The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008

Archives

Dan Balz's Take

Who's the Real Republican?


Mitt Romney's attempt to draw differences with Rudy Giuliani raises questions about what defines the GOP today. (AP).

Mitt Romney created a stir over the weekend with his assertion that he speaks for "the Republican wing of the Republican Party." His comment drew a swift rebuke from John McCain, who challenged the former Massachusetts governor's conservative credentials. But Romney may have raised a more pertinent question. Just what is the Republican wing of the Republican Party?

Romney did not intend to set off a discussion about the future of the Republican Party. His goal was more practical -- to separate himself from his most worrisome rival, Rudy Giuliani by claiming he represents the party's mainstream values in a way that the socially liberal former mayor cannot.

McCain intruded on the Romney-Giuliani spat, in part because he long has disliked aspects of the former governor's campaign and because Romney stands squarely in McCain's path in the critical New Hampshire primary, which is vital to restoring his hopes of winning the GOP nomination.

Speaking in New Hampshire on Saturday, McCain cited Romney's checkered Republican past to question whether he should be trusted to lead the party in 2008. He noted that Romney had contributed money to a Democratic Senate candidate in 1992, had voted for Democrat Paul Tsongas in the 1992 Massachusetts presidential primary, had failed to endorse the Contract with America as a Senate candidate in 1994 and had distanced himself from the Reagan years in that same campaign.

"So you'll understand why I'm a little perplexed when Mitt Romney now suggests that he's a better Republican than me, or that he speaks for the Republican wing of the Republican Party," McCain said.

This argument will continue until Republican voters start to bring some clarity to what remains a muddled and unpredictable nomination battle. The question of the party's future, however, will fall squarely on the shoulders of the candidate who emerges victorious. What kind of party will he inherit?

That this is a troubled time for Republicans is evident by the fulsome debate on the right about the future of conservatism. George W. Bush's presidency and the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006 have left party leaders and intellectuals to debate the question of what's next for the GOP. As former White House official Pete Wehner and Yuval Levin put it in a recent article in the New York Sun, "Conservatives are in a funk."

A series of essays in the volume "The Future of Conservatism," edited by Charles W. Dunn, examines the strains inside the GOP in the post-Reagan era. The Republican coalition, like all successful major party coalitions, is inherently fractious and potentially unstable.

The scholars who contributed to the volume examine what contributed to the success of the party, particularly under Ronald Reagan, and what its future may hold. Dunn, dean of the Robertson School of Government at Regent University, identifies five wings of the modern conservative movement: neoconservatives, libertarians, midwestern conservatives, traditionalists and religious conservatives.

James W. Ceaser, a professor of politics at the University of Virginia, identifies four: "traditionalist or paleoconservatism, neoconservatism, libertarianism and the religious right." Each, he argues, is founded on a different first principle, and while they all object to liberalism, it is often for different reasons.

The strains in this coalition are evident in the battle for the GOP nomination. Religious conservatives are in much more disarray than they were a few years ago, and the resentment toward what has been their preeminent position has grown through Bush's presidency.

Bush's big government conservatism has brought dissension from many conservatives, and his compassionate conservative agenda has proved far less compelling than he had hoped.

That leaves it to the presidential candidates to define the future, but their efforts to date have been tentative. They are in large part attempting to get back to Reaganism while dealing with a world that has changed dramatically since Reagan left office almost 20 years ago.

Romney speaks of the Republican coalition as a three-legged stool of conservatism: economic, security and family. Giuliani, he argues, represents only the first two and therefore is attempting to lead an unstable coalition that ultimately will lead the GOP to defeat and disillusionment. But as McCain notes, Romney's conservative bona fides are questionable.

Giuliani hopes to appeal to religious and social conservatives by encouraging them to look past differences over abortion and gay rights, a risky strategy that nonetheless has worked better than his doubters anticipated six months ago. His nomination would represent a dramatic reordering of the party that has enjoyed much success the past two decades.

McCain questions whether either Romney or Giuliani fully represents the party of Reagan, but his own maverick style of the past makes him suspect to many in the coalition. Would conservatives really trust McCain were he to become president? It's doubtful.

Fred Thompson had hoped to rise above the squabbling by presenting a compelling conservative agenda, but so far has failed to galvanize the party. Mike Huckabee may have solid conservative credentials, but many Republican voters doubt that he can win.

In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, when Republicans were asked who best reflects the core values of the party, McCain led with 26 percent, followed by Giuliani at 23 percent, Thompson at 21 percent and Romney with 13 percent.

