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The Republican Party: The Greatest Marketing Machine Ever

Jun 27, 2005
19,255
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Link - Time Magazine/CNN
The only other oganization I have ever seen that can sell a crap product to as many people is Bose. And before anyone calls me a Republican fanboi, (I did just call them a crap product afterall...) I'm just an admirer of the process. I like to watch the "game."

Campaign 2006: The Republicans' Secret Weapon
You think the GOP is sure to lose big in November? They aren't. Here's why things don't look so bad to them

By MIKE ALLEN AND JAMES CARNEY


Posted Sunday, Oct. 1, 2006
The polls keep suggesting that Republicans could be in for a historic drubbing. And their usual advantage?competence on national security?is constantly being challenged by new revelations about bungling in Iraq. But top Republican officials maintain an eerie, Zen-like calm. They insist that the prospects for their congressional candidates in November's midterms have never been as bad as advertised and are getting better by the day. Those are party operatives and political savants whose job it is to anticipate trouble. But much of the time they seem so placid, you wonder whether they know something.

They do. What they know is that just six days after George W. Bush won re-election in 2004, his political machine launched a sophisticated, expensive and largely unnoticed campaign aimed at maintaining G.O.P. majorities in the House and Senate. If that campaign succeeds, it would defy history and political gravity, both of which ordain that midterm elections are bad news for a lame-duck President's party, especially when the lame duck has low approval ratings. As always, a key part of the campaign involves money?the national Republican Party is dumping at least three times as much into key states as its Democratic counterpart is?but money is only the start. "Panic results when you're surprised," says Republican National Committee (r.n.c.) chairman Ken Mehlman. "We've been preparing for the toughest election in at least a decade."

Thanks to aggressive redistricting in the 1990s and early 2000s, fewer than three dozen House seats are seriously in contention this election cycle, compared with more than 100 in 1994, the year Republicans swept to power with a 54-seat pickup in the House. Then there's what political pros call the ground game. For most of the 20th century, turning out voters on Election Day was the Democrats' strength. They had labor unions to supply workers for campaigns, make sure their voters had time off from their jobs to go to the polls and provide rides to get them there.

Now, though, Democrats are the ones playing catch-up when it comes to the mechanics of Election Day. Every Monday, uberstrategist Karl Rove and Republican Party officials on Capitol Hill get spreadsheets tallying the numbers of voters registered, volunteers recruited, doors knocked on and phone numbers dialed for 40 House campaigns and a dozen Senate races. Over the next few weeks, the party will begin flying experienced paid and volunteer workers into states for the final push. The Senate Republicans' campaign committee calls its agents special teams, led by marshals, all in the service of the partywide effort known as the 72-Hour Task Force because its working philosophy initially focused on the final three days before an election.

So Republicans hope to close the deal in tight races with a get-out-the-vote strategy that was developed in the wreckage of the 2000 presidential campaign. Bush's team was led then, as it is now, by Rove, Bush's political architect and now White House deputy chief of staff, and Mehlman, then White House political-affairs director. Their theory was that Bush lost 3% or 4% of his expected vote in 2000 because those people just stayed home.

What Rove and Mehlman wanted to figure out was the code for increasing the number of Republican voters who could be reliably summoned to the polls?a code that, once cracked, could be used to win election after election. "We want to turn 75%-Republican areas into 78%- or 79%-Republican areas while at the same time turning 15% areas into 18% or 19% areas," says Mike DuHaime, political director of the R.N.C. In the off year of 2001, the creators of the 72-Hour program tested it in odd, lower-profile contests, including court races in Pennsylvania. The Bushies picked clusters of precincts where they quietly tried their new methods, then compared those with similar precincts where the campaigns did things the more traditional way. Those experiments helped Republicans develop a handful of precepts that constitute the party's playbook for this fall:

1. Learn from the past - Fifteen G.O.P. data experts spent months after the '04 election comparing turnout records from the swing states with the Bush-Cheney campaign's databases to figure out the optimal amount of mail, phone calls and door knocks that would persuade a probable G.O.P. voter to go to the polls.

