The Republican need to go down in flames so they can remake themselves by rising from their own ashes.

Yesterday’s post elicited a response reading in part:

If we gave the Democrats power next year, you know what they would have? A mandate. That’s all we would hear about until the next election, which they would lose, because they thought they had a mandate. It’s like watching a tennis match and rooting for the guy without the ball.
Maybe the Republicans made it tough on Obama. Maybe Obama wasn’t leader enough to overcome it. Did the GOP fail to vote in Obama’s FOMC appointee’s? Yes. Did Obama make recess appointments which were within his power? No. Obama is not a victim, he’s the president. If the other guys played the system better to get what they want, than well played.
Ezra says that this is the logical conclusion of a system biased toward gridlock. The system is broken. Let’s fix the system instead of kickin the can down the road.

I certainly agree the system is broken.  My preference would be to fix that. However, we have repeatedly failed to fix those problems. It would be great to see substantive campaign finance reform, have the Fed refocused on NGDP goals, revise Senate rules so that a super-majority isn’t required for everything, institute lobbying controls so legislation wasn’t ghost-written by special interests… I could go on.  But the likelihood of any of those being addressed this year is vanishingly small.  Not that we should give up on those reforms, but that there remain practical short term things we can fix in the meanwhile.

I’m also an independent. I’ve voted for Republicans in the past, and I’d like to do so again. But the current incarnation of the party has gone beyond the pale, and until they find their way back to sanity, I will not vote on the GOP line. They have not only lost any willingness to compromise, they have lost the ability to agree to their own positions when the other side agrees with them.  They lost the election in ’08, and have yet to acknowledge the legitimacy of the people we elected.  Win or lose, there’s still a country to run. And they are refusing unless they are put back into power.

I’m not claiming Obama is the greatest, or that the Democrats are above playing politics or fighting for their policy positions.  But they have not engaged in the extreme intransigence of the GOP.  If given full control of the government, would they eventually yield to the same sort of behavior the GOP is showing? Very probably. But that won’t happen overnight. Policy-wise, Obama is far closer to Reagan than Romney. There is almost no chance the Democrats would take a mandate and run to the extreme left. It’s much more likely they will stick to their current centrist proposals.  Meanwhile, the GOP gets to go lick its wounds, expunge its extremists, and return to the center-right position of its roots. Hopefully, to again balance the system out in 2014 or 2016; before the pendulum swings too far the other way.

I don’t want a permanent Democratic majority. I want a functional two-party system with give and take from both sides resulting in actual governance that works in aggregate for the betterment of the citizenry.  We do not have that now. And we don’t because one party has checked out of the game. The notion that “both sides do it” is a false equivalence. The Republican party has abdicated its responsibility to govern or even functionally participate in any government it does not control.  It has pretty much given up on appealing to (or even tolerating) anyone other than white Christian males.  It needs to remake itself or yield to a new party that will fill the void it leaves behind.  The only way it will get that message is if it is resoundingly defeated.  And not just at the Presidential level.  If the GOP does okay at the federal and state level excepting Romney, it will read that as a failure to go with somebody more radical like Santorum. It only gets the message if it goes down in flames. And to be clear, the only reason I want it to go down in flames is so its old moderate reasonable self rises from the ashes.

I want the Republican party back.  I don’t know what the hell that thing is hiding behind the elephant right now. But I’m not voting for it.

15 thoughts on “The GOP Needs to Be Born Again

  1. and this, my friend, is exactly why I will vote for ANYONE other than Romney of Obama. Will I be throwing my vote away? NO. I will be telling both parties that I’m sick of their crap. Honestly, while Ron Paul may be a bit nuts, I think he’d be a better, more centrist leader than either Mitt or Barack.

  2. I certainly understand the desire to vote for a third party candidate. But the chances of getting a 3rd party president are extremely small, and sweeping a third party into Congress would be pretty much impossible. The result will be that we’re suck with D’s or R’s, and they will analyze the votes relative to each other, but will ignore the third party noise. So while I hear and empathize with the message you’re trying to send, I’m afraid those that you’re sending it to will not hear a peep.