Romney may have hoped his comment would crystallize his differences with Giuliani. Instead they have intensified a debate about the state of the Republican Party and what it should stand on and stand for in 2008. With few clear answers coming from those who seek to lead the party, it's no wonder conservatives remain worried about the future.

--Dan Balz

Posted at 1:10 PM ET on Oct 15, 2007  | Category:  Dan Balz's Take
Share This: Technorati talk bubble Technorati | Tag in Del.icio.us | Digg This
Previous: Iowa SEIU Backs Edwards's Candidacy | Next: Romney and Women


Add 44 to Your Site
Be the first to know when there's a new installment of The Trail. This widget is easy to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry on The Trail.
Get This Widget >>


Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



If anyone seriously thinks Mitt Romney or John McCain or God Forbid Rudy Giuliani are in any way Conservative...they need to re-evaluate their political education.

Ron Paul is by far the only true Conservative.

People here are saying, 'He's no Conservative, he's a libertarian!'

Well, guess what. Barry Goldwater, Mr. Conservative, was a libertarian. Robert Taft, Mr. No New Deal, was a libertarian. Many of the GOP Greats were libertarians. And if you would just READ some history, you would see that the GOP platform of old is the Libertarian Party's platform of today.

Therefore, if you are for Traditional Republican values, if you favor the government out of your bedroom, out of your wallet, and your military here at home protecting our borders instead of Iraq's borders...if you prefer your tax money to be spent rebuilding our bridges instead of Iraqi bridges...

Ron Paul is the guy for you, don't let any of these NeoConservative (former Democrat) Republicans fool you into thinking BIG GOVERNMENT is conservative because it never was, it's not now, and it never will be.

LIMITED GOVERNMENT, FREE MARKETS, CIVIL LIBERTIES

RON PAUL 2008

Posted by: kmartjesus | October 16, 2007 2:00 AM

Former Senator Fred Thompson is the only candidate that gets it. He makes decisions based on principles. Principles don't change. You have to stand for something and not change who you are based on the polls. That is what Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani have done and all of the Democrats do it. Give me a leader that will stand by his principles anyday versus someone that stands for everything.

I know many Republicans and conservatives that will stay home if Rudy Giuliani is the candidate. He does not represent our values as conservatives, and never will. Millionaire Mitt Romney is a Republican-in-name-only (RINO ) that simply has everything else and nothing to do. "I guess I'll just try to buy the presidency". The White House isn't for sale! Conservatives will simply stay home and the Democrats will pick up additional seats in the House and probably get the 60 seats in the Senate they need to completely destroy our Country. Nice picture huh?

However, I think Fred Thompson can bring America back together. America needs a rebirth of patriotism and honor. Republicans also need a rebirth. President Reagan was our last rebirth and he can never be duplicated. Fred Thompson will bring his own down-to-earth common sense to this country. A little of the good old days of faith, federalism and family would do well for this country. If a conservative runs as a conservative, he will win!

Think of it this way: Eight years of another Clinton White House? Now if that is not a sufficient enough reason to pull together as a nation, and fight this socialist liberal takeover of our government, what is?

Folks, we are in for the fight of our lives, just as our young men and women are fighting for our freedoms in Iraq and Afghanistan, we must fight for our nation right here and now! I truly believe Fred Thompson is the one man who can pull this nation back together! Rudy Giuliani will just tear us apart.

Posted by: fkpaxson | October 16, 2007 12:57 AM

Ron Paul is the only real conservaqtive/Republican... All the rest are just the same flavor of Republicrat.
McCain = Clinton = Romney = Obama...

Get smart, America. Ignore the choices that the mainstream media has made for you.

Choose the only real candidate.

Posted by: hsgskemoose | October 15, 2007 11:27 PM

Ron Paul is a real Republican in the sense that the real Republican platform is one of conservative ideology, not the insanity that Bush has foisted on the people.

It is my belief that Ron Paul can unite us all, I see it occuring daily. I will spread this belief in unity under Constitutional principles with Dr. Ron Paul leading the charge.

Join the meetup.com website and seek out your local Ron Paul meetup, help us further the renewal of belief in the Constitutional principles that so many people have died fighting for, let them not die in vain. We have been manipulated for years by these politicians that use doublespeak and rhetoric to divide us and force us into these labels of Democrat and Republican, it is time to change the course of this country, we are sliding down that dreaded slippery slope, THE TIME IS NOW!

www.dailypaul.org
www.ronpaul2008.com

Posted by: complacencykills | October 15, 2007 10:05 PM

What is all this nonsense about Ron Paul being the real Republican? He is a Libertarian who conveniently changed labels when he realized that no third-party candidate could be elected. Nothing else has changed.

