Our political landscape needs a conservative movement that lives in the present, even if it is calling us to preserve the best parts of our past. I’d like to see this, but the Republican Party today really falls short of offering a relevant conservative perspective. Instead, the situation looks much more like this:
For decades, the Nixonian notion of the silent majority created a strong temptation for conservatives to simply wall off the parts of society that they didn’t like or understand, secure in the belief that there were more people on their side of the wall. Ballot for ballot, this may have been true in the 1970s and ’80s, and even into the ’90s. But if you build a border fence, it’s difficult to see what’s happening on the other side of it. Which is why in 2008 the Republican Party awoke to a world in which it was losing every politically important demographic battle and had essentially ceded the field on issues like education, where it hadn’t contributed a new policy idea since the school voucher, and energy, where the best plan it could come up with was a renewed push for offshore drilling.
Sure, there’s some exaggeration there, but there’s a lot of truth, too. That’s from an interesting story in the liberal magazine Washington Monthly. It relates the story of a few conservatives, including David Kuo and Evangelical Outpost‘s Joe Carter, who tried to take a different approach at a website called Culture11, sometimes arousing the ire of strict partisans. It makes me wish that I had read it while it was in business. But the website is still there and perhaps it will get a new lease on life.
Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan