David Frum

11.12.12

Where Does the GOP Go From Here?

To cap off today's series on proposals for a stronger, better GOP, here's a quote from Rod Dreher, a writer for The American Conservative (and a must read for people who want to understand the strongest arguments put forth by theological conservatives.) Dreher:

The Republican Party is becoming a perversely rigid sect, more concerned with being militantly correct than being pragmatic and successful. With each passing election cycle, their purity will become the purity of the desert. There are many American liberals who counsel conservatives that all would come right for us again if only we would jettison our principles and become liberals.

No, thanks. Conservatives must be conservative, but we must also recognize that conservatism is not an ideology, but a way of approaching the world, the chief virtue of which is prudence. As the great modern conservative Edmund Burke taught, the act of governing - indeed, "every human benefit and enjoyment" - requires compromise.

The talk-radio Jacobins and the suburban sans culottes may not like that kind of treacherous talk, but it is the essence of the conservative political temperament. Burke once observed that "a state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation." He might have said the same thing about the Republican Party. Then again, the old boy was probably a RINO.