If the Republican Party had just 25 more Ron Pauls we would be a saner, better party … it would actually be a political party of ideas and debate.
Back during ther summer, there was talk of “civil war” within the party. That was especially a favorite term of some ultra-conservatives like Governor Rick Perry in Texas.
Then these “civil war” Republicans got invited to TEA parties and all sorts of things so that they could strut their revolutionary stuff. Most of them ran for the hills. They didn’t really want a civil war. They just wanted the other parts of the party to sit down and to shut up — or better yet, to just leave.
However, Republicans have morphed a lot from the summer of 2009 and their reactionarism (June/July) to then being revolutionary (August/September) and are now balkanized (Oct).
Problem #1: National Republican leadership is almost non-existent. We have the equivalent of the Siegfried Line as national party strategy in which we are incapable of effective counterattack. We are locked behind our own lines. Our defense IS our attack as we have fortified our battlelines behind a nearly monolithic party line vote in Congress.
Problem #2: The Democrats don’t care about our strategy. They do not need to breech our lines to win the war. As for probing for weaknesses in the line we are doing that already for the Democrats.
Almost weekly 2 or 3 Republicans are pilloried as RINOs — and to what end? It weakens the wall further as the opponent on the other side is much less dreaded than the self-appointed commissars of political purity that are running amuck in their effort to cleanse the party and to prepare for the Gottdammerung battles of 2010 and 2012.
Problem #3: There are those within our ranks that are preparing for their own defection. They are setting up the scenarios that will let them slide out through the flanks and justify their own survival by reinventing themselves. Internal balkanization will surely follow the cliques that have formed.
Problem #4: Denial remains rampant as to how the Republican Party got to where it is today. This is where Ron Paul comes into the picture.
While I do not agree with everything proposed by Ron Paul, he is undoubtedly one of the very few truthsayers in the Republican Party today. I trust Ron Paul a lot more than I do the national Republican leadership.
Ron Paul has never been a go-along, get-along Republican. More important is that Ron Paul has principles. (They all say they do — but constant voting along party lines negates the existence of having principles).
Unlike some of our party leadership that will defend their principles when forced to, or when it seems politically a way to reinforce the ol’Siegfried, Ron Paul has taken very strong and specific stands on issues of national importance. He has largely lived his principles … and not just when it is politicaly convenient to do so.
The Future & Two Predictions
Republicans are hoping to hold their Siegfried Line until 2010 when they expect (are praying for) a huge groundswell of disappointment with the Obama Administration that will cause them to make gains in Congress. History says that this is possible. However, some data that I am looking at says that the trends of history may fail us this time around, because we have not learned the lessons of history: if you repeatedly get run over then maybe YOU have a problem. Stop blaming the other guy.
In preparation for 2010 some ultra-conservative Republicans are toying with the idea of a third party.
This third party idea is playing out right now in the battle for New York’s 23rd Congressional District. The local Republican Party picked a candidate that they thought would do well in battle against whomever the Democrats put up. The 23rd has traditionally voted Republican, and is now only one of three congressional districts in New York with a Republican representative. In the last election the district went madly Democratic. Reality on the ground is that the New York Republican leadership looked for someone that appealed to New Yorkers, someone along the lines of Dede Scozzafava, a fiscally responsibile yet social liberal Republican … and that’s when the fight started.
Doug Hoffman, who remains a registered Republican and is not even a resident of District 23 (he lives in the 20th District, but this doesn’t matter in New York) chose to run under the flag of the New York Conservative Party. The battle has been ferocious.
New York Republicans are generally lining up behind Scozzafava. Even Newt Gingrich has endorsed and campaigned for Scozzafava.
Yet, the battle of the 23rd District was joined on October 22nd by Sarah Palin reinforcing the candidacy of Doug Hoffman. So now we have a state-level party that is on its last legs in an attempt to remain players by electing Republicans and then a balkanized civil war breaks out.
This is all good stuff for the Democrats who may well now claim the 23rd District for the first time since 1993.
Sarah Palin said back in July 2009 that she planned to support candidates in elections based upon their beliefs and not on their party label. Kudos to Palin for having said and then doing what she said. The question really is whether this balkanization strategy is really just a prelude to her setting the stage for a 2012 independent run. (I can see Sarah Palin also as the Republican nominee, but only if about half the Republican Party becomes Democrats, and independent voters aren’t needed to win).
The economy will stablize during 2010, the Obama Administration will finally seem to get its act together and the Democrats will do well enough in the 2010 elections that they maintain or even gain slightly in Congress. 2010 will finish with the Democrats maintaining the ability to push through whatever bills they wish. (Lucky for us foodfights are common among Democrats so only half of what they would like to do has a chance.)
We Republicans will remain somewhat grumpily but comfortably behind the supposed safety of our Siegfried Line stewing in our own sauerkraut as we try to figure out what to do next for 2012.
2011 will be a very hurtful year for the American economy. We have staggering amounts of foreign debt that will be due. Tax receipts will have fallen and government services will be on the chopping block, unless we raise the national debt limit (No. No. No. Please, no!). 2010 will have proven to be a jobless recovery although we will have adjusted enough in our spending habits and lifestyle to make do. The U.S. dollar will finally fall from grace as the international reserve currency and that will unleash hell upon us.
So what about Ron Paul?
With exception of the few remaining New England Republicans, the thoughtful attempts by Lindsey Graham and John McCain to find some middle path and to create a national conversation, there is largely only Ron Paul actually talking about issues without following the lowest denominator approach of say nothing, take no risks that is the Boehner-McConnell party line.
Ron Paul is important because his libertarian approach provides principles upon which many in the party should look to if we are to be a real party. We must challenge our leadership. We must refuse the vote the party line just because it is a thorn in the Democrats side as we are trying to buy time.
The forces of Gottdammerung approach and we will only be a successful party once we can openly discuss and openly disagree and openly challenge the orthodoxy of whatever we were/mostly still are.
Some conversaton is happening but only as the forces of balkanization now attempt to write George Bush off as a “Deformed Conservative”. Those who enabled him are also “deformed conservatives” per a recent American Conservative magazine article.
Umm, has anyone noticed that all of those “deformed conservatives” are largely still in power, except for Bush and Cheney? It would be nice to expand the conversation a bit beyond just whom we wish to blame our defeats upon. A constant state of denial should not be a worthy political principle to aspire to.
We need more Ron Pauls because his embrace of libertarian principles makes it possible for the Republican Party to once again become a party of debate and ideas. Ron Paul has repeatedly spoken loudly if only through the votes that he has cast while in Congress.
Ron Paul and similar minds are the last great hope for the Republican Party because we desperately need an ethos of open minds, forceful disagreement, and principled discussions. Just 25 such Republicans would make all the difference between now and the great fracturing of a balkanized Republican Party in the 2010 and 2012 elections.
And to my “moderate” friends
And for moderates — you need to find some principles quick. Being “moderate” or “centrist” is a mode. If you keep standing in the middle of the road whining that no one is stopping to give you a kiss … then you are just going to get your arse run over. Become a liberal, libertarian or conservative or whatever, but get some principles and go with it. Defend them. Live them. Be “moderate” when it comes to time to work out agreement but please stop standing in the middle of the road.