19th century British Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli said that his rival Robert Peel had "caught the Whigs bathing, [swimming] and had walked off with their clothes". He meant that the chief of one party had taken another party’s ideas, and profited by it.
I assume that’s the thought behind Peggy Noonan’s latest column It's Pirate Time for the GOP | The party needs to be unpredictable and bold—and grab some of Obama's issues, WSJ, January 10, 2013.
However, the issue she wants to steal is one beloved of the GOP’s business lobby (and her employer, the Wall Street Journal) and hated by Republican voters. As in “the dogs don’t like it.”
Finally, Republicans should shock everyone, including themselves, by pushing for immigration reform—now. Don't wait for the president, do it yourselves, come forward individually or in groups with the argument for legalization of who lives here now. Such bills should include border control and pathways for citizenship, but—and most important—they shouldn't seem punitive or grudging and involve fines and lines and new ways to sue employers. The world has changed. Ease up now. In the past 10 years immigrants, legal and illegal, have fought our wars. We need to hurry in those who are trying to bring gifts we need into the USA. Whoever comes here learns to love our crazy country, or at least appreciate it. If we do a better job of teaching them why the goodness we have even exists, we will do OK.
The point here is to have the GOP lead in terms of good policy. But it's also important for the Republicans to show the variety, disagreement and alive-ness that exists within the party. It is not some grim monolith, some thought-free zone, or was not meant to be. It's not bad to be unpredictable. Living things are.
Members should loosen up, speak for their corner, put together caucuses, go forward, move. Go on TV, dagger and sword, and make your case.
Really: It's pirate time.
Either that, or kamikaze time.
Discussing the recent story that Romney didn’t really want to be President, I heard Mark Steyn say on Rush Limbaugh that if you don’t want to be President, then being the Republican nominee seems to be the way to go.
He was thinking of McCain, I assume, but also presumably Bob Dole, and even George W. Bush, whose electoral victories were narrow, and who also managed to lose the House and Senate.
But if the GOP adopts Noonan’s plan, no one will be elected. Did I mention she also wants to surrender on so-called “assault weapons”? Right!
In 2006, Noonan was saying the occasional fairly sensible thing about immigration, such as “America has the right, and the responsibility, to protect the integrity of its borders” and that “those who call good people like members of the voluntary border patrols [the Minutemen]"yahoos" are snobs.”
But that’s obviously over—the big push is on for amnesty!
And if the GOP heeds Noonan’s advice, they’ll be where the Whigs (both the British and American versions) are—history.