I'm still reading through Sean Hannity's Conservative Victory: Defeating Obama's Radical Agenda. And one thing is clear: I think I've got Hannity's plan for "defeating Obama's radical agenda" all figured out.
It goes like this: In order to defeat Obama's radical agenda, the Republican Party must defeat Obama's radical agenda. Seriously, that's about it.
Oh, and one day, Ronald Reagan will get off of his throne at the right hand of George Washington and return to earth to single-handedly defeat Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Hugo Chavez in a game of Go Fish, thereby bringing peace to all the real Americans around the world.
Actually, Hannity does outline something of a plan in Chapter 10 of Conservative Victory, and it involves worshiping the U.S. military and bowing down before the Stars and Stripes — heck, even as a lapsed Baptist that makes me shudder. He also talks about building border fences, banning gay marriage, ending affirmative action, and offshore drilling with Sarah Palin. OK, I joke about that last one. That's at the top of my personal platform.
Now, I don't know if I would call those plans necessarily. They're more or less a reiteration of the status-quo GOP platform. There's nothing new here, but that's to be expected from Hannity. He's still living like it's the summer of 1984, and the U.S. is cleaning house at the Olympics because the Soviets didn't bother to show up. Good times.
And that's a shame. The Republican Party lost its way during the Bush II years, and it's not quite sure how to get it back. Hannity's book was supposed to accomplish that. But it does just the opposite by dismissing the one group attempting to return the GOP to its modern day, fiscally conservative roots: the Tea Party.
See, Sean Hannity has nothing but disdain for the Tea Party's No. 1 goal: to vote all the bums out, Democrat and Republican alike. Hannity wants to keep those bums in power, as long as they're members of the GOP and their last name isn't Paul.
Even worse, like many of his talk radio and Fox News brethren, Hannity pays lip service to the Tea Party movement, but only for so long. For the talking head, there's nothing more disastrous that could happen to the GOP than for the Tea Party to become a true force within the Republican Party, perhaps even becoming a viable third party.
In the book, Hannity writes:
[O]pposition alone — without direction and without organization — could end up playing into Obama's hands. If we're not careful, our grassroots energy could be channeled in ways that could ultimately benefit Obama's cause.
Take, for example, the talk of starting the third party.
It's an understandable impulse: Conservative Americans have been frustrated for years by the Republican establishment's inability to get the country — and Washington — moving in the right direction.
But if all this anger should result in the formation of a third party, the conservative vote could splinter so badly that the White House ends up being delivered back to Obama, however unpopular he has become and however clearly his policies have failed. Yes, the leadership of the Republican Party has often been disappointing — spending too much when in power and failing to oppose Democrats effectively when out of power. But we all agree that Republican leadership is vastly superior to the disastrous Democratic policies we've seen in just this first year of Obama's presidency. The differences between the parties are differences in kind, not just degree. And, while the GOP needs to improve its performance, we cannot lose sight of our first priority — to direct the party back to its conservative roots.
Hmm. Back to its conservative roots, eh? Funny, I don't think that if we elect status-quo, establishment GOP candidates we'll be giving the Republicans any incentive to return to the conservative roots they abandoned. Nope. They'll just keep on carrying on the way they have for eight-plus years now. Which is why, in part, we have the Tea Party in the first place.
But if the GOP adopts the ideas of the Tea Party instead of just paying them lip service now and asking for their allegiance later, 1984 might finally be a thing of the past.