In the ’80s, a friend of mine knew a Russian dissident who was always heatedly denouncing the Soviet Union and assuring everyone that he had been completely immune to Soviet propaganda. Then one day, after returning from the Wright Brothers museum in North Carolina, he smugly informed my friend that Americans have their own propaganda: “You think the Wright brothers invented flight–ha ha–everyone knows that was the Mozhaisky brothers!”
This is what Republicans are like today. They swear up and down not to trust the liberal media, but as soon as that very media demonize some Republican, half our party is ready to dump him. Currently the Republican liberals would most like to see gone is Dick Cheney. There’s a basketful of Republicans I’d be very pleased to see removed from office. Dick Cheney ain’t one of them.
Another candidate liberals told us was a disaster for the party was Ronald Wilson Reagan. In 1976, Newsweek‘s Hal Bruno said Republican “party loyalists” feared that Reagan would produce “a Goldwater-style debacle from which there is no comeback.” Though the “Republican right wing” was gleeful at the prospect of a real conservative like Reagan purifying the party, Bruno wrote, “it could be a purification indistinguishable from suicide.”
In polls of the Democratic and Republican National Committees taken by U.S. News & World Report in early 1980, Democrats overwhelmingly claimed to believe George Herbert Walker Bush was a more formidable candidate than Reagan. “We hope they’ll run Reagan,” liberals said.
Taking their cue on “electability” from the Democrats–always a great idea!–a majority of Republican committeemen also thought future one-termer Bush was more “electable.” (If only Al D’Amato had been around, he could have recommended dropping Reagan and replacing him with Colin Powell or John McCain.)
Pay attention to what happened next: Reagan went on to win two landslide elections for president, transform the nation’s politics, and dismantle the Democrats’ favorite country, the USSR. He not only never lost a general election, Reagan also never won by less than a landslide margin. Reagan’s triumph was then promptly jettisoned by Mr. “Electable,” who broke his “read my lips” pledge and unceremoniously ended the Republicans’ 12-year control of the White House.
Other Republicans we’ve been told were a disaster for the party are Newt Gingrich–who produced the jaws-of-life to tear Congress from the Democrats–and Ken Starr –who was responsible for the impeachment and utter humiliation of Bill Clinton.
Like Thomas Sowell’s definition of a “racist” (“a conservative winning an argument with a liberal”), the definition of an “unpopular Republican” is “a Republican the Democrats would like to be rid of.” Whenever liberals are being hysterical about a Republican, it’s because that Republican is not good for the Democrats.
I promise you, if McCain, Powell or even Rudy Giuliani were put on the ticket, the liberal lovefest would come to a screeching halt. We’d finally get a little investigative reporting on liberals’ favorite Republicans–and who knows what’s in those closets. (Let’s just hope McCain and Giuliani don’t have any messy divorces in their past!) Heaven help us if any of them have ever worked for a successful corporation.
Liberal love lasts just long enough to get the job done. The most famous instance of a Republican’s taking advice from Democrats occurred when former President Bush broke his pledge and raised taxes. The instant Bush capitulated, a staffer at the DNC hit a stopwatch and, for one hour, liberals showered Bush with affection. Maureen Dowd, then-reporter for The New York Times, compared Bush to Eisenhower and gushed he had dropped “the slash-and-burn approach” and was “trying to take a moderate, bipartisan approach.”
But as Friedrich Schiller wrote, “Once the Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go.” Having tricked the dolt into raising taxes, liberals soon turned on Bush with vengeance. No longer a bipartisan Eisenhoweresque statesman, Bush became merely an impediment to the Democrats’ getting a real tax-raiser like Bill Clinton in the White House. Soon Dowd was describing Bush as one of the “elite males in possession of large fortunes” who lacked “empathy with middle-class and poor Americans hurt by a recession.”
Liberals even taunted Bush for being so unprincipled as to raise taxes. Dowd said of Bush: “Will he learn the power of fixed principles in leadership, or will he continue to engage in waffling and expedient stances on issues like abortion, civil rights and taxes?”
Never, in the history of the Democratic Party, have they taken advice from us. I thought the Democrats should run Dennis Kucinich for President. I even promised them that a lot of Republicans would vote for a Kucinich-Sharpton ticket! But I didn’t see any Democrats taking my advice. Of course, Democrats have never had to face the sound chamber of an all-conservative media. (They will in my gulag. )
We don’t have to adopt all the Democrats’ traits–incessant lying, utter shamelessness, criminal behavior and lots of crying–but Republicans need to tattoo this truism on their arms: It’s never a good idea to take advice from your enemies.