Fully aware that former South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy is among a “select” group of Republicans that the hardest of diehard Trump supporters immediately throw under the bus every time they happen across virtually any news about the guy, I'm going to write this article nonetheless. Why?
Because, as was the case in 2020, selective support (or lack thereof) for whatever reason(s) between Never-Trumper Republicans and Always-Trumper Republicans, if it occurs in 2024 — make that continues to occur –will again not prove to be a winning strategy.
(See: “Cut off your nose to spite your face.”)
Now, Gowdy and his thoughts and analysis about the Democrats and the Republicans 2024. As reported by Fox News, the former congressman — now a Fox News host — on Sunday night said Republicans must “clarify their message” if they hope to win back the House and Senate in the 2022 midterm elections.
That is solid advice — for both political parties — for a paramount reason: A political campaign based solely on beating to death how bad the other side sucks might succeed in souring any number of voters on that side, but it's not a mutually-inclusive winning formula, meaning taking away voters from one guy does not guarantee any number of those disenchanted voters will instead vote for you or your side.
Gowdy pointed to Biden's disastrous press conference earlier this month to make his point, as transcribed by Fox:
He [Biden] repeated the same question, in different forms, multiple times: what are Republicans for? What do Republicans stand for? What are the Republican ideas?
When someone foreshadows a strategy ahead of time, we are wise to prepare. So what's the answer? What are Republicans for? What are the ideas on the other side of the ideological aisle?
Again, whether one worships at the feet of Trey Gowdy or loathes him, he's right. If you, assuming you're “Republican” — a conservative — were asked right now to outline what the Republican Party is for vs. what it is against, could you do so?
For example, being against big government and for less government is one thing; outlining policies and proposals related to how we should get there is another. Examples abound, particularly when we're honest with ourselves, about ourselves.
“Republicans used to make the argument that the Constitution sets out the powers of the federal government,” Gowdy said, “and whatever was not listed was left to the states or the people or the individual. It's an age-old question: Is this the responsibility of the federal government, the state government, the community, the church, the private sector, the family, or the individual?” He continued:
We don't hear the argument for conservatism made much anymore. The argument is now centered toward size and scope. Republicans don't talk about closing government departments as much as they do making them smaller. Republicans don't talk about ending government programs as much as they do making those programs more efficient.
And the effect of the pandemic on Republican lawmakers, per Gowdy?
This time last year, prominent Republicans were advocating for even larger COVID relief payments to qualifying Americans. Republicans themselves now offer federal legislation on school curriculum, tort reform, state and local police departments.
To carry the day with any argument you have to know what that argument is.
Are Republicans running on a platform of a smaller federal government or are Republicans now arguing for a slower rate of government growth coupled with competency?
Finally, the former congressman laid out several examples of being for something vs. simply being against something.
A government that doesn't send COVID relief funds to the wrong people, a government that can actually keep people in jail on bond that have lengthy criminal records, a government that can drone the right car in Afghanistan, a government that can secure the border, fix the supply chain, and crack down on violent crime.
We shall see what arguments are made this fall. But first we need to know precisely where those arguments will be made.
Again, love him, like him, or loathe him, Gowdy's observations were correct — and sage advice. Or a warning.
Personal disdain for the South Carolinian changes zero of the validity of that advice.
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