In his latest column for the New York Post, titled "Suicide of the Right," neoconservative pundit John Podhoretz nearly begs his fellow members of the right to abandon the government shutdown, which he argues is doing grave damage to the GOP "brand" and hurting the broader conservative movement.
"Every piece of evidence we have so far on the government shutdown shows the public is blaming Republicans most of all for the standoff," Podhoretz begins. He grants that the shutdown has made it so "Democrats look bad" but argues "Republicans look considerably worse."
"And for the Right," Podhoretz continues, "the Republican Party is the only game in town."
Podhoretz goes on to argue that despite Obamacare's unpopularity, "it is not wildly, devastatingly unpopular." If it were as unpopular as conservatives believe, Podhoretz says, then the tactic of pressuring red-state Democrats to abandon the law would have worked.
"Their tactic failed," Podhoretz concludes, "and now what they are left with is House Speaker John Boehner basically begging the president of the United States to negotiate with him."
When I interact with these conservatives, they say they don’t care about the GOP; what they care about are conservative ideas.
They’re right not to assign special glory or power to a political organization and to hold ideas above party. But here’s the condundrum: There is only one electoral vehicle for conservative ideas in the United States — the Republican Party.
It’s one thing to refuse to waste your time buffing and polishing the vehicle so that it looks nice and pretty; that’s what political hacks do, and ideologues have every right to disdain such frippery.
But if, in the guise of making the vehicle function better, you muck up the engine, smash the windshield, put the wrong tires on it and pour antifreeze in the gas tank, you are impeding its forward movement. You’re ruining it, not repairing it.