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Sunday, February 05, 2012

A Tale of Two Republican Parties

There are two Republican parties. One is fairly liberal, it is hostile to the left but it also believes in stealing their thunder by adopting moderate versions of their policies.

This Republican Party is strongly pro-business, but it believes that to succeed in a global economy the government must provide subsidies to businesses and individuals. It believes that immigration reform is needed, though its chosen candidates know to avoid using the word amnesty. It believes that national health care is inevitable and that the only way to avoid a government solution is through the individual mandate.

It is loosely conservative, but disinterested in social issues. It thinks that the left has gone too far in upending traditional values, but has no interested in combating it and finds those who do embarrassing . It adapts to changing mores with an uneasy smile and tries to pretend that it was with it all along. It has no strong religious feelings and it believes that all religious, including Islam, are basically the same.

It is strong on national defense spending, but mainly to maintain stability and national influence, not because it believes that we face any real threats. It believes that America has a responsibility to the rest of the world and that we are obligated to give back through the United Nations and other international organizations allowing us to spread our values of free enterprise and democracy to everyone. 

It is a big believer in the American Dream of economic opportunity, but is unable to think of any other national virtues beyond that. It maintains a strongly Federalist legacy and while it agrees that the Federal government has overreached itself in interfering with the business of states, it has no real interest in rolling back its powers, only in making certain that they are used "wisely".

The only area where it actively rolls back the left's program is its deregulation of businesses, but even this is limited to spheres that are objectionable to specific industries which lobby for deregulation. Small businesses can expect much less help, unless they band together and forcefully make something into an issue.

It has no passion for anything beyond deregulating a few specific industries. It supports the right to bear arms, not because it passionately believes in it, but because the political costs of not doing so are too high. It opposes abortion for the same reason, though its opposition is mainly a formality. It believes that gay marriage is inevitable, but isn't willing to pick a fight with its base over it.

Its leaders and members consider themselves rationalists and believe in Global Warming because "the science says so." They sneer at those Republicans who deny what they think is the obvious. While they are skeptical of government solutions to Global Warming, they are prepared to accept an approach that does not cause too much harm to business and is routed through private companies.

It views what the Republican Party has become as an embarrassment and while it doles out red meat to the base when it has to, it despises them and constantly dreams of ways of getting rid of them. In its fondest daydreams, a graduated amnesty program for Mexican immigrants by a Republican president turns them all into legal citizens and Republican voters, allowing them to tell their guns n bibles base to kiss off.

It does not believe that Obama is bad, only inexperienced and misguided, but basically well-meaning and its lack of support for him is not due to a firm belief that his agenda is destructive, but to political calculations and the need to appease their base.

This Party is not particularly worried about the future of the United States except as a place to do business. And even then it will easily move operations offshore to Dubai or Singapore. Overall it is optimistic that things will go on as they have, with a gradual process of reform advanced by the left and moderated by the right in the political process resulting in a workable center.


Then there's the other Republican Party. This party is deeply worried about the future of the country, and not just as a place to do business. It is socially conservative, strong on national defense because it believes that we do face real threats and enemies, it is opposed to amnesty and very skeptical of Federal power.

This party is more new than it is old, it's a party that evolved in response to the transformation of the Democratic Party at the hands of the left. It is the base from which the Republican Party draws much of its support, particularly away from the Northeast, and it is struggling to force the party to match its deeds to its words.

It does not believe that most of the national debates are a tempest in a teacup that can be settled amicably behind closed doors. It is uninterested in bipartisan great compromisers, it seeks fighters who will stand up for its agenda. It is not interested in the progressive voyage to the national future that has been taken up by both parties, what it would like is independence from their reign of policy terror. It would like to roll back the progressive policymaking of both parties.

It is concerned for its ability to earn a living, for the values of its children and the basic freedoms that it can see being lost every day. It remembers a time when people had more freedom and less rules hanging over their heads. The tide of paperwork, the omnipresent regulatory state infuriate it and lead it to vote for people who claim to want Washington off their backs. But next year there are even more regulations and paperwork to deal with.

It is deeply worried about the Bill of Rights, its right to bear arms, its right to speak freely and to practice its beliefs without interference from the government. It is worried about them because it has already witnessed the dramatic erosion of its freedoms and it expects the process to continue.

