And here I thought it was a political party, focused on winning elections! Silly, silly me. Now I know, and I won't make that mistake again.
It has become obvious over the years that Ronald Reagan won those elections based on his charisma and communication skills. He was a once in a lifetime - in a country's lifetime, perhaps - kind of president. Conservatism was just one arrow in his quiver, and the idea that conservatism independent of the charisma and speechifying of a Reagan is powerful enough as a coherent philosophy to motivate voters and deliver presidents to the GOP is, I think, a fantasy. As much as I would *like* it to be true, I prefer facing facts.
Anyway, this excellent short essay by Gerard Van Der Leun at American Digest, Bigger Tents: On Rebranding "CONSERVATIVE" and "REPUBLICAN" with "AMERICAN", does a nice job of reframing the debate, and I agree completely:
What we need to do is a little “rebranding” of our own in order to blunt the brain-dead attacks that keep coming from the attack poodles of the left. Attacks that when examined are all aimed at the label “Conservative” or “Republican.”Read the whole thing, as they say.
"Conservative." "Liberals." These two categories are not the same. Not all “Conservatives” are “Republicans,” and – unfortunately for the life expectancy of the Republican party – not all “Republicans” are “Conservative.”
Let's dump both brands.
I don't know about you, but I do not consider myself either a “Conservative” or a “Republican.” Never have. I consider myself to be one thing and one thing only: I AM AN AMERICAN.
Always have been.
Always will be.
Couldn't be anything more.
To call me a Conservative is to miss the point.
To call me a Republican is to mistake me by a mile.
To call me an AMERICAN is to know me down to the bone.