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Posts Tagged ‘Jay Cost’
January 6th, 2012 at 4:08 pm
Jay Cost on Why Primaries Hurt Conservative Candidates

Jay Cost of the Weekly Standard explains why the current 1970’s era primary system almost always impedes the Party of Reagan from nominating a Reaganite for president.

So, here’s the question of the day: why can’t the party of Reagan ever seem to nominate a Reaganite?

My answer: because conservative Republicans are not actually in control of their own party. Though they are its animating force – they give it policy ideas to implement, they turn out regularly to support the party in good times and bad, they advocate the party and its ideology to their friends, neighbors, and relatives – they are not in charge, and have not been since the 1970s (arguably the 1920s, but that’s another story altogether).

Later on, Cost describes how GOP moderates maneuver around the conservative base to secure presidential nominations.

Self-identified conservatives tend to be a majority of most primary electorates, so one would think that, even with the limits of primaries, you’d still get a quality conservative nominee. But that isn’t necessarily the case in a three-way race. That’s the final, huge problem with the primaries. They do not build consensus, which ultimately would require the assent of the conservative side of the GOP. Instead, they create a game similar to the show Survivor – “outwit, outplay, outlast.”

If you are a moderate Republican – e.g. Bob Dole or John McCain – you don’t need to win a majority of the conservative vote. You just need to do well enough among moderate Republicans so that you win more votes than your conservative opponents. Then, you simply wait for the media and the party establishment to pressure your conservative challengers into dropping out.

See if this sounds familiar:

The rules of the nomination game favor candidates who have the insider connections, can garner positive coverage from the media, can appeal to non-ideological and poorly informed voters, and who can win perhaps just a third of the vote in the early rounds. Such candidates are rarely the conservatives. Put another way: conservatives consistently lose because they are not actually in charge of their own party.

This is why, moving forward, conservatives need to spend serious time and effort thinking about how to fix this screwed up process. Yes, it is important to consider the big policy issues – tax reform, health care, industrial policy – but without good rules to produce good nominees who can implement those policies, then it is all for naught.

Food for thought.  You can read the entire article here.

February 11th, 2011 at 2:21 pm
GOP 2012 Hopefuls Shouldn’t Commit a False Start By Announcing Too Early

Apologies for the post-Super Bowl football metaphor, but Jay Cost’s newest commentary made me do it.  Cost argues that “The Fred Thompson Experience” proved that the right strategy for announcing a presidential candidacy is to wait until voters actually start tuning in to candidates.  That doesn’t happen 21 months before the election.  By letting his rivals expend time and money placating the media’s interest for months, Fred Thompson easily catapulted to the front of the line for one simple reason: he was new to the field.  (His failure to capitalize was another matter.)

For just about every serious GOP contender speaking at CPAC this weekend the temptation will be to ride the media wave into an early announced run for president.  After reading Cost’s analysis, perhaps they should wait until the House GOP and President Barack Obama have sparred this year to see which issues are the most relevant when voters start caring.

October 26th, 2010 at 7:29 pm
Poll Numbers Continue to Show Massive Pick-Up for GOP

Jay Cost at The Weekly Standard makes a compelling case that one of the reasons a Republican victory next Tuesday may seem ho-hum is that its arrival has been trumpeted for so long.  After months of voter resentment over ObamaCare, the Recovery Act, and spiraling unemployment the notion that the GOP might surpass 1994’s gains can seem pedestrian.

Cost reminds us it isn’t.  In fact, the intensity and location of voter resentment towards the liberal status quo could portend a possible realignment in states President Barack Obama won in 2008 to the GOP column.

The circumstantial evidence in favor of this? As Jim Geraghty’s Obi Wan noted yesterday, it’s all around us.  We simply have gotten used to it. Ohio is all but gone for the Democrats, including the swingiest of swing districts in Columbus.  Michigan is a lost cause. So is liberal icon Russ Feingold in Wisconsin.  Pennsylvania looks like it will go maybe +4-6 for Toomey and Corbett. All of these places voted for Obama, and all of them are basically gone. Weak Republican candidates in Colorado and Nevada keep those races tight, but otherwise the toss-ups are: California, Illinois, West Virginia, and Washington. The last Republican presidential candidate to win all four of these? Ronald Reagan in 1984.

