If Republicans Would Just Become Democrats They’d Do So Much Better

Ya gotta love it when Democrats and “Progressives” try to analyze the great failings of the Republican Party and instruct the Republicans on how to resurrect their once fine party. How often have you heard Progressives tell us how much we need two strong parties? Then they proceed to tell us what that second strong party should look like. And the description they give is that it should look almost exactly like the Democratic Party, or perhaps something slightly more progressive than the Democratic Party.

Let’s get this straight. If you want two, or more, strong political parties, they can’t be twins one of the other. There need to be real differences, a choice if you will. But, before we even go there, let’s pause for a moment to get past the hyperbole over the recent election. The Republicans did not get their heads handed to them, no matter what any pundit tries to tell you.

Romney, flawed as he was as a candidate, came within a relatively few votes in a relatively few states of ousting Obama, notwithstanding the current clear advantage to Democrats in the Electoral College. Republicans did not do well in the Senate. Admitted, done. But, there were seriously awful candidates, as there were in 2010, and I’m not saying that the Todd Akins and Sharron Angles of the world shouldn’t be more thoroughly vetted (read eliminated) during the nominating process. Republicans held the House. The excuse here is gerrymandering, but that’s basically nonsense. Districts are always gerrymandered. Of more note is Republican strength at the state and local levels where future leadership will come from.

Self examination is in order. This is true whenever a party loses the most important races, in this case Presidential and Senate. But, the self examination needs to be exactly that, self examination. It does not mean allowing the other party and their partisans to define you or your path forward. It does not mean dropping to bended knee to beg forgiveness for not being more like Democrats. It does not mean flushing away core values like fiscal responsibility, low taxes, minimal regulatory intrusion into personal and business life, strong defense and the projection of power as part of a consistent foreign policy.

I look forward to hearing from the Republicans who they are and who they will be going forward. That doesn’t mean I will agree in every particular or that they will bring me back to the fold or even get my vote next time round. What I don’t look forward to is the next progressive pontification on what the Republicans should do and be. Those progressive voices need to have their collective memories jogged. They were almost this arrogant after the election of 2008. Remember 2010? We do need two, or more, strong parties. They do not need to be Tweedle-De and Tweedle-Dum.

Author: ELIJAH SWEETE

Contributor, aka tidbits

45 Comments

  1. Absolutely true. R & R got 59 million (59,000,000) votes as did M & P. That means somebody sees a difference in the parties. If they didn’t like what they stand for, they wouldn’t vote for them. All the Reps need to do is widen the tent a smidgen and they will take first prize. Far be it from me to help them.

    As far as getting electoral votes, that’s going to take more effort in the places that have big electoral prizes. Voter suppression didn’t work this time, but it’s well on its way to work in the future. The GOP must work on either better VS or on getting those important electoral states voters in their camp. Which they choose, or choosing both will make the difference in coming elections.

    Muzzling Limbaugh, Hannity, and others would be a good start.

  2. The economy is the one ground upon which all Americans meet, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious orientation, or anything else. If the Republicans want to start winning again, they need to focus exclusively on this common ground and get out of the social issues business entirely.

    For years Republicans have accused Democrats – not without cause – of playing identity politics. What Republicans failed to notice is that over the same period they became the masters of identity politics. It didn’t work for Democrats in the eighties, and it won’t work for Republicans in the twenty-first century.

    It’s the economy, stupid. That’s the one thing that will sell to voters every time.

  3. I’ve often called for the Republicans to be sensible and become a strong party. I think the US is strongest when everyone has a say. I think progressive views on the safety nets should be countered with the fiscal responsibility views of conservatives. Unfortunately the strengths the Republicans gave had as a party go away when they are in power. Instead of acting fiscally responsible they give gifts to their rich donors and insist the middle class pays for it, while leaving the poor in the streets, homeless and without tools to raise themselves up. So yes, I’d like to very much see a truly responsible, small government Republican Party advance their ideals. But they need to be countered by the Democratic Party and progressives (and vice versa). The GOP at one time believed in equal rights, separation of Church send State and individual freedom. I would like to see those values again. What scares me most about the Republican party is their belief these days that the only real Americans are white, middle and upper class straight Christians and their belief that other people with different values should not be heard. If the Republican party truly did believe in small government and fought for equal freedom for all American citizens, believing in “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” I would go back to the days of when I supported and voted for them. But when they tell me I can not marry because *their* religion is against it, then they lose me. When they talk about “traditional” marriage and how they are good Christians and I’m not a good Christian, they lose me. So yes, the country needs true choices in political parties and I think BOTH parties should realize ALL Americans have equal say and ALL Americans should be treated equally and allowed their own freedom of religious expression. Right now the Republican party us too busy attacking and dividing Americans and not enough time on offering real alternatives to Democratic plans.