  3. See, it’s exactly that mindset that keeps them in power. As I said, I would vote for ANYBODY other than them. It’s not about the electability of the other candidate, it’s showing the D’s and R’s that a significant amount of votes went to someone else. The thing is, that we who are dissatisfied need to lose the mindset of “wasting our votes” If everyone who didn’t want to vote for either major candidate voted for someone ELSE, even the media would notice.

  4. I don’t disagree, but I’m a pragmatist. I don’t have the money to bankroll a campaign capable of garnering the 10s of millions of votes required to do what you suggest. But if you have a friend with deep pockets or a large trust fund you’re saving for something special, I’m right behind you.

  5. No, the Democrats wouldn’t take a mandate and run to the extreme left. They wouldn’t enact say, Obamacare. What the Republicans have done bothers me less than it bothers you and what the Democrats have done bothers me more. I still think they are two sides of the same coin. Let’s quit flipping the coin.
    I don’t want a functional 2 party system. I want a functional 10 party system. Tea partiers – separate party. Religious right – separate party; etc. Let’s have some actual choices when we vote. I want to vote for somebody where I agree with his/her whole platform, instead of picking between the lesser of two evils. The parties have you convinced that voting for a third party is a wasted vote. That is in no small part due to the fact the both parties are better off keeping the system the way it is. They don’t want it to change. You want to get special interests out? It’s a lot more expensive to buy 10 parties than 2.
    How come congress’s approval rating is 20%, but incumbents keep getting reelected? One of the reasons is your local congressman is able to bring back pork for his/her district. Sure, it’s bad for everybody, but it keeps getting them elected. Let’s break the cycle. Let’s have a write in campaign for Shirley Corrupted or something. I think it would catch on like wildfire. You get few hundred thousand votes and it might get the ball rolling for some real change.

  6. Obamacare is hardly an extreme left policy. At one time it was backed by the likes of Bob Dole, Mitt Romney, The Heritage Foundation, and other pretty conservative people/organizations. It only became socialism when Obama proposed it.

    When you say “what the Democrats have done bothers me more” what are you referring to? Obamacare? Or maybe that they haven’t stepped up to play hardball like the GOP? The Dems are not angels in all this. I agree that it sucks to be stuck voting time and again for the lesser of two evils. But I’m having trouble seeing how the Dems are not (at present) the significantly lesser evil.

    As for your 10-party system, I think there’s a lot of advantages to such a system. However, our current winner-take-all election system pretty much dooms us to two-parties. To get to a multi-party system, we’d need to adopt a more Parliamentary form of government. That’s maybe an idea with more than a little merit, but it would require significant and fundamental changes to the Constitution. I think the chances of that happening short of an outright political revolution are vanishingly small.

    It might be easier to get different parties. This has happened before. We used to have the Federalists and the Whigs and others. That’s a viable path, but still a long hard slog. But without Constitutional changes, we’re still stuck with two. I don’t see a way out of that.

  7. What am I referring to? Good question. I don’t like Obamacare. I don’t like the way it was passed. I think there are parts of it that are unconstitutional. If the Supreme Court lets it through, then the commerce clause can be used to justify almost anything. I didn’t like that when the Dems had the majority of both houses, Obama didn’t try to work with the GOP on anything. When he didn’t have to, he didn’t, so when he needed to, he couldn’t. I don’t like that Obama disregarded monetary policy. I don’t like hearing how many jobs that stimulus created, when the numbers were based on a model that assumed it worked. Most of all I’m sick of the rhetoric. I’m sick of the talking points. (On both sides) I’m tired of hearing about the war on this and the war on that, and I’m desensitized to it. I rarely find the actions to be as bad as the headlines. I don’t think asking for voter ID is an assault on the rights of the poor and elderly. I don’t care how much birth control costs Sandra Flock and I don’t think people who object to paying for it are declaring war on Women. I’m sure there has been more, but that’s it in a nutshell.