It is unenthusiastic about deploying troops to maintain global hegemony or aid other nations, it is however vigorous about defending the country from enemy attack. Its members often have a tradition of military service and a skeptical view of how the politicians have used and abused the military for their own purposes.

Its skepticism of authority transcends government and extends to elites in science, academia and the entertainment industry. It recognizes the major gap between its values and theirs, and accordingly distrusts them. It is much less subject to being cowed by absolute truths presented by the elites and often seeks out alternative opinions.

What it wants most is independence from outside regulations that impinge on its way of life. It has little interest in positive rights and a defense of its rights by the government, what it would like is the ability to defend its own rights, to maintain a separation from the elites and its own property and family.

These two Republican parties have been on a collision course for some time now. The collision repeats itself in every election as it has throughout the 20th century. The Republican establishment has never really come to terms with its new core constituencies, the people resistant to the New Deal who were then joined by the people resistant to every other liberal big government innovation that came down the pike.

Between an establishment committed to moderate progressivism and a base that is unwilling to accept less freedoms and more regulation for their own good, is a massive divide. It is a cultural, economic, social and regional divide that needs to be talked about.

Too many establishment candidates have cakewalked into office by paying lip service to the concerns of the base without believing a word of it. Each time the process repeats itself, the collision becomes more explosive until something has to give.

Either the Republican establishment needs to step up to the plate and honestly repudiate its base or it needs to step aside and decide which it cares about more, deregulation or its version of the progressive agenda, because it cannot continue as a contradiction in terms without a meltdown. The current ugliness is a manifestation of that yawning gap between the two parties that cannot be bridged without an honest dialogue about the different values of those at the top and those at the bottom.

15 comments:

mindRider said...

Looking at the contents of your article through the eyes of a foreigner the only thing I can conclude is that because of the division you describe in the republicans they seriously undermine their capacity in dislodging the current terrible and destructive policies of Obama and the democratic party which would be hell for the United States and the rest of the Free World.

Anonymous said...

The closer November gets, the more pedestrian and 'normal' I feel the election is going to be. Talk of it being a battle for America's future etc. doesn't wash. And that's because Obama is going to walk it. Now, I don't want this racist, Jew-hating, doctrinaire Marxist any more than the next man (unless the next man is Chomsky). He's easily the worst post-war president, and up against Carter, that's saying something. And probably the worst all-time president from what I know. But look who he's up against. His operation is so slick and alinskyite, it will steamroller the republicans. I can't wait for Allen West to run in '16. Forget this one, people, it's already over. The republicans are simply going through the motions, as there's nothing else they can do.

Anonymous said...

Like Charlie Sheen, Obama is " winning" the election. Romney is no more than a telegenic version of John McCain, who booted that election by wimping out on stressing Obama's real and easily observable negatives. The only thing that might keep America going is a divided government, and Dems scared to death of implementing some of lame-duck Obama's big second term plans for the country- Tupac

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting it in plain terms, Mr. Greenfield. It's not the first time in recent months these observations have been made. The elite are deluded now and pay no attention to the warnings all around them. The Constitution of The United States of America is codification in secular language of the great Liberty that G-d intends for his people. G-d Himself inspired the Soul the Founders with the wisdom and skill to formulate the Language of The Constitution. Elite leaders around the world today have chosen to ignore the plain facts of the matter and have chosen to, as one has said, 'fly into the face of Providence.' The ignorance and folly of their hubris will overtake them when they are least aware.

With regard to your reference to Democrats I must say that there is nothing d-e-m-o-c-r-a-t-i-c about Democrat leadership anywhere, anytime. The Democrat Political Party is communist thru and thru. Communist Democrat leaders work tirelessly toward a godless utopia ruled by science, technology, terror, and death. There is nothing at all democratic about the Democrat Political Party of today.

Ex-Dissident said...

Excellent read, and at the same time, very disheartening. I honestly thought that the TEA rallies would lead to a change for the better in this country. I recently at a synagogue where a Republican party boss was introducing a young candidate to the folks. They came over to talk to me and asked about my political views. I said that a drink tea with a smile, and instantly the Republican party boss's face became twisted and he quickly walked away.

