Dionne's Siren Song To GOP: Renounce Reagan, Embrace Bill

Barbra Streisand not yet having weighed in with her advice to the Republican party as to how it might regain power, we'll have to settle for the counsel that WaPo columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr. generously offers in his column of today, Can the GOP Find Its Center?

His advice boils down to a two-part program: forget about conservatism already, and Be Like Bill.

Dionne begins by proclaiming that "this fall's election defeat . . . revealed that the Barry Goldwater-Ronald Reagan political settlement has expired," by which he apparently means that conservatism as a winning political philosophy has gone the way of the parrot in A Fish Called Wanda. E.J. thus goes on to deride Republican leaders such as John Boehner and Mike Pence who in the wake of the GOP's defeat call for a return to traditional conservatives principles, chief among them that of limited government.

Dionne approvingly cites Sarah Chamberlain Resnick, executive director of the Republican Main Street Partnership [a liberal GOP group] who "said moderates had, to no avail, warned their leadership of 'the consequences of pushing a legislative agenda kowtowing to the far right in our party.'"

"A legislative agenda kowtowing to the far right"? Earth to Sarah and EJ: this was the Republican majority that legislated the biggest entitlement expansion in history, that passed out earmark-pork millions like gumdrops, and was led by a president who used his power to veto runaway spending exactly . . . zero times.

Dionne claims "the GOP desperately needs to disenthrall itself from old thinking." Translation: ditch your conservative principles. And in its place? EJ counsels Republican presidential candidates to take their lead from "a politician who liked to condemn 'the brain-dead politics of both parties.' His name was Bill Clinton."

Hogwash. We all know the old saw that, given the choice between a real Democrat and an imitation one, voters will choose the real one every time. Given Hillary's likely presence on the ballot, you might extrapolate to a choice between a real Clinton and an imitation one. Any GOP presidential contender who takes advice from an MSM Democrat like Dionne and thinks the way to electoral salvation is to embrace Bill Clinton will deserve the defeat Republican primary voters are sure to inflict on him. Here's the advice an actual Republican might give: ignore the Siren song of the left, steer to the principled Reaganesque right, and win.

Contact Mark at mark@gunhill.net

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.