After NY-23: Goldwater, Reagan, And The Mirage Of “Moderation”

Patriotic immigration reformers didn`t have a dog in the
NY-23 Congressional special election fight —
Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman

toed the Club For Growth line
so the issue didn`t surface — but you have to be amazed
at the gloating over-interpretation of his very narrow
loss (46%-49%).

Particularly when you know from bitter experience that a
Hoffman win would immediately have been spun down the
memory hole, like the great patriotic immigration reform
victories of California`s

Proposition 187

and Arizona`s

Proposition 200

The numbers make it perfectly obvious that Hoffman or
any other conservative candidate would have won this
race if GOP insiders hadn`t tried to impose a

who rewarded them by endorsing the Democrat after her
expensive campaign collapsed. The real loser: the

GOP Establishment


Michael Steele`s RNC

It`s also amazing how little consciousness there is
anywhere that this GOP civil war is simply a replay of
the earlier

insurgency. Maybe it`s a generational thing. Many Gen X
commentators apparently imprinted at an impressionable
age on


as the avuncular President, but in fact he won power as

fierce and divisive partisan
During that insurgency, too, the liberal Republicans (I
don`t see what`s “moderate” about them) were more
than willing to ruin when they could not rule—to
sabotage conservative candidates with the help of the
elite media. The conservatives simply had to develop
equivalent ruthlessness. Which, in NY-23, they have just

And this historical amnesia is particularly amazing to
me, as a Baby Boomer. I thought the Goldwater-Reagan
experience had finally resolved the long intra-GOP
debate about whether the way to win elections was by
moving left (
or moving right (actually, giving voters something
distinctive to vote for). I definitely remember that
Reagan won, twice—didn`t he?—and paved the way for the

worthless, undeserving Bushes

But still the conventional wisdom, internalized by many
Republicans, particularly inside the Beltway, is that
the GOP mustn`t go too far “right”.

At this point, it is clear that no amount of evidence or
argument can refute this conviction — as I


when reflecting on the distressing results at this
year`s CPAC convention, it`s obviously a psychological
quirk, a political version of Tourette`s Syndrome.)

As it happens, the Democratic pollster has just provided
additional evidence of the irrationality of the
“moderation” mirage.
Greenberg does interesting work—for example, he

identified Affirmative Action

as a key issue in the 1980s, something that both
Democratic and Republican Establishments absolutely did
not wish to hear. A recent Greenberg report,

The Very Separate
World of Conservative Republicans

some publicity

because he found that

“the self-identifying conservative Republicans who make
up the base of the Republican Party”

drive current unrest

are not

(He also found that immigration, that`s
I-M-M-I-G-R-T-I-O-N, was one of the top issues for these
conservatives, although

rarely explicitly mentioned

even at Tea Parties).

Greenberg`s polling shows that the ideological structure
of the two major parties is quite different:

conservative Republican base represents almost
one-in-five voters in the electorate, and nearly two out
of every three self-identified Republicans…But liberal
Democrats are outnumbered by moderate Democrats (36 to
61 percent of all Democrats).”

What this means is that Democratic primary candidates do
indeed have to worry about securing
as well as liberals.
This is no doubt one reason the average MSM
journalist is so fixated on the maneuver. But Republican
primary candidates do not. They have to worry about

To put this in perspective, look at the

Gallup Poll released October 26
It found:

  • 39%-41% of Americans identify as
    “conservative” or “very

  • 35%-37% of Americans identify as

  • 20%-21% of Americans identify as
    “very liberal” or “liberal”—in
    Gallup`s words,
    “making liberals the smallest of the groups”

(But the noisiest!)

Gallup adds that 35% of independents now identify as

What this
means is really astonishing:
you could
virtually win the U.S. Presidency with conservative
support alone

It doesn`t take that much to win the White House. Barack
Obama, for example, was elected in 2008 with just


of the vote. George W. Bush won with


in 2004 and actually lost the popular vote (with 47.9%)

And Ronald Reagan won with just

50.7% in 1980

At VDARE.COM, we`ve been

saying this

in a somewhat different way: What we call the
the GOP should concentrate, not on outreach to
unappeasable minorities, but on inreach to its own base,
which it has simply failed to mobilize. That base is
white. Greenberg and Gallup`s
“conservatives” are certainly white too.