  8. If you don’t think there is any type of war on woman it’s for only one reason… You aren’t one. They can stop calling it a war, but it doesnt change all the things they are and have been trying to take away from us, including health care. If all anyone can site is the cost of Sandra’s sex, then they are getting the wrong side of that story frm the wrong people. Her sex life should never have been discussed, but there are ready uses for birth control and the cost of giving it is much cheaper than the cost of health care if woman dont have it . I could go on and on with this one but I fear it would sadly be a wasted effort. That’s too bad

  9. So we agree that we shouldn’t be talking about Sandra’s sex life. At least we have some common ground. I’ve tried to do an introspective of where I get my political news from. I enjoy listening to both Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher. Can I get 2 diametrically opposing viewpoints? They are both vulgar and hilarious at times. John Stewart, Steven Colbert, Sandy Beach in Buffalo. Sports Radio and ESPN. The blogs I read regularly are Tim’s, Paul Krugman’s, Scott Sumner’s and Greg Mankiw’s. I watch the Buffalo News in the morning and a few minutes of The Today show. I also try to watch Meet the Press. So, clearly I watch a male dominated lineup. Maybe that’s an indictment of me, but I’ll say this in my defense; I haven’t found a lot of (any?)women hosting these kinds of shows. I also asked two women I work with to explain the “War on Women” to me, and I wound up trying to explain it to them. Rest assured, I didn’t do it justice.

    So let me try to rephrase my original point. I’m sick of the spin. I haven’t made up my mind yet and I just want facts to do so. If I start reading something and it is heavily biased one way or the other than I start to discount it. You can spend hours looking up the “facts” behind many of the claims made. Then you have look up the “facts” on the facts. I may have gotten the wrong side of the story from the wrong people. I try to get both sides of the story from both people. If you want to tell me your side of the story I’ll listen. But if I disagree, it doesn’t mean I have a closed mind, it means I disagree.

  10. Brian,

    I’ll start out by saying I can agree with some things you say, mostly that I hate the spin as well. And yes, you apparently do listen to a lot of different view points. You got me on Rush and Bill Maher, both of which I cannot stand to listen to for even one second. I listen to lots of different news stations as well to actually hear how things ARE spun. I’m more into CNN where it’s at least a bit harder to tell what way they individually lean. Fox is nuts and makes stuff up. MSNBC, in my opinion, is just as crazy but at least has more facts behind it from researching things. As far as woman, most of them I honestly don’t like for one reason or another, but I do enjoy Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. She is snarky and a bit sarcastic (which if I’m honest is just like me) but she knows what she’s talking about and has the guts enough to take on many things others frankly wouldn’t. Or at least in a way that most others wouldn’t. She is her own person, period and doesn’t care who likes her or who doesn’t. Keeps things in tact better for me. She has done a great job on the woman’s issues, and by saying that I mean, actually just reporting on them.

    Whether or not it’s a war on woman, who knows or who cares. However, there are definite issues that republicans have gone too far with… in MY opinion, but it’s my opinion that is the only one that matters when I pull the lever in a voting booth. Based on how they choose to do things on the repub side, I will not be pulling their particular lever for a long time if things continue as they are. For woman’s issues alone, the things that they have gone too far with are (and I’m not debating them at all as my opinion will always be different from others, so just stating what’s important to me).

    their views on abortion and how far they are going to try to make it illegal again, while trying to use justifications to do so as well as lying and saying they are just simply caring about the life of all people. I am not pro abortion, I am pro choice, and YES there is a difference to me. Them characterizing me as a baby killer or pro abortion is just more of their spin. The hypocritical side of this and their pro-life stance is that it only applies to babies. They are also pro death penalty. go figure.

    Their stance on Planned Parenthood is flat out lies. NO… 97% of what they do is NOT performing abortions. NO they don’t try to talk people into getting abortions. Planned Parenthood does great work for a lot of people that cannot afford doctors fees for things like breast screenings, pap smears, etc that help save much more money than having people suffer from illnesses that would cause a lot more money to be spent for their care without preventative medicines.

