything any Republican politician has done in the intervening nine years.
Without getting too much into specifics, I think it can be argued that the GOP began veering off-course after the 1995-96 budget showdown. By FY 1998, the GOP was voting for budgets that were big-spending, pork-laden travesties of their own stated principles.
Clinton not only won the PR wars over the budget, but he also won the PR war over Lewinsky, with Clinton-friendly media convincing millions that the entire cause of the scandal was that Republicans were puritanical anti-sex Nazis. The born-again Bush sort of leaned into that curve, so that the public image of the GOP circa 2001 was shaped by uptight wienies of the David Kuo/Michael Gerson variety.
Were I granted any one wish, I'd wish that the GOP could get back to the kind of fun-loving, devil-may-care attitude it displayed circa 1989, when RNC chairman Lee Atwater duck-walked his guitar with a rockin' band at the inaugural celebration.
More "Animal House," less Dean Wormer.