2. Draw in new voters - The Bush-Cheney campaign used state records to locate potential Republicans with Florida State University license plates, then had fellow Seminoles call them to sound out their views. Whereas parties used to go after certain precincts or zip codes, Republicans now know even which individual households they want through microtargeting?the use of computerized consumer data, from magazine subscriptions to charitable contributions, to help locate voters who are likely to vote Republican if they turn out. Other telltale signs of potential latent Republicanism are snowmobile ownership and enrollment in private schools.

3. Low tech can be better - Caller ID, TiVo, cable channels and satellite radio all make it harder to reach voters than it was just a few years ago, increasing the importance of person-to-person appeals, the hallmark of old-fashioned, grassroots campaigns that used to connote an amateur or a low budget. "You clearly have to have TV ads," says White House political-affairs director Sara Taylor, "but for a little less TV, you can buy a whole lot of pizzas and phone lines and salaries for young men and women right out of college" to make phone calls, knock on doors and recruit and manage volunteers.

4. Details, details - The shopping list includes everything from chairs to cell phones for hundreds of workers for Republican Party victory committees, whose staffs are charged with creating state turnout machines. The G.O.P. says their volunteer forces in '04 proved to be more effective than the paid workers contracted by Democrats, unions and Democrat- oriented fund-raising groups. Even Election Day comes sooner for Republicans, who have begun putting a huge effort into locking down absentee voters and vote-by-mail ballots in states that use them.

5. Spend more - Republican officials estimate that at the end of August, their committees and campaigns had $235 million to spend in the two-month home stretch, a $58 million advantage over Democrats. The R.N.C. plans to lay out more than $60 million on turnout efforts and advertising vs. the more than $14 million set aside by Democratic National Committee (D.N.C.) chairman Howard Dean. Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, who has been critical of Dean's approach, complained at a D.N.C. fund-raising luncheon in Washington last week that theG.O.P. "is pouring tens of millions of dollars into races, and we're not matching that." House Republican officials contend that many of their Democratic challengers are so little known that they could be buried in an ad blitz. "You hit them, and they fold like a house of cards," a strategist said.

Republicans had begun to feel better about the election recently after Bush got a bump in the polls, reflecting a steady decline in gas prices and a successful effort by the White House to push national-security issues to the top of the news. But by last week G.O.P. operatives were less elated. Newscasts were trumpeting the tales of infighting in Bush's war cabinet told in Bob Woodward's State of Denial, a book full of stories about an Administration pursuing a war with no clue how to go about it. And Representative Mark Foley, a Republican from Florida, resigned after his X-rated Internet chats with teenage boys from the House page program were made public. A safe seat for Republicans was suddenly in jeopardy.

Republicans acknowledge one ominous vulnerability: for more than a decade, the party has benefited from an intensity gap. Stoked by hatred of Bill Clinton or love for George W. Bush, G.O.P. voters have been more certain to vote than Democrats?meaning that the party tends to perform better than the final opinion polls suggest. Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, head of the House Democrats' campaign committee, recently told Time that gap had counted for as much as 5 to 7 points for the Republicans. But he thinks this election year might be different. "Their voters are unhappy," he says. "They're despondent about a failed President."

White House officials also concede they aren't so sure that Republicans will be motivated to go to the polls this year. Of course, expressions of doubt on the part of senior Republicans could be part of another game the G.O.P. plays better than the Democrats do these days: the expectations game. The Republicans are, after all, in the enviable position of being able to lose a lot. As long as they end up keeping control of both houses, they still come out the winner on Election Day.
Doesn't matter which side you're on. (D, R, Independent, Politically Agnostic, Whatever) Taken from a purely observational standpoint you have to marvel at the sheer volume of research and thought involved in something like this. Just the organization required to pull this off is mind blowing. These guys have figured out how to run a national campaign on an individual level. If the Ds can learn from this, the '08 elctions will be more fun than a... well... a really fun thing.



Edited for Time's grammatical errors...
 