Whoever earns the GOP presidential nomination for 2012 will have the wind at their back and a groundswell of proven precinct walkers at the ready.  We’ll see if the candidate can figure out how to use them.

May 11th, 2010 at 12:15 am
Britain Proves the Wisdom of the American Revolution
Posted by Troy Senik Print

If you need proof of the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, there’s no better contrast than a comparison of the current political climates in the U.S. and our mother country, the United Kingdom.

In a wonderful essay entitled “Thunder on the Mountain”, RealClearPolitics political savant Jay Cost writes today:

D.C. might shine brilliantly to the eyes of some, but it is still just reflected light. For all their posturing, the establishment still works at the pleasure of the people. It just so happens that the people usually choose to renew their tenure.

Yet this year, it looks like the people are set to deliver a historic rebuke to the establishment. The portents of the coming reprimand are all around us.

This follows on an earlier passage where Cost observes:

… the people do indeed rule. While their power is limited, it is nevertheless unconditional where it exists. Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi need the assent of the people of the United States to govern this country. But the people don’t need any such thing. In the limited sphere where they rule, they are supreme.

Cost’s point is well-taken. During their terms in office, America’s elected officials are only limited by whatever constitutional strictures the judiciary sees fit to apply. But come election day, the gloves are off. Americans get the politicians they vote for.

Compare that to Great Britain, where today’s dominant story was the resignation of Prime Minister Gordon Brown as leader of the Labour Party. With Brown stepping down, it looks as if Labour and the Liberal Democrats may be forming a left-wing government; this despite the fact that the Conservative Party came within hailing distance of an outright majority. The UK may be about to get saddled with a government made up of its second and third choices, with the first place caucus left out in the cold.

This is the poverty of the parliamentary system, which makes the executive branch a function of legislative majorities. In addition to ignoring America’s important emphasis on checks and balances, it can also invite this sort of legerdemain aimed at usurping the will of the people.

Count your blessings, America — one of which was ending up on this side of the Atlantic.

December 28th, 2009 at 3:24 pm
A Schiff in the Making?

Upon officially entering the Republican primary to face Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) in next year’s U.S. Senate race, Peter Schiff vowed to “filibuster until I die” if that’s what it takes to convince members of Congress how horrible are their economic policies. However, if Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) gets his way, theoretically Schiff could find himself in a silenced minority of 49 out of 100.

As trial balloons go, Harkin’s idea to eliminate the filibuster is getting more discussion than most. First there was an interview and weekend op-ed via Ezra Klein in The Washington Post. Today, Jay Cost at RealClearPolitics provides a detailed critique (including a graph!) defending the moderating device. While Klein bemoans the “paralysis” caused when the majority party refuses to negotiate, Cost correctly points out the Framers didn’t intend to make governing easy, only possible.

Beyond original intent, though, Klein would do well to remember that not everybody saw light at the dawn of the Age of Obama. In fact, people like Schiff are so angry at the leftward lurch of the federal government that they are willing to stand up in a town hall meeting or the well of the United States Senate and tell their peers why it’s wrong.

Truth be told, the funny thing about filibusters is that they are so rarely forced. In reality, it’s not the use of filibusters that upsets Klein and Harkin, it’s the threat of using them. Announce you’ll filibuster and the governing elites seethe, condemn, and then capitulate. Had then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) called the Democrats’ bluff to filibuster George W. Bush’s judicial nominees there is little doubt a true round-the-clock filibuster would have run its course within a week; all the while Democratic surrogates would be getting killed on television trying to explain why imminently qualified attorneys shouldn’t be allowed the courtesy of an up-or-down vote.

At bottom, what Klein and Harkin hate isn’t filibusters – it’s any indication that a Democratic majority in Congress doesn’t necessarily reflect America’s majority opinion. With the Tea Party movement gaining steam with the likes of Peter Schiff and Rand Paul, one hopes the filibuster can survive until they arrive in the U.S. Senate. If they bring a majority, maybe Klein and Harkin will rethink their support of the filibuster.