My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


What Now For Republicans, part IV 

Become the Party of Big Ideas. And, if you can't fight the inertia of "Party," then become Individuals of Big Ideas.

And I'm not just talking about a laundry list.

Look, the world is at an interesting juncture right now, and I'm not just talking about a world with a descendent, Democrat/Socialist America. Consider: Iran and NoKorea are on the brink of becoming nuclear; Russia becoming aggressive again; Japan and all of Europe in a recession, with America close behind; the Latin and Muslim worlds rapidly overtaking the West in terms of demographics; and, while I like that I can fill my tank for less than $30, it seems to me that plummeting oil prices don't actually help security and stability in the middle of the world, especially at this juncture in History.

In my life, there has never been a time of such widespread anxiety and uncertainty. The Cold War was dangerous, but we understood that; the Carter Era was embarassing, but I don't remember the sort of external threats that play on us now; Watergate was bad for the country, but its effects were, for the most part, limited to America. I'm no history expert, but I can't think of a time when the consequences to the whole world of the next few years were as significant since the early- to mid-1930's. Global economic trouble, weak international leadership, ambitious, aggressive, bad guys--sound at all familiar?

Luckily for Republicans, there is a wonderful model for how to handle the wilderness from that very era: the 1930's became the era of Winston Churchill, and every Republican who has any interest in even pretending to be a leader should be taking the Christmas vacation to study "The Wilderness Years."

The lesson of Churchill, it would seem to me, is look at the whole gameboard, and then address the Most Important Thing. When was the last time it looked like a Republican understood the Most Important Thing? It's easy to say that George W. Bush gets the M.I.T., and his entire Presidency has been predicated upon stopping Islamic terrorism. Unfortunately, he never rallied the entire country into the effort (going to the mall, oddly, does not count), and his credibility on protecting the American people took a hit with Hurricane Katrina (not the actual event, but the P.R. bungle). Oh, and, he also suffered the same fate as Churchill--successful war leads to electoral loss.

Unfortunately, it's really hard to say just what the M.I.T. is likely to be--and THAT'S THE POINT! Somebody needs to look at the whole gameboard! While the country is absorbed with its own economic worries, there are bound to be other things and powers and forces out there moving, and somebody needs to start to address those. If Obama gets to that point first, he could dominate American politics in a way no individual has since Eisenhower. Luckily, Obama will be greatly hampered by the pathologically short-sighted Left.

And, y'know, it may just be the the M.I.T. is NOT one thing, but massive, wide-spread change of everything we know. Howard Gardner did a profile once ( I don't remember the exact book, but I'll go look it up) of a generation of world-changers: Einstein, Stravinsky, Freud, Ford, Marx all lived and did massive work at roughly the same time in history. That generation changed the world. And we're due for the next generation to do that same thing. Maybe the M.I.T. is identifying those people, those changes, that generation, and then nurturing it in a way that guarantees that it contibutes to an American intellectual Renaissance.

In my next several posts, I'm going to try to propose an agenda for Republicans that would put us out in front of the M.I.T. Let me make clear: I have no idea what the M.I.T. is or is going to be, but Republicans need to step back from their shellacking of two weeks ago, stop whining about losing, and get their eyes on Big Picture items.

Let me just start by proposing this one, radical, idea: winning elections DOES NOT qualify as a Most Important Thing.

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