There has been a great deal of discussion over the last week concerning the remarks made by Governor Palin in answer to a question from Josh Painter, regarding the possibility of a new party to supplant the GOP. As Steve Deace covers in his own cost/benefit analysis of the idea, there are a few practical considerations to leaving the Republican Party that make for a gargantuan series of problems, including effectively surrendering the whole governance of the country to the Democrats in the short run. As Deace also explains quite effectively, if we don’t change the direction of the country, it won’t matter much because with the current supine and tepid leadership of the GOP, we have arrived already in that effective condition. What opposition to the Obama agenda do conservatives see from the GOP? There has been little evident among establishment Republicans, often behaving more like collaborators than opponents. This conflict has been a long time in coming, but I believe we must face it squarely or surrender to statism. If we are going to conquer our political foes, we must clean up our own house, refusing to abandon it to the slumlords of the GOP establishment. For once, let us do the unexpected, turning tables on them: We must build a party within the Party as the means by which to take it over, but this time, for keeps.
Ever since the days of the progressive era, there has been a class of Republicans the members of which don’t hold republican ideals. Their manner of coming to dominate the GOP was a form of stealthy infiltration and guile. They looked like conservatives, and they used many of the appropriate conservative buzzwords in speeches and articles, so that it was somewhat harder to recognize them. They gained influence by building their own parallel mechanisms within the Republican Party, all aimed at supplanting conservative ideology and philosophy with their own. Cronies were inserted all up and down the Republican totem pole, giving them vast power with which to override any conservative sentiments. Time after time, they managed to keep conservatives out, and the few times they failed, they almost always managed to sabotage them somehow. When Barry Goldwater(R-AZ) sought the Republican nomination in 1964, they submarined him, the Rockefeller Republicans withdrawing virtually all support, barely managing to pretend they would support Barry Goldwater.
In 1980, the same crowd finally lost another round of the RNC nomination fight, having nearly lost it four years earlier. Ronald Reagan wasn’t getting much establishment support early on, even immediately after the nominating convention, but when they saw that the train was going to leave the station without them, they hurried to climb aboard, pointing to moderate VP choice George HW Bush as the thing that made Reagan “tolerable.” The truth is, they saw Reagan as a plausible vehicle to install their own people at the highest levels of government, for later use, but also as a way to confound and steer the Reagan administration. America would have its first conservative president in generations, but the establishment Republicans were going to use every bit of influence they could to turn it to their advantage. They did this as they always do, establishing their own chain of cooperation and control within the Reagan administration. The amnesty bill of 1986 was probably the greatest evidence of their scheming, a bill that contributed to the loss of Republican control of the Senate that year by depressing conservative turnout, much as what happened in 2006 when Republicans lost the Congress after that year’s amnesty attempt.
We conservatives should take a few lessons from this, and I believe if we’re attentive to the details, it will be easier to understand what must be done and how we must do it. Others have written extensively about how to carry out a virtual overthrow inside the Republican Party, so I won’t expend too much of your time on that. Instead, I wish to talk about the character of what you must do. What we need is a party within the party. Rather than trying to become our own free-standing party, a solution we already know will take many years and even decades to complete, let us create a subset of the Republican Party and we can call it the “Freedom Faction.” Freedom of association being what it is, I’m sure the Republican Party won’t mind if some of its members are simultaneously members of another group over which they have no control. Well, perhaps they will not mind too much, but if they do, to devil with them. They’re who we mean to defeat firstly.
This is what the Tea Parties has been, with the singular distinction that they were not officially a subset of the Republican Party, and did not seek to be. This has permitted them independence of action and advocacy, which is a critical thing common-sense conservatives need, but it is also a detriment inasmuch as it is more difficult for them to guide the direction of the GOP. In fact, most of us who are most desperately frustrated with the direction of the Republican Party are precisely the Tea Party folk, meaning many can merely adopt the “Freedom Faction” and move in. My point is that despite all that has been said about the Tea Party, many of them soldier on in spite of the way they’ve been treated by Democrats and Republicans alike. The left likes to say that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” so since they consider Tea Partiers “terrorists,” let us instead be freedom-fighters. That’s what we really are, and that’s what our movement must embrace. We’re small “r” republicans who constitute the Freedom Faction of the Republican Party. It was always our party, despite the RINOs and the establishment hacks, and it can still be our party if we simply act to take it back, but to do so, we’ll need to build a party within the party so that as insurgents, we can place our own in the places of influence.
The Republican Party is willing to except Democrats in open primary states to help them select establishment nominees, and since they haven’t demonstrated the will to stop that, I doubt they’ll muster the sentiment to stop us, although we do pose the larger threat. What do my small “r” republican readers think? Is it time to build our Freedom Faction and use it as a platform from which to recapture our party? It will take discipline, teamwork, and a broad coordination, all things of which we are capable, but which are are somewhat alien to our general dispositions. We are demonstrably an independent lot. The establishment will know something is afoot, and they will try to thwart us, but we have an advantage demonstrated by Romney’s miserable election day ground-game: We’re more agile and fluid, while they are grinding cogs in a hopelessly malfunctioning machine. They won’t want us. They don’t have a choice. Will they show their true colors and banish us from the party? Not likely. Will they try to control, infiltrate and sabotage us? Absolutely. Will they send Karl “Tokyo” Rove to attack us? I can’t wait.
If a party is free to makes its own rules, it seems to me that a party within a party should be able to do the same. The establishment Republicans never seemed to have a problem setting up rules and procedures to their liking, or rigging conventions four years in advance. Of course, I’ve never built a party before, though I may have a few useful ideas. Nevertheless, to bring this to fruition will take more than one anonymous curmudgeon on a blog site. If you’re interested, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to read your ideas! Some of you have decades of experience in local political activism, so that your wisdom will be needed by younger activists who wish to establish a Freedom Faction. If we hope to take control of the Republican Party, while avoiding the daunting problems of simply abandoning it for a new party, I think building an explicit faction within the party is a great idea. After all, that’s what the establishment, RINO Republicans have been doing to us for ages. Is it not time to turn tables?
The DC insiders say the Tea Party is dead, but I don’t believe that. I think they’re about to run into a “Tea Party” the likes of which they’ve never imagined, and it may just be out to clean up Washington DC with a vengeance.