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Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Nation of Independent Voters

Lately the percentage of independent voters has been growing, at the expense of the Republican voter. And it might be worth taking the time to ask why. Voters identify with a party because they feel that it does or does not represent them. But whose interests does the Republican party actually represent?

In the aftermath of the 2008 election, the Democratic party has quite clearly demonstrated who they represent. Unions, radical socialists, people who expected the government to pay for everything and environmentalists who want to use global warming as a pretext for controlling people's daily lives.

The Republican party is finding its voice in opposition to this radical socialism, as it usually does when in the opposition, the problem is that its alternative, both in the 2008 Presidential election and in general, is moderate socialism. And while moderate socialism is preferable to radical socialism, in the same way that a merely angry doberman is preferable to a rabid doberman, it raises the question of whose interests the Republican party actually represents.

While it is the Democratic party that has repeatedly hijacked the Constitution to implement socialism, it is the Republican party that has gone along with it. FDR's radical changes to the nature of American government would not have endured had Eisenhower not chosen to perpetuate them and build upon them. So too with LBJ and Nixon. Or Clinton and George W. Bush. The real problem with the Republican party is that it has tried to represent a voice of reason, instead of a voice of counter-revolution, when it comes to the socialism of the Democratic party.

As Theodore Lowi aptly described in The End of Liberalism: The Second Republic of the United States, it was the willingness of Republican administrations to approve the social liberal bureaucratic coups of their Democratic predecessors that made socialism in the United States possible. As a result instead of a two party system representing two separate philosophies of government, the two party system became a struggle between the radical socialists and the moderate socialists. Is it any wonder then that even so many Republican voters want out?

While the Republican party has been working to seize a center that the Democrats are constantly tugging to the left, more and more voters have decided that neither party represents their interests. Winning them back will require the Republican party to break with the political conformity of the past and embrace a new philosophy of governing, not simply in the rhetoric of the opposition, but in the reality of day to day government.

The unprecedented growth of government has resulted in unsustainable spending and taxation, along with a sharp decline in individual freedoms. It is inevitable that to have big government, the American people must pay for it, both in money and in liberty. In the process both parties have forgotten that power corrupts, arguing that power in a socially beneficial aim does not corrupt. Naturally there are no shortage of examples otherwise.

The American experiment was founded on curtailing the power and scope of government. In the late 19th and 20th century that experiment began to move sharply in reverse, expanding government at the expense of states rights and individual rights. Yet what large numbers of independent voters is a resentment toward the power and scope of government. Republican candidates have often capitalized on that resentment, but failed to actually reverse the growth of government.

Federal government works by compromise, and compromise means the willingness to trade one favor for another, one piece of pork for another, getting one billion taxpayer dollars to be spent by approving another billion taxpayer dollars to be spent by someone else. This form of compromising is what created the raging monster of the National Debt as congressmen have been happy enough to get along by spending along. This way one senator's district can get funding for a bridge to nowhere in exchange for another senator's district getting an airport it doesn't need, in exchange for a defense contractor in a third senator's district getting a contract to produce a submarine the Navy doesn't actually need or want.

Republicans have just as eagerly pursued this form of bipartisanship, and as a result spending has gone through the roof. Under Obama, this form of spending is no longer bipartsan, it is however bigger than ever.

In order to take back America and win back independent voters, the Republican party's politicians would have to do something that goes against the nature of any leader, to take power in order to give power, to win elections to office only to curtail and limit the power of that office. Such a course of action is difficult but necessary, if America is to survive as something other than an EU style bureaucracy living beyond its means and its commercial structures composed of retailers reselling Chinese products and companies competing for Federal dollars or ameros. And it would transform politicians into leaders.

The city of Cincinnati was named after the Roman, Cincinnatus, famed for his willingness to give up power. George Washington used Cincinnatus as his example, giving the Presidency a fundamental contrast with the monarchy that had ruled before him. To reclaim the Republic, Republicans must take the lead in acting more like Washington and less like FDR. Because if they continue playing the moderate socialist to Obama's radical socialist, the alternative will be the absolute triumph of socialism and the end of the United States of America.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think it's accurate to say that the U.S. is moving back to what gov't. always was - a source of revenue, jobs, power, & status.
The American political elite of both parties have become a ''nomenclatura'' - a privileged class with similar interests.
The American Revolution was an attempt to break away from the ancien regime & give individuals economic power. In the past, the source of money & power was always government.
This is how the Third World still operates. And this is where we're headed.

Anonymous said...

By the way, while it is somewhat problematic to make analogies to past history, especially ancient history, it is interesting to compare the United States with the Roman Empire - especially the period 200-325 A.D.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for an excellent post. An observation I have is that elites seldom willingly surrender power to those whom they consider of less stature. This can be seen in Iran this weekend, or America in 1776. Also, how many people are really dissatisfied - not enough is my guesstimate. Sudden abject poverty and dissatisfaction would be a great blessing for this country, correcting the many insane policies the government has adopted.

Keli Ata said...

Anonymous #2 12:30 AM (sorry, don't know your name) is right about the analogy between the US and the Roman Empire. It is fascinating, really.


The Republican party has indeed become something of a branch of the Democratic party.

To make any inroads with voters in the next election the Reuplicans still must confront an enduring perception problem--that it is the party of the rich and elite.

Somehow they must reach out to the lower middle class and working class.

navyvet48 said...

Anonymous 1 is correct. As Glenn Beck likes to say about the parties it is progressive light (Rep) and progressive (Dems). Same way with socialism.... neither one describes me. I just want sonme in DC who really represents we the people.

I use to say that the only way to change dc is to move lock stock annd barrel...nevr were truer words said!

Keli Ata said...

You're right, too. We're supposed to a a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

It hasn't been that in years.

Anonymous said...

Yes!

ytba said...

"...while moderate socialism is preferable to radical socialism, in the same way that a merely angry doberman is preferable to a rabid doberman, it raises the question of whose interests the Republican party actually represents."

Sadly so. And the fact that we aren't hearing this more (ok, I've actually seldom heard it, and never articulated so well) means it's not enough of a concern to them, which is not a good sign.

sharmajee said...

It seems there might be a world-wide leftwing movement in response to globalization and excesses of the multinationals across the globe. Growth in population and poverty might be a factor too. Recently in India the right-wing, Hindu-inspired Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to unseat the Left of Center Congress Party (an agglomeration of unions, Muslims, academia, students, socialists etc.)
The BJP was assailed in similar terms as the GOP. Namely that it lost its voice, way and vision. It chose to ape the Left rather than stand up and against, and offer a cogent idea.
Something to think about, in the interest of progress as well as sanity.

Sultan Knish said...

Well I would hope they go back to their roots, the nationalists in India have been very active before, but the economy is likely to be the big factor now

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