The candidate he was touting was barely in his 20's and I suspect he was being groomed to be a patsy. The prior occupant of this seat is now in jail for corruption and I doubt this guy will be any wiser.

All in all, very sad.

Anonymous said...

The GOP parents are in the process of a divorce but are still living together.

The children/voters are going to have to decide who gets custody of their lives.

Anonymous said...

"It believes that national health care is inevitable and that the only way to avoid a government solution is through the individual mandate."

This describes TWO of the Republican Presidential candidates.

---------------------------

"It believes that immigration reform is needed, though its chosen candidates know to avoid using the word amnesty."

"In its fondest daydreams, a graduated amnesty program for Mexican immigrants by a Republican president turns them all into legal citizens and Republican voters, allowing them to tell their guns n bibles base to kiss off."


These describe ONLY ONE of the Republican Presidential candidates.

--------


So, my question is: Do you plan to vote for either of these candidates?

Do these things actually matter to you?
OR, like so many alleged "conservatives" recently, are they only important until "we" need to elect somebody who can "win"?

Anonymous said...

Well done! The GOP has for a long time had two wings. This split has become more and more evident after the sucess of Reagan and the abandonment of his policies by the Cocktail praty wing of the party.

I appreciate your analysis.

The question remains how many Americans will be fooled by the Elmer Gantry cocktail party types and which matters more, money or principles? The cocktail party is solely concerned with preserving their perks and priviledges. They are bankrupt as Dole, McCain and Bush have shown.

stardreamers said...

While in the abstract the article can shed a little light on the state of the modern Republican party, I find it a bit disconcerting that not one single real life example was used to support the claims being made. Perhaps if such a fact checking attempt were made, we might discover that many who are on one side of the current Republican debacle might very well lean, on other issues, into the other side as well. This might prove that the Republican party as a whole is lost and without firm principles, having caved so long ago to the fundamentals of an altruistic collectivistic society that has simply gone "too far" for some.

Anonymous said...

The greatest problem I think is that Republican outreach to minority communities has been flawed, self-conscious, and timid. Should you have more diversity in the party to go with the economic earners and angry tea party activists you would have a better determined, and more effective message. At the end of the day the democratic party is only capable of fear-mongering and keeping up the entitlement ghettos.

kevin said...

The current situation has historical precedents.
I remember in the Goldwater campaigns, Rockefeller was the nemesis.

But the situation today is different. Obama is so bad, he is arousing opposition from average Americans. The problem with that should be obvious. Boobus Americanus tend to be ignorant, uncultured, and weirdly religious with social conservatism. Like the "Tea Partier" who talked against masturbation in her campaign. It's hard to imagine a more inappropriate candidate.

By this term I do not mean such issues as abortion; how did we come to the point that "conservatives" claim the mantle of human life? That sounds humanistic, thus contradicts their religion.
The Bible doesn't speak directly to this, because abortions back then were unheard of. I don't think the technology had even been developed.

Nor am I speaking of national defense, which is supposed to be about preserving and extending the reign of liberty. That speaks to classical liberalism, not this weird modern hybrid called "conservatism".

Gingrich would not roll back the leviathan. He derided Ryan's timid plan "right wing social engineering". Gingrich would accelerate the anti-drugs war, where (thanks to him) already a two-time importer of 2 oz could face execution. Yes, that's correct, EXECUTION, for a few ounces of pot.
And he wants to accelerate from there. Absolute bonkers.

Gingrich does not have the competence to manage an insane asylum, which is where he belongs (as a patient under restraints).
Faced with this situation, I hope you understand, I prefer establishment republicanism as the lesser of two evils. Romney.

Lemon said...

Abortion is ancient and indeed was practiced in biblical times.

fsy said...

Probably the best possible outcome right now is Obama being re-elected, followed by the secession of 20 states.

Ex-Dissident said...

Kevin, you need to go back to school. Abortion was common practice throughout the ancient world. The reason it's mentioned in the Hippocratic oath, is because it was commonly done over 2500 years ago. Back then, many also considered this practice immoral.

Anonymous said...

All I know is I should switch my political affiliation. But which party should I switch to?


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