We’re through the first week of the 2-week special from the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, and there sure seems to be a common theme. Time to summarize what they said while I (with no pressure, thankfully) try to figure out the answer:
- On Monday, Rep. Paul Ryan noted that conservativism and Republicanism have diverged wildly the last several years, with the result being the 2006 election debacle. He outlined several principles designed to combat the triple challenge of globalization, entitlement bankruptcy, and the Islamic threat.
- On Tuesday, Charlie Sykes took many words to say that while conservatism is temporarily out of gas, liberalism is permanently out of gas. He also came up with a reason why Rudy Giuliani is so popular – he’s perceived as conservative on economic and security issues, and that social conservatives have pretty much given up putting social conservatism on the front burner. As a side note, I do not buy Giuliani as conservative on anything other than most law-and-order/security issues (gun-grabbing a major exception); after all, he was very active in railing against Wall Street in his time in the US Attorney’s office of Southern Manhattan.
- On Wednesday, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner railed against what passed for Pubbie leadership going into the 2006 elections and issued a call for conservatives to start speaking up.
- On Thursday, Owen Robinson, despite claiming he had a different take than the previous 3, sounded a lot like Ryan. He expounded on taxes and health care far more than Ryan, while also taking on education.
- Today (Friday), Mark Green took a stab as to why he lost his race for governor, and came up with fatigue over the Iraq front in the Global War on Terror, scandals in DC, and Republicanism in general. Considering the office Green ran for and the person he ran against, I would take door #3.
If I had to summarize their takes, it would be that it is Republicanism, not conservatism, that is out of gas. The only problem is, at least on a statewide and national level, there are but two parties, and time is definitely a-wasting in deciding whether to try to retake the Republican Party or do to the Pubbies what they did to the Whigs.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point you to Tom McMahon’s contrarian take (unfortunately, not part of the WPRI series). Take a close look a the bottom-right block.