GOP Declares War on … Republicans?   3 comments

I give credit where credit is due. This is based on an analytical article by Scott Rasmassen from two weeks ago. As a non-partisan, I have no allegiance to a political party and not much surprises me coming from the GOP anymore. You know, since they tried to convince conservatives that Mitt Romney was one of us, they lack a certain credibility in my view.

 

While Washington media and pundits hailed the “fiscal cliff” deal as a significant bipartisan accomplishment, voters around the country didn’t much agree. According to Rasmussen polls, seven out of 10 Democrats approved of the deal while seven out of 10 Republicans disapproved. I’d say that nine of ten non-partisan conservatives disapproved too.

Coming on the heels of this agreement, Politico reported another area of bipartisan agreement. While Washington Democrats have always viewed GOP voters as a problem, Washington Republicans “… in many a post-election soul-searching session” have come to agree. The article said that, in light of the party’s election failures of 2012, establishment Republicans (the elites of the party) have concluded that they have a “primary problem.”

Viewed from the ivory towers of the DC power structure, the problem for the GOP is that Republican voters think it’s okay to replace incumbent senators and congressmen who do not represent the views of their constituents. In 2012, Republican voters in Indiana dumped longtime Sen. Richard Lugar in a primary battle. In 2010, Alaskan Republican voters dumped Sen. Lisa Murkowski in a primary battle (although she came back as a write-in candidate to win a 32% plurality, which was just enough to secure her Senate seat from her Republican challenger, Joe Miller). The Indiana battle infuriated establishment Republicans because they liked how Lugar worked and the replacement candidate was flawed and allowed Democrats to win what should have been a safe Republican seat. In Alaska, establishment Republicans also liked Murkowski as opposed to her more conservative GOP opponent, but there was no risk of the Democrat winning the election (which makes one wonder about conspiracies in the halls of power).

Politico reports that the Washington GOP team is gearing up a new effort to protect incumbents and limit the ability of Republican voters to successfully challenge establishment candidates. There’s logic in that move for those whose sole aim is to win a majority in Congress rather than change the course of government policy. Seen from a non-partisan perspective, however, it looks like the professional politicians (the political class as some have called it) are saying that the only way to win is to pick candidates who closely resemble themselves. So why should conservatives, even Republican conservatives, bother to vote if they won’t be allowed to select candidates who represent their values? This may explain why more than two-thirds of Republican voters believe GOP officials in Washington have lost touch with the party’s base and it may also explain the significant drop in GOP participating in this election, despite party registrations making it the largest party in the nation.

It may explain why party elites believe that Mitt Romney was just too conservative for American voters while most conservative voters thought Mitt Romney was a progressive RINO to the point that many of them stayed home on November 6, 2012. This is evidence of the divide between the leadership of the Republican Party and the voters the leaders would like to call their base; a gulf that widens with every election cycle. This cycle some voters stayed home rather than vote for the party anointed; in 2016, they may start voting Libertarian or Constitution Party as a viable option to select a candidate who will represent them.

The GOP establishment has a choice to make. They can either act like grown-up leaders of a national political party in a representative democratic republic or they can protect their own self-interest like any good oligarchy.

An oligarchy protects its self-interest and stays in power no matter who it has to sell out. After decades of pandering to conservative voters to keep us as their base, the GOP establishment has now decided it must, at least in the short-term, pander to other groups to try to bring them into the big tent. With all due respect, you are never going to please conservatives by spending a lot of money on unpopular programs like welfare and auto company bailouts. We want smaller government that spends less and is paying down the debt. You might win the mushy middle, but what good does that do you if you lose the 38% of the electorate that self-describe as conservative?  And recognize that the 30.3% of voters who are registered unaffiliated include voters like me who are CONSERVATIVES to the right of the GOP base but willing to vote with you-all if you give us at least some of what we want.

If the GOP elite want to act like a national party in a representative democratic republic, they need to understand their constituents. Mature party leaders would spend significant amounts of time listening to Republican voters rather than isolating themselves further from them. They’d ask the tough questions about why we prefer “tea party” candidates over their establishment anointed candidates. They would seriously ponder why just half of GOP voters have a favorable opinion of House Speaker John Boehner, who is the current face of the Republican leadership. They would analyze why only 37 percent of Republicans believe the economy is mediocre – not good, but merely fair.  And, they’d take responsibility like grown-ups and acknowledge that government spending in the US has gone up every year since 1954 regardless of whether Republicans or Democrats were in the majority. Then, after some real soul searching, these party elitist would-be leaders would chart a realistic course to address those concerns. That new “contract with America” would include some bitter medicine for the political elite of the GOP, such as giving up corporate welfare programs that benefit their friends and allies. Then they would take the bold step of sharing this plan of correction with the voters and helping Republican voters identify primary candidates who challenge the establishment who could also be effective on the campaign trail without sounding like Democrats.

My prediction is that the GOP elite will continue to protect the insiders from the voters and keep their perks rather than represent their constituency. Expect more “centrist” candidates who will promise greater spending and more programs that appeal to the optimistically misinformed. Don’t be surprised if your state GOP announces a move to Republican caucus primaries that favor insiders away from primary elections that favor the general electorate. This confirmation of the GOP oligarchy should be a signal for GOP conservatives (and anyone else who thinks our elected officials should represent us rather than themselves) to leave the Grand Old Party in droves and seek third-party representation that more closely resembles our values.

3 responses to “GOP Declares War on … Republicans?

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  1. How do you like Sarah Palin? Is she a transformational figure we can rally the revolution around?

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    • I’ll preface this by pointing out that I am an Alaskan who has a close friend who has been friends with Todd Palin for 20 years and I have actually met Sarah when she was mayor of Wasilla and got to spend an evening with her. Of course, she was just mayor of a small town and nobody knew the future.

      So, yes and no, Sarah could be a transformational figure. Her principles are solid. She was doing great things here in Alaska. Her popularity rating at the time was for real. And, she has important, worthwhile things to say about common sense conservativism and civil libertarianism.

      But … I predicted this, btw … the toxic cesspool that it is federal politics was too hard on her. She couldn’t handle it. So, while she is and should remain a great voice for conservatism, it would be a mistake to rally around her as a pivotal figure. Alaskans would probably have her back as governor, but she did bail on us half way through her term and that doesn’t speak well for her fortitude and that’s what changing society needs … fortitude.

      Consider her Samuel Adams when we need John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

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  2. Reblogged this on aurorawatcherak and commented:

    Wow, I could have written his article rather than five years ago. I almost predicted Trump. And, no, I don’t think it took a lot of intelligence to see it coming.

    Like

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