Thursday, November 06, 2008

What's Wrong With The Republicans

This question is running rampant through Republican ranks, what's wrong with us that we took this kind of beating? Along with the question are multitudes of answers, a lot blaming the McCain campaign, a lot blaming GWB, a lot blaming the economic crash. There is talk of branding, of traitors, of media, of cheating, of a darn near endless number of excuses, complaints, and blame. There is breast beating about who is the base, what does the base mean, about principles, about opposition tactics, and there is a lot of name calling - particularly Democrats and their agenda.

Rep Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) says:
The fastest way to reassert our relevance is to focus on the basics. This must start with the size and scope of government and fiscal responsibility. The conservative vision of small government is effective only if that government is simultaneously competent, accountable and responsive.

There's a lot more about opposing the coming entitlement tsunami and broken Obama promises, but there is this idea.
George Will not too surprisingly points to St Ronnie as the answer:
The conservative ascendancy that was achieved in 1980 reflected a broad consensus favoring government more robust abroad and less ambitious at home -- roughly the reverse of Tuesday's consensus. But conservatives should note what their current condition demonstrates: Opinion is shiftable sand. It can be shifted, as Goldwater understood, by ideas, and by the other party overreaching, which the heavily Democratic Congress elected in 1964 promptly did.

It is my view that the Republicans have two choices, they can be the Party of Cultural Warriors or they can be the Party of Conservatism. The marriage is way too uncomfortable. The social warriors will insist on playing on the ground of anti-intellect and anti-science and theocracy, which is horrid for economic growth. When you place thought and technological innovation on top of American drive and determination you have economic success brewing within a reasonable framework. Business knows this, ignorance and superstition are alien to their model. Pragmatism rules successful businesses, nothing in the business world's environment is more critical than an ability to adjust to new trends and demands.

Social warfare is social conservatism in operation. Change and newness are the enemies. There are 'long' established ways things are done and that makes them right and proper. This explains the pre-eminence of certain Biblical books or passages from other's books to the exclusion of the entire message. This piece of the puzzle will not ever gain great influence in the country at large. It is anti-intellect and anti-science and scares the snot out of huge swathes of the nation. It does gin up tremendous emotional response, that is a very large problem for the movement - those emotions are in operation on both sides of the issues. Thinking that only a "base" will turn out is a mistake.

The laisse faire economic wing does have an intellectual basis beyond sheer greed, their difficulty is how it works in operation. When the facts on the ground flatly contradict your intellectual assertions your credit takes a beating. I do note that the advocates of small government have not actually ever had their ideology tested in full measure. Their difficulty is that the accrual of power seems to drive them into the direction of more governmental interference - with a different emphasis.

I offer the Republicans no advice, I am confident in their ability to eat themselves for awhile and I find that prospect entertaining as well as fruitful. Some Republicans are going to find ground they can work with Obama on, their future in their Party is open to question. Politics is a hard edged game, but there is also a measure that needs to be taken - who are your opponents and how to approach them. These are individuals and taking a hard line on the basis of a (D/R) guarantees mistakes of consequential effect.

It has been a Republican refrain that they are the Party of ideas and decency, the problem is that they keep proving to be neither. I am sure they can simply wait for the Democrats to become arrogantly overweening, but in today's Democratic Party that could take awhile. They can continue on the path of division, hate and fear driven politics - it is risky, it tends to bite back. Working on the basis of ideas puts them into the problematic position of there already being a Democratic Party. At this point I can't find it in me to with them well - not while we're going to be this busy cleaning up after them.

8 comments:

Becky said...

As a conservative who voted for Obama, I think you have misinterpreted our support for Obama to a degree. Many of us are sick to the death of the hatred and "gotcha" politics that have taken over this country. We do not have any different opinion on the issues themselves than we have ever had in the past, but we know that we can no longer achieve anything constructive for this country because of the massive divisions between Right and Left. Those divisions preclude compromise or even rational discussion. Barack Obama has, for the first time in a very, very long time, promised the kind of leadership that offers a way to heal those wounds and put this country back into a position in which we can engage in respectful debate on the issues, knowing that our opponents love America as much as we do. Until the divide between us is bridged, all else is moot. For that reason, it would be a big mistake for the Left to assume that the Right has conceded anything philosophically. Rather, we are finally ready to stop hating and start working together.

Chuck Butcher said...

I don't believe I referenced a "right" vote for Obama at all. I do believe that Obama is an accomplished enough politician to recognize that stomping on the Rs is not a good policy.

As for the right, I have limited sympathy. IF the right ever divorces itself from welfare for wealth and cronyism in "privatizing" government I might look with a something other than disgust at their agenda. As for the theocrats - well, I make it my agenda to stomp them at any and all opportunities.

If the right ever shows respect for government and the act of governing rather than "drowning" government, well... We sit today where we do as a direct result of the right. The blue collar person who backs St Ronnie's agenda can track their wages from him forward and tell me exactly what sort of sense it makes.

The hatred and fear the Republicans and theorcrats have engaged in is not the fault of being "right" but it is a notable feature of a large portion of the "right." I do not lump Becky in with anyone, I know Becky to be a good hearted and concerned citizen.

ltlc1234 said...

In reference to Chuck's reply:

Sounds like from your reply that the hatred you talk about comes from within ….. YOU. You can not talk about hatred with hate as you just did. Stop, Think then Type.

Chuck Butcher said...

If you find something admirable or worthy of something surpassing contempt in what I referenced, go ahead and point it out to me. If you'd like to dispute that the right has engaged in what I referenced, feel free, but the record backs me.

As for theocrats, considering the US Constitution and the BOR their agenda is worthy of a stomping whenever it rears its head.

If you pull that crap out of their agenda, there's something worthy of discussion, otherwise...

jsg said...

Based on comments from people like Mike Pence, they're going with Culture War III and it doesn't surprise me. Being a culture warrior is easy and they've chased or frightened away the people who can do the hard stuff.

What I find amazing is there doesn't seem to be any plan on the part of people who were driven out by the CWs to start a new party. After four or eight years with the Pences and the Cantors in charge the GOP will be well and truly untouchable.

Chuck Butcher said...

They'll have good portion of the 23% self-indentified Evangelicals, where you go from there...I don't know.

I don't know what the intellectual/business wing is going to do about this beyond wring their hands. It couldn't happen to a better bunch but it worries me to watch the opposition party go nuts.

Chuck Butcher said...

By the way, Work For Food is good.

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