Posted by: johnkrogstad | October 15, 2007 9:47 PM

Washington (AP) - President and First Lady Romney are taking the customary presidential two-week late summer break to escape the Wasington heat. However, they announced that instead of retiring to Camp David or their Massachusetts home, they will be sojourning to the planet Kolob, in order to be closer to the Heavenly Father. Romney says it will be a "working vacation" as he plans to put the finishing touches on an ambitious proposal committing NASA to setting up a colony in God's home star system by 2020.

"America is a country of faith, and I have faith that if we put our minds to it we can accomplish great things", the president told reporters as he and Ann climbed aboard their gleaming white rocket ship garnished with golden angels on the South lawn. The president, facing repeated good-natured jabs from reporters to divulge whether he wore "boxers or briefs", just flashed his winning smile and stepped onto the lauchpad ladder.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolob

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_garment

Posted by: B2O2 | October 15, 2007 9:40 PM

There is no debate on the real Republican: Ron Paul, period.
-Small Federal Govt
-fiscally responsible
-low taxes
-pro-life
-right to bear arms
-strong national defence
-secure borders, no amnesty
-practical foreign policy, "just war" philosophy
He has support and money. So what is the problem? Every God-fearing Republican should be voting for him.

Posted by: robinsoncom | October 15, 2007 9:00 PM

Amazing - I had to scroll all the way down to the comment sections to find the name Ron Paul mentioned anywhere. That man is the closest thing you'll find to a Republican, though he is actually a Libertarian. It's sad how little media attention Ron Paul gets.

Posted by: ClandestineBlaze | October 15, 2007 8:10 PM

Dan Balz takes great pains to avoid the only real Elephant in the room: Ron Paul.

If anyone else gets the GOP nomination, they won't get my vote, and neither will Hillary. I'll write in Ron Paul. Without him, the GOP richly deserves to lose for letting our Republican principles be hijacked by the neoconservative wing.

If I am forced to choose between a Republican party that will tax me endlessly for war after war, or a Democratic party that will tax me endlessly for a plethora of socialist public services, I'll take c) None of the Above.

Posted by: jcline1 | October 15, 2007 8:09 PM

Ron Paul is the Real Republican. Romney, Guiliani and McCaine are the fear mongers and self rightousness who have hijacked the Republican Party. It is no longer a compassionate party but a party based on fear and feelings of superiority as evidenced by Ann Coulter another pretendsy Republican. See, they stole a great party, put their mean spin on it and are calling it the "Party of Values." LOL I cannot wait until they actually meet Christ and he calls them on their hate. I want to see them explain to Him why they feel better than other people and are so willing to wage war and cause harm. O Lord let me be there then. Ron Paul, I salute you, you have brought back a time when one could be proud to be a republican and not ashamed because of those that I mention. Ann - selling another book, insult time, what a marketing strategy. Talent sells itself, you shouldn't have to cut a fart in public like she does to get attention.

Posted by: lndlouis | October 15, 2007 7:55 PM

sometimes it feels as though this question could be "who is the real theo-fascist".

Posted by: glenknowles | October 15, 2007 7:39 PM

Really well written, but Mike Huckabee can win a frontrunning spot because of his flawless relationship and alignment with traditional and religious conservatives and the natural flaws presented by Romney and Guiliani.

Posted by: kag42891 | October 15, 2007 7:23 PM

They could have a contest and see who could torture brown people the best. A "torture-off" if you like.

Posted by: wideblacksky | October 15, 2007 7:15 PM

Romney Video:
What struck me was that it wasn't just the social issues, abortion and gay
marriage, on which Romney took a moderate to liberal line. More
disconcerting was his effort to distance himself from the Reagan
administration. http://tinyurl.com/32nvmx

Posted by: jim.brown | October 15, 2007 6:33 PM

That is an easy one. They both are true Republicans. Rudy has been married, what 3 times and even his children don't like him. He takes calls from his latest wife on the campaign trail so everyone can hear him tell her how much he loves her (fake family values or could it be that she calls him constantly because she does not trust him, after all she replaced his second wife). Mitt changes his values depending on which way he thinks the wind will blow in his favor. Republicans had 6 years and total control of the White House, Congress and Senate to fix the Alternative Minimum Tax that is going to hit millions more of the middleclass this year if not fixed. Instead Republicans chose to fix it yearly (so they could use it as a negotiating tool against Democrats) while fighting to keep their tax cuts for the richest made permanent. Republicans are standing by Bush to make sure Democrats can not pass SCHIP for working middleclass families. If just these two examples of Republican top priorities does not turn everyone against their "values" in the voting booth I do not know what it will take.

