The State of the GOP

I hear a lot of complaining about the Republican Party these days. I share their frustration. How could it come to this? As the fourth year of the Obama era begins the state of the union is shaky at best. In 2008 an inexperienced leftist who donned a centrist disguise beat a weak opponent partly because the electorate was in such a state of shock that they were willing to ignore myriad red flags. I refer to his ultra-liberal voting record, murky background, radical friends and shady political pals. A lapdog media wasn’t interested in doing any vetting — opting instead to just cheer-lead.

The recent State of the Union was full of the same old stuff: congratulating himself for perceived accomplishments and complaining about Republican obstructionism. It’s pure trash and he knows it – but he’s betting that the American electorate will swallow it once again.
Anyone curious enough to look beyond the pliant press would have found that Obama’s speech was in many instances a word-for-word rehash of his previous “SOTU’s” here:

LINK

Further analysis shows his tax claims to be demonstrably false, here:
LINK

With evidence like that this election should be easy right? Obama is a now known quantity and the mask has been ripped off the entire Democrat Party. They marched in lockstep to shove Obamacare down our throats, bypassing an honest legislative process and ignoring the will of the people, including those in uber-liberal Massachusetts who voted for Scott Brown on that issue alone. They have reclaimed the crown as the biggest spenders – quickly eclipsing the Republicans of the previous era. Annual deficits are now running $1.5 TRILLION and we have nothing to show for it.

We should be planning our election night parties – and yet…

It is a mess. Many are fearful that we’re paving the way for Obama to be re-elected. From a very large field full of flawed candidates we’re left with a clueless Mitt Romney fending off desperate attacks from a flailing Newt Gingrich and the Republican Party seems to be doing the Democrats’ dirty work for them. We’re told by self-proclaimed experts that Romney is the only “electable” candidate and yet the guy has no track record of winning. The one time he did he passed a government-run health care bill that paved the way for the mess we’re trying to get repealed.

While Newt’s failures as Speaker of the House have been misrepresented – and his major victories diminished – Mitt is mostly given a free pass. Santorum is the non-Romney of the month but he is a lightweight punching out of his weight class. Ron Paul is given exactly the attention he deserves: credit for his criticism of our dangerous fiscal / monetary policy and scorn for his dangerously naïve foreign policy. Has anyone noticed that he is attracting the youth vote?

But how did the Republican Party let this happen? Well, let’s think about it for a minute. Who is the Republican Party? It’s the candidates who run as Republicans and the people who vote for them. It’s the current crop of elected officials who still self-identify with the party and caucus with them. Let’s not forget the Murkowskis of the world who are only Republican when it’s convenient, or the traders like Jeffords and Specter who changed teams. It is also the RNC – but they really only get involved AFTER the primaries, funneling money where it is most needed in closely fought general elections.

The candidates are a reflection of what we as voters demand. For too long we settled for mushy compromising centrists like Bush and McCain who did nothing to curtail spending or the rampant encroachments on our freedoms. I am not letting the Republicans in Congress off the hook. Spending bills start there. We have a President – not a king. Obama is clearly irritated by that. But the Republicans have not stood united as a party and held their ground. They should have been there all along saying. “We simply cannot afford this level of spending. We can’t defend our country and fund out-of-control entitlement programs. We cannot suspend the laws of economics to give houses to those who cannot afford mortgage payments. We will destroy our economy if we do.”

Nope. They reached across the aisle and danced around the third rails of politics and took the easy way out. McCain was one of them and Newt Gingrich was too. Romney pretends to “Mr. Private Sector” but he didn’t trust it to deal with the health care industry. It is no wonder attacks on him have stuck.

So the Tea Party was born. They are more loosely organized than the GOP. They do not have the big money yet. They only have a few true believers in office now; young leaders like Marco Rubio. Old phonies like Newt are merely pretenders trying to harness their energy. But the Tea Party activists at least have clear principles: smaller, efficient government; low, flat taxes; balanced budgets: strong foreign policy; free markets.

The debates are a disgrace. Who agreed to this? The RNC? This was a blown opportunity to clarify what the GOP platform is to be. We should be discerning not just where the candidates are different but where they agree. Liberal TV commentators should not be involved. Their slanted, “gotcha” questions waste precious time and give the Democrats advantages they should not be granted. Who lets the other team into the huddle?

Who are the party “leaders” who convinced Chris Christie and Paul Ryan not to run? Why didn’t those candidates seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? If Romney wins and does well, he is odds-on to run again and make it an 8 year wait for GOP contenders. Then maybe the pendulum swings left again. If Romney wins and lacks the will to make the bold moves we won’t get the recovery we need. Voters will tire and be susceptible to more “hope and change”. There are lots of ways that it adds up to a 12 year wait for these rising stars. This is their best chance and our best chance.