  4. Let me play devil’s advocate, admitting that I am socially very liberal and may not be very good at this. Last I saw, somewhere around 30-35% of Americans opposed abortion either in total or with very limited exceptions, 46-47% still oppose gay marriage, roughly 20% identify as evangelical Christian and some unknown (to me) percentage identify as tea party conservatives. If the Republican Party walks back its evangelical-Christian-anti-abortion-anti-gay-marriage-tea-party ideologies, who represents those people? Do we simply say to those people that their views are not worth being represented by a major political party?

    Remember that we are talking about a segment of one fifth to nearly one half the population. We are also talking about entire regions of the country. While I don’t agree with their positions for the most part, I would find it disrespectful on my part to suggest that the views of 20% to nearly 50% of the American people were not worthy of representation.

    I’d appreciate hearing the views of others on this.

  5. Just a quick, off-the-cuff answer (Others probably will have more analytical, insightful ones):

    Of course, the anti-abortion-anti-gay-marriage, anti-whatever Americans deserve representation, and they will continue to have such in the form of a Tea Party or of some other ideological party or groups, whether the GOP “walks back” these ideologies — which I don’t think they will — or not.

    But whether these ideologies continue within the main GOP or in a splinter party or group, they — the ideologies — will not be transformed into laws of the land — as it should — simply because the votes and the representation will not be there.

    Dunno..perhaps I am just oversimplifying things

  6. should have been “as they shouldn’t be”

  7. Thanks Dorian. This is a tough one for me. I agree with your analysis…But:

    If the “wingers” are sent out to form splinter parties, how does the Republican Party remain viable in the election process? The wingers comprise a huge percentage of the party and are the core of its most enthusiastic base. A breakaway by this group relegates the Republican Party to permanent minority status – doesn’t it? If it does, where and how do we get to the two-stong-party concept?

  8. Ya gotta love it when Democrats and “Progressives” try to analyze the great failings of the Republican Party and instruct the Republicans on how to resurrect their once fine party.

    Maybe so, but it’s not quite as amusing as when republicans try to do it. Of course people whose views aren’t the same as my own deserve to be represented, so long as this isn’t at the expense of human rights or the truth. A party that speaks primarily for well heeled white people, many of who seem to believe the working poor should be ignored isn’t one I feel much concern for. Neither do I feel much sympathy for a party whose attitude toward environmental issues (and science in general) often seems to come from an earlier century. Not all points of view deserve to be given equal weight. I don’t think republicans realize this.

  9. Hi tidbits —

    I was just thinking about the question you pose in comments. While a certain sizable percentage of the country is not on board with (for example) gay marriage, there is also a certain percentage who don’t think gay people should even be allowed to exist — employers should be able to fire them because they are gay, they should be publically shunned, they shouldn’t be allowed healthcare (because they do the sex in that way that’s icky!), they shouldn’t be able to have children, and we should all just agree that they are going to hell and will likely have sex with your 10-year-old son. The fact that a lot of these views are much more popular and common if you replace the word “gay” with “trans*” doesn’t make them any more acceptable. And No, I don’t think there needs to be a party that represents those people. I’ve heard sentiments that we should just lock up all Muslims, or that we should have (and I quote) “just turned Iraq into glass and had done with it” (when I looked at him with confusion and disgust, he made sure to explain that he meant a nuke cause heat turns sand into glass, get it?… “um, yeah, I got that…”), or that we should just send all Mexicans back to Mexico. On the progressive side, I’ve heard many say we should just let Texas secede (and weren’t actually joking), or that people should not be able to tell others what their own religion is in places of employment, or other such nonsense. Nope, I don’t think there should be any public leaders who take it upon themselves to represent those people and those viewpoints, anymore than I think that the pro-slavery position deserves public advocacy or representation. I happen to believe that public universities should be free. Nobody’s taking up my cause.

    Now, of course, the people who have these beliefs are still going to vote for whomever they like more, but there are absolutely multi-party democracies in this world where neither party thinks a woman having a miscarriage and in danger of scepsis should be denied an abortion because the fetus still has a heartbeat, or that a woman should be forced by her government to carry her rapist’s baby to term. There are countries where religion doesn’t have a big say in any of the major party platforms.

    In any case, I do agree with your original thesis that the GOP post-election reflection should be a self-reflection, and that I and other progressives don’t have any say in it. It sure would be nice if folks who think trickle-down economics is swell didn’t have to weight that against whether or not their preferred party thinks their gay son is going to hell, or against whether that party wants them to go back to a country they’ve never lived in because of the color of their skin. With full knowledge that the GOP will not take it, my unsolicited advice would be: knock off the bigotry, boys, as it’s pretty vile and not really a winner in a changing world.

  10. I now see what your concern is, the preservation of the two-party system.

    To that I have a very subjective — probably very partisan — answer.

    Since I am a Democrat, because I honestly feel that the Democratic Party is the better Party,I would not care if the Republican Party became splintered, withered on the vine, or was permanently relegated to a minority status. (To be frank, I wouldn’t mind that)

    I also feel that, should this happen and the power would corrupt the Democratic Party, the pendulum would swing to the other side and the Reps or whichever form it would have taken would rise again.

    Again, as simple answer to what is probably a very complex issue. Sorry.

  11. zephyr,

    I like the honesty and directness of your response. No sympathy. That leaves no doubt of where you stand.

    Question (admittedly impertinent). Who decides which human rights we’re talking about? Some would say that protecting the unborn is an issue of human rights. Who gets to say that science is more important than religious belief when the two conflict? You and I might opt for science, but cannot those of faith honestly disagree?

    There are those who would say that liberals too are behind the curve where rights are concerned. I have a dear vegan/animal rights activist friend who would gladly argue on behalf of that point.

  12. roro,

    You will get no argument from me on the substance of the policies you advocate. Next summer my wife and I will attend the wedding her niece. I should not even have to say that her niece is lesbian…it shouldn’t matter a whit…but the context is lost if it isn’t mentioned.

    My comments, and the questions and thesis that surround them, have to do with process, not substance. I would always vote with and for the rights of others as I view those rights.

    But I think in this odd way: I too hold radical minority views. For example, as you know, I am unshakeably opposed to the death penalty. That is a minority view that is treated much like it has been suggested that certain socially conservative views be treated, which is that it is not represented in mainstream party principles. Now, so long as I hold minority views that are not, in my view, fairly represented, how do I morally justify condemning others, who hold minority views with which I disagree, to be similarly ostracized?

  13. Dorian,

    A brilliant debating strategy that! Nothing works quite so well as disputing the premise. If one does not accept the premise that we need two strong parties, the answer becomes clear. Let them atrophy and the Democrats will govern without them. It is an honest perspective that I can respect, though I politely disagree with the notion of uncontested one party governance.

    [said somewhat tongue firmly in cheek, with love and respect, my secessionist friend - I assume you still want Austin to secede from Texas]

  14. Nice try at voicing a moderate viewpoint ES. I almost totally agree with you, but disagree with the degree that the Reps lost which i do think was big. They ran a bad campaign with bad social positions, plus they completely are out of sync with women and minorities. Big loss and the EC is like climbing Mt. Everest in a bikini.
    I know it’s soooo easy to lump all of us together and I do agree that some of the party are knuckle dragging racists, and so on. But, some of us are fiscal conservatives, and for that reason alone we need the Rep party to call the cops when the Dems throw their frat parties.

  15. I absolutely believe that Christian values should be represented. I believe that helping the poor, ensuring that “money-makers’ don’t take advantage of others, that people are treated fairly and with respect, and emphasizing peace… I think these are all Christian (at least traditional Jesus Christ Christian) values. I also feel that Christians (and other religions or people) have a right to speak up when their values are being trampled on.

    However I think it is wrong for ANY group to force their views on others, including anti-abortion, same-sex, etc. I think the proper Christian response (and their might be other Christian responses) would be to talk about their religious views in church, live by their values and encourage programs which would reduce abortion, without outlawing it for others who believe differently. And with regards to same-sex marriage… many Christian denominations accept and recognize same-sex couples. I think if a particular church does not want to, then that is their right and either people will flock to them because they share the same Christian values, or people will go to another church which does share those values. But the anti-gay Christians are flat-out wrong to tell other people how to live. And it’s been my experience that those who claim that want freedom are the very same ones who suppress and deny freedom to others.

    To me it seems natural that true Christians would find the Democratic Party, the party of inclusion, peace, take care of others, etc. to be the perfect fit. However for some reason American Christians find the party of big money, with an emphasis on taking care of “the rulers” (be they business or political rulers) while passing policies which keep the downtrodden down, to be the party for them.

    I think that’s why the Republican Party is so split. They claim to have one set of values, but they pass legislation against those values. They claim to be for smaller government and freedom, but pass legislation that increases government and restricts freedom, taking away the very notion of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

    So yes, I believe very strongly that Christians do have a right to representation, but their values can be represented so others are not forced to live a “Christian lifestyle” if they do not want to.

  16. I’ll bet you one value and raise you another value and while you may continue with your lifestyle I’ll value mine more highly.

  17. Hi Elijah,

    Actually I didn’t think my comments were “brilliant” at all — but I’ll take the “compliment”? :)

    I was just being brutally frank and — as I said — probably very partisan.

    I am a Democrat because I agree with the Party’s platform, especially on social issues. But I do understand that some are very convinced on a “strong two-party system” and I’ll go along with that as long as the stronger party is the Democratic one. (You wanted honest opinions, I am sure?)

    Peace, my friend.

  18. Well, the process is that as racism and anti-gay bigotry become more and more taboo, fewer public leaders will stand up in favor of them, driving them underground, soon to be forgotten. The process is that the GOP will get their rears whooped a couple of times due to these views, and then stop advocating them. With other issues the opposite will happen — take atheism as an example. We as a country only very recently elected an out and proud atheist to the mayor of a major city. Meeting a real atheist 80 years ago was almost unheard of in most of the country, but now it’s quite common. And so on.

    Of course each person will decide for themselves which issues they care about based upon their own values. My wish would be that the causes I care most about would gain strength and be advocated more and more, even by those who oppose me on other issues, because then no matter who gets elected, at least those things are “safe”. Why do *my* causes get precidence? Because it’s my wish, and I get to wish for what I want. Again, full knowledge that the GOP has no interest in my views, won’t listen to my advice, probably hates me and my feminist progressive West coast elitist gay-lovin’ hippy San Franciscan self, and I might as well be wishing on the evening star.

    However, on some issues, my evil liberal ways are gaining favor with more of the public. Latinos seem to agree with me that the idea of sending all brown people south of the border is some pretty racist b*llsh*t, and their numbers are growing, along with their non-Latino allies. As more and more people come out of the closet, more LGBT and straight people are starting to agree with my view that there is more to gay people than flower arrangement and tawdry scenes in dance club bathrooms.

    So, this is all kind of a flip way to answer this question:


    so long as I hold minority views that are not, in my view, fairly represented, how do I morally justify condemning others, who hold minority views with which I disagree, to be similarly ostracized?

    Theoretically you have reasons to hold the positions you hold, based on your own values. If others agree, you will fight for those positions together, gather support, find leaders to champion your causes, find more people who agree, persuade others, and see your views become mainstream, eventually being coded into law and culture as correct and right and good. And if they don’t, you shrug your shoulders and cry and maybe try again next year, and maybe you end up passing on never having seen this issue taken up. Maybe you end up seeing that perhaps you were thinking about the issue incorrectly in the first place. In either case, the existence of conservatism and liberalism in general, nor the existence of the two-party system in the US, is predicated solely on views on the death penalty or on gay marriage for that matter. 200 years ago, there were two parties, there were conservatives and liberals, duking it out over the gold standard or the ability for landed Jews or Methodists to be able to vote. In many countries today, both the conservative and liberal parties take for granted that capital punishment has no place in government. We fight for what we care about, and if people agree, we win. If they don’t, we lose. And so it goes…

  19. @Elijah:

    I was too late to add/edit my previous comment, but yes, if Texas secedes, I want Austin to secede from the new Republic of Texas and become an independent state, just like Andora, or Monaco, or Liechtenstein, or San Marino, or …

  20. Kind of on a similar note, one of my favorite feminist writers compares fighting for social justice to trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon. Some days you go at the task with vigor, with other spoon-whelding allies and friends, and some days the bigness and futility of the task makes you want to give up, sit on the beach, and cry. But everyday you wake up with the choice: to let that ocean just sit out there and storm, or pick up your spoon and get to work.

  21. I hate to be a bother, but could someone please tell me why we cannot leave a comment on Patrick Edaburns articles today? This has happened before and tech support has not responded.