Aisengard

Golden Member
Feb 25, 2005
1,558
0
76
Unfortunately, the Republicans focused more on keeping power than actually governing. So you'll excuse me when I revile instead of admiring their marketing genius.
 

jrenz

Banned
Jan 11, 2006
1,788
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Originally posted by: Aisengard
Unfortunately, all politicians focus more on keeping power than actually governing. So you'll excuse me when I revile instead of admiring their marketing genius.
Fixed that for accuracy
 
Jun 27, 2005
19,255
1
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Originally posted by: Aisengard
Unfortunately, the Republicans focused more on keeping power than actually governing. So you'll excuse me when I revile instead of admiring their marketing genius.
Let's not turn this into a R vs D thread. Yes, the Rs are all about keeping their power BUT the Ds are all about taking that power back. Politics in Washington is all a power grab. Nothing more, nothing less. If they were there for us, we wouln't be trillions in debt and we wouldn't have half our paychecks absorbed by the government.

What I'm focusing on here is the process by which the power is grabbed. And this stragegy is just fascinating. The Ds seriously need to look at what the Rs are doing... especially if the Ds don't take control of either side of congress.
 

Stunt

Diamond Member
Jul 17, 2002
9,717
1
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We have a thread like this already...
Don't you guys have anything else to complain about?
 

RapidSnail

Diamond Member
Apr 28, 2006
4,258
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Originally posted by: jrenz
Originally posted by: Aisengard
Unfortunately, all politicians focus more on keeping power than actually governing. So you'll excuse me when I revile instead of admiring their marketing genius.
Fixed that for accuracy
:thumbsup:
 

Martin

Lifer
Jan 15, 2000
29,179
0
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Data mining and careful analysis isn't something new, just that they seem to be the first ones to apply it to national politics. Unfortunately, the rest of their strategy includes things like partisan 'townhall' meetings, secrecy, insane control over information, and an incredible emphasis on appearance rather than ideas or actions. And that's not admirable, its lamentable.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,584
344
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The side of good has always had a handicap; we support freedom of speech, letting them have a voice, while they may deny it, keepin us from having one if they gain power, for example.

While democrats may restrain themselves from lying, from demonizing their opponents, from merging the picture of a man who lost three limbs in Viet Nam with that of Osama bin Laden, from using sophisticated manipulations based on marketing techniques, the other side obviously has no such qualms, and gains an advantage.

But while the democrats can and should look for ways to increase the effectiveness of their campaigning, they should keep the high road and provide a good alternative. We don't want two corrupt choices.

Sadly, democratic victories have at times rested on less than forthright campaigns - the 'missile gap' of JFK's 1960, the 'we will not send our boys into the European war' of FDR's 1940. Sometimes compromises are made.

And the comments above trying to say it's 'all politicians' rather than 'republicans' are wrong. There are entire books on the republicans behavior which is far different than democrats too long to summarize, but the republicans are the ones doing nearly all the immoral campaigning.

And for a related topic, read Greg Palast's new book on the vote-reduction practices of the republicans for some good info, if you love yoiur country's democratic system.
 

umbrella39

Lifer
Jun 11, 2004
13,820
1,123
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I agree with the OP, the GOP has been brilliant the past few elections and it is in no small part due to Rove. Credit where credit is due, they do what they do better than the Dems and when the Dems try and be like the GOP in their tactics, it usually backfires. Pretty much a lose-lose situation. The Dems seem to be sitting back trying to give the GOP enough rope to hang themselves with and unfortunately for them, most people don't really give a rats ass about politics. They vote for people based on what they see in their campaign ads, not on policy. Like here in Michigan, the only ads we see are DeVos and Granholm attacking one another, not about what is best for the State and how they are going to accomplish it. It's actually pretty fvcking sickening. Politics FTL :(
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,584
344
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Umbrella, where is the people taking responsibility for their own behavior in rewarding the attacks?

The politcians will stop the negative ads as soon as the people stop giving them the most reward for them. Each person can start by their own vote.
 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,268
4
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One weakness of the Democrats that you are leaving out is their lack of a unified message. The Democratic party is a bunch of little groups put together. You have the labor union part, the gay rights part, the anti-war part, the right to choose part etc etc. On the other side the Republicans are much more unified.
Look at the war on Iraq, some Democrats are for it, some are against it and some are down the middle, while nearly ALL Republicans support it.
Remember the anti-war rallies over the summer? I am sure you did not see the pictures of the events posted on right win blogs that showed all the little sub-groups at these events. You had the anarchists who oppose any thing the government does, you had the pure non-violent types, the "Bush is not my President" types, the Cindy Sheehan types etc.

