Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dividing the Party of AOTW

One common thread that has been working its way through the blogs since the November election has been the direction of the Republican party.

Actually it has been going on on much longer than that, as it was almost a year ago that I gave the GOP the good ol' GFY. I did so because the party had degenerated into the party of the moderates. The party that is embarrassed by their social conservatives. The party that believes in big government, with the words 'free market' strung on with twist ties to differentiate themselves. And most importantly, the party that allows the debate to be defined by Democrats.

But since the election, there's been two distinct schools of thought. The moderates, including names like the loser McCains, Obama supporters like Colin Powell, and turncoats like Arlen Specter believes that the future of the GOP is to moderate further, become more enlightened, ditch a lot of what differentiates them from Democrats. The other school of thought would be what I will label the Rush/Reagan/Patrick M (damn, I'm an egomaniacal bastard) philosophy, which draws significant and absolute distinctions between conservative and liberal modes of thought, and believes that the focus on consensus in the party is what cost the GOP the elections in 2006 and 2008, and will lead to a party that no one can really support (except the old-line party hacks).

Now I can say without hesitation that no two conservatives will agree on everything, because we focus on the individual rather than the group (which kicks our ass when it comes to getting voting blocs). But it is that articulation of the value of the individual, the importance of personal freedom, the banishment of labels of division (race, class, sex, etc.), and the limitation of intrusion of government in our daily lives that defines true conservative thought.

To that end, for the GOP to reenergize its base and get back the support of those of us who are fed up with their soft shoe bullshit, they need to do several things.

1. Stop propping up moderates - People like Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, (formerly) Arlen Specter, and my own Senator, George Voinovitch (who's thankfully retiring) are the reason the GOP is dying. In siding with Democrats and expanding the role of government in our lives, they dilute the ideas. And I'm not talking requiring a lockstep adherence to the party here. But supporting liberal incumbents when conservatives are available (the Specter/Toomey issue for example) is the kind of thinking that leads to a party with no identity.

2. Don't compromise principles, compromise to advance principles - A necessity of politics is the ability to compromise. I recognize this. However, when you promise to not add earmarks and you add earmarks, or you talk conservatism in the election and then grow the government like a coke addict in a house insulated with blow, or you talk about wasteful spending in Washington and then vote for massive bailouts, or say something like "Read my lips; no new taxes," and then raise taxes, you're bound to be deader than fried chicken in the political sense. You stick to principles and you can win even when you lose.

3. In a war of ideas, only real ones matter - Earlier, I mentioned letting Democrats define the debate. That's what has gotten the GOP into trouble. Whether it's a "solution" for MMGWH, or a "stimulus" package, or a new program to fix something, accepting the premise of the Democrats is not putting new ideas on the table. it's just trying to compete with their existing ideas. It's like riding the horse off a cliff. So while mantras like "less government" and "lower taxes" are generally good philosophies, there has to be real ideas how to achieve this (the FairTax, for example) rather than coming up with the Republican version of a Democrat idea. And abdicating that responsibility is sheer asshattery.

And on that last note:

The Republican National Committee is Asshat of the Week!

Here's why: "...when the RNC meets in an extraordinary special session next week, it will approve a resolution rebranding Democrats as the “Democrat Socialist Party."I can agree with the reasons they give for doing so, as the Democrats have greatly accelerated our descent from a powerful free country into the micromanaged and neutered serfdom of European socialism.

However, if this is all the better they can do, and they can't even get their own chairman to go along, is there any point in doing anything other than laughing at them in their impotence. Then weeping if you're of a conservative bent, because there's only a few people standing on the tracks when while the Soul(less) Train that is Obamalism comes a'barraleing through.

Seriously, if this is what the RNC has up its sleeve, why don't they get get John McCain's family as their spokesdolts and replace Michael Steele with Colin Powell? That would be a more winning strategy than this drizzling shit.

At this rate, the Libertarian Party is looking better by the minute.