Posted by: cjones210 | October 15, 2007 6:28 PM

I'm looking at a printout of "The Mormon Plan of Eternal Progression." I know it's considered unseemly, even prejudiced, to talk disparingly about a candidate's religion, I'm also aware that most religions won't bear up under close scrutiny, but good heavens, Mormonism has truly a bizare theology. I can't help but wonder why we can't ask Romney is he personally believes that the spirit children were born to God and his Goddess Wife? Or if birth on earth is according to merit in the spirit world? That's a good explanation for inequality in this world, I guess.

Character counts. We have a president who says we don't torture, period. He doesn't bother with the facts, he just states his policy. Will we have another fantasist as president in Romney? Will we all get our own plantet when we die, (us male faithful Mormons at least) and so why worry so about this old planet we live on?

When Reagon's Interior Secretary, Watts?, decided that God would take care of the planet so why fuss, some of us "sons of Perdition" begged to differ.

I don't think raising Romney's religion is a non-starter. If he's just a nominal Mormon, let him say so. If he's a true believer, he's too crazy for most of us.

Posted by: jganth0 | October 15, 2007 6:21 PM

Great question. But for the majority of voters, I do not believe this is even an issue. This is an issue for the politicians, that they should be addressing on there own personal time within there party. When I vote for a candidate, I am expecting him / her to represent the voting constituency.....NOT a political party and its agenda. And if that politician has an interest, or debt to a political party and its specific preferences, well, than they can follow through on there own personal time. Any elected official that is putting in any "company time" relevant to a political party is derelict in there duty.
I realize that this is somewhat....well, very naive, but in principal, I believe we have let slip the accountability of our elected officials to the voting individual.
It is the same as if when I went to work (my job), and put aside my work duties to work on my personal projects; as a result I would and should be fired.
So, in short, I couldn't care less how genuine of a republican a candidate is. In actuality, I do not think any of the front runners come even remotely close to the original definition of a Republican anyway.

Posted by: shollstadt | October 15, 2007 6:03 PM

I'll say it again. I am from Wisconsin the home of the Republican party. Republicans answer to God not rome. When priests break the law in Wisconsin they GO TO JAIL WHERE THEY BELONG!!!!!!

Posted by: virgin12 | October 15, 2007 5:30 PM

Mitt-flop and JMcC or both far far from 'real' Republicans. The Senator voted for an illegal invasion/occupation of Iraq. They are both free spending party insiders.

The only real Republican running thus far is Ron Paul!! He voted against the Bush's quagmire in Iraq. Dr Paul is opposed to the free spending habits of his fellow party members that has increased the deficit 56% in six years.

Posted by: oneman | October 15, 2007 5:09 PM

It's too hard to figure out. Just vote for a democrat.

Posted by: georgewbentley | October 15, 2007 4:53 PM

RICHARD ROBERTS AND HIS WIFE ARE THE "REAL REPUBLICANS". EVIDENTLY THEY REPRESENT WHAT MATTERS MOST TO CONSERVATIVES.

Posted by: herealongtime | October 15, 2007 4:52 PM

It's the INVASORIOS Stupid!

Posted by: rat-the | October 15, 2007 4:52 PM

Interesting that the only candidates Dan mentions are CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) members. They are part of an insidious elite networks, often called the "Establishment" and they are hardly above-board in their methods or goals. Ron Paul, however, is not a member, and is - by far - more of a "true" republican than the ones Dan chose to write about. Why is that, Dan? You a CFR member too?

Posted by: zenpiper1 | October 15, 2007 4:47 PM

Who's the real Republican?

Ron Paul.

Posted by: second2644 | October 15, 2007 4:09 PM

Asking "Who from among Giuliani, Romney or McCain is the real Republican" is asking a question based on a phony premise- they are just trying to prove "who can be the next Bush". NONE of them is the "real" Republican. There hasn't been a real one since 1994, when the party was hijacked by venal, self serving punks who have no concept of the meaning of "public service". There hasn't been a "real" Republican since the party stood for bedrock American principles of true political and economic fairness, instead of pretending to stand for God and phony morality while it served its corporate masters. I sometimes think I am the last true Republican.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | October 15, 2007 4:08 PM

Real Repubilican? Real Democrat? How can anyone running for office be REAL? We have become a nation of one issue voters, be it abortion,stemcell,healthcare,or energy, or any other issue that effects our personal life. I have watched liberals go conservitave on a moments notice as life happens and watched conservitaves go liberal as needed. If a candidate does not meet our needs at the moment he/she does not get our vote. We elect these people the sit in wonder when they do not live up to our expectation. Who knows what any candidate belives in, every word must be so carefully chosen most messages are lost. You want to know why we cannot find the real Republican or Democrat because we really have no idea of who we elect the men and women running are just the voice of what they think we want to hear, for if we don't hear what we want from pertaining to our one issue we don't vote for them!

