Why stop with Reagan

     I will go one further than Bruce Ash and say we are entering the post Republican era. Have you been to a district meeting lately? Some people so old and senile they cannot remember where they parked their car when they came to the meeting, if anyone even shows up. Does Bruce or anyone believe for a second that the generation now in college will sit through a district meeting for 5 minutes? If there were there they would be texting each other about how boring the format was or how old fashioned the concept of party is. What will motivate the next generation to attend a party event? A platform of ideas that candidates may of may not follow? Sorry, this new crowd is smarter than that. They will just get online at Facebook or Meetup and find out whom their friends are supporting. Candidates will have no need for a party apparatus when they can reach more voters for less money on the Internet and through text messaging, especially when the values of the party are completely optional and constantly morphing into something new. The next generation will log on and connect with specific candidates or single-issue groups and the concept of a political party may seem very anachronistic indeed.

The Reagan era may not be the only thing left in the past.


  1. I went to a district meeting for my first time last week. I’m 26 and would consider myself pretty involved in politics. This was a debate with all of the candidates for Mayor and City Council for Mesa. It was a disaster. Even with them up there it was so boring I could tell the candidates even wanted to walk out of the room. Needless to say I will continue to find other ways to get my political updates.

  2. Josey Wales says

    I forgot to mention that with all the open primaries people have more options and power if they are registered as independents.

  3. Josey,

    If you think you can do better as an independent, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    Someday buddy boy, you will become old and senile. If you don’t like the way things are run, get off your duff and change them.

    You may think you are smarter than your seniors, but they are tougher and meaner. You live in the house that Reagan built. The Soviets were around when you were in diapers. You have never dealt with double digit inflation, a misery index, gas lines, Vietnam, let alone the Great Depression or the Nazis.

    So like I said, you would be wise to learn a little respect.

  4. Josey Wales says

    Nice job of Shoot the Messenger. Do you have any points to counter my central thesis?

  5. Josey Wales says


    Look at the numbers. For the primary election in 1998 independents were 14% of the electorate. Forward to October 2007 and independents are 28% of the electorate. Are you seeing a trend?

  6. Josey,

    I am not seeing an independent majority leader. I am not seeing an independent President.
    I am not seeing an independent Speaker.

    Are you rejecting Reaganism just because this crop of Reaganites is rather putrid or is there a deeper reason?

    When you write: “Nice job of Shoot the Messenger. Do you have any points to counter my central thesis?” I assume you are talking to me.

    Your point seems to me that there is a disconnect between the Maricopa appartus and the college kid grassroots. Ten years ago, I was a CR. CR’s are essential for going to door to door, rallies and events like that. But there is more to a campaign then going door to door. There’s signs, positions, yes, email and websites, there’s message, press releases, events, fundraisers, commercials, debates.

    It seems that you want credit for just showing up. I lived through Reagan, it would be wise to educate and celebrate a man you (and others) have denigrated.

    Look, I don’t mean to denigrate 20 somethings. I have served with them. They are studs. I see them every day becoming more mean and deadly – truly the best of the best in your generation. Prom was 17 years for me. It was one year ago for them and they are learning how to kill. Your peers are outstanding – this Young Turk rebellion – not so much.

  7. Josey’s post is spot on. The Facebook omnivores are more connected and sexually active than any generation in history, and they cannot stand Bush. Bush was planning to visit Stanford to attend a Hoover Institute event. Students found out and went ballistic. Emails and phone calls informed the administration that students were willing to get shot if necessary to disrupt and destroy the meeting.

    Stanford told the white house to find another location. The president is NOT welcome on campus, EVER. The only GOP candidate that is not seen as a farce is Ron Paul. On the blue side, they favor Obama over Hillary.

    They hate the war. They know Bush lied.

    How’s that fund raising going? You do realize you’ve lost Latinos. Not to worry, there’s so few of them and they don’t vote.

  8. Sentiment against the war, against Bush, and the racism perceived in the immigration discussion (real or not) are hurting your party badly. Watch the money.

  9. Josey Wales says

    James you are not seeing an independent majority leader or an independent speaker because the Democrats won both positions.

  10. Josey,

    Excellent observations! The attention span of the next generation of voters is much shorter and less tolerant of mediocrity. The party or candidate who can modernize and excite this generation will prevail.

