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Published: Monday 15 July, 2013

shoes online shop shoes online shop Are Republicans just bad at politics

All the handwringing and soul searching going on in the conservative movement boils down to one fundamental question: Are we bad at selling our policies, or are the policies themselves the problem? This distinction is critical and leads to radically different prescriptions. If the issue is merely in the marketing, then the damage the party sustained a month ago is mostly cosmetic and can be quickly repaired with better messaging and candidates. The alternative, however, calls for rethinking foundationalprinciples and is much more painful.

John Podhoretzand Matt Lewis made the cases for the politics camp in the context of the cliff debate. Democrats, they argue, have deftly outmaneuvered Republicans into spending all their time defending unpopular things that are peripheral to core conservative values. Podhoretz writes in the New York Post that even though Republicans have the superior policy on the Bush tax cuts and the need to cut entitlements, they have the inferior messaging and have ended up the the eatyourvegetablesandshutup party noble and responsible, but doomed.

Lewis, who is generally one of the most fair and incisive conservative columnists out there, g shoes online shop oes even further. Democrats have brilliantly outmaneuvered Republicans into a position where they are spending the vast majority of their time defending what seems to many like the indefensible, he writes. For example, Rather than talking about defending the right to life, Republicans spent an inordinate amount of time in 2012 talking about whether a woman who was raped should be allowed to have an abortion.

While its hard to ima shoes online shop gine Democrats, of all people, brilliantly outmaneuvering anyone, their assumption seems to be this: If the key ideological conflicts of the day were fought in pitched battles on level playing fields, Republicans would win. So is this correct?

Lets take the example Lewis brings up of abortion and rape. As it turns out, most Americans favor abortion rights. An NBC/ Wall Street Journal poll from late October asked respondents if they would be more likely to vote for a prolife or prochoice candidate. They found that 40 percent chose the prochoice candidate. Just 28 percent chose the prolife candidate, and 31 percent said it wouldnt make a difference. A CBS poll from September asked respondents for their own views on abortion. The plurality 42 percent said it should be generally available, 35 percent said available under stricter limits, and just 20 percent said it should not be permitted at all.

How about taxes and spending? Even if we set aside the overwhelming support Americans give to raising taxes on the wealthy, they favor a balanced approach that includes spending cuts but also tax hikes, which Republicans generally oppose. A November CNN poll asked if respondents favor spendingcuts only as a means to reduce the deficit just 29 percent said yes. Meanwhile 67 percent wanted spending cuts and tax increases. A USA Today poll from the same month found 10 percent favored spending cuts only; 30 percent favored mostly spending cuts, and 45 percent favored a mixture of both.

Social safety net? A National Journal poll from early this month listed government programs and asked them how much should be cut from each, from a lot to not at all. Here were the numbers who said at all for each program: Social Security 77 percent, Medicare 79 percent, food stamps and housing vouchers 49 percent and Medicaid 63 percent.

One place Republicans do have the edge is on defense spending. The edge is narrow and varies depending on the question, but more Americans oppose military cuts than favor them.

How about issues beyond the fiscal cliff? On energy and climate change, 65 percent favor imposing mandatory controls on carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases, and 69 percent support more government money on developing solar and wind power of Solyndra fame, according to a Gallup poll from earlier this year. Just 34 percent say the government should prioritize expanded oil and gas production.

On hotbutton social issues, 57 percent support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and 51 percent support marriage equality for gays and lesbians, according to a Washington Post poll. Theres also strong support for the DREAM Act, which Mitt Romney vowed to veto on the campaign trail, and even Republicans support Sen. Marco Rubios watereddown version.

And on guns, an issue Lewis said Republicans have already 57 percent of Americans support banning semiautomatic assault weapons. Sixty percent support banning the sale or possession of highcapacity magazines, and a narrow plurality said there should be major restrictions on gun ownership, as opposed to minor ones, according to a CNN poll from August. These were all policies that Republicans said would be nonstarters when they wereintroducedfollowing the shooting in Aurora, Colo., this year. A Washington Post poll from July asked Americans if they favor stronger or weak gun control legislation in general, and found the answer to be 5147 percent in favor of stricter rules.

This list is hardly comprehensive, but it should giveconservativespause before assuming that new window dressing and better field operations alone will solve their problems. Many of these core policies are simply unpopular with the American people, and they shouldnt deny that if they hope to win again.

Democrats had a similar experience in the early 1990s and fundamentally revamped not just the image, but the agenda of their party and went on to win the White House again for the first time in over a decade.

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