Posted by: rjh_1961 | October 15, 2007 4:07 PM

Merganser--Amen to the Pragmatist Party! This is an idea I can get behind. It's been something I've been pushing with everyone I know. Where are all the moderates? Both parties, due in large part to our primary system have moved to the far sides of the political spectrum, leaving a lot of disatisfied and disaffected voters in the middle.

The real small government Republicans lost their party to the Religious Right and the NeoCons.

Another poster pointed out the incongruencies caused by these two sects within the GOP. Stay out of our pocketbooks, but legislate our morals, cut taxes, but spend at will on defense. And the part of the party that subscribes to no taxes is even more ludicrous. Being fiscally responsible means using government funds wisely and balancing the budget. It doesn't mean eliminating all government funds. How can one complain about the public schools on one hand and on the other, demand less taxes to support those schools? It's difficult to discern who the real Republican is because there is no real Republican party anymore, just a bunch of single-issue factions pieced together by Karl Rove's genius micro-marketing tactics. The GOP, much like the Democratic party, stands for whatever will bring the most votes during the primary. Where's the party that stands for holding up the Constitution, serving the people and getting things done?
-----------------------------------------------------
Great question. Speaking for myself as a principled independent, if the GOP returned to its libertarian roots, I would support them over liberal democrats. But until the right wingers are cast aside, I will never, never, never support the GOP in national elections. Time for a new party that wants to (1) balance the budget and be fiscally responsible; (2) get federal government out of local and state issues and respect the privacy of people to do as they please if they do not bother others; (3) commit to making America no longer dependent on fossil fuels, (4) only intervene overseas when necessary for national interest while still providing humanitarian aid; and (5) ensure overall prosperity of American people through fair taxation and regulation. Call it the Pragmatist Party.

Posted by: merganser | October 15, 2007 02:22 PM

Posted by: Indyssent | October 15, 2007 4:06 PM

if ya can answer 'yes' to these you're the real republican: did ya support bush's rollback of constitutional rights? do ya favor developing us control of the middle east? are ya in favor of torture? were ya there defending enron and others as they stole from the american people? do ya have contempt for the lower and middle classes?

Posted by: glenbc | October 15, 2007 3:52 PM

This reminds me of that old TV show: What's My Line? A standard round was essentially a guessing game in which the panel tried to identify the occupation (or "line of work") of the contestant. Now days with the emphasis on Reality programming, we voters are asking "real republicans" to come forward. Various litmus tests are applied to candidates. What is your position on religion in the Federal Government? What is your position on abortion in the U.S. Constitution? What is your position on Civil Rights in Federal Law? What is your position on Torture in U.S. prisons? What is your position on Public Health care? What is your position on freedom? When is it OK to spend Social Security funds? All of these reality tests are, of course, meaningless because the President does not write legislation. That is the job of Congress. The main job of the President is to enforce the laws enacted by Congress.

Posted by: rmorris391 | October 15, 2007 3:50 PM

Ron Paul is the ONLY true Republican with the values of the individual, the philosophies of the founders, and the heart of the constitution.

If any other candidate were dominating straw polls, post-debate polls, meet-up groups, and constantly improving fund raising, then the media would be hyping these statistics on thier front pages every day.

Ron Paul IS the Real Deal.

Posted by: archtor | October 15, 2007 3:50 PM

Who is the "real" Republican? Nowadays, the test seems to be put a brown person, a non-Christian person, and a child in need in front of them, and the candidate who can maim or disparage all three the fastest is the "real" GOPer. The Party of Hate and Cynicism is all they are now. A sham and shell of what was once a principled party.

Posted by: neekoo99 | October 15, 2007 3:41 PM

Arg, Dan, I love your work, but "Romney's conservative bona fides ARE"? "Bona fides" is a singular noun. Didn't you never loin no Latin at school?

Posted by: peterheinegg | October 15, 2007 3:39 PM

Here are the broad differences between an old line "Conservative", and a Neo-Con.

Old Line: Mostly Hawkish, with reservations about the wisdom of invading Iraq.
Neo-Con: Extremely Hawkish, would like to solve most conflicts with force.

