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

149 years later

The Gettysburg Address, 149 years laterAs conservatives grow more discouraged about a country that seems to be losing itself, and as millions grow more and more frustrated with the seemingly unbreachable divide between two differing visions for the country, we would do well to revisit the Gettysburg Address, given at a time when a unified country was nothing more than a fanciful dream. In the 21st century, may we continue to fight for a “new birth of freedom,” a cause our ancestors “so nobly advanced.”

The Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.