  22. Well, Elijah, I just typed up a response to your comment and lost it again. I have a new laptop and am still getting used to the keyboard. It seems to have a mind of it’s own – highlighting paragraphs, redirecting the cursor at random, and sending my words into the ether. I hope I can manage to get used to it.

    I appreciate your desire to provoke thought, especially in the minds of stubborn and opinionated people like myself. With regard to your human rights example, I strongly believe the govt has no business making decisions about abortion in the first trimester. To the extent this is a human rights issue, it is about the rights of the mother. At some point during the pregnancy this becomes more complicated, but the vast majority of abortions never reach that point. Of course I’m all for education and reproductive healthcare that works to reduce the need for abortions in the first place.

    Science and religion? I’d love to see religion get on board and start preaching the need for all humans to be good stewards of the environment – and I think there may be signs this is starting to happen. My concern is that religion can also be used as an excuse to stand aside, in the belief that whatever happens is part of gods plan, regardless of what humans do or don’t do – regardless of whether we understand it or not. I think science and religion can co-exist, but I don’t want to see religion trump science when it comes to acquiring knowledge.

    OK, I’m going to quit before this wacky keyboard sends my comment into never neverland.

  23. I believe the Republicans should listen to all Americans and see how their policies fit in with those views. I would welcome a Republican leader asking me, ” What can we Republicans do represent your views? How can we help you succeed?” Not that I expect Republicans to follow every suggestion I have, but I do know that on some issues they can represent my values better than Dems.

  24. Sheknows – I couldn’ leave one either. Not sure why..

  25. Our two party system needs to go bye bye. Time to modify the holy Constitution. Our country has become too diverse for the current system. Let both party’s break up. Force competing interesting to form coalition governments.

    I would love to vote for a party that I can actually identify with.

    aint gonna happen…too much money in divide in conquer.

  26. I’m getting a bit late into this, but Elijah said ” 30-35% of Americans opposed abortion either in total or with very limited exceptions, 46-47% still oppose gay marriage, roughly 20% identify as evangelical Christian and some unknown (to me) percentage identify as tea party conservatives. If the Republican Party walks back its evangelical-Christian-anti-abortion-anti-gay-marriage-tea-party ideologies, who represents those people?”

    To my thinking, those people don’t need representation on those issues because they already have the right to engage in them. Those opposed to abortion are free to not have them. Those opposed to gay marriage are free to not have a gay marriage. Evangelicals are free to practice their faith to their hearts content. What these groups have in common and what they seem to want to do is impose their beliefs on other groups, and I take it that is what you mean by “representation”, because they are all currently entitled to live according to their beliefs. Its other who are fighting for the same right for themselves that need representation. When gay people start insisting that evangelicals have to have gay marriages is when I’ll step in and tell gay people to mind their own business. And when they will need a party to represent their interests.

  27. To clarify, not that those people don’t need representation, rather that they have already been sufficiently represented, and are free under the law to pursue their lives according to their beliefs already. If their ability to do so becomes infringed then I would say otherwise.

  28. Good points, Slamfu

  29. slamfu,

    In the interest of friendly intellectual prodding, do not all government policies impose beliefs on the governed to some extent? One of the grand complaints of conservatives is the “nanny state” requiremens and regulations promulgated by liberals. Here are a few examples off the top of my head:

    The Department of Education imposes national standards on what many believe should be a local decision making process.

    The EPA enforces regulations that interfere with the ability to conduct business, including some, or many, regulations that have no bearing on the results sought according to some who struggle under those regulations.

    The FCC promulgates rules that impose decency restrictions, and fines, on broadcasters.

    Hate crime legislation imposes enhanced sentences based on what a person is thinking at a particular point in time.

    Tariffs impose costs on manufacturers, either foreign or domestic, which impact their ability to produce and/or sell goods.

    Zoning restrictions impose restraints on what a property owner can build on or do with his/her privately owned piece of property.

    The question is not whether conservatives would impose their views. They would…and have…and so would liberals…and they have as well. Government necessarily involves imposing the views of the governing group on the populace. The only distinction is whose views get imposed and who feels the sting of the imposition.

    Just my 2 cents, as someone else at TMV would say.

