David Brooks as usual wrote an insightful piece in the New York Times.
David Brooks writes about the five major changes that will need to be enacted to keep our country a leader. We may quibble over the five and or the nature of the changes needed, but the fact remains that changes are needed. Mr. Brooks makes the historical case quite well that Republicans have been good reformers and the people have gone along with the changes because they were not only cautious but they were based upon the values and ideals of the people.
Two of the most prominent conservative reformers were Benjamin Disraeli and Theodore Roosevelt. Both reframed the political debate so that it was not change versus the status quo, it was unfamiliar change versus cautious, patriotic change designed to preserve the traditional virtues of the nation.
The quote from Disraeli was superb and spot on.
“In a progressive country, change is constant; and the great question is not whether you should resist change, which is inevitable, but whether that change should be carried out in deference to the manners, the customs, the laws and traditions of a people, or whether it should be carried out in deference to abstract principles, and arbitrary and general doctrines.”
Let us make those changes in a Republican way. That in a nutshell was what I have been blogging about for awhile, ever since I listened to David Cameron of the British Conservatives. The Disraeli quote to me symbolizes the idea I’m pushing. Simply stated, the New Republican Image that is forming is not one of smaller government, but rather that image of a party that is capable of taking the abstract pipe dream Democratic ideas of “saving the world” and translate it into a workable solution to save the neighborhoods where “people” live.
We need to be the party of doers that take what authority we have and use it for the common good in very real and specific ways. While others talk and talk and talk. We need to be more like Bobby Jindal who as a State House Congressional member in Louisiana took it upon himself during Katrina and used what limited power he had as a local congressman to push some bureaucrats into action and actually get things done, while the other big shots were stuck in bureaucratic quick sand. The people of Louisiana loved him for it and voted him in as their youngest Governor. He is becoming the poster child for the New Can Do Republican.
I’ve been trying to capture the essence of this type of idea, and the picture of the old MacGyver TV show kept popping up. If you remember he was the guy that could make do with whatever was at hand and come up with the solution to the problem. His methods were quick and to the point and above all they worked. Those solutions were not the best perhaps or even the most efficient but they worked and their success led to other success’ and in the end with the burden and worry of needing to fix the problem alleviated, a better solution could be found.
I call this the “Make Do, Make It Now, Make It Work” plan.
As with the revolt over Drilling Off Shore, just the threat of it has reduced the cost at the pump. If Congress could agree to an across the board systematic attack on the reasons for the high cost then the price would plummet. We “Make Do” by drilling, then with that in hand and the government starting to get some money coming in we can start to attack on the alternative fronts. “Make It Now” will give proof that the country is serious, and the markets will heed it and they will be forced to “Make It Work”.
In the Brooks article he refers to Theodore Roosevelt and how he used Patriotism and core values to help get the country on his side with the reforms he wanted to enact. It worked. We too now have the chance to tackle this problem one step at a time building upon the success of the previous one.
We do not need national leaders to do this. We have gotten the oil drilling debate up through the ranks to the leaders and now they are finally paying attention. Not the other way around. This is the Party I like. Many Republican’s including John McCain like and say they admire Teddy Roosevelt. David Brooks put out the following quote by Roosevlet in his article linked above.
“The true function of the state as it interferes in social life,” Roosevelt wrote, “should be to make the chances of competition more even, not to abolish them.”
Once we allow the big companies to compete freely then we can start to find ways for the smaller ones to compete also. If the Big Oil Companies are truly the bottle neck or whether it is the big speculators and hedge funds etc that is the problem I would like to see McCain as the one carrying that “Big Stick” of Teddy’s to give us a “square deal”.
We need to be the ones who are making the changes and we can if we put the debate in the terms of the American values of common sense and the good old American “Can Do” Spirit.
Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative