May 19 2009
The news today on the GOP is not good, nor is it surprising. The GOP is being rejected because it has gone into the tank of self announced moral superiority. I will get back to this at the end of this post.
Before that, it is time to get on my soap box again because the ‘true conservatives’ cannot adjust to the reality they have lost credibility with America and need to realize extreme conservatives are not winning the day. I note an interesting post by some no-name McCain who rages against ‘moderates’ and ‘centrists’, who is surprised we have as much passion and drive as they do, but with a major dose of pragmatism and thoughtfulness. Here are some key moans from some person named McCain:
Listen, buddy,Â when you go to pick a fight, it’s best to know who you’re picking a fight with. And it may help to know what you’re actually fighting about:
It’s about a Republican “leadership” that has spent the past few years destroying the grassroots of the GOP. However, your idea of a “centrist coalition” as the basis for revitalizing the Republican Party is a non-starter, for several reasons:
Did “issues” have anything to do with this? Well, if issues matter, John McCain certainly didn’t help himself byÂ coming down on the wrong side of the Bush bailout:
Poor no-name, he confuses issues with credibility. He wonders what is ‘sane’ and what is a fevered swamp. The poor soul points to my applauding McCain for going to DC to deal with the economic collapse as claiming I supported all the results of the Bush TARP approach. My applause was aimed at McCain seizing the moment and forcing the issue (and its implications) into the national presidential debate. Like most ‘true conservatives’, somebody named McCain replaces thought out political strategy with anger and insults – which is all the ‘true conservatives’ have to offer, and it is getting old with Americans.
McCain and Bush were never the problem for the grass roots, the far right was. Let me describe a few issues where the ‘true conservatives’ dumped any sensible thinking in exchange for petty emotional blather.Â
First up: The Gang of 14 and Bush’s judicial selections. When the centrists gathered in the Senate (left and right) to end the stand off on Bush’s judicial the true conservatives were denied their constitutional showdown. They moaned and moaned about the fact they could not use our governmental process to slam the political opposition. They wanted to punish the opposition. It was not what the nation wanted or needed.
Constitutional showdowns are dangerous and should be avoided. A democracy survives by everyone believing in the democratic processes and their results. The minute you start abusing the processes to attack other Americans you begin to erode the faith in the system that keeps it alive.
The Gang of 14 did the right thing for this nation. They avoided a useless and childish constitutional showdown and President Bush’s judicial nominations began flying through the process. It was a success. But ‘true conservatives’ are still, to this day, moaning that they did not get their civil war. This is repulsive to the majority of people who don’t want a civil war, they want a democratic process that is fair and we can have faith in.Â
Second example: The smearing of Harriet Miers. Harriet Â Miers was President Bush’s second choice for a Supreme Court nomination, but she was not considered to be in the ‘true conservative’ camp because she was once a Democrat (just like President Reagan!). The ‘true conservatives’ did not engage her on issues, but tore into her as a RINO or some squish on abortion. They had no proof, they just slammed her because they wanted one of theirs selected. The result was a clear signal to the broader conservative coalition that only ‘true conservatives’ would be considered for lead roles, and any outside that cult who wanted to be in a lead role would be smeared as if they were from the far left.Â
The message was clear, and the coalition began to splinter. People participate in the democratic process under the expectations their voice will be heard, their ideas will be respected and their efforts will be rewarded. The cult of the right wanted supreme and unchallenged control. No sharing of the fruits, which meant less interest in spending a life’s effort to the cause. These free market mavens forgot that success has to be shared and allowed to form where it forms. If that means a less than pure candidate occasionally, that IS the price for a coalition.Â
Miers was a good choice because she brought more of the free market view onto the court. She would balance theÂ ideologicalÂ poles with more neutral views that represented he free market – where political ideology should not play. There was no evidence she would be pro-choice, etc. So what we did know (and what was rejected) was her free market experience. The ‘true conservative’ blinders that ignore all issues outside of their pet social issues killed off all interest from natural allies. Allies who can respect their views, but want a broader set of policies beyond the choice of a woman to deal with her pregnancsy (note: I am pro-life, but not to the point where government can dictate the decisions of parents one way or the other).
Case three: Cult mythology verses science: The conservatives really lost ground with their demands that proven science be replaced or augmented in schools with religious mythology. The individual’s right to views based on religion is not an issue, but forcing the teaching of religious denial of science (e.g., evolution, DNA, etc) on everyone was and is Â extreme.Â
This is where they lost a lot of culturally conservative centrists who are able to marry critical religious values with science without any conflict. Evolution does not claim there is no God or no divine force. It simply notes how God’s creations adapt and survive through time. If we are God’s creations, then DNA and its ability to evolve through evolutionary forces is God’s original instruction set in its original form.
To me and many others, science is the endless exploration of God’s creation. As we explore we learn more about his/her greatness. The fact ‘true conservatives’ cannot wrap their High School science trained minds around these mysteries is not a valid excuse to rant against science and its benefits.
What is needed in science is a solid moral grounding to not let the abstract take over and infringe on the divine rights of humans to life liberty and happiness. Science always needs a moral compass. Both religion and science provide balance to each other (e.g., woman are not second class beings, young human beings in their embryo stage are not a human spare parts store).
This ridiculous battle has divided groups that support the idea of family, dedication to others, the sanctity of life, etc. “Sane” is the marrying of these important and valid perspectives. “Insane” is pushing one view over the other.
Addendum: I meant to note that evolution is not a theory. We have current proofs of evolution which happen within our life time, and span back a few centuries. We know the link between humans and other primates. We see evolutionary changes in modern organisms (think flu viruses). What is still theoretical is the mapping of pre-historic organisms (e.g.,Â dinosaurs) and their connection to modern organisms. The mapping that far back in time gets cloudy. But the mechanisms of evolution are well proven with current living organisms – end update
4th Example: Â Comprehensive Immigration Reform.Â This is another classic example of rampant emotions overriding any realistic political strategy. The far right began their unhinged uproar with the idea of rounding up and deporting all illegal aliens. As nutty as that sounded (especially when we remember we need our law enforcement to be focused on terrorists, not immigrant workers) the ‘true conservatives’ seemed hell bent on purifying our culture of these invaders. They kept trying to find ways to eject the invaders.
Comprehensive immigration reform had a lot of amazing steps towards a more sane and balanced immigration policy. It included the deportation of violent immigrant criminals here legally or illegally. It included time constraints for guest workers, it included special identification cards and tracking of guest workers, it brought them out of the under ground economy and into the tax paying open. It required restitution in terms of fines, fees and payment of back taxes (which, by definition, is not amnesty).
But the far right went emotionally ballistic and derided all common sense fixes for different ways of forcing immigrants out of the country. This took a huge culturally conservative demographic (hispanics) who would be natural allies on a wealth of pro-life, pro-family, strong national defense issues and threw them out of the ‘big tent’. The rampaging was stunning and repulsive, and it was a huge factor in the collapse of the coalition in 2006 and 2008.
After pissing off free market allies, insulting people who can balance science and religion, after repulsing hispanics and people who are not hard core nativists, and after chasing out other major groups with their insults and anger on other issues, the purity wars succeeded – the ‘true conservatives’ are wandering the political wilderness in ‘exile’ (as Hannity likes to whine). And they still think they are impressive leaders!
This no name McCain thinks he knows me, but he is raging against some mythical person who he has in his head:
What A.J. Strata wants is not the party of Reagan, but the party of the respectable Republican elite, who never say or do anything that might disturb the liberal ascendancy. They imagine they can win a political conflict without ever risking anything in the fight, and therefore they always advise pre-emptive compromise:Â Give the liberals want they want, or you might make them angry!
Too funny. This poor person clearly has not realized I find the far left completely out of whack and definitely not the answer for America. I don’t give into liberals, they don’t frighten me and I could care less if the like me. What no name McCain has not figured out is he and the hot heads on the right are basically just as bad. And my spine is strong enough to take on both extremesÂ simultaneously. Why?
Because I think things out and derive viable solutions instead of ranting and raving on high emotions and try and feel superior by insulting others with different views. All the these fringe people have are insults. Â Simple minded platitudes are no replacement for a strategy that can make progress and get the backing of the people (since they have to support it to make it come to pass). In my mind, insults are the last bastion of someone who cannot either derive a solution or grasp the problem. Emotion is the security blanket of the incapable.Â
If you have a good solution and people like it, you don’t need to insult them to follow your lead – duh!
I have been a supporter of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (now with my own young Marine heading into the conflicts). I defended the NSA and Bush administration from the ranting of the far left and their emotional tirades. I strongly believe the highest pro-choice issue of the day is the potential legalizing massive factories of young human beings in their embryonic stage of life so they can be harvested for spare parts to help rich elites, dwarfing the choice of a mother regarding her one or two children. I rage against the mythology of the left and their cult of global warming.
And I challenge the mythology of the far right as well, as do many. The true ‘silent majority’ is the centrists. This is because we select who the majority will be in the voting booth. As one fringe goes over the edge we do move to the other side to regain balance. It is not fickleness that drives this rebalancing act. We know the heart of America exists in the middle, which is under attack constantly from the fevered swamps on the fringes.
The results are clear, America is moving away from the overheated GOP (until it cools down and can again show respect for a diverse country). Gallup has the hard numbers:
I am not happy this is happening, but I cannot deny it is happening and its causes. I will not attempt to kid myself or others. Social conservatives were at one time under attack by the liberal elites. Reagan and his coalition rose up and reminded the country that being religious, being pro-family, being pro-life were valuable Americam traits – along with individual responsibility and independence, lower taxes, etc.
Social conservatives have a lot to be admired for in these areas. They remind us to this day of our valued roots, what is the core of America’s heart and soul. But that does not make them superior and all knowing. They fell into the same trap as the liberals did when they came to power. They tried to change the face of America into their own likeness.
When people like this no name McCain rage against moderates they demonstrate once again that this self imposed superiority is what destroyed the coalition that Reagan formed, and will be a barrier to any new coalition.
I think we need to find more Sarah Palin’s to lead the new GOP. Crist and these left of center solutions are the coalition trying to get back into balance. But Palin is the perfect role model. Ignore the media caricatures, what makes her stand out is her ability to fuse the diversity of conservatism into a pragmatic balance. She exemplifies the family values and pro-life positions – she lives them with all its warts and challenges. She is very religious – but does not attempt to impose her views on anyone. She is tolerant of those who have taken different paths, but she draws the line against power hungry elites. She, like me, is now part of the military family. She is for lower taxes, a reasonable safety net, strong defense.
She is the perfect blend of where the GOP could revive itself. The fact people like Newt Gingrich fears her and tries to minimize her is a great sign of her potential to rip out the failed old guard and bring in fresh, new thinking from the Main Street of America.
It’s not all that complicated. And I am glad the ‘true right’ is taking its marbles home to pout. It clears the deck for a new GOP to arise out of the sane center of the heart of America.