Friday, January 2, 2009
The Party of Whiners
The GOP is in trouble... we know this... they know this....yet I have not yet seen any remnant of true leadership among current Republican office holders. Paul Krugman's article calls the current GOP the party of whiners which I find appropriate having followed their legislative activities after the election. First on the agenda of course was the Auto Bailout which many Republicans used to blame the Labor Unions for every woe of the American automobile industry. It was a legislative blame game for which no one was the victor and a political catastrophe for which the irresponsible union busting of the Republican party was evident. After the election along with the Auto Bailout, the American economy was continuing on a downward spiral only contributing to the need for direct government action. Yet, there seems to be nothing that the Republican leadership is willing to do to aid the Obama administration stimulus package, but preemptively call it 'Pork Porn' and delay action to have a bill for President Obama to sign by his first week in office. The campaign for the next RNC chair is also a farce with songs regaling America's next President as a 'Magic Negro'. Many Republicans feel that the spending of the Bush administration and the Republican Congresses of 2001 to 2006 was an abandonment of core Republican principles. This argument might explain the misfortunes of Republicans among already active supporters yet it does not explain how conservative republicanism lost the hearts and minds of a vast majority of Americans. Krugman speaks of the decline of the GOP in more subconsciously racial/class warfare terms... it suggests that the party became out of step with the realities of American life. A citizenry that has grown more tolerant, more diverse, and more liberal. I would like to offer another suggestion. Not only did the Republican Party lose touch with the American people... they neglected to lead and merely present allegiances and not ideas to America. The moment Richard Nixon campaigned to the 'silent majority' the Republican party became a party of the few and not a political mechanism arguing for a conservative agenda. Reason in public debate only continued to disintegrate when the Democratic party followed suit and represented 'the other half' of America. President Bush filled his policies and his inner circle with partisan yes men. Politics continued to be marred by interests and not the needs of the American people. Republicans whine because they lost. Yet due to their partisanship, the American people lost more. Political parties exist to present ideas to the electorate and not be held hostage by demographics or identities. Partisanship may be an unavoidable reality yet the GOP should focus on ideas. Some see Republican governors as the party's electoral deliverance. I believe it is a return to the idea of practical small/local governance and individual liberty. Essentially the Republican party should shift to a more Libertarian direction. Republicans can no longer argue for socially conservative federal regulations on marriage and abortion while claiming to be the party of individual liberty and the protection against government intrusion. Republicans under Bush did not uphold the civil liberties and government transparency that foster the freedoms of conscience and expressions of truth in the public and private spheres of American life. There are too many contradictions in contemporary American conservatism. Republicans need to innovate what it is they stand for. Do they stand for a coalition of persons and interests or are they a party of ideas? Democrats and liberals are beginning to take the leap and resist the special interests. Obama is bringing in every political persuasion to help him govern. The policies and politics of the next eight years will be a more deliberative process. Ideas and solutions will be the focus of American governance.