One of the continuing themes we’re seeing with the conservative movement’s attempts to recover from the last two elections is a search for leadership. The problem is that structurally conservatism has a strong tendency to gravitate towards the known – a mindset that’s part and parcel of an ideological movement that thinks America’s best days were in 1950.
As such, the new leadership of the GOP looks a lot like the old leadership – Gingrich, Limbaugh, DeLay, etc. Add to that I guess Ralph Reed who wants to start up the old Christian Coalition in some fashion. Of course, Ralph’s problem is that he left the Coalition in disgrace to the point where they lost their non-profit status and he got entangled with now-jailed conservative lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Oh, he also had a disastrous run for Lt. Governor.
Political parties in America tend to have their success when they face down what ailed them and come up with fresh voices and fresh takes on the issues. It could be the Reagan revolution, Clinton triangulation, Dean’s 50 state strategy, or some other fundamental change in how the party operates but the right seems to be locked in to retread action. Even George W. Bush tried for a while to at least dress up old school conservatism in the cloak of “compassion”. Sarah Palin isn’t subtle enough to do that with her clear desire to whip up the tired old culture war of us vs them.
Unlucky for us, conservatism failed America again under the last president, but unlucky for them as a movement they think the blind are the perfect navigators for the blind.