Old Line: Higher likelihood to have served in the military at some point. Would probably be encouraging toward offspring that want to serve.
Neo-Con: Vary rarely have any military experience. Would be very unlikely to encourage offspring to serve.

Old Line: Pay as you go.
Neo-Con: Pay with "plastic," worry about the bill later.

I find it funny that Neo-cons are even classified in the same catagory as "regular" conservatives. They seem to be a catagory unto themselves.

Posted by: bonsai5966 | October 15, 2007 3:33 PM

Giuliani, Romney, McCain, Thompson et al (including Paul) are ALL REAL REPUBLICANS:

(1) ALL favor the same failed fiscal policies which reduce savings, investment and growth, explode governmental and external debt, and increase income inequality.

(2) ALL favor a health care system dominated by government subsidized, profit seeking middlemen that is ruinously expensive; that delivers inferior care; that does not and cannot promote competition among providers (doctors and hospitals); that robs patients of their freedom and doctors of their independence; and that benefits no one but the middlemen the Republicans to which they contribute.

All of them are running on the same platform: MORE OF THE SAME FAILED POLICIES OF THE PAST EIGHT YEARS AND OF THE REAGAN-BUSH ERA.

And everyone of them is a major hypocrite, whether it is the pro-life libertarian Ron Paul, the pro-choice pro-life-judge Giuliani or the pro-life states-rights Romney. Sickening.

Four more years of Republicanism, regardless of which of the current wannabes dishes it out, equals four more years of social deterioration, economic stagnation, and stupidity in foreign affairs (whether it is the mindless militarism of Cheney or the mindless isolationism of Paul).

Posted by: mnjam | October 15, 2007 3:26 PM

Well, the Republicans certainly CANNOT claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility, the party of less government or the party to uphold the Constitution. They CAN claim to be the party of waste, fraud, corruption, deception and Big Brother spitting on the Constitution and peeping in American living rooms and tapping phone lines.They HAVE proven that they are accountable only to Corporate interests, party ideology and capaign contributors, but they totally ignore the American citizens who pay their oversized salaries.

Posted by: morningglory51 | October 15, 2007 3:21 PM

Republicans can only win with cheating and dishonesty. This concept has gripped the party as the mentality of winning usurps principle. Control will be lost as the pundits continue to exhibit their greed, mean spiritedness, racism, and lack of decency. Count on people to want to transcend to the positive having experienced some of that in this wonderful country in the not too distant past. Basically, most people are sick of the DAILY scandals, hypocrisy, and lies that are so casually thrown at us as if a lie is not a lie. The Republican party needs to purge itself of it's own destructive and greedy elements or they will not succeed again. Ordinary citizens who are Republicans are moving away from those who tear down our country as they have for the last seven years. Nixon and Reagan were not of the caliber of Eisenhower and Goldwater. The latter are the Republicans who told the truth to this country.

Posted by: MeahBottoms | October 15, 2007 3:20 PM

Obviously, the real republican is the one who has the secret state and the military behind him. Congratulations, Mr. Romney.

Posted by: lwps | October 15, 2007 3:13 PM

No doubt Ron Paul gets less press than he deserves given the MSM bias against his libertarian policies. Nonetheless, for all those Ron Paul groupies out there, if he is so wonderful, why doesn't he leave the GOP party that has left him? I posed this question before and got no response. Might it be that he would lose his House seat, so power prevails over principle?

Posted by: merganser | October 15, 2007 3:12 PM

-Who's the real.....?

The ones who speak exclusively German at home.

Posted by: kase | October 15, 2007 2:53 PM

My man! MITT '08 BABY!! Screw the stupid right-wingers, bring the party back to the roots Mitt! NO TAXES, FISCAL CONSERVATISM!
MITT IN '08!!!!!

Posted by: Scarlofs | October 15, 2007 2:51 PM

What a fine piece of journalism.

Who will capture the soul of the Republican party? For if it has no soul it is bound to become as irrelevant as the conservative parties in Canada and Great Britain became during the recent periods of Liberal and Labour party dominance.

I believe that the Republicans will coalesce around Rudy- because they think that he is a hawk on Iraq.

The big surprise will be that Rudy goes soft on Iraq after he is elected and reorients his party.

Posted by: kolp999 | October 15, 2007 2:41 PM

When someone finds the intellectuals in the Giuliani camp, post a picture or name names, 'cause it ain't the "pod" people. Hmm, Hillary or Giuliani? Go Hill Go!

