Mary Matalin thinks having a few more "conviction conservatives" like Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh out there would be a winning formula for the GOP i
May 25, 2009

Mary Matalin thinks having a few more "conviction conservatives" like Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh out there would be a winning formula for the GOP in future elections. I wonder if she actually thought this one through ahead of time.

I don't think it bodes well for Republicans to be using phrases which include the word convict and Dick Cheney or Rush Limbaugh in the same sentence. The only thing that magnifies for me is a reminder that if they were both treated like most Americans who aren't rich or well connected, they would both have already served some time in prison.

KING: So, James, what do the Republicans need to end this personality, Rush versus this guy? They need an election, I guess.

CARVILLE: Yeah they do. And, you know, my friend and my mentor Mark Shields once said that political parties are like churches. Figure out what party is trying to drive out the heretics and which party is trying to get the converts. And all of the people that they drive out that they say are heretics, we're glad to take them as converts.

And I think that's part of the problem here is, I'm not the member of a movement, I'm the member of a political party that I'm glad to say that embraces people of some different ideologies and tries to get things done.

And the Republicans, right now, consider themselves -- a lot of them consider themselves part of a movement more than a part of the Republican Party. Senator Jim DeMint said he would rather have 30 real conservatives than 52 -- or 51 that are not that conservative.

As one commentator very briefly observed that if they continue their policies, he'd be lucky to have 30. I think they're going through a time where they're trying to figure out what they are and they have some that want to start up an inquisition and they have some that want to start up a -- you know, a bunch of missionaries. We'll see which way it goes.

MATALIN: John, if we had 30 good conviction conservatives, they'd have a magnifying force. Look what Dick Cheney has done in just a couple of weeks with one strong cogent voice.

He has caused the president to reverse his policy on releasing detainee photos. He has raised the issue of Gitmo, what do you do with these detainees. He has pushed the president back into having military commissions. One strong voice has a magnifying force.

Conservatives in the -- the Republican Party cannot go forward as being liberal-lite. Who Rush offends are command-and-control central big government people, or soft power people, or redistributionists. Who he educates and inspires are conviction conservatives and he gives them the courage and the articulation to be able to stand on those principles. And that's how we've won and that's how we'll win in the future.

CARVILLE: We call them the RNC, somebody said the Rush Newt Cheney Party. And then you've got of course the RNC of Michael Steele and you can take your pick. That's pretty much what's being offered out there.

MATALIN: We like vigorous debates. We know who we are.

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