David Frum's Bad Advice for the GOP

Liberal Republicans, led by David Frum, continue to argue for a remolding of the GOP into a Democrat-lite party.  Several prominent conservatives, including Michael Reagan and Ann Coulter, have made many credible arguments against such a change of the party brand.  This remolding -- which David Frum, the hero of liberal Republicans, calls "modernization" -- would be an utter disaster for the GOP.  The evidence is the result of the "modernization" of the British "Conservative" Party -- Frum's model for the Republican Party in the United States.

In 2005, David Cameron, a wishy-washy moderate Tory from Witney, was elected leader of the Tory Party.  He and his "moderate" aides believed that Liberal Democrats could be swayed to vote for the Tories, even though the vast majority of such voters are hardline leftists who wouldn't vote for the Tories under any circumstances.  As for traditional Conservative voters, Cameron argued that "they have nowhere else to go," so they would always remain loyal to the Tory Party.

Cameron was wrong.  Traditional Tory voters do have somewhere to go.  The right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and similar parties welcome these voters with open arms.  In fact, UKIP itself was established in 1993 by disenchanted Tories, and almost all of the people who subsequently joined the party are similarly disenfranchised Conservative voters.  But UKIP was a small fringe party -- until Cameron initiated his "modernization" program and began to scare Tory voters away from his party.  Many former Tories have joined (or voted for) UKIP, thus draining votes away from the Tories just like Ross Perot drained votes away from George H.W. Bush.

In 1999, UKIP had only three members of the European Parliament and zero members of the British Parliament.  Today, UKIP has thirteen MEPs and two members of the House of Lords. All of these gains were made at the cost of the "Conservative Party."

Arguably, Cameron's worst mistake was his November 2009 decision to renege on his "cast-iron" promise to organize a referendum on the European Constitution (aka the Lisbon Treaty) if his party won a parliamentary election.  This single decision, made after EU-bullied Irish voters ratified that treaty, alienated further tens of thousands of Tory voters on top of those many former backers who have left the party.  The majority of Tory voters and backbenchers are euroskeptics who want the U.K. to withdraw from the European Union altogether, but Cameron and other Tory leaders refuse to listen to them or to even give the British people a choice.

Cameron has also endorsed a gamut of leftist policies, including deep defense cuts, appeasement towards Putinist Russia, protecting the NHS from any budget reductions, high-speed rail boondoogles, "green taxes," CO2 emission caps, and climate change legislation.

As a result, the Tory Party utterly failed to win the 2010 general election, which was held on May 6, 2010.  The party won just 36.1% of the popular vote and only 306 seats, well short of a majority, while the Labour Party, with its dismal record, still managed to win 29% of the vote and 258 seats.  The LibDems won 23% of the votes and 57 seats, thus increasing their share of the vote.  As a result, Cameron had to establish a coalition with the leftist LibDems and agree to many of their policies, including disastrous defense cuts and an anti-Israel foreign policy.

A few months before the election, the veteran British journalist Christopher Booker described this picture thus:

The real tragedy of what has happened to Britain in the past 20 years is that we no longer have an opposition worthy of the name. It is almost impossible to measure the damage done by 13 years of rule by Blair and Brown. [...]

Yet, as the worst Government in our history has presided over this catastrophe, we have had an Opposition so hypnotised that in fundamental respects it has scarcely been an opposition at all.  The Tory party has never really recovered its identity, leaving millions of voters in effect disfranchised.  Three virtually indistinguishable parties squabble over trivia, leaving the electorate without any clear alternative - so that on May 6 almost half the voters may well stay apathetically or sullenly at home.

So, after over twelve years spent under the worst British government ever, the "modernized" Conservative Party could not win even a slim majority of seats in the House of Commons.  Not only that, but the party has guaranteed the British people another five years under a socialist government, this time composed of leftist LibDems and wishy-washy moderate "Conservatives."  This is exactly the result which Cameron's "modernisation" policy produced, and things will be no different if the GOP adopts Frum's advice.

The Republican Party now stands at crossroads.  The first road would be the David Frum Highway to Electoral Defeat -- or what Frum calls a "modernization" policy à la the Tory Party.

The other option would be to recommit individual Republican politicians -- and the party as an organization -- to traditional conservative principles upon which the party and the U.S. were established: a strong defense, low taxes, limited government, private enterprise, a federal republic, a strict interpretation of the Constitution, and protection of personal liberties.  Tens of millions of Americans profess these principles (vide the Tea Partiers) and will vote for Republicans who abide by them.  These Americans constitute today's "Great Silent Majority."

Currently, the GOP is neither liberal nor conservative.  It still hasn't decided what to choose.

