How Activism Matters

Patrick Ruffini

9/28/2007 12:26:09 PM - Patrick Ruffini
A few points that I hope can wrap things up in a nice neat bow:

1) The only reason Fred Kagan's ideas were able to get any traction at all is because we have a president with an (R) after his name. Don't look for Hillary and Bill to be leafing through the pages of the Standard for their ideas. And absent some blockbuster idea entering the picture in the next 13 months, who sits in the Big Chair has just as much to do with the tactical nitty-gritty in closely divided America as anything else.

Taking this a step further, the only reason we are having debates about surrender is that we have a Speaker of the House with a (D) after her name. If our team controlled the House by just one vote, none of these resolutions would ever come to a vote. And if we have a President with a (D) after her name, they will have everything they need to set in motion a slow-bleed surrender. No amount of pontificating will be able to stop them then.

So, elections matter. And who runs in those elections matter. And the composition of our front bench matters, and is something the blogosphere can impact in terms of making sure the corruptocrats don't go anywhere at the county committee level on up. To do that we must intervene at the local level.

2) Ideas must be at the core of this. If the rightroots ever reaches the prominence of the netroots, I hope we won't repeat the mistake and we'll still be about ideas. A number of us have been discussing what these new ideas might be. Something has become corrupted about a movement and a party that would trade away its best idea -- personalizing Social Security -- for electoral advantage, only to lose the election anyway because we didn't stand for anything. The blogosphere can be on the leading edge of change in developing the next Contract with America, but that will require us to think like activists looking to move the ball down field, not like casual observers of politics.

3) I haven't been bashful about admitting that Jim Ogonowski is not a perfect conservative. He's against withdrawal, but that's basically it. But that hasn't stopped our readership from grasping the singular importance of snatching a Democratic seat in the People's Republic of Massachusetts. It crystallizes an emerging trend (Congress's 11% approval) into an electoral data point the national media can understand, in the same way that the OH-2 special did in 2005.

Yesterday, I posted about Eric Egland in CA-4 (disclosure), who would move his district to the right on ethics and earmarks. The only thing he has in common politically with Ogonowski is this: he would move Washington in a better direction, and away from the left. For conservatives, that should be the test. Naturally, the answers we'll get will look radically different from district to district.