20 comments:

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Seriously?? That's what they've got going on [rebranding Democrats as the "Democrat Socialist Party"]??

Lest we forget (I certainly know Patrick that you have not), this is the party who supported massive ethanol subsidies, subsidies for professional sports team stadiums, subsidies for light rail despite that it is not and has not been economically viable in the least, had a bailout package of their own (Bush/Paulsen), etc. etc. etc.....

This is about as much of a fuckery as rebranding French Fries "Freedom" Fries.

At least the Libertarian party recognizes my right to dissent.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

LOVE the ASOW photo by the way. I'll be sure to look for that at my local retailer.

KIND AND GENTLE TRUTH101 said...

"Don't compromise principles, compromise to advance principles"

Well said Patrick. I wish I had seen it earlier so I could have borrowed it for my last speak.


Of course the best part of being a depraved Nihilist like myself is that I don't have principles to comprimise.

Toad734 said...

"But is that articulation of the value of the individual, the importance of personal freedom, the banishment of labels of division (race, class, sex, etc.), and the limitation of intrusion of government in our daily lives that defines true conservative thought."

Is that supposed to be a joke?

The only individual freedoms these people value is the freedom to broadcast hate speech in the name of Jesus and allowing anyone to buy as many automatic weapons they desire when ever they may feel the need to do so.

The conservatives I have known, or even the ones I see in the mainstream, are all white, mostly men and want the TV, internet, radio, print, censored, they want to take away our right to choose whether or not to procreate, who we can marry, who we can sleep with, when we can drink and buy alcohol, and can't stand other religions and only think the freedom or religion applies to their religion and that if they do allow freedom of religion its under the pretext that the Christian God makes the rules in America. Not only that they want to force their religion on everyone else and convert them into one homogenized form of right wing Christian nut jobs who think the world is 10k years old and even want to change the school systems so that view point is taught. And lets not forget which party brought us the "War on Drugs" which is the exact opposite of individual freedom.

And do you really want to prop up the Bushes and the "Adam and Steve" sect of your movement? The "Jesus rode dinosaurs" crowd that doesn't believe in science?

I would gladly welcome that because those idiots wouldn't even compete in an election after seeing what their king did to the country over the last 8 years.

You could argue that Libertarians are a party for individual freedoms but my guess most of them would be anti gay marriage, anti abortion, antieducation, etc. but really when I think of individual freedoms I am more inclined to think of liberals.

Oh, you mean the freedom not to have to pay taxes and to bomb other countries? Well, in that case...

Patrick M said...

Soapster: Don't hold back, tell me how you really feel. :)

101: Feel free to lift all the wisdom that spills forth. I've got plenty.

Toad: Is that supposed to be a joke?No, that's a true statement with a typo in it (which I corrected).

You're confusing party hacks religious aborto-kooks, and wingnuts with real conservatives. Conservatism, and its ideological brother libertarianism, is about personal freedom. Our focus is freedom from government intervention in our lives.

As for the social conservatives (not the nutbags), As long as they can explain why government intervention is more important than personal freedom, then I'll listen (and probably not agree).

BTW, the "last 8 years" shit is getting old. You're sounding like Barry on the 'prompter. Been there, heard that.

You could argue that Libertarians are a party for individual freedoms but my guess most of them would be anti gay marriage, anti abortion, antieducation, etc.Uh, no. Obviously you haven't been to the Libertarian party website.

Let me quote from their platform:

1.3 Personal Relationships

Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the rights of individuals by government, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships.

1.4 Abortion

Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.

2.8 Education

Education, like any other service, is best provided by the free market, achieving greater quality and efficiency with more diversity of choice. Schools should be managed locally to achieve greater accountability and parental involvement. Recognizing that the education of children is inextricably linked to moral values, we would return authority to parents to determine the education of their children, without interference from government. In particular, parents should have control of and responsibility for all funds expended for their children's education.
Shall I go on?

Arthurstone said...