(The inability of the Beltway Right to discuss race
frankly is becoming comic. For example,

David Frum
newly eponymous

an avid booster of the
mirage, has an


attributing Republican successes in New York`s
Westchester Country to the Democratic incumbents`
high-tax policies blah blah. But
City Journal`s

Walter Olson
an unimpeachably libertarian non-member of the Religious


that it`s because of the backlash against a
federally-imposed low-income housing a.k.a. forced
integration scheme, which the Democrats defended by
accusing opponents of, guess what,
This coyly sanitized sentence is FrumForum`s only
reference to the issue:

[County Executive Andy] Spano rammed a $50 million settlement of a federal lawsuit against his
administration through the County legislature without
[challenger Rob]
Astorino pounced extra hard on his disregard for the

There are issues to hand that would mobilize that
white base and reach beyond it as well. Immigration, of


that 50% of Americans say immigration should be
decreased, up from 39% a year ago; only 14% want an
increase (which, needless to say, is what George W. Bush

tried to force through
Language—Rasmussen reported this spring that an

incredible 84% of Americans

want English to be the official language of the U.S. And

Affirmative Action

For that matter,

gay marriage

is now

having lost in every single state where it has been put
to a popular vote, most recently in

despite the GOP`s almost total elimination from

New England
VDARE.COM does not take a position on gay marriage, but
there`s no doubt that opposing it could be a devastating
tactic for a party brave enough to speak up. (Needless
to say,
the GOP Establishment choice in NY-23, supported gay

There is, however, one big difference between the
Goldwater-Reagan insurgency and the situation today: the
institutionalized Beltway Right, solidly entrenched
after some thirty years with their snouts in the
Washington D.C. trough.

One measure of this:

a recent hilarious article in



Ellison Lodge
analyzing the Republican National Committee`s new
Lodge found a ridiculous

Potemkin Village



“The `O` in GOP
[the home
page logo] gives
way to a picture of a smiling Republican face that
changes every time you refresh the site. Sometimes the
surfacing visages are `heroes`
[eighteen are
featured elsewhere on the site, only five white males]
and other times they are just random under-35
Republicans who are the New Face of the GOP. Get it?
There is even a GOP “faces” application on the site in
addition to a RNC Facebook page.

“In an unofficial study, I refreshed the
site over and over to see what the hue of the face of
GOP might be. There were not a large variety of faces,
as many showed up four or even five times before I made
it to 15 (excluding heroes.) According to my count,
there were three black males, three black females, one
Hispanic female, one Hispanic male, five white females
(who, to their credit, were generally attractive), and a
grand total of two white males.

“In contrast, when I went to the “GOP

section of the website, there were only four blacks, two
people who may have been Hispanic, and 54 whites in the
one page I looked at. But these faces were handpicked,
of course. Continuing my next unscientific test, I went
to the official RNC

Facebook page

and looked at the first sixty people who signed up as
“fans” of the Republican National Committee: 58 were
white, one was Hispanic, and one was Asian. None were

“That`s the young Republican Party base of

Now doubt these Beltway Rightists are responding to some
sort of perceived imperative. But who do they think
they`re fooling?

Not the GOP`s conservative base. As Democratic pollster
Stanley Greenberg wrote of them in the study cited
above, with obvious amazement:

Republicans in our groups could not have been more
negative in discussing their own party.  They see
the Republican Party as

rudderless, controlled by a class of

political professionals

who have lost touch with not only the people but the
conservative values that should guide them.”

This collision between the GOP`s “
of political professionals”
its base has a seismic inevitability. But until and
unless these
are overthrown, patriotic
immigration reform—and much else besides—will continue
to be suppressed.

like a recipe for a

new party
to me.

Peter Brimelow
(email him) is editor of

and author of the much-denounced
 Alien Nation: Common Sense About America`s Immigration Disaster,

(Random House –
1995) and

The Worm in the Apple
(HarperCollins – 2003)