I’m an answers person. Show me your footnotes and I’ll show you mine.
Not too long ago (2009) I was a Republican, and had been ever since I switched back in November 1979 when Ronald Reagan announced he was running for president.
So reality is that I was probably always a RINO: a Reagancrat and Republican in Name Only.
As a Reagancrat I did not get all hot and bothered about what Hayek may or may not have said. It is not like he ever had a real job of his own, or as if anyone has ever put his economic theory into action. Yet, the spirit of Hayek rules the Republican Party today.
As a Reagancrat I wanted a more efficient government that minimally got involved in my life, balanced the budget and provide a safe world for me and my kids to live in. Dogma and doctrine were for the other folks.
The challenge through the years is that Republicans came to believe that dogma and doctrine were reality. All things in moderation. Reality is that Republicans are no longer pragmatists. We Reagancrats love pragmatists.
Here is a quote that summarizes how I see the Republican mindset at work today:
“I can believe things that are true and things that aren’t true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they’re true or not.” — Neil Gaiman
A problem for us Reagancrats is that there is no other party to go to once we raise the white flag on being Republican. I am a self-declared independent and probably will be for life … or until I find a new home. Certainly there is no home for us Reagancrats in the Democratic Party.
Will the Republicans return to pragmatism as a way of life?
Patience may be the only plan. The Republicans will find themselves in dangerous waters this June and July. They have painted themselves into a corner on economic issues and pronouncements. THEY have responsibility for producing the 2012 national budget by mid-July. THEY have to lead the negotiations in taxes and debt management for 2012. And THEY have to devise a plan that can pass the senate and get the president’s signature before the country absolutely runs out of money on August 12th.
So far the Tea Party has been successful largely because they have not been responsible for anything — not under the Tea Party name. Their activist base has adopted the Republican Party and pragmatism is being held hostage. Lots of Reagancrats in the rank and file, but not comfortably. Reagancrats probably agree a lot more with Ron Paul than Newt Gingrich and the 24/7 I’m mad as hell and don’t have a plan gang that want to return America to something that it never really was.
It is easy to spout Jefferson (whom I do like greatly) and to sling verbal flaming arrows at a President that inherited a disaster, but Republicans must soon enough put their names and ideas to paper.
As I see it, being hopeful as well, Republicans, the Tea Party and their encouragers will fracture badly by late summer of 2011. The challenge will be whether this moves them further to the right (paranoia is seldom self-healing) or whether they agree that they cannot agree — this could be the opening per se for pragmatists to play a greater role in the party … but probably not. The force is strong against pragmatism.
There will be no rise in pragmatism within Republicana until after the results of the 2012 election, when the pressure to maintain viability will cause the party to relook its housecleaning efforts of RINOs, the folks that are the real Republicans — one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for ALL.
If the summer of 2011 and the 2012 election does not cause rethinking then I am not sure that the party is capable any longer of introspection. Republicans are already in deep trouble once we hit 2014-2015 due to major demographic changes so let us hope that this summer causes them to see the light sooner than too late.
Maybe we Reagancrats should just remain wandering gypsies in America’s political fabric — flipping party control from one election to the next. Hmmm….