Moderates Migrate to Dems

Fewer pledge allegiance to the GOP

A poll says 35% of those surveyed identify with Republicans. Public attitudes seem to be drifting toward Democrats’ values.

It always fascinates me that no matter how badly some leaders, even dictators, perform there is usually a large minority that will still honor and support them. Perhaps this is because some minority will always identify with the ideology, stability, dream or the comfort of a powerful personality.

But for an increasing number of independently thinking voters our allegiance does depend on performance. A large number of us did vote for the GOP until the recent election because we had hope that the results would match the promise. That government would be made smaller through increasing efficiency; that security would be enhanced with minimum impact on liberty and global respect, that honor and trustworthiness would be nurtured in politics, that pragmatic and fair remedies would dominate the political landscape.

Well, I am disappointed. Not with the promise, but in the execution. I am discouraged with the integrity and competence of the GOP leaders. Despite years of unilateral control of government the hopes of a generation of fiscal conservatives have been squandered. They have managed to consistently snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

As a moderate Independent I will probably tend to support Democrats in the next elections, not so much because they have better ideas but because the bar for competence and reform has been so lowered by the current crop of GOP leaders that the Dems seems relatively more likely to move the country forward in the healthiest direction. By comparison they seem to me to be more open minded, more far sighted, more practical, and more likely to get meaningful things accomplished for the environment, diplomacy, healthcare, energy and civil liberties.

I do hope the GOP leaders get their act together in case the Dems also snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

         

Author: PAUL SILVER

Born 1950, Married, Living in Austin Texas, Semi Retired Small Business owner and investor. My political interest evolved out of his business experience that the best decisions come out of an objective gathering of information and a pragmatic consideration of costs and benefits. I am interested in promoting Centrist candidates and Policies. My posts are mostly about people and policies that I believe are part of the solution rather the problem.

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  1. A large number of us did vote for the GOP until the recent election because we had hope that the results would match the promise.

    I have no claim to impartiality on the matter, but nevertheless I think it a fair observation that the GOP has become increasingly about The Message as they have refined their electoral techniques. They have succeeded on the basis of the tendency of voters to understand “a” message to be in service to real principles.

    But “The Message” has now been elevated to a point where the principles are Ideas rather than anything that governs performance. The actual performance has begun to drive home to the voters the disconnect that has increasingly taken effect for most of the influential players in the GOP.

    Poor performance is a problem, but I believe perceived lack of principles will be an even bigger problem for the GOP for the next few electoral cycles.

  2. I doubt that the Republicans will get their act together. I think that the worst case scenerio will be for the Democratic Party will be the dominate party while the Republicans are kept around to act as the “bogeymen” that will allow the Democrats to remain dominate. DC is probably the example of what the future looks like the the United States. They bother to have a general election and the media does not even report on it because everything was decided in the Democratic Primary.

    The 2008 election will probably be like the 1996 election. The media will report on the Republican candidates and will try to make the election sound like a true contest. But in the end, the Republican will be trounced by whoever the Democrats nominate. The only question for 2008 is whether the Democrats can get to 60 seats in the Senate or if they will have to wait until 2010 to eliminate any checks or balances.

  3. Paul,

    I don’t think the Republicans were ever about shrinking government through efficiency. They wanted to shrink it through eliminating programs that their ideology said shouldn’t exist no matter how much the real world showed the necessity for their existence.

  4. The big mistake of the Republicans, I think, is their tendency to focus on politics. They have been amazingly adept in being ahead on the political front, as their control up until this past election has attested. However, they have been incapable of enacting effective policy and that is why, despite political organization and ability, they are losing. For them politics and campaigning have become the only important aspect, and while that will win elections at first, one needs effective policy, otherwise an effective political message will become weighed down by ineffective, failed and absent policy for running the government. I do agree that when/if the Republicans get trounced in the 2008 election it will not be because of a totally effective strategy on the part of the Democrats, but because the Republicans have earned defeat through their failure in policy.

  5. In line with Jim Satterfield’s comment, I would submit that the problems experienced by the Republicans in governing are based at least as much in their ruling philosophies as in their poor execution.

    In fact I see the latter being caused by the former.

    If your governing philosophy is that government is the problem, not the solution (except in defense) then government only serves as a source of sinecures for one’s political allies. Why bother to do anything else? Witness Green zone staffing, FEMA, the Miers nomination, the current USA imbroglio.

    Republican disdain for government causes Republican incompetence at governing.

    As we have seen, a stalking horse developed by the party during its long years in the wilderness as an almost permanent minority, hasn’t served well as a governing philosophy.

  6. One wonders what might happen if moderates weren’t forced to choose between tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum.

  7. Great comment, Citizen Kang- and I would agree entirely. All of those earmarks have been going to Republican districts as well as Democratic ones, and it takes a large bureaucracy in the Pentagon and Intelligence agencies to maintain two wars, plus domestic surveillance.

  8. Citizen Kang,

    To be fair the conservative perspective is not that government is a problem but government’s power should be limited – specifically that there are things government should not be involved in.

    As for defense, it has always been the primary function of any government.

  9. Well, entropy what we have now is neither a small bureaucracy or limited government power. And Republicans have always believed in building up the military, while Democrats prefer to invest in domestic programs like healthcare, education and the environment.

  10. To be fair the conservative perspective is not that government is a problem but government’s power should be limited – specifically that there are things government should not be involved in.

    No. Reagan said it outright: Government is the problem, not the solution.

    And what ‘things’ should government not be involved in? Personal medical decisions? Sex education and birth control? Science education curriculum? Religious matters? Conservatives want the government to get involved in all of these areas – to enforce a very fundamentalist Christian ideology.

  11. kritter,

    If the money spent for the DC public schools is an investment, then it is time for to indite the “investment managers” for acconting fraud.