Posted by: mikeVA1 | October 15, 2007 2:40 PM

The Bush Administration has merely highlighted the obvious existing contradictions within the Republican coalition. I get tired of listening to the contradictions in the pundits from the right. For example, we want Government out of our pocket books, but it's alright if they listen to our phone calls. We want to be able to spend our money how we want, but we should tell people the "moral" way to live their lives. We are against all government spending, unless its the Pentagon, they can waste as much money as they want. The War's, Patriot Act, and Gay marriage agenda of the Bush Administration have done nothing but highlight these fractures and destroy the party in the long run. The "base" is small government, economic conservatives, that may not worship Rush Limbaugh, and the party should get back to that if they want to win. I like Ron Paul because he highlights these differences and sends a wake up call to the media anointed front runners. I have seen more mentions of Huckabee in the press despite the fact that he raised under 1 million dollars and more mentions of McCain despite the fact he raised about as much as Congressman Paul. He brings out issues that need to be addressed otherwise I see an independent candidacy with 10% of the vote that will ensure Republican's lose in '08. Looking at Rudy and Mitt, I don't know if I would mind.

Posted by: dan111 | October 15, 2007 2:39 PM

Abraham Lincoln is usually considered to have been the founder of the Republican Party, or at least the first-among-equals from that time in American History. Today, the conventional wisdom is that the Republican Party stands for total opposition to abortion and gay rights and stem-cell research, and in favor of imposing 'Democracy' by armed force on ancient nations halfway around the world. Just imagine how Lincoln would feel about his party's present image, were he somehow to return. "With malice toward none, with charity toward all" it isn*t.

Posted by: cwh2 | October 15, 2007 2:29 PM

Great question. Speaking for myself as a princpled independent, if the GOP returned to its libertarian roots, I would support them over liberal democrats. But until the right wingers are cast aside, I will never, never, never support the GOP in national elections. Time for a new party that wants to (1) balance the budget and be fiscally responsible; (2) get federal government out of local and state issues and respect the privacy of people to do as they please if they do not bother others; (3) commit to making America no longer dependent on fossil fuels, (4) only intervene overseas when necessary for national interest while still providing humanitarian aid; and (5) ensure overall prosperity of American people through fair taxation and regulation. Call it the Pragmatist Party.

Posted by: merganser | October 15, 2007 2:22 PM

Undoubtedly, Bush is the 'real' Republican. The rest of them are doomed because of him.

Posted by: errinfamilia | October 15, 2007 2:19 PM

The real question is why the writer overlooked the real point- that the foundations of republicanism; "conservatism, religiousness, and deference to authority" are outmoded concepts in today's modern society, and that the Republican party is doomed as a result due to it's having no resonance amomgst todays younger voters who view it's core priniciples as archaic throwbacks to a bygone era slavery and robber barons.

Posted by: gbennett | October 15, 2007 2:18 PM

There probably are few, if any, real Republicans left. They have fallen victim to the same appeasement techniques the Democrats use to loose...no defined consistent thought out concepts and moral guidelines.. just win.

Until America stops pandering to everyone with a personal grudge, greed or hurt feelings , we will all be subject to the wims of the politicians and pollsters..

It is time for a major new direction..I say give Ron Paul a listen.. he can only do better than what we have had for the last 40 years.

Posted by: jstratt2 | October 15, 2007 2:15 PM

Since Eisenhower, the Republicans have stood for Racism, Red-baiting, Rich getting Richer, fear-mongering, anti-science, anti-women, anti-government, anti-environment, false patriotism and attacks on civil liberties. They have managed to turn the US into a divided country based on class and religion and have failed to provide for the security of its citizens. Republicans promulgate "the big lie" with the help of the corporate interests. They are a disgrace to real Americans. The last 8 years will be seen as the time America lost is moral, economic and political standing in the world and became just another right-wing oligarchy. How sad

Posted by: thebobbob | October 15, 2007 2:13 PM

The troubles of the Republicans are natural and to be expected. The party has moved far to the right of Nixon and even of Reagan. Let's not forget the former signed the Clean Air/Water acts, and the latter, expanded the size and spending of government (primarily on Defense) and more than doubled the size of the deficit for $74B at the end of Carter's term to $155B, prompting the later quote from Cheney "Reagan taught us deficits don't matter". Since the base of either party drive the primaries, and the base of each party is far off the center, the party in power will shift farther to the extreme until the ideolgy trumping reality gets to the point that the system breaks and the moderates leave. We are at that point now with the Republicans. When the Democrats take more control, THEIR base will drive it the other direction, and the cycle will repeat.

