Thursday, January 19, 2006

Peggy Noonan: Time for Republicans to Take Stock

Peggy Noonan has a pretty good piece in today's Opinion Journal. Excerpt:

But where does this leave us? With our mass media busy with reluctant reformation . . . with the old network monopoly over and done . . . with something new, we know not what, about to take its place . . . with the Democratic Party adjusting to the loss of its megaphone . . . Where does that leave us? I think it leaves us knowing that, more than ever, the Republican Party--the party ultimately helped by the end of the old monopoly and the reformation of news media--must be a good party, a decent one, and help our country.

That it regain a sense of its historic mission. That it stop seeming the friend of the wired and return to being the great friend of Main Street, for Main Street still, in its own way, exists. That it return to basic principles on spending, regulation and state authority. That it question a foreign policy that often seems at once dreamy and aggressive, and question, too, an overreaching on immigration policy that seems composed in equal parts of naiveté and cynicism. That its representatives admit that lunching with lobbyists is not the problem; failing to oppose the growth of government--so huge that no one, really no one, knows what is in its budget--is. That they reduce the size and power of government. That they help our country.
I've written here about being a Main Street Republican before, which I think means the same thing to Noonan that it does to me. It does not mean people like Jack Abramoff, and probably does not mean many of the folks at the Heritage Foundation, National Review, or the Weekly Standard.

I'm not sure, by the way, what Noonan means about "overreaching on immigration policy," but I hope she is not one of the "seal the border and deport them all" crowd. And one might argue that Ronald Reagan's foreign policy was "at once dreamy and aggressive," but it sure worked.

All that aside, Noonan's right that Republicans need to stake stock. The true Republican post-Reagan era is beginning. The GOP has have enough power that lobbyists are getting in big trouble for being too cozy with its leaders. That's a sign of a mature party, but it can also be a sign of an overripe sluggishness and ennui. (Think of the Dmeocrats in the late 70's.) Time to refocus on those principles and move to the next level, and remain "the friend of Main Street," not the friend of those others.


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