How Elephants Can Fight a Guerilla War

Rand Paul ignited an elephant stampedeWith his thirteen-hour filibuster of John Brennan, Rand Paul instigated the first elephant stampede in two years. He ignited a party so inured in screechy impotence and patchwork defense that it often fails to recognize winnable battles. Paul found such a battle, and accomplished a rare feat for Republicans. By putting U.S. assassination policy on national display, Paul not only inspired the GOP to attack, he also put Obama on defense.

Some of the old-guard Republicans griped. After dining with Obama the night before, John McCain took to the Senate floor the next morning, bashing Paul with snarky comments about appealing to “impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms.” This one utterance summed up the GOP’s problems of 2008 and 2012. What sort of politician seeking national viability for his party knocks an appeal to any group of people? Paul’s filibuster united a diverse cross-section of Republicans and even some Democrats. This success should be saluted, not derided.

The Democrat support was a nice touch, generated by what’s known in chess as a discovered attack. By attacking Obama’s left flank on drone strikes and putting him in check, he forced Attorney General Eric Holder to answer Paul’s charges and develop a rationale that would inevitably rile the Democrat anti-war base. It’s a rare moment when the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson and National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson agree. Rand Paul, bipartisan workhorse.

Paul also showed the GOP Continue reading

Generation Yners don’t get the American Dream

Charlie Brown's Christmas tree and the American DreamIt’s over a week since Santa’s big scene, and even though you’ve kept the Christmas tree watered and fed, decrepitude seeps outward. Away in the manger, Baby Jesus no longer lays down in sweet hay but upon a bed of pine needles. The branches above shrivel and sag as the dying tree soaks up less water. Despite this, your Christmas tree’s silver garland and ceramic ornaments reflect a warm glow of red, green, yellow, orange, and blue, and the star or angel above shines or smiles down as the centerpiece of the holiday season.

How much longer will this magnificence last? It’s the same question we ask about American greatness and the American dream.  Continue reading

Five controversial (and award-winning) ideas for proactive conservative evolution

Like this whirlpool galaxy from a Hubble image seems to get power sipohed away, so the states must siphon back power from the federal government.At National Review, Jonah Goldberg notes an observation by Friedrich Hayek: “It has . . . invariably been the fate of conservatism to be dragged along a path not of its own choosing.”

Whether it’s the fiscal cliff negotiations, entitlement spending, or any other form of government expansion, the progressive agenda steams ahead, dragging and ripping from the ground the constitutional and conservative roots of this country. Conservatives never win on core principles. Our successes only slow the rate of acceleration toward leftist domination.

Goldberg highlights federalism, where each individual state would regain the powers our constitution assigned it, as the path to proactive conservative re-emergence. We agree with the merits of federalism. However, the deck is stacked against that prospect. The federal government has too much leverage over the states.

So what’s the roadmap for returning to federalism?

We’ve already written about the need for conservatives to infiltrate pop culture and proactively set our own memes as we engage in the campaign to reassert the positive moral values and economic advantages of conservative ideas. Fertilizing the cultural grounds is necessary for conservative seeds to flourish.

What about the political side?

Conservatives tend to fight political battles on a policy-by-policy basis, while Progressives push to radically alter the relationship between citizen and state through laws such as the PPACA (Obamacare). Conservatives need to start playing that same long game.

In an entry to the National Review Institute’s 2010 policy contest, I made a series of recommendations, which received honorable mention as a finalist in the competition. These five ideas are bold, long term solutions (including some that libertarians have championed) that would get our government more in line with the Founders’ vision.

Agree? Disagree? We’d love to hear from you. Here’s the list:  Continue reading