  11. You boys need to get out more. If you think that the world’s oysters will be presented to you on a silver platter just because you showed up, well, all I have to say to that is evidence please!

    Josey, you will never see an independent President, Speaker or Senate Majority Leader. It’s just not going to happen.

  12. Josey Wales says

    James I am in my mid-40s and spent lots of time in 2006 walking for a Republican candidate who was undercut by his own party. I will be happily volunteering for a few candidates in 2008 but I am very cautious about party activities.

  13. Josey, now you’re talking.

  14. Josey, fair enough, but how are you going to change your party if you choose not to participate? I would rather sit by a dinosaur than someone like x4mr. I know where the dinosaur will be going in a couple of years.

  15. James,
    You surmise correctly that you don’t know where I’ll be going. In November 08 I go to the polls to vote a solid blue ballot for the first time. As an Independent, in the past there have always been GOP votes.

    This year, I don’t even have to read the names. I just look at party and know how to vote. That is a first.

    The aware and astute that comprise the good within the GOP, including Josie, are starting to ask questions about what the GOP is really about. Is it about massive deficits for an unnecessary war? Is it about screwing the poor? Is it about massive subsidies of corporations with multi-billion annual profits? Is it about the suspension of habeas corpus and secret prisons? Is it about the denial of health care for 1/4 of the country?

    I don’t know what you guys stand for anymore. At some point the Christian body in this country is going to realize that Christ was an advocate of the poor. The GOP rapes the poor into homelessness. I was once a Libertarian. I voted not for Reagan, but Libertarian in 1980. I used to respect the GOP a lot more than the Democrats.

    Not anymore.

  16. Josey Wales says


    How am I going to change the party? I don’t know, I am not in charge of it. Why don’t you ask that question of the district and county chairmen and chairwomen.

    As to participation, at my last district meeting of the few new people in attendance one of them was there because of a Republican web site that I set up (it is #1 on Google for its search term) and one was a friend of mine that I invited to the meeting. As to dinosaurs I would much prefer to belong to a party that reached out to people of ALL ages and has many different venues for maximum participation. But as I said I am not in charge.

  17. Josey,

    In the Army we have a saying “Little Victories” – there is a lot we cannot control – policy, regulations, etc. But there is a lot we can control – our five meter perimeter and our attitude.

  18. Josey Wales says


    Well put. I will not dispute what you have to say about military service since you trump me on that subject. A good attitude is always important, in or our of the service.

    That being said, to me belonging to a political party does not imply the same level of obligation or commitment as serving in the armed forces. Devoting more time to family, to church, or to community organizations are examples of reasonable alternatives to party involvement. Balancing these options and obligations is the trick. I will stay involved as long as there are others in the party who share my same convictions, and there are. You and I probably agree on 95% of the important stuff.

  19. Josey, I always enjoy your posts, but I am a bit unsettled (because you are probably right) by your critique of the appratachiks within the Party. Devoting more time to fam, church and the community – not a bad way to protest.

  20. Josey Wales says

    As for the apparatchiks I have a rule of not doing someone else’s job for them, especially when I am not getting paid. I will continue to help out but the people at the top should lead, follow, or get out of the way.

  21. nightcrawler says


    You make many good points. There is an age issue at play. I can tell you from experience that most of the volunteers that shoulder the majority of the workload at the district level are either retired or close to it. True, it is matter of who has the most available time. Personally, I am not old and not young. So I can relate to both the tech savvy side of the young and the work ethic of the old.

    Our high tech world lends itself to instant gratification. We want instant access to information. We make decisions in minutes, not hours. We get angry when our burger at a fast food joint takes more than 5 minutes to prepare.
    We have become as a society, soft.

    On an inter-personal level, we communicate by email or on blogs such as this. Why, because it is efficient in a world where time is precious.

    The only problem is that the party apparatus still functions on paper, signatures, 5 dollar donations and God forbid, a handshake.

    Old school versus new school. Politics is about the science of power and relationships.

    All I can say to the young folks out there is meet us half-way. We will try to make more high-tech invitations and announcements. Please feel free to raise your hand and volunteer to collect signatures and we will call it even.

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