Monday, April 13, 2009

A Regional Politics

A recent post by Crunchy Con Rod Dreher brings word from England that its conservative Tory party has aligned itself with the "great British institutions" of mom-n-pop shops against the global retail giants. In the larger picture, it's a defense of regional autonomy and long traditions, two solid conservative values but ones that square off against widespread right-wing support of free markets.

Journalist Sasha Issenberg doubts U.S. Republicans could follow suit.

"The British brand of localism would probably be a tougher sell in American conservative politics, which depends heavily on the support of big business and can't fall back on a shared local culture as strong as that in England."

That may be true on the national scale. But if we broke the Union into "England-sized" geographic chunks (smaller if possible), it could fit well with a sort of regional politics.

I wrote in Comments at Crunchy Con: If the conservative icon of "small town America" has any meaning at all, it must refer to actual places. The existence and relevance of small American towns is not in doubt in Louisiana. I presume they exist and are of consequence in every state, even though they are ignored as much as possible in high seats of government.

A group of small towns, which includes and implies an interurban countryside to support them, is the right scale for a Republican version of Tory crunchiness. Most states could re-imagine themselves along these lines almost instantly; locals everywhere know what sort of "country" they inhabit and where its boundaries are, regardless the political realities.

Writer Henry Chappell of Plano, Texas (near Dreher's neck of the woods) writes well about this regional sensibility. Taken a step further---with greater government support for regional economies---the idea of small town America could become a viable Republican platform.

That is, if the Democrats or Libertarians don't take it first! It's a concept so plainly valuable (and increasingly necessary) that any civic-minded person or party could champion it.

First one there gets my vote!

1 comment:

Neutrino Cannon said...

I've seen it suggested, and I agree, that the Republican party should bow out of the 2012 Presidential elections altogether and focus on more regional elections instead.