  30. Yep.

  31. Elijah, in response to you last set of questions (all very good):

    Education. There should be national minimum standards. How they are achieved should be left up to the local officials. I support national standards because we are all human and we all advance (learn) at more or less the same rate. Our collective experience tells us what a “typical” 1st grader, 3rd grader, etc. is capable of. When people graduate from high school we all know their basic capabilities (at least we can estimate). National standards also allow textbook publishers to publish books aimed at certain grade levels. Otherwise with a hodge podge of local standards (state or county or even city) jurisdications may have to reinvent the wheel (the textbook) just to suit their needs. Also if a military family (or family of a businessman) moves from Mississippi, their fifth grade daughter should be able to pick up the work (within reason) in their new home state of Minnesota. As far as teacher pay… that should be set locally, though I am not against having a national minimum (not going to advocate it at the moment).

    EPA: certainly the regulations should protect end users and the public in general from pollution. Many businesses complain that the regualtions are unnecesary, but I think most of them they are rooted in realiity and are beneficial. When the regulations were passed people, lobbyists, etc. all chimed in and cut out whatever proposal was unnecessary. By all means get rid of those which are not beneficial.

    FCC: I understand the need for the public good and I agree that decency standards are necessary to protect children from violent images, etc. Of course some parents are more permissive than others and if they want to show an R rated movie to their 6 year old, then that’s their choice that they can do at home. I don’t agree with everything the FCC does and I think with technology we should examine the regs.

    Hate crime regulation SHOULD impose sentences on what a person is thinking. Our basic values guarantee that everyone has the freedom to live their life in freedom, without fear of retribution for who they are, or what they believe, as long as those beliefs do not infringe upon others’ beliefs. A different belief is one thing and people can disagree. To beat someone up because you *think* they might be gay (or black) and you don’t like gay (black) people infringes on the values this country was founded upon. So by all means HARSHER sentences for hate crimes are necessary to enforce the value that respect of others is basic.

    Tariffs…. and subsidies… that’s compicated. I certainly think there are times when the government should offer incentives in whatever form to encourage job growth, investment in a particular industry (i.e. alternative energy) which might be so new that investors aren’t yet attracted to it, etc. But I certainly think some tariffs and subsidies are counterproductive. So all I will say is that tariffs should be approached with caution.

    Zoning restrictions. I think these are necessary. If I spend $5 million on house in San Francisco because I like the view, I think my view (and enjoyment and investment) should be protected from a developer who (as an example) wants to erect a 30-story public housing project with no parking on the lot behind my house. Zoning restrictions should preserve neighborhoods (or encourage the look of neighborhoods). Like tariffs they should be approached with caution.

    I think in answering the above questions and similar questions one can ask, “Does this serve the greater good?” Or, “Will my activities infringe upon others in a negative way?” If something serves the greater good, then it can probably be done (though I don’t think we want to put laws, regulations, etc. on everything that serves the greater good). If something infringes upon someone else or devalues something else, then it should not be done, as a general rule.

  32. Yea I can point out some differences there, and something that make sense. I think Hate Crime legislation is sorta silly from an individual perspective, but less sill when taken as a movement of many people that we would like to do something about.

    FCC imposes rules because they are using publicly leased airwaves. Get on your HAM radio you can say whatever you want.

    EPA is imposing regulations because all to often businesses engage in the oh so capitalist practice of SOCIALIZING their expenses. Why should I clean up the waste generated by my factory when I can just dump it out on the local community and let THEM deal with it? Businesses love to socialize their costs whenever possible, because it increases profits. However, the fact is those costs are simply being transferred to the community, so the EPA is in one sense just making sure that those who make the trash, have to clean it up. One can look at this as unfairly tying the hands of big business, or one can look at it as making sure they aren’t cutting corners at the expense of others.

    The major difference is that many of the things you quoted are not individual decisions that impact the individuals making them. They are issues that affect large groups of people outside of themselves. Hence regulations. The best argument I would have brought up are helmet laws, not that I would every ride my bike without one, but I think its stupid to force people to protect their own skulls when they are basically riding a barstool at 70+mph.

  33. Elijah, I agree with you: I don’t look forward either to further progressive pontifications on what Republicans should do. Progressives seem to misunderstand conservatives thoroughly, and with respect to political strategy their goals by definition diverge completely.

    But asking them to appreciate the value of the loyal opposition is asking a lot. No one wants debate and controversy, they want sensible policies. For the left, that means leftward policies. For the right, that means rightward policies. For the center, that means moderate policies. It’s only the last group whose interests are served by ensuring a voice for hardliners on the right: they hope to balance out the hardliners on the left and end up with centrist policies.