RR was a corporate shill. He was not in any meaningful way a 'conervative'. He merely portrayed a scripted version of what one 'might' look like for purely political reasons.

Patrick M said...

Arthur: Thanks for swinging really wide and missing the point at the mention of Reagan. Next you'll be making Oxy and fat jokes.

Toad734 said...

I’m not asking what a true conservative is. I am stating the fact that the vast majority of people in this country who call themselves conservatives would fall into the category I described.

Rush, Hannity, Coulter, Bush, Notre Dame protesters, War Supporters, etc.

None of them are for Gay Marriage, pro choice or want a copy of the Koran on their courthouse lawn. Yet, I would say that all of them support the 10 commandments on the courthouse lawn and all of them would be willing to remove all restrictions on the 2nd amendment.

Your idea of "conservative" is a lot different that most conservatives. Even your own political views are different than the definition of conservative.


And I agree with the Libertarians on all those point except for education which is a completely laughable platform. The problem is I don't know how many Libertarians actually agree with those things.

Soap:

Subsidies for sports stadiums?? Where does that come from? I doubt any federal government officials really ever subsidized a football stadium with tax payers money.

And let’s call a spade a spade, corn, not ethanol, is subsidized. All corn and most other agricultural commodities including tobacco. Guess where Tobacco and Corn are grown? Not New England or the Left Coast but in the red state heart land and the south. So you might want to look into who is asking, pushing for and voting on those subsidies.

Ok, technically Indiana and Iowa went blue this time and they grow a lot of Corn but you get the point.

Dave Miller said...

Wow Patrick, people are sure getting worked into a good lather lately on your blog.

But I agree, the RNC does not seem to have any new ideas.

It is as if they believe if they just yell loud enough about the old ideas, people will hear them and somehow miraculously come to the conclusion that those ideas are fantastic.

The question they have to answer as a party is this... Can people who do not hew the party line on the social issues, be part of the discussion.

Folks like Powell, McCain, and maybe Steele seem to be saying yes. These folks, generally fiscally conservative, can be thought of as part of the old Rockefeller line of the GOP.

Others, and our friend Dee is a good example, seem to be saying no they can't.

Time will tell.

dmarks said...

Toad said: "and all of them would be willing to remove all restrictions on the 2nd amendment"

Shouldn't the law of the land be upheld, and not restricted?

Dave Miller said...

dmarks, restricting ownership is not a ban.

How is registration of firearms in violation of the 2nd amendment?

Name: Soapboxgod said...

Who the hell ever said we were limiting ourselves to the Federal level Toad? I sure as hell didn't. I live in Minnesota. And, I'm none to happy with my "Republican" governor who favored a sales tax increase on Hennepin county to pay for a new Twins Stadium (and without a referendum).

As to your assertion that ethanol isn't subsidized but rather corn is, you couldn't be further from the truth on that one. Minnesota alone has subsidized ethanol and ethanol plants and refineries to the tune of over $300 Million in grants.

What's more, I'm well aware of the flurry of additional agricultural subsidies as well as subsidies for light rail and of course the professional sports team stadiums (not to mention a whole shitload of others unmentioned). And as well, if you've been paying any attention, I'm well aware that these subsidies have been doled out by both Republicans and Democrats alike.

But whereas many of my brethren and those on the other side of the ideological and political spectrum make attempts at justifying their favorite subsidy, I am an apologist for none.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"Folks like Powell, McCain, and maybe Steele seem to be saying yes. These folks, generally fiscally conservative..."This notion that McCain is a "fiscal conservative" is a fucking canard. So the guy ran around barking about earmarks and shit. BFD! Don't get me wrong, it's a start I suppose but the fact is that earmarks only amount to about $17 Billion. When you're looking at a $3 or $4 Trillion Budget that's a drop in the bucket.

