Friday, December 14, 2012

When the Going Gets Tough, the Republicans ....

From my somewhat desultory post-election reading, when I can rouse myself out of some eerie combination of disgust and dread, Republicans seem to be losing the public relations battle to the Democrats over the so-called "fiscal cliff" negotiations.  Just one more in a series of issues or sequence of events that should have strengthened the Party, but instead went essentially nowhere.  Despite the innumerable Democrat scandals, mendacity, and repulsive, corrosive behavior, Obama won anyway, narrow as it was, but it would have been a Republican blow out with the electorate of 1980, 1990, or, I think, even of 2000.  Times have changed, and the Democrat leftist/Alinsky strategy of in-you-face viciousness and win-at-any-cost tactics has, unfortunately and disappointingly, paid off, combined with the successful Dependency Agenda, to turn the masses into wards of the state and supporters of the Party of the State -- the Democrats.

The incomparable Michael Walsh sums up the current state of the Republican party today at National Review Online (link), essentially arguing, as he has for some time, that in general Republican Party leaders still have not recognized what they're up against, what the modern Democrat Party has become:
Fortune favors the bold, as the saying goes. The Romney fiasco should be the death knell of the Washington Generals approach to competing against the Democrats, and the whole lot of the Old Guard — starting with weepy John Boehner — should be tossed out and replaced with those who can distinguish between strategy and tactics and who understand that the only acceptable strategic outcome should be total victory over the modern Left and its alien, imported ideology. After all — that’s certainly the other side’s goal.
Of course, that depends on whether you see the current conflict as simply politics-as-usual, in which both sides share the same basic values and aspirations, and differ only in methods (the Boehner approach); or as a struggle between individualism and collectivism, which has been going on in Europe since Rousseau and his evil love child, Karl Marx, but is still relatively new to these shores. But extending the olive branch toward an opponent who’s not prepared to extend to you the slightest shred of moral or political legitimacy is suicidal. Unless, of course, you think it’s all a big game, a racket in which both sides have pretended to fight in order to divvy up the near-boundless swag of the federal treasury and keep the suckers back home happy come election time with a little kabuki and pantomime.
Accordingly, over the past two decades, the establishment Republicans — who knew the Rockefeller wing had such tenacity? — have nominated a string of reach-across-the-aisle types, and where has that gotten them? In the aftermath of 9/11, the author of the No Child Left Behind act was pilloried as a warmongering beast, McCain was savaged by his former “buddies” in the media as the walking dead, and Romney stood by mildly as he was accused by the Democrats of murder and Obama cried for revenge.
You can’t win a fight unless you’re prepared to credit your enemy with the will and the capacity to achieve his stated objectives, and as long as the Republicans continue to treat the Democrats as just a slightly more extreme version of themselves, they’ll continue to lose. On November 6, conservatives received a valuable object lesson in living inside their own bubble, slurping up what Fox News told them and believing that the ghost of Ronald Reagan’s 1980 electorate would once again show up at the polls, like the phantom army in Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. Meanwhile, in the 40 years since they seized control of the Democratic party, leftist radicals have honed their divisive message and perfected their blunt-force tactics — all in the service of a strategy, as the actions of President Obama make abundantly clear.
Yes, there are 30 Republican governors and the Party hasn't been stronger at the state level for generations, and there are reasons for that strength that should be translatable to the national scene.  But it still is hard not to despair for a culture and politic predicated on promoting and protecting individual liberty, self-reliance, free-enterprise, and the rule of law.

John M Greco

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