  34. StockBoy and slamfu,

    Thank you for responding to the examples I posed. All points well put and well taken. Here is what I find interesting. Had I posed similar questions to conservatives, they would have defended the impositions they believe in with equal fervor. For example, outlawing abortion, while an imposition on women, defends actual lives from being murdered in the right wing mindset. Not saying that I agree with that, but it is what conservatives would say.

    My takeaway. This thread shows the true depth of the partisan divide in the US. We each have our rationale for our views and the policies that impose our views on others who disagree. This applies to liberals and to conservatives…no one has a monopoly on this fundamental aspect of partisanship.

    What is disappointing in the current state of US partisanship is the extent to which we cannot understand each other, the extent to which we cannot internalize the moral sense that forms the basis of the “other side’s” policy choices, though we can each readily defend our own. Breaking the partisan divide will require, I fear, a cultural change which we, as a nation, are not currently prepared to undertake.

  35. I am neither a Republican nor Democrat, though I was a registered Republican up until about 20 years ago. I voted for Reagan, the elder Bush, and still cast my vote in the “R” column when I feel a candidate deserves my support. I doubt I’ll change my registration away from the current status, but if the GOP wanted to win back my votes, there are a few things they could do. You wrote:

    It does not mean flushing away core values like fiscal responsibility, low taxes, minimal regulatory intrusion into personal and business life, strong defense and the projection of power as part of a consistent foreign policy.

    Fiscal responsibility in today’s GOP has become synonymous with budget cuts and only budget cuts. Low taxes has come to mean that the solution to every problem is a tax cut. That’s not fiscal responsibility. Fiscal responsibility is balancing the budget…paying for every dollar spent. Not running up a deficit just because you can. Fiscal responsibility involves having revenue and cuts on the table, with no sacred cows, and no stubborn refusals to compromise.

    Minimal regulatory intrusion into personal life is something the GOP has apparently forgotten about, and the last election proved many in the party very much want government to regulate a woman’s reproductive choices. It really doesn’t get any more personal than that.

    As far as regulation on the business side goes, the last decade has taught us that there are some businesses which do indeed need to be regulated. Yet today’s GOP has decided that all regulations – even the ones that make sense – must be fought tooth and nail no matter what. Take the new rules on credit cards for example. Instead of getting a statement in the mail that’s six pages of legalese with your balance hidden somewhere deep inside, now your credit card statement is shorter, clearer, and tells you exactly how long it will take to pay off. This is a good regulation, but the industry had to be dragged kicking and screaming to implement a good idea.

    With regards to strong defense, since at least Reagan it has been the Republican policy that strong = expensive. We build hardware regardless of the cost, project our power without thought of the larger implications, and refuse to examine whether or not we need a military that is in large part built for the sort of state vs state global confrontation that hasn’t happened since the end of the Cold War a generation ago. Strong should = smart.

    Grover Norquist has said he wants to make the government small enough to drown in a bathtub. That’s the wrong approach. Instead, let’s make government able to swim, no matter what the depth of the water.

    Instead of constantly harping on “smaller government,” work towards creating a more efficient government. Eliminate waste, fraud, abuse, pork, and the government will shrink as a result. Balancing the budget, even if it necessitates some short term tax increases, will help keep taxes low in the long term. Instead of deliberately crippling regulatory agencies, reform and rededicate them to enforcing smarter regulations.

    Finally, I would be much more inclined to vote for more Republicans if they would stop with the religious crap. I strongly believe that religion is a matter between an individual and whatever deity he or she chooses to worship. It is not the government’s job to encourage or discourage worship in any way, shape or form. Today’s GOP has for all intents and purposes made piety a qualification for elected office, and the acceptable forms of that piety have become fewer and fewer as time goes on. One of the few things I liked about Romney is that he took his faith off the table. I wish more candidates would do this on both sides of the aisle, because I’m not looking for a politician/preacher. I don’t want a Pastor-in-Chief. If I want religion there’s a church on damned near every corner. I want competent public servants, and whether they share my religion or not is almost completely irrelevant to the discussion.

  36. I guess as long as every president we have places his hand on a Judeo-Christian bible when inaugurated, we will always have parties that bring religion into government. That alone has been, and will continue to be the biggest problem in political parties, most notably the Republicans.

  37. For example, outlawing abortion, while an imposition on women, defends actual lives from being murdered in the right wing mindset. Not saying that I agree with that, but it is what conservatives would say.