Posted by: davehg22 | October 15, 2007 2:11 PM

As a Democrat, I would really like to see Ron Paul nominated, but he's really more of a Libertarian than a traditional Republican, I think. I mean the problem is exactly as the article suggests, some Republicans think the core Republican value is spreading freedom, or spreading Jesus, or making sure gay married terrorists never find a safe haven here, or whatever they're on about, not the elimination of the FDA.

My dream candidate is actually someone, I believe it was Pat Buchanan was saying back in 2006 should be nominated. Rick Santorum. This was, mind you, after he lost by a landslide in PA. I don't suppose there's a movement to draft him to run, is there? I would love that. To think that "man on dog" hasn't even come up once yet in the debates and we could have all of that insanity back, that would be awesome.

Posted by: Jenn2 | October 15, 2007 2:09 PM

Please, someone tell where the REAL Republicans are?

Many Americans today have been enlightened by the two wars we find ourselves involved. One war, the "war on terrorism", finds its main battleground in Afghanistan, and it is a war that costs lives and money but the majority of Americans support. Liberals, Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, most don't have a problem with us kicking down the doors of members of the Taliban.

When talking about the war in Iraq the parties have much difference. Democrats say that the public and congress was mislead to justify the war in Iraq and that the Bush Administration no longer deserves autonomy in situations where US service men and women's lives are on the line. Based on the results of the last Congressional elections, most Americans see a problem with GOP/Republicans; at least in the way they make decisions about the use of our military.

So why is it that in the GOP/Republican party there are no dissenters, no independent thinkers, no moderates? Where are the real conservatives who would laugh at how conservatively the current Republican party has been spending taxes, and creating big government? Has the Republican Party lost its identity? Can the ideology of the GOP be so easily summed up in Karl Rove talking points like "support this and support that", and angry rhetoric like "liberals are traitors"?

Hello centrist Republicans! Anybody out there?

Posted by: getcentered | October 15, 2007 2:02 PM

If Bush had kept the platform he campaigned on in 2000, we would the US would not have invaded Iraq, and we would have no budget deficit. The GOP would do well to quit nominating liars.

Posted by: jdadson | October 15, 2007 2:01 PM

Ron Paul is the only real Republican running. He stands for small government, liberty, and a non-interventionist foreign policy. He has a 20 year track record to prove he's not just saying what he thinks will work. The others are pro-war socialists.

Posted by: jdadson | October 15, 2007 1:58 PM

Most folks know that Hillary Clinton is the "real" Republican.

Posted by: Maddogg | October 15, 2007 1:53 PM

Check out this video. McCain showers Romney with praise for his honesty and integrity etc...does anyone else sense a little political opportunism here?

http://time-blog.com/real_clear_politics/2007/10/flashback_mccain_endorsed_romn.html?xid=rss-rcp

Posted by: Alvin2 | October 15, 2007 1:53 PM

Great headline in question form! The answer is that Republicans are as diverse as any group...they are all real, Tom Delay, Larry Craig, Scooter Libby, Dennis Hastert, Richard Nixon, Spiro Agnew...

Posted by: free-donny | October 15, 2007 1:52 PM

Wow, Bush's "compassionate conservative agenda has proved far less compelling than he had hoped" -- maybe that's because it never moved from an agenda into execution? What, pray tell, is compassionate about vetoing SCHIP? But off that hobbyhorse for a moment and on to the Republicans' problem, which I personally think is that whoever best embodies their core principles will not, in the end, win the election. The heart of the nation is not currently with the Republicans' core principles. So I think they have to decide exactly how much they want to stick with those core principles. They currently think, by not much of a margin, that the embodiment is McCain. Okay, the trouble is that once McCain turned into the Establishment Party candidate, he lost huge chunks of his support among independents who have always admired his rare willingness to be a maverick. He isn't a maverick any more, hence he isn't going to be much of a player any more. And saying Giuliani is the second best representation of their core principles just makes no sense, even conceding that not allowing five minutes to go by without mentioning 9/11 appears to be one of their core principles.

Posted by: Jenn2 | October 15, 2007 1:37 PM

Both parties have the same problem, as expressed by Mr Balz in asking "Just what is the Republican wing of the Republican Party?" Likewise for the Dems - What do Dems stand for, beyond "Anyone but Bush?" Both parties' primary voters need to decide what they want from their party, first - then vote for the candidate that best ebodies those principles. We'd all be better off for it - rather than playing all the 'electability' parlor games.

Posted by: bsimon | October 15, 2007 1:27 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2009 The Washington Post Company