After last week’s lament about the lack of big, bold, positive vision coming from the present Republican candidates, I was encouraged today by news of some Republicans beginning to wake up and dream dreams:

Mitch Daniels at ABC News:

The problem I would worry about, and have all along, is that our side might not offer a bold enough and specific enough and constructive enough and, I would say, inclusive enough alternative to America.

Jeb Bush in the same article:

It’s a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people’s fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective, and that’s kind of where we are.

John Huntsman at the New Yorker:

I was thinking last night as we were watching some of the debate play out, gone are the days when the Republican Party used to put forward big, bold, visionary stuff. I thought about Eisenhower and the Interstate. I thought about forty years ago this month when Richard Nixon stepped off the plane in China and changed the world by that balance of power relationship. You think about Ronald Reagan bringing an end to the Cold War. A lot of big bold visionary stuff locked up in the history of the Republican party…

I think we’re going to have problems politically until we get some sort of third-party movement or some alternative voice out there that can put forward new ideas…Someone’s going to step up at some point and they are going to say, “We’ve had enough of this.” The real issues are not being addressed and it’s time we put forward an alternative vision of bold thinking.

William Schambra is Director of the Hudson Institute’s Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal. Writing in The Chroncile of Philanthropy about the caricature of conservatives as uncaring, hardhearted skinflints, he says:

Conservative philanthropy once helped dispel that stereotype by developing thoughtful private approaches to poverty. Unhappily, it now simply reinforces unfavorable impressions by focusing on short-term political advocacy rather than long-term civic problem solving…But now the patient pursuit of long-term vision has given way to the lunge for an immediate legislative or electoral win on a specific, narrow-bore issue closely reflecting conservative ideology…The quick political pay-off has replaced the gradual reshaping of the social and cultural environment.”

Still hoping that one of the present candidates manages to rise above the fray, think big and bold, and refuse to come back down into the mud.

  • David Murray (Isle of Lewis)

    Who is your preferred Republican candidate at the moment? Having read the BBC analysis of the candidates which covered their stances on moral issues and gave brief descriptions of their character I was pretty excited about Santorum! That was until I discovered he was Roman Catholic! Ron Paul perhaps?

  • David Murray

    Not enthused about any, David. Went to hear Santorum last night. He was better than I expected but still underwhelming.