    RIght, and I agree with the conservatives that abortion is wrong. I don’t advocate abortion and do not believe in it. However I believe the “murder” issue is fuzzy in some people’s minds, abortion is a complex topic, especially if there are medical considerations/complications for the mother and/or child and I do not believe that anyone who chooses an abortion does so lightly. So while I oppose abortion I believe that it should be legal for those who feel they have no other options. The decision is between themselves, the father (in some cases), their doctor and their God. Though ultimately I think the conversation is between the mother and her God. I don’t think I get a right to say what that woman can or can not do with such a complicated and wrenching decision. I think it’s wrong and I see others’ view that outlawing abortion is essential to protecting innocent lives, and I believe in protecting innocent lives, but given the circumstances around abortion, I’m willing to let people follow their own path, trust their own decisions… and live with the consequences. I think in life we do our best to protect the innocent, but I also know that God gave us free will and we should have the freedom to use that free will to make the best decisions for us.

  38. There is one more thing I forgot to mention.

    The GOP has been laser-focused on the “job creators” these last few years. Small businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators and intrepid capitalists have been exalted by the Republican Party. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. We are after all a society built on capitalism.

    Yet most Americans are not “job creators.” Most people have jobs. They do jobs. They work for businesses small and large, and it is their work which provides us the products and services which we enjoy.

    Today’s GOP offers them almost nothing. If you own a small business, the Republican party wants to throw all sorts of incentives your way. But if you’re the employee of that small business? Nothing.

    I’m not a “job creator” myself. I don’t own a much ballyhooed “small business.” I work for a very large and famous corporation. They’ve actually treated me fairly well, and I’m as successful as I could ever hope to be in my position.

    Yet the Republican politicians I’ve met? They don’t want to talk to me. They want to talk to my boss. This, as I see it, is a problem for the GOP. Much has been said in the last week or so about demographics and arithmetic. Well there are a lot more employees out there than there are employers.

  39. Thanks, slmafu and Elijah.

  40. Cjjack, you’re “forgot to mention comment” about GOP wanting to talk to employers more than the far more numerous employees… interesting observation and good comment. Thanks.

  41. “Fiscal Responsibility”

    If anyone… I repeat ANYONE wants to succeed (or at least survive) you have to be “Fiscal Responsibility.” Let’s take that as a given?

    Next step: There are people, wanting desperately to succeed, that through no choice of their own are in a position that needs help. Let’s take that as a given?

    Next step: Unknown. Some want it to be, “Screw ‘em” and others, “Give them a chance.”

    I’m on the “Give them a chance” side… Where are you?

  42. If I were a Republican, I too would be wary of advice from the other side. Other things I would do:
    - I would look at the funders of the party and figure out if they were in it for themselves or for me. Norquist/Koch and Pat Robertson have both strengthened and weakened each other.
    - I would start applying some of the libertarian principles to the social issues, in a moderate (shocking!) way. So that would mean being pro-choice policy wise though personally against it.
    - I would not be so afraid to modify tax revenues. Norquist’s pledge is sophomoric and it prevents things from actually getting done, which likely is the point.
    - Heed the advice of the Eisenhower re: the military industrial complex.

    Most Americans can unite with a desire to see a leaner government. Most Americans want to pay as little as possible in taxes. There is no need for the right to favor the plutocrats, any specific religion or wrap themselves in the flag.

  43. ES said:

    My takeaway. This thread shows the true depth of the partisan divide in the US. We each have our rationale for our views and the policies that impose our views on others who disagree. This applies to liberals and to conservatives…no one has a monopoly on this fundamental aspect of partisanship.

    I agree, ES.
    Show some respect and perhaps you will get some back in return.

  44. The problem is as I see is as follows. The GOP let the far right into the tent and now they want the tent. This is scaring away a lot of voters and turning off minority voters in ever greater numbers to the GOP. They have painted themselves into a very small corner. If they broaden their appeal they will lose the right and if they don’t demographic changes will make them more irrelevant with each election. I see no easy exit for them. Its going to take some real changes in attitudes, not just slogans, and perhaps several years to accomplish. I await signs of this change. A good start would be the GOP leadership calling out Rush or one of the numerous wannabes after one of their frequent verbal assaults on facts and reason. Something to the effect that these people do not represent the GOP and that the GOP does not support their views. When you hear that you will know something different is happening, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

  45. W, yes it will take years if the moderate Reps to actually change the party.

Submit a Comment