Monday, July 18, 2011

Not Your Dad's Republican Party.

It is completely mystifying that policy positions that would have seemed conservative a generation ago are now considered too far left for many Republicans to even consider supporting. The Tea Party has forced the GOP establishment to move its goal posts. And quite frankly, they've put them on a conveyer belt. In this deeply polarized era in Washington, the Tea Party's idea of negotiations is simply restating policy positions with little or no intention to actually bargain.
The caucus in the House of Representatives is split between its leadership trying to make a deal with the White House and a slew of freshmen Congressional members unwilling to budge. What is further mystifying is that the Republican Party has some how found a way to frame the policy debate in a way that makes it seem like 2000 - 2008 never actually happened.
For most of the past decade, the Republican Party was able to govern with somewhat timid opposition from Democrats. During this tenure, the Republicans secured tax-cuts, increased spending, de-regulated the financial industry, passed an unfunded federal entitlement healthcare program in Medicare Part D, initiated two wars without paying for either, and increased federal control over the education system through No Child Left Behind. That is not exactly a record of governance that screams conservative.
The Tea Party wing of the Republican Party has predictably reacted in so extreme a manner that it has created an environment where it is impossible for the Republican Party to govern. There is but one exception in that Republicans can remain unified in saying "no" to tax-hikes on wealthy Americans (revenue) and closing of tax subsidies for large corporations (spending). The result is that the Republican Party is faced with trying to figure out how to say "no" to Democrats enough to keep the Tea Party happy while they simultaneously risk further splintering the party by budging on negotiations with the White House and Congressional Democrats. This rigidity to not negotiate forced the Republicans to pass up on a deal from the President that Republicans from a decade or two ago could have only dreamed about. The President offered them the chance to cut into the Liberal sacred cows that are Social Security and Medicare. Unfortunately for them, once the most extreme elements of the Republican Party spent the past three years trying to make Obama seem as evil, megalomaniacal and un-American as possible, they boxed their party into a position where there exists no possibility to compromise with him. If you're a Republican, you can not very well go cutting a deal with the guy you've been calling a Muslim, America hating, Socialist, foreigner all this time. Can you? At its core, Conservatism is a reaction or a counterweight to whatever the opposing political forces of the day are, more than it is a stand-alone ideology. So I understand where the opposition is coming from. But I never thought I would live to see a day where, as a Democrat, would be craving for the Republican Party of the 80's and 90's to come back. No sir, these are not your dad's Republicans.


  1. Very well written. I couldn't have said it better myself.

  2. Thank you for reading. And congratulations on posting the first ever comment on The Liberal Mob. We appreciate the support. Please tell your friends to come and read our posts too!

  3. Conversely, many ideas that are considered very far left and progressive are literally ideas of ultimate conservatism. Preventing the erosion of individual liberties and freedoms, as characterized by the actions of the ACLU, is a very conservative attitude towards individual liberty and freedom. Preventing the industrial poisoning of our environment and our bodies is a very conservative attitude towards the health and welfare of the environment and our bodies. The redefinition of words and concepts to accomodate changing political objectives is at play in this issue, and will continue to be. Obviously, the progressive left will be well served by some very loud and informed far left voices to help tilt the control of idea and concept shaping back from the extreme militant right.

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