Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Henry Glasheen writes:

1) So long as it's in the opposition, where should the Republican Party focus its energy?

The Republican minority needs to work on new ideas. Simply obstructing Obama will not be enough. I am not sure that Contract with America ( a la 1994) will work because we just lost control in 2006. We have to ignore the fact that we do not have a voting majority and keep on making proposals. Otherwise green energy jobs will start to make a lot of sense. I think a lot of the leadership gets frustrated because nothing we propose has a chance at passage. That should not stop the Republicans from making proposals to counter the environmental and economic policy issues. Not just opposition, but proposals that would work without some of the undesirable side affects.

2) What is the most worrisome part of Barack Obama's presidency?

He has the Clinton economic staff in place that brought us the .com debacle and allowed hundreds of banks to merge and create 5-6 super banks. That set the stage for the problems we are currently in, and I am afraid they will make another mistake that will not be easy to fix. Now we have Wells-Wachovia, Bank America-Merril-Countrywide, and JP Morgan-WAMU. They have continued to allow banks to merge, and we are getting close to a point where the federal government will be completely in charge of the banking system. The part that bothers me the most about his presidency is that I believe he intimidates the media to run only favorable information on his administration. I look at the situation with Rick Santelli, and I think the media moves even farther away from objectivity. Also, I don’t think he has a clue of what he is doing.

3) There's been a lot of debate about the role that talk radio and cable news hosts should play on the right. Particularly controversial are Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Mark Levin. What do you think about these folks? Do they help the right or hurt it (or is it more complicated than that?) How should Republicans interact with them?

I have never watched any of them, so I cant comment on specific content. I think they helped in 1994 because it was a new phenomenon, and the American public mistook it for alternative news. In 2009, it just frustrates the conservatives more to hear it. I don’t think berating the President is proper under any circumstances, but I also think that the American people are becoming very cynical about politics. I don’t think they (Rush, Hannity etc) make that any better, but I have never seen them so I don’t know. I think we have to be careful not to push the conservatives away from politics because they are frustrated and feel the game is rigged. We need to send the message that participation can help to oppose those things you do not agree with, not simply point out how soft the media is on him. I am sending invitations out to a fund raiser for our county party, and apathy is a problem right now. I think conservative talk radio has a lot to do with that.

4) One particularly fraught controversy pertains to race in America -- with the first black president in the White House, some conservatives have been criticized as racists for opposing him, and some on the right have accused the Obama Administration or its allies of racism or anti-white sentiments (for example, Sonja Sottomayor's "wise Latina" comment drew fire, as did the Skip Gates incident). As the right thinks about political strategy and policy, how should it approach matters of race?

I think the right needs to take the high road on the whole topic. Enough Americans see it for what it is. It would seem to me that you are not going to win over the people who think it is racism, but you make points with the people that are smart enough to see it for what it is if you don’t enter the fray. Leave the entire topic alone. It might make sense to have Republicans say something like this. Race relations in America have been improved in a hard fought struggle by people like MLK, and we do not want to set those relations back in the name of partisan bickering. I think the media draws conservatives into that fight, but they should take the high road.

5) Is there anything you observe locally, or that Republicans in your area of the country care about, that doesn't get sufficient attention in the national media conversation? If so tell me a bit about the issue, and the approach you think the right ought to take.

If the Federal Reserve takes over control of banks in this country and crowds out the FDIC, we will lose about 85,000 jobs in Utah. It is a typical retaliation shot against the red states because those jobs go back to Ill, NY, NJ, and NC. All blue states. This and many of the environmental rules have really hurt our state.

6) Traditionally the Republican Party has been a coalition of religious conservatives, libertarians, fiscal conservatives, and national security conservatives. Is that alliance viable going forward? If so, what must be done to hold it together? If not, what alliance should the GOP try to build?

We have seen many elections where the various fringe elements of the Democratic Party had to just shut up and vote for a candidate because the party supported their cause. If the religious right cannot do the same from time to time, the party is in deep trouble.

7) Is there anything I didn't ask about that you'd like the media or the country as a whole to know?

No. Not much sense trying to say anything to the media. They never listen.

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to this.


Conor Friedersdorf

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