    You can call it many things but the most of the funds spend by the government on education is a waste. It is much more of a social engineering “investment” than an education experiment.
    The same goes for much of what the government spends of the environment. The feds are spending $10 million dollars an acre to clean up ground that is worth a few hundred dollars an acre. Look at the high level waste repository that the government has overspent, is decades behind schedule, and has failed every mandated passed on the subject.

  12. Entropy, your take on Conservatism, as opposed to Republicanism may well be correct (have you been following Andrew Sullivan’s discussion about true conservatism by the way?).

    It strikes me as a bit ironic that the party which has spent the last several decades turning liberalism into a four letter word would be doing the same for conservatism.

  13. CK,

    Yeah, Republicanism is certainly different. No one, apparently, is immune to the effects of Federal money regardless of their ideology.

    No, I actually haven’t been reading Andrew Sullivan, but maybe I’ll take a look.

  14. Yeah, Republicanism is certainly different. No one, apparently, is immune to the effects of Federal money regardless of their ideology.

    What does money have to do with warrantless domestic surveillance? Or indefinite detention without charges, counsel or trial?

    Those are precisely the sorts of things conservatives should have opposed, if conservatives actually believe in limited government – and not only didn’t they, they applauded and supported those things.

  15. SD- With the money we have “invested” so far in W’s folly, we could have sent every 18 year old in the country through college. Now try to argue that an investment like that is worth less than what we have “achieved” so far in the ME-namely regional instability, mass civilian and military casualties, rock-bottom prestige for the US in the world, our allies running from the “coalition of the willing” and our enemies uniting against us. The cherry on top is the trillion-dollar price tag that our grandchildren will be paying the Chinese for. Hmmm, I’d put money into the DC school system any day over funding this fiasco..—-What a loser W is!

  16. CaseyL,

    I was specifically talking about Congress, but point taken. Indefinite detention without charges is not illegal. Even if the people at GITMO were declared EPW’s since the beginning, they’d still be detained until the end of the conflict like any other EPW.

  17. Entropy:

    “Even if the people at GITMO were declared EPW’s since the beginning, they’d still be detained until the end of the conflict”
    ————————-
    Trouble is, there is no foreseeable end to this conflict. When do you think the WOT will end?
    10 years? 50 years?

  18. kritter,

    I do not recall anyone calling for more defense spending by calling it an “investment.”

    If you “invested” in every 18 y/o by sending them to college, all that anyone would accomplish is to so cheapen a college degree that it would be as worthless as a high school diploma.

    I guess this shows a difference in the how the the left and right values education. The left puts in the value on attendence. The right (more than the left) buts the value on knowledge and skills gained.

  19. SD- The left wants as many people in our country to have access to higher education as possible. To me that is the ultimate goal of a free society-to lift all boats.That is true democracy- what we have now is an oligarchal corporatocracy. By raising the interest rate on guaranteed student loans, this administration actually cut off access to higher education.

    By the way we are investing in the war- we are investing in weapons systems that either are not ready or don’t really work dependably, or are not useful in fighting a war of counterinsurgency. Remember defense contractors Wilkes and Wade? They have now been indicted in the Duke Cunningham corruption case.

    We are also investing in a future presence in the ME by building a 600 million dollar embassy ( staffers don’t speak Arabic or Farsi, lol and there are not enough interpreters because Cunningham’s buddies were supposed to supply them) and permanent bases. I guess we want to make sure Iran has no access to Iraq’s oil resources.

  20. It’s Iraq and displeasure with Bush and his crowd that explains this. The Dems are now becoming temporarily the lesser of two evils.

    Don’t forget that Dubya’s father had the election won ahead of time and then proceeded to lose it. (In fact, let’s wait and see if the media and the other Dems bring frequent attention to that fact, “like father, like son?” in the coming months.)

    The father, son W … what does that do for Jeb’s chances? Maybe no harm, given that W. was elected twice. It will depend on how bad the Dems are later.

    Unless something odd happens between now and November 2008, I’m already saying it: “President Clinton. President Clinton. President Clinton.”

    *scowl*

  21. Superdestroyer wrote:

    > The 2008 election will probably be like the 1996 election.

    Indeed. The Republican field is laughable, with quasi-Dems in the lead!

    And who is out there who could be a real candidate? (Jeb Bush? Ha)

  22. Domajot,

    Trouble is, there is no foreseeable end to this conflict. When do you think the WOT will end? 10 years? 50 years?

    That’s certainly an issue. It would be required if one were following the letter of the Laws of War though.

    An additional problem is when their home country does not want them back. Deport them somewhere else and it’s “extraordinary rendition” or keep them forever.

    Personally, I think we should negotiate with their country of origin to return them after a certain period of time with some level of guarantee they will not return to the fighting.

  23. We have returned some of them to their countries of origin, and many have been freed. Not all are guilty, and I think we did a lousy job of determining who was truly dangerous and who just knew someone associated with al queda. Offering financial rewards only assured that you would end up with some who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Since this is going to be a continuing problem, I suggest that our government work out a longterm solution that isn’t a global black eye for America’s reputation, and makes a better attempt at weeding out the truly dangerous combatants.

  24. However, they have been incapable of enacting effective policy and that is why, despite political organization and ability, they are losing.

    I think its a mistake to think Republicans are incapable of effective policy. They just haven’t been honest about their true goals. They’ve been about cutting taxes on the wealthy, eliminating rules and regulations on big business, stripping workers and whistleblowers of rights against retribution, and channeling federal funds to their biggest political allies. It’s all about their moneyed interests.

    They’ve been extremely effective on all these fronts.

    Small government hasn’t truly been a Republican objective for decades and even religious values have been talking points rather than real objectives for the party.

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