A great strength of the Republican party is that it is unified around conservative principles which also happen to coincide with the religious principles for many Americans.
Less government, less taxes, pro-life, strong on defense on all these issues the Republican party is FAR more unified that the Democrats are.

In keeping with Whoozyerdaddy?s comment, lets keep this thread focused on the big issues and not turn it into personal attacks on individual party members or the people on this board.

BTW: on Bose? no highs, no lows, must be Bose (although their iPod docking station sounds great)
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,584
344
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In truth, I prefer a party with different views on the Iraq war than one who is unified behind it. The confusion of policymaking for me reflects a healthier democracy with more thoughtful voices; the reasons the republicans are behind the war are largely reasons I disagree with. They have no problem with the neocon agenda; democrats do.

Show me the republican party members punishing their leaders for the radical economic agenda they had planned in Iraq to screw the Iraqi people by selling off their assets to foreign (US) interests, punish them for trying to put their puppet Chalabi in charge, punish them for wasting $20B of Iraqi money, for the incompetence of putting young 20's people in charge of importantant things who had no experience but having applied to the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, for their mis-selling of the war including the intentional misrepresentation of what the intelligence agencies were really saying, and so on. You can't - and so I oppose the republicans willingness to allow all those things. Give me the democrats.
 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,268
4
0
Originally posted by: Craig234
Umbrella, where is the people taking responsibility for their own behavior in rewarding the attacks?

The politcians will stop the negative ads as soon as the people stop giving them the most reward for them. Each person can start by their own vote.
But Craig, it is much easier to tell people that you are some wacky San Francisco Democrat than to try and defeat your arguments with well thought out statements. :D

And on your "rewarding attacks" comment, look at these boards. Which side does most of the attacking? I myself am a victim of constant attacks, called a shill, a paid party worker etc. Some, like yourself, will engage in intelligent discussions on topics, but many will just rant and rave and point fingers.

And umbrella, you complain about attacks and how that is all you see, but it seems to be all you do in regards to me. I could pull quotes you made attacking me off these boards all day long. You don?t hold yourself to a higher standard, why would you expect the people who want to serve you to do the same?

BTW: I?ll be in Michigan this week, uncle Karl wants me to do some grass roots organizational work up there. ;)
 

Rainsford

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
17,520
0
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Originally posted by: ProfJohn
...
A great political strength of the Republican party is that it is unified around conservative principles which also happen to coincide with the religious principles for many Americans.
Less government, less taxes, pro-life, strong on defense on all these issues the Republican party is FAR more unified that the Democrats are.
...
Fixed that for ya ;) Seriously though, you're right, the unified message is GREAT from a political marketing standpoint. But when it comes to picking my leaders, I'd rather have people that can think for themselves (or rather, are willing to do so). As much as a I disagree with the Dems who came out in favor of the detainee bill, I at least respect their ability to NOT just follow the party line. Republicans see the division among Dems on various issues as a weakness that can be exploited (and from a political angle, they're right), I see it as proof that the Dems are a party composed of individuals who think for themselves, not a bunch of interchangable robots. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule on the Republican side too, but I think that democracy works a lot better when MOST of our elected officials are like that. The Republicans have a respectable ability to get elected, but that ability makes them very unsuitable to actually govern, IMHO.

Also, I find it very amusing that Republicans are still pretending that they are in favor of "less government"...it's very cute. Maybe Goldwater was truly in favor of it, and maybe Reagan seriously TALKED about it, but modern Republicans have long since abandoned the idea of smaller government. They still campaign for lower taxes and less government programs for the poor, but when it comes to police-state activities and legislating morality, Republicans can't get enough of big government. In terms of government, they are EXACTLY like the Dems, the two parties just seem to disagree about WHAT they want their big government to do.
 

