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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

That Godless Liberal Herbert Hoover

TDS has been following the race for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee as offering important insights into the conservative zeitgeist these days, with its steadfast and increasingly strident claims that there’s nothing wrong with the GOP that an ideological turn to the Right can’t solve.
As the RNC vote draws nigh (it is scheduled to occur on Saturday), the zaniness is getting even more intense. Check out this exerpt from a WaPo analysis by Perry Bacon, Jr., on the state of the chairmanship contest:

Party activists coming to Washington say they will focus on restoring what they describe as the GOP’s core principles. Even many of Duncan’s backers support the anti-bailout resolution, which could be before the full RNC tomorrow.
“People in this country are more conservative than what has been shown,” said Cathie Adams, an RNC member from Texas. “Republicans have lost because we were playing the me-too game of growing government.”
RNC members, who include three representatives from each state, frequently criticize Bush’s “compassionate conservatism,” particularly his efforts to make it easier for illegal immigrants to become citizens. And while usually not naming Bush, all six RNC candidates have also emphasized the need for Republicans to push for lower federal spending. [Ken] Blackwell has been the most explicit, likening Bush to former president Herbert Hoover for advocating policies that increased the size of government.

As Bacon’s full story richly documents, the GOP’s “core principles” now seem to include a semi-universal view condemning not only the Bush-led autumn financial bailout, but “compassionate conservatism,” the stimulus package, and anything other than an actual reduction in the size of the federal government. But leave it to Ken Blackwell to refute charges of Republican “neo-Hooverism” by attacking the memory of Herbert Hoover as a guy that caved in to the godless liberals of his day and failed to honor Republican “core principles.” By all accounts, Blackwell is unlikely to win the RNC chairmanship, but he may well best represent the ideological dispositions of latter-day conservatism.

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