Now we are in a primary cycle where the voters are unanimous in their support for “none of the above” Not Romney and not the non-Romneys either. I think a brokered election would be thrilling and historic — but wait – the GOP wants to screw that up too. Their idea of a “White Knight” late-entry candidate?

Jeb Bush. (Crickets)

Are they tone deaf? Sure, I know all about Jeb. He’s the smartest Bush. That is beyond irrelevant. This country is not in the mood for another Bush while still suffering from a great deal of the fallout from the financial crisis that began during his brother’s term. Sorry Jeb.

I am still optimistic. True change does not happen quickly in a world still suffering from an epidemic of incumbency. Only we can impose the term limits that are so desperately needed.

They say we get the government we deserve. I am sure I am not the only one who feels I deserve better than this. I work, pay taxes, get informed, get involved and then vote.

There is a battle for the soul of the GOP. There is a call for return to core principles as opposed to watered-down liberalism or “compassionate conservatism”. The Democrats are in a state of denial about theirs. Obama is being attacked from the left for not doing enough. Incredible. “Moderate” Democrats don’t seem bothered that their party has been taken over by de facto socialists.

The silver lining in this mess is that at least Republican voters are showing that they care about character as this search for the non-Romney goes on. Democrats were too eager to embrace scripted charisma in an empty suit. We can do better. We will. Hopefully soon.

Pat Duggan

Romney Wins But Still a Liberal

The only positive development in the wake of the early primaries is that fewer bad candidates are now running.

The GOP is to blame for this. They lack leadership at virtually all levels. The recent negotiations over the Keystone pipeline were completely bungled with Republicans battling Republicans and seizing defeat from the jaws of victory.

They do not have a cohesive message. If they did it would be clear to all that Mitt’s message doesn’t match. McCain would’ve flunked the same test. Now McCain has endorsed Romney. Is that supposed to soothe our collective anxiety about this deeply flawed candidate?

Romney says his experience in the private sector is what qualifies him for the top office. Then why did he think private industry couldn’t handle health care and insurance?

Romney says his plan was appropriate for states – but not OK at the national level.

Please. Here in Illinois we’ll soon have two consecutive Governors in Jail, with 4 of the last 8 convicted. Our state is broke with unfunded pensions that rank us last in terms of fiscal stability. Yup, just let our corrupt politicians run our health care and insurance systems.

This is area of greatest vulnerability and yet his debate opponents haven’t made the point. Instead, they attack him from the left with talking points that sound like they were lifted from a MoveOn.org rant.

His work at Bain Capital is worth noting. Dysfunctional companies were restructured to make them profitable. Profitable companies create long-lasting jobs. Unprofitable ones come begging for bailouts.

Obama “invested” OUR money in Solyndra. That is a stark contrast that should help any eventual GOP nominee. Shame on the other Republican candidates for attacking free-market capitalism.

I’d like to know if Mitt would work some of that magic on the energy and education departments. Would he fire thousands of bureaucrats and make our government more efficient?

Does Mitt understand that while companies benefit from a hands-on management, government serves best when it interferes least?

Why is Romney considered to be the only one who can win when his election record is abysmal? He has won exactly one election. He then promptly “reached across the aisle” to pass a disastrous health care plan that is driving up health care and insurance costs just as predicted.

The GOP can’t afford this. Romney will only further harm the GOP brand. They need a candidate who believes in small government, the constitution and free markets. A true supply sider would set the economy on the road to recovery. Romney is a big government hack who would engage in more Keynesian nonsense. He has pledged a currency war with China and would further devalue the dollar throwing gas on the inflation fire already burning.

We will likely be stuck with Romney. Our principled criticism should not be toned down. What we want transcends party lines: a balanced budget, smaller, more efficient government, fewer encroachments on our personal freedoms, and government completely out of the housing business. I want to hear it in the debates against Obama. It is the only time both sides pay attention.

The various tea party groups have a lot of work to do. They did not have a candidate in this race –despite claims to the contrary. Bachmann and others may have tried to harness their energy but it is the new leaders, like Marco Rubio, who were elected due to their influence. The time will come for someone like him to grab the brass ring. For Now Rubio and Paul Ryan need to work hard to exert the powers of Congress; first to battle Obama, and later to bring reform with a Republican President. Our economy would benefit greatly from a sense that stability was returning. Tax policy that lasts for two months is unsettling for business and markets. Shame on the GOP for going along with such an asinine plan.

In the meantime we should take solace in the understanding that if it’s Romney, he will merely be our President – not king as Obama seems to think.

Pat Duggan

Where can the center find a home?

An interesting look at Libertarians and third party options. I am more optimistic about a real third party gaining traction. The center is enormous. At this point they need to be a one-issue party: Fiscal Responsibility. The anti-incumbent wave is a force that needs to be harnessed. I disagree that centrists are all moderates or that they are not angry.

Pat Duggan

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2010/05/06/mark-penn-mourns-the-plight-of-libertarian-voters/

Published in: on May 7, 2010 at 5:49 am  Comments (1)  
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