Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Morning Political Musings

Say what you will about our president-elect. I'm not a fan of his liberal leanings with regard to progressive taxation and income redistribution. Nor his opposition to marriage equality. Nor his flat-earthiness. And supposedly, he'll be on 60 Minutes calling for a college football playoff (which I oppose).

But on the other hand, he is a big old geek.

And he's a smoker.

And he's a CrackBerry addict.

In other political news, I like singer Melissa Etheridge's solution to protesting the ridiculous and bigoted passage of Prop 8.

And with the wreckage of the SS GOP washing up on shore, lots of column inches have been devoted to "what now?" for the elephants. Here's something from the always entertaining P.J. O'Rourke. Here's a feedback form, taking ideas on rebuilding the party. (definitely worth checking out, and I'll come back to that in a moment). Here's what the so-called "evangelicals" think about candidates. Here's a clear-headed article entitled "Free The GOP."  And here's a discussion of the "Libertarian Temptation."

Currently, the thinking about the GOP retrenchment seems to fall along two lines:
  1. Retreat further into "the base," and organize the party around supernatural underpinnings, "cultural" issues, and using government and politics to advance an intolerant, judgmental and constitution-warping theocracy.
  2. Embrace the "big-tent" theory, and move the party more toward an inclusive, small-government and Libertarian philosophy.
I don't think I need to point out which one of these I would support. And even if you support option 1, does anyone really think that stands any chance of short or long term success? Especially on a national scale? Just looking at it from a pure statistical standpoint, wouldn't that automatically strip out several huge blocks of potential voters (not to mention candidates)? The young? Women? Minorities? The agnostic? The tolerant? The Northeast? The West? The multi-cultural? How could that do anything except permanently make the GOP a small, clique-ish, nuisance?

Go back to that "Rebuild the Party" site, and look at the ideas in order of the votes:
  • Reach out to Ron Paul.
  • Make room for Libertarians.
  • Fiscal conservatism, limited government, constitutional rights.
  • "Small c" conservatives (removing the dogma).
  • Embrace the Fair Tax.
  • Be inclusive.
  • Embrace science.
How could any of those things be bad? The opposing forces in the "Right Fight" do share a couple of things in common. A desire for smaller government, and the need for government to steal less of the money that individuals earn. If you start there as an organizing central philosophy, what is going to bring more people to a movement:
  • A party that wants to give you the freedom to believe what you want to personally believe, without infringing on anyone else's rights? Or...
  • A party that will only accept you if you adhere to their dogmatic, insular, prejudiced and theological constraints?
It really does seem like a simple choice, doesn't it? But logic, I fear, as it so often does, will evade those in positions of power on the right, and doom the GOP to a generation (or more) of minority party status. And when the tax burden goes below the 50% mark (meaning, more than half of the voters wind up not paying any taxes at all, and realize they can suck off the teat of the successful by virtue of their alignment with the left), as it surely will after a couple of Democratic regimes, then all hope will be lost for conservatives. So, GOPers, wrap yourself in an ideological blanket and continue to erode your significance, or be open to larger ideas and freedoms and stand a chance at staying relevant? Proceed at your own risk.

No comments:

Post a Comment