What's more, let's not forget that McCain was the chief author of that God forsaken amnesty bill. Now granted it didn't pass (thanks in large part to the uproar by the American people). However, had it passed, it would have been the largest welfare increase in 35 years. It was estimated to have put the American taxpayer on the hook for $2.6 Trillion! [Heritage Foundation]. Then of course there was the other God forsaken Cap and Trade legislation which, before becoming the Lieberman/Warner bill was at first the Lieberman/McCain bill. And if you've not seen the tax increases associated with that piece of work consider it the equivalent of another "stimulus" package.

So I ask, what bit of good is it to advocate tax cuts or eliminating pork barrel spending if you're only going to backdoor in a whole flurry of new taxation regulatory or otherwise?

No good that's what.

Patrick M said...

Toad: I am stating the fact that the vast majority of people in this country who [blah, blah, blah]Toad, you function so much on assumptions you miss the point. What I have laid out is the direction the GOP needs to go. They'll never reach the ideal, of course. But we can deal with imperfections, and some ignorance. What doesn't work, however, is talking about change then recycling the same old shit (Which is what Bush did in many cases and what Obama is doing now).

BTW, I think you and the Soapster could agree that subsidizing shit is a bad thing in general.

Dave: Lather is good. It is produced in washing away all the dirt that accumulates on a subject so we can see it clearly.

On the split in the party, that's going to be something that will continue. The problem with the social side is that some of them sometimes believe in taking away personal freedom to protect their moral judgment. It's a conflict that, while I may agree with their moral position, I can't support laws that would enforce them. The Gay marriage is such an issue, for example. I believe that a good hetero marriage is the ideal we should work for as a society, but the concept of a "legal marriage" is, at best, a messy mistake.

How is registration of firearms in violation of the 2nd amendment?You asked Dmarks, but I can answer this one.

The purpose of the Second Amendment is to allow the populace to be armed to protect us from enemies, both external and internal. That includes the government (I know, not that practical in the 21st century, but...). While background checks are reasonable to keep weapons out of the hands of people who have lost the right through due process, registration tells the government who has what guns where. Then, you get a situation like, say, Katrina. Someone takes that lists and goes around disarming. Or, with the misnamed "assault weapons" ban, the government can arbitrarily decide that a specific weapon is not "reasonable" and thus take it (and I'm not talking full auto AK-47's, Toad), chipping away at the right slowly.

The registration itself is not necessarily a violation, but is a step that makes it easy for the government to then come in and violate. And with any government that continually gathers power to itself, this is not a possibility, but a probability.

dmarks said...

Dave: Toad spoke of restricting the "2nd Amendment", not ownership. That is, restricting a basic Constitutional right.

Attacking the very Constitution.

Toad734 said...

Dmarks:

So is censorship. And you also have to put the 2nd amendment into context. They didn't have anti aircraft batteries, RPGs, machine guns which could fire 1000 armor piercing rounds per minute.

The constitution also gives us the right to vote but you have to first register.

What is so hard to understand about this? You can't yell fire in a crowded theater and you can't sell an AK-47 to a 9 year old. Is that so bad? Not everything is black and white. That is the problem with conservatives; they apply everything to black and white terms, except of course when it comes to freedom of speech, separation of church and state, torture, abortion, etc. AKA: when its convenient for them.

Toad734 said...

Soap: I thought you were talking on the Federal level. Yes I think Indiana subsidized the construction of an Ethanol plant and Indianapolis certainly subsidized the new Colts stadium.

Patrick:

Oh you mean like the ban on partial birth abortion? Small steps right?

I think Obama has brought almost all the change he has promised. I am sorry if you disagree but a black guy named Barack Hussein Obama, whose father was a Kenyan Muslim and whose mother came from a family of low-middle class Kansas farmers and who herself was once on food stamps is a far cry from the mainly White, Episcopalian, Skull and Bones / Free Mason, descendent of English Kings who came from wealthy families that we have had in the past with the few exceptions such as JFK sans the wealthy family part. Not only that, closing Guantanamo, the talk of National healthcare, the fuel standards, the working with, as opposed to for or against industry leaders, the way he approaches and deals with the world, etc. all of that is certainly vastly different than what we have had over the last 8 years and still different from anything we have had, especially in my lifetime.

Toad734 said...

You may disagree with that change but it is change. Sure, maybe his hands have been tied a bit due to the deficit he inherited and the economy that came with it but he is trying as much as he can to shake thigs up and go a different direction.

And yes, I believe that in most cases, subsidies from the federal government are bad. But in some cases, they can be good as they are in the cases with sports stadiums, high speed rail, new technology, bio research, etc.

Any city which has helped fund a new stadium can see the benefits from it. Indianapolis, Detroit, Phoenix, etc are all examples of this as without these new stadiums they probably would have never landed a Superbowl. As with light rail, the country could see a decrease in the dependence of foreign oil which only enriches our enemies but also cleans up the air which lowers the rate of asthma, cancers and will help fight climate change which could put 50% of the countries population under water in the next 100 years if it isn't dealt with.

Now, subsidizing corn has done nothing but make Americans fatter and kept farmers lazy and lined the pockets of the ADMs of the world. Subsidizing a failing auto industry isn't going to do much if it is only prolonging the inevitable. Should they get help? Sure, Chrysler needed help in the 80s and paid back their loans ahead of schedule. I have no problem with that what so ever but the no strings attached Paulson checks to AIG and Bear Stearns went too far as do tobacco subsidies and shit like that.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

I think I've got you pretty much figured out Toad. The subsidies you = GOOD. The subsidies someone else likes = BAD.

That's some conviction you've got there which is a testament to all that is wrong in Washington and in every capitol in every state in this great nation.

So just so I understand correctly here:

Professional Sports Team Stadium Subsidies for wealthy Team owners and their wealthy players = GOOD (with the stipulation that they actually win a Superbowl, World Series, Stanley Cup, etc.). If they're such a boon to the community then by all means why stop at just one? Hell why don't we build 10 of them?

Light Rail and the like: Who gives a shit if it's proven to be a financial black hole in even the most congested of cities (New York). It makes you feel Manhattenesque and like you're really doing something for the sake of mother earth. As for "foreign" oil. We get the majority of our oil from Canada and Mexico. Third in line is Venezuela which doesn't sit all too well with me but then I'm not one of those opposed to more domestic oil exploration to supplant that which we get from Venezuela and the Middle East. What's more, the light rail they're building here en masse doesn't run on air and dandelions. The electricity has got to come from somewhere. As for "clean air" there have been a number of studies which have shown (one such being a report by the American Enterprise Institute this past week which found that air quality improved since 2001 under Bush). Also, let's consider how stringent California's environmental regulations are compared with the rest of the country. And then, let's recognize their smog levels nonetheless as well as their fiscal malaise which is off the charts. Climate Change?? The climate always changes. So much in fact that despite the sounding of the alarm on Warming, the global temperature has not risen since 1998.

Regardless of what is being subsidized, no one subsidy is any more justified than anyother. And your attempts to the contrary are a futile attempt to the contrary.

Patrick M said...

Toad: I am sorry if you disagree but a black guy named Barack Hussein Obama, whose father was a Kenyan Muslim and whose mother came from a family of low-middle class Kansas farmers and who herself was once on food stamps is a far cry from the mainly White, Episcopalian, Skull and Bones / Free Mason, descendent of English Kings who came from wealthy families that we have had in the past with the few exceptions such as JFK sans the wealthy family part.You are a fucking moron sometimes. You've got a great list of things that are wholly irrelevant in my world. Things that have nothing to do with how I assess candidates.

...all of that is certainly vastly different than what we have had over the last 8 years and still different from anything we have had, especially in my lifetime.Let's see, Socialized medicine had it's last run in 1993, control over our freedom through fuel standards have been crawling up over many years, nationalizing industries is a new one here (but not in communist countries), and sucking the world's dick was a Carter thing that ended with the mess in Iran. Nothing really new there.

And you know I'm talking about the incessant creep of government control into the private sector.