Rainsford

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
17,520
0
0
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
Originally posted by: Craig234
Umbrella, where is the people taking responsibility for their own behavior in rewarding the attacks?

The politcians will stop the negative ads as soon as the people stop giving them the most reward for them. Each person can start by their own vote.
But Craig, it is much easier to tell people that you are some wacky San Francisco Democrat than to try and defeat your arguments with well thought out statements. :D

And on your "rewarding attacks" comment, look at these boards. Which side does most of the attacking? I myself am a victim of constant attacks, called a shill, a paid party worker etc. Some, like yourself, will engage in intelligent discussions on topics, but many will just rant and rave and point fingers.

And umbrella, you complain about attacks and how that is all you see, but it seems to be all you do in regards to me. I could pull quotes you made attacking me off these boards all day long. You don?t hold yourself to a higher standard, why would you expect the people who want to serve you to do the same?

BTW: I?ll be in Michigan this week, uncle Karl wants me to do some grass roots organizational work up there. ;)
That's a very noble position coming from someone who accused anti-war folks of giving "aid and comfort" to the terrorists. You want respect? It has to go both ways...
 
Jun 27, 2005
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C'mon guys... This has nothing to do with Iraq or wire taps or anything else like that.

This is an examination of how national elections are run. This is a topic where you have to put your personal views aside (Ford/Chevy) and just check out the engine and how the parts work together to move the vehicle.
 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,268
4
0
Originally posted by: Craig234
In truth, I prefer a party with different views on the Iraq war than one who is unified behind it. The confusion of policymaking for me reflects a healthier democracy with more thoughtful voices; the reasons the republicans are behind the war are largely reasons I disagree with. They have no problem with the neocon agenda; democrats do.

Show me the republican party members punishing their leaders for the radical economic agenda they had planned in Iraq to screw the Iraqi people by selling off their assets to foreign (US) interests, punish them for trying to put their puppet Chalabi in charge, punish them for wasting $20B of Iraqi money, for the incompetence of putting young 20's people in charge of importantant things who had no experience but having applied to the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, for their mis-selling of the war including the intentional misrepresentation of what the intelligence agencies were really saying, and so on. You can't - and so I oppose the republicans willingness to allow all those things. Give me the democrats.
There is a lot my party does that I do not agree with. I have not read to much on the whole American Enterprise thing, but if what you say is true then I agree it is totally irresponsible. But I would still not vote for a Democrat. As bad as Bush may be on supporting a smaller government or messing things up in Iraq I think a Democrat congress would be far worse. I may agree with Bush on 75% of what he does, but with Kerry I agreed with maybe 25%, so I have to vote accordingly. Putting Kerry in place to punish Bush in the long run would have hurt me far more than leaving Bush in power.
 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,268
4
0
Originally posted by: Rainsford
Fixed that for ya ;)
This thread has become the fix everyone?s post for accuracy thread, if straighttalker pops in here we are screwed. :D
 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
67,818
2,923
126
The award for Greatest Marketing Machine Ever has to go to the Nazi Party of Germany. Current Republicans get honourable mention though.
 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,268
4
0
Originally posted by: sandorski
The award for Greatest Marketing Machine Ever has to go to the Nazi Party of Germany. Current Republicans get honourable mention though.
Must not have read Whoozyerdaddy's comments... nice.
 
Jun 27, 2005
19,255
1
61
Originally posted by: sandorski
The award for Greatest Marketing Machine Ever has to go to the Nazi Party of Germany. Current Republicans get honourable mention though.
Good lord. I can't believe I'm going to respond to this. Here goes...


How so? What election did the Nazis win? And what elections did they win after they assumed power? Oh wait, they didn't, because they never won an election and after they took power they stopped holding elections.

Your comparison has no grounding in reality much less any relevancy to this thread. Again, this thread is an examination of how national elections are run by the major parties (in this case the republican party).