    Redefining Rape. No need to even explain this one. They are truly idiots to even try this one, yet they have. Guess enough men don’t get raped so they aren’t too concerned about it. And yes, that was meant to sound as ridiculous as it did… just to prove the point of how ridiculous they sound on the topic.

    No woman on a panel regarding contraception. The men seem to think they can make all the arguments as well as decisions about our health care. No contraception should be covered. How many men’s meds are going to get discontinued coverage. ED meds are covered by insurance and they are mostly for their pleasure. So for them to claim that woman’s contraception is only so woman can “have a lot of sex” is a ridiculous double standard. Not to mention that birth control is used for much more than that. I needed it for other reasons at an enormously young age and it certainly wasn’t to have sex. I have a daughter that needs it was well and not for sex. So just because they think it might be, I shouldn’t be able to get any insurance to cover any part of it because it’s probably so she can just have fun?

    What about equal pay for equal work. They try to argue that it’s because the woman work less hours, but all reports are for equal jobs/equal experience so should be paid the same. In fact, maybe woman should be paid more than men after all they have to do their jobs under the stress of doing everything else at home (keep in mind I’M not saying woman are the only ones that do the things at home, but repubs used that in their argument as to why woman spend less time working so make less money).

    All these are just some examples, and you are right, you could spend a lot of time “researching” these things. Some things don’t really need a lot of research to know how you individually feel about them. My oldest asked me how she would know whether she was a repub or democrat. My reply was that the label really doesn’t matter, but to choose how you would actually vote, you needed to first understand what was important to you and find out where the parties stand on those issues. I don’t believe there will ever be a perfect candidate or party as some things you might like about one, but disagree about other topics. So you go with your gut after the important issues to you are handled. What’s important to me is how they treat people (ALL people), education, etc. If I based ALL my votes on even just those two issues (which I don’t because foreign policy is important to me as well), I would NEVER vote republican.

    Having said ALL of the above, I’ve always, until this election, been open to voting for either party. I’ve spent time listening to EVERY bit of the news, all channels, watched every bit of both conventions, watched every debate, etc. I highly doubt I need to hear anything else from this extreme right party that they are putting out there this year that would change my vote. I may have a lot more time on my hands this year.

    But again, I agree with you completely that the spin on both sides is nuts. But, it doesn’t disengage me from knowing the issues and the facts behind them. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get the facts while watching any of them.

  11. Thanks Kim. You’ve given me a lot food for thought. Could you give a little more detail about what panel on contraception you are talking about?

    I too don’t want the abortion illegalized, if that’s a word. Actually the 2 biggest reasons I voted for Obama was so the Supreme Court wouldn’t be stacked with Conservatives and Sarah Palin.

  12. It was Iss’as House Committee and oversight and rfeform… the one Sandra was going to speak at. No woman on the panel at all and the whole notion was about contraception.

    I especially liked the story today about the Michigan State Rep that was told how offensive it was to say the word “vagina”, yet they were debating a bill on woman’s health issues and uterus’s. The quote from one of the representatives was “It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women,” one state representative said. “I would not say that in mixed company.” If that’s how they really feel about it, they shouldn’t be working on any bills or hearing issues about it. Geez doctors tell us to say vagina and penis to our kids at an early age and these old guys can’t even say it, but can legislate on it. (it’s on my FB page). Anyway, it’s all these comments and things that make me think they should really just leave us woman the hell alone.

  13. I agree 100% with you, Keith ! Voting for a Republicrat (the one party that has two names) is wasting your vote. Voting against them is the only way NOT to waste it. The Republicrats have people conned into thinking otherwise. If a third candidate gets 12 or 15 percent of the vote, it gives them some power, since the two Republicrats will have to take notice. The one who doesn’t is likely to lose to the other. I think our only hope of getting enough votes is Rank Choice Voting.

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