So it's time for conservatives to take the party back and make it again an unashamedly conservative party -- one that advocates and adheres to the timeless conservative principles upon which this great Republic was established.
Liberal Republicans, led by David Frum, continue to argue for a remolding of the GOP into a Democrat-lite party.  Several prominent conservatives, including Michael Reagan and Ann Coulter, have made many credible arguments against such a change of the party brand.  This remolding -- which David Frum, the hero of liberal Republicans, calls "modernization" -- would be an utter disaster for the GOP.  The evidence is the result of the "modernization" of the British "Conservative" Party -- Frum's model for the Republican Party in the United States.

In 2005, David Cameron, a wishy-washy moderate Tory from Witney, was elected leader of the Tory Party.  He and his "moderate" aides believed that Liberal Democrats could be swayed to vote for the Tories, even though the vast majority of such voters are hardline leftists who wouldn't vote for the Tories under any circumstances.  As for traditional Conservative voters, Cameron argued that "they have nowhere else to go," so they would always remain loyal to the Tory Party.

Cameron was wrong.  Traditional Tory voters do have somewhere to go.  The right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and similar parties welcome these voters with open arms.  In fact, UKIP itself was established in 1993 by disenchanted Tories, and almost all of the people who subsequently joined the party are similarly disenfranchised Conservative voters.  But UKIP was a small fringe party -- until Cameron initiated his "modernization" program and began to scare Tory voters away from his party.  Many former Tories have joined (or voted for) UKIP, thus draining votes away from the Tories just like Ross Perot drained votes away from George H.W. Bush.

In 1999, UKIP had only three members of the European Parliament and zero members of the British Parliament.  Today, UKIP has thirteen MEPs and two members of the House of Lords. All of these gains were made at the cost of the "Conservative Party."

Arguably, Cameron's worst mistake was his November 2009 decision to renege on his "cast-iron" promise to organize a referendum on the European Constitution (aka the Lisbon Treaty) if his party won a parliamentary election.  This single decision, made after EU-bullied Irish voters ratified that treaty, alienated further tens of thousands of Tory voters on top of those many former backers who have left the party.  The majority of Tory voters and backbenchers are euroskeptics who want the U.K. to withdraw from the European Union altogether, but Cameron and other Tory leaders refuse to listen to them or to even give the British people a choice.

Cameron has also endorsed a gamut of leftist policies, including deep defense cuts, appeasement towards Putinist Russia, protecting the NHS from any budget reductions, high-speed rail boondoogles, "green taxes," CO2 emission caps, and climate change legislation.

As a result, the Tory Party utterly failed to win the 2010 general election, which was held on May 6, 2010.  The party won just 36.1% of the popular vote and only 306 seats, well short of a majority, while the Labour Party, with its dismal record, still managed to win 29% of the vote and 258 seats.  The LibDems won 23% of the votes and 57 seats, thus increasing their share of the vote.  As a result, Cameron had to establish a coalition with the leftist LibDems and agree to many of their policies, including disastrous defense cuts and an anti-Israel foreign policy.

A few months before the election, the veteran British journalist Christopher Booker described this picture thus:

The real tragedy of what has happened to Britain in the past 20 years is that we no longer have an opposition worthy of the name. It is almost impossible to measure the damage done by 13 years of rule by Blair and Brown. [...]

Yet, as the worst Government in our history has presided over this catastrophe, we have had an Opposition so hypnotised that in fundamental respects it has scarcely been an opposition at all.  The Tory party has never really recovered its identity, leaving millions of voters in effect disfranchised.  Three virtually indistinguishable parties squabble over trivia, leaving the electorate without any clear alternative - so that on May 6 almost half the voters may well stay apathetically or sullenly at home.

So, after over twelve years spent under the worst British government ever, the "modernized" Conservative Party could not win even a slim majority of seats in the House of Commons.  Not only that, but the party has guaranteed the British people another five years under a socialist government, this time composed of leftist LibDems and wishy-washy moderate "Conservatives."  This is exactly the result which Cameron's "modernisation" policy produced, and things will be no different if the GOP adopts Frum's advice.

The Republican Party now stands at crossroads.  The first road would be the David Frum Highway to Electoral Defeat -- or what Frum calls a "modernization" policy à la the Tory Party.

The other option would be to recommit individual Republican politicians -- and the party as an organization -- to traditional conservative principles upon which the party and the U.S. were established: a strong defense, low taxes, limited government, private enterprise, a federal republic, a strict interpretation of the Constitution, and protection of personal liberties.  Tens of millions of Americans profess these principles (vide the Tea Partiers) and will vote for Republicans who abide by them.  These Americans constitute today's "Great Silent Majority."

Currently, the GOP is neither liberal nor conservative.  It still hasn't decided what to choose.

So it's time for conservatives to take the party back and make it again an unashamedly conservative party -- one that advocates and adheres to the timeless conservative principles upon which this great Republic was established.

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