PS. Read a history book.
 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,268
4
0
Originally posted by: Rainsford
That's a very noble position coming from someone who accused anti-war folks of giving "aid and comfort" to the terrorists. You want respect? It has to go both ways...
I think you mischaracterize or misunderstand my comments.
1. It was not a personal attack launched against anyone person.
2. There is nothing wrong with being anti-war, what is wrong is when you cross the line and start using rhetoric that matches that being used by our enemies.

Back on topic please, or else Whoozyerdaddy?s will beat us both.

I don?t see the Republicans as a bunch of interchangeable robots, I see them as a group of people with similar values and beliefs. I am sure that if all the Democrats agreed on a subject you would not be making those same comments.

On less government, I think the grass roots still stands by this principle, our elected officials seem to have forgotten it though. As someone pointed out in another thread, they seem more interested in keeping their power via helping out their friends will a little bit of money here and there than sticking to that basic conservative idea. If you listened to Rush or Hannity you would hear their constant attacks on Bush for his big spending ways. Many of us in the party would like to see another true Reagan conservative emerge, until that happens we are still better off with a ?compassionate conservative? than any kind of liberal.

 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
67,818
2,923
126
Originally posted by: Whoozyerdaddy
Originally posted by: sandorski
The award for Greatest Marketing Machine Ever has to go to the Nazi Party of Germany. Current Republicans get honourable mention though.
Good lord. I can't believe I'm going to respond to this. Here goes...


How so? What election did the Nazis win? And what elections did they win after they assumed power? Oh wait, they didn't, because they never won an election and after they took power they stopped holding elections.

Your comparison has no grounding in reality much less any relevancy to this thread. Again, this thread is an examination of how national elections are run by the major parties (in this case the republican party).

PS. Read a history book.
They convinced a whole nation to follow them into a war that brought utter destruction upon them. I know what you meant with the thread, but responded to "Greatest Marketing Machine Ever" anyway.
 

Rainsford

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
17,520
0
0
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
Originally posted by: Rainsford
That's a very noble position coming from someone who accused anti-war folks of giving "aid and comfort" to the terrorists. You want respect? It has to go both ways...
I think you mischaracterize or misunderstand my comments.
1. It was not a personal attack launched against anyone person.
2. There is nothing wrong with being anti-war, what is wrong is when you cross the line and start using rhetoric that matches that being used by our enemies.

Back on topic please, or else Whoozyerdaddy?s will beat us both.
Fair enough, but I hope you understand that a lot of people DO take those sort of comments rather personally...nobody likes being called a traitor, even if it's not being said in quite those words.
I don?t see the Republicans as a bunch of interchangeable robots, I see them as a group of people with similar values and beliefs. I am sure that if all the Democrats agreed on a subject you would not be making those same comments.
You might be surprised on how I'd view Democrats doing that. I don't think it's a matter of perspective, when everyone starts thinking alike, I'm a big fan of the idea that some of them are obviously not thinking at all. I don't agree with the theory that large groups of people simply share exactly the same ideology, people who are really thinking for themselves are inevitably going to disagree. I'm not saying we're all unique snowflakes, but if we were REALLY honest with ourselves, our political ideologies wouldn't be all THAT close either. Agreement is seen as a good thing, but unless you've reached it because you truly thought about the issues and really changed your own mind, it has a creepy quality to it.
On less government, I think the grass roots still stands by this principle, our elected officials seem to have forgotten it though. As someone pointed out in another thread, they seem more interested in keeping their power via helping out their friends will a little bit of money here and there than sticking to that basic conservative idea. If you listened to Rush or Hannity you would hear their constant attacks on Bush for his big spending ways. Many of us in the party would like to see another true Reagan conservative emerge, until that happens we are still better off with a ?compassionate conservative? than any kind of liberal.
I'm not really sure of that. I will admit that the talking heads still bash Bush on issues like spending, and I will also admit that Bush is not the ideal conservative to a lot of conservatives, but I don't think that the party overall has a tone of accepting Bush-conservatism until something REALLY conservative comes along. Among conservatives there has been wild support for warrantless wiretapping and anti-gay marriage initiatives, neither of which fit with the original definition of small government. I'll admit that you guys dont' mesh exactly with Bush on all the issues, but that doesn't make you real conservatives either.
 

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