A week or so ago the GOP/RNC, in its infinite and unfathomable stupidity, launched a “listening tour” of “townhall meetings” to find out what “the people” thought they needed to do to start winning elections. This was justifiably met with instant derision, so they “redefined” the events as an opportunity to “clarify” what the GOP actually stood for. The “listening tour” apparently transformed itself into a “preaching tour”.
Is Michael Steele REALLY this incompetent? But I digress.
I’m going to save them a lot of time and gasoline.
What we're seeing is the transformation of the GOP from a party of small government principles to one simply concerned with garnering power to itself. By definition, "small government" has little power. The GOP is now more concerned with using the cudgel of government to advance its own agenda -- much of it in the social arena -- and is thus willing to throw its "avowed" principles to the wind.
Further, it's ALSO transforming and redefining those so-called "principles".
Why is gay marriage a national issue? Why was Terri Schaivo a national issue? Why is the fight against abortion a national issue? Those are rightfully state issues. Why did virtually all of the GOPer congresscritters vote for the original "bailout"? Why did Bush impose NCLB and Scrips for Seniors? Why is a FISA court even possible in a free country? Why do we have a Patriot Act? Why did the GOP go along with "affordable housing for minorities"? Why did the GOP back amnesty twice? Why does the GOP concede any credence at all to the Altar Of Gore?
I can go on like that all day.
So, instead of having one statist party and one small government party, we have two statist parties intent on imposing their conflicting views of social issues on the country at large, and jockeying for the power platform from which to do it.
Let’s take a look at some history, which speaks VERY clearly on the subject. 1980, 1984, 1988, 1994: campaigns based on strong traditional conservative principals, in clear contrast to “modern” GOP “planks”, and landslide wins.
1992, 1996, 2006, 2008: campaigns built on squishy "moderate" offerings, and the GOP gets its butt kicked.
2000 and 2004: a candidate hiding his essential "moderate" nature eking out squeaker wins against arguably THE most incompetent opponents since Dukakis, in which the gun issue played big both times.
Which is exactly why the Dems are avoiding that issue like the plague nowadays.
More facts: the percentage of the electorate that is registered as Democrat has been pretty stable for a while at about 35%. The percentage registered as Republican – which used to be about equivalent – has fallen dramatically, to the point where right now it’s at about 23%. Meanwhile, the percentage of “Decline To State” and “Independent” has risen by about the same amount the Republicans have lost. Coooooo-INCIDENCE? I don’t think so.
More numbers: In the 2008 election a bit less than 120 million people cast votes. According to the 2000 census (the latest data available) there were 193,376,375 citizens of voting age in the population (an obviously low number currently, as it’s a sure bet the population has increased). That obviously excludes illegal aliens and others not eligible for the franchise. Let’s eliminate another TEN million – being generous – disqualified for other reasons, such as being felons. That still leaves about 183 million eligible voters. Here’s a link to the census data: here
The last link in this chain of logic is that all of the reliable polling data I’ve seen clearly shows that over 60% of those in the populace who have been polled self-describe themselves as “conservative”.
So, based on the data, 63 MILLION voters sat it out. Given that the GOP percentage of eligible voters has fallen while the Democrats’ percentage is stable – and that so many self-identify as “conservative” – logic dictates that the majority of those 63 million voters who could have been motivated to vote at all would have voted GOP… IF there’d been a traditionally conservative truly Reaganesque candidate to vote for.
What does all this mean?
It’s patently obvious that as the GOP has abandoned Reaganism/Goldwaterism and tracked Left in accord with the “California Strategy” of seeking the mythical and non-existent “uncommitted” independent demographic, by abandoning their core professed principles while being driven by an agenda set by their supposed opponents, they are concurrently giving up hope of winning elections in any meaningful fashion. As Truman noted: “Give the people a choice between a Democrat and a Democrat, and they’ll choose the Democrat every time”. Why vote for The Pale Imitation when you can have The Real Thing?
The more the GOP tracks Left accommodating the agenda-setting of the radical leftists, the less relevant to the debate the GOP becomes, until it ultimately and deservedly -- and perhaps quickly now -- goes the way of the WHIGs.
Long overdue, in my opinion.
Last night I watched a 20-year-old flick named “Escape From Sobibor”, Sobibor being one of the Nazi death camps, and the flick being based on actual events. I couldn’t help but wonder – as I watched people being off-loaded from the trains family by family – how things could get to the point that people would allow their entire families to be rounded up by the Nazis.
But then, I recalled my history. Germany wasn’t always a tyranny. But post-WW1, inflation and taxation rose to such dramatic levels that unemployment was the order of the day. A barrelful of Deutschmarks to buy a loaf of bread. People were desperate. So… they ignored the Weimar Republic and its Constitution, incrementally and ultimately leading the entire country into the morass we know so well.
Further, it even reached the point where discipline within the death camps was imposed by the “kapos”, Jews who enforced Nazi discipline simply out of sheer self-interest.
I think this is the truly salient point about the Founders’ phrase that our government operates with “the consent of the governed”. The WW2 Germans allowed the Holocaust to develop, but it wouldn’t have been successful without the tacit and unwitting cooperation of its victims, through a deluded and ultimately misplaced faith in a political system that was obviously failing. Had those Jews and other persecuted minorities simply had the guts to take one German soldier each with them, killing that soldier by whatever means necessary, the Holocaust would have stopped by attrition alone of German soldiers, if nothing else.
Wouldn’t YOU have pulled the trigger rather than watch your innocent family marched off to the death camps?
For those who say, “It can’t happen here”: It already has! Native-born Americans of Japanese ancestry were marched off to concentration camps during WW2 for nothing more than being born of Japanese ancestry. They were deprived of their goods, their property, their liberty, and their rights. Look at Wounded Knee. Point out to me one example – just ONE – in human history where it hasn’t happened, either imposed internally or externally. There are NO such examples.
The simple fact is that no government is eternal. They ALL ultimately are replaced. All we can do is try to stave off the inevitable for as long as possible.
The American People recognize these simple facts instinctively, and that’s why as long as the GOP stays its current course, it’s doomed to continual failure. Hopefully, it doesn’t drag the entire country down with it.