Fixing a Problem by Making it Worse

It’s kind of a funny thing. Maybe it’s just the result of a continuous news cycle that is colored with proudly biased commentary from all sides. Maybe it’s the doom and gloom nature of politics themselves. Whatever the cause, people have begun writing obituaries for the GOP and Republicans, for their part, are believing the hype.

First, don’t get me wrong, I’m not rooting for the Grand Ol’ Party to rise from the pile of ashes it’s currently roosting in. Far, far from it. The Republican party, created in Bush’s image, I believe is a pox upon this country and should find itself a nice little pine box to crawl into.

That all being said, I don’t think the party is going to die. Even if they lose the White House and an unprecedented number of seats in Congress, I think they will be down, but not out. This for much the same reason that the Democratic party won’t die.

Much of it has to deal with the accrual of power and the tendency for people to resist change. Both parties are simply too established, and too capable of disposing of components that could prove fatal to the party’s health.

In truth, every time either party suffers a major blow, it is almost mandatory for everyone and their brother to start acting as harbingers for their death. And then, miraculously, something happens; be it a “Contract With America”, or the most hated president in polling history. Somehow, some way, the parties bounce back.

To this effect, the Republicans do suffer from two fatal “illnesses”, both of which are closely tied.

The first is George W. Bush who is himself revered only for his ability to be resented. Bush hatred, beginning first among Democrats and liberals, has spread like wildfire throughout the rest of the electorate to the point where he has himself become a poison pill for his party.

But he’s not the only cancer that must be excised.

It must be remembered that Democrats hated Bush before hating Bush was the cool thing to do. More importantly, the reason why Bush was, and continues to be, so hated by us must be remembered; his policies. Specifically, it was a folly war in Iraq, and a full court press towards the “ownership society” that really torqued us but good. Though, I suppose urinating on the constitution and severely violating human rights to the point where war crimes ceases to be an extreme description might have also played a part as well.

By and large, it was the reverberations of these policies that have ultimately led to the thunderheads that seem permanently poised over the GOP. But even this could be excused to a point.

After all, America is, at least ostensibly, governed by the great debate and conflicting ideas. Stupid ideas are just as welcome as good ideas, if for no other reason than because sometimes the only way to find out if an idea is stupid or brilliant is to put it in action and find out.

Where the Republican party, led by George W. Bush, fell flat on its face is that once the ideas were indeed proved to be stupid on a monumental level, they kept pushing. In 2006, Americans handed those ideas back to the Republican party with a big fat “REJECTED” stamped across them in big, red letters, and still the party kept on pushing.

I don’t think the Republican party will die, but if it does, or if it gets put in a coma for a while, it will not be as a result of poor packaging, party discipline, or anything else. It will be as a result of politically suicidal policies. In this respect, the only thing that strikes me as possibly leading to the much predicted death would be the seeming inability of Republicans to recognize this simple fact.

Newt Gingrich missed it with his regurgitated version of the “Contract With America” as did too Karl Rove and Governor Schwarzenegger. They all offered only perfunctory fixes of issues on the periphery while attempting to make a case to repackage the same failed policies that put their party in a rut in the first place.

In what may be a bid to be considered for an internal party position that is rumored to be at risk, Rep. Jeb Hensarling opts to join his distinguished colleagues listed above by offering yet another silly plan that doesn’t come close to addressing the real problems facing his party. With his three point program, narrowed down from eight, he again seems to sidestep or only give the most cursory nod towards the greatest failings of his party.

•Pass a constitutional amendment to limit federal spending.

•Scrap the tax code, and replace it with a two-tiered flat tax that would fit on one page.

•Halt “earmarks”, the special spending projects that lawmakers can insert into legislation.

What interests me more than the bullet points, though, is part of the guiding philosophy that drove them.

It isn’t enough, he said, merely to renew a commitment to fiscal restraint and conservative social stances, or provide a “toolbox” for members, as the GOP leadership did earlier this month.

The party needs a small, easily digestible set of core goals to rally around to stave off big losses this fall, in his view.

The interesting part about this last sentence is that it is both what has led to Republican success in the recent past, and also led to the downfall they are currently experiencing.

We liberals call it bumper stickering. Or, at least, I do.

It’s paring down policy proposals in such a way that they fit nice and easy on a bumper sticker. Kind of like how, “Marriage is between a Man and a Woman!” does. Bumper stickering has been the GOP’s strength, but just because a policy fits well on a bumper sticker doesn’t mean that it makes good policy, which is I think at least part of where the Republicans landed themselves in hot water here.

“NEVER SURRENDER!” and “DEFEATOCRATS!” are great simple political statements as far as marketing is concerned. Democrats would be very hard pressed to put, “Launching conventional war is a terrible way to engage in anti-terrorism activities given the psychological and logistical advantages that such a measure would give to terrorist leaders, thus we advocate a more sensible solution in which terrorism is combatted more through clandestine services and police work than through putting our brave men and women on the ground in countries that had nothing to do with those terrorists that attacked us” on a bumper sticker, but something to that effect is far more grounded in reality than Bush’s approach which was essentially: the Afghanistan based Osama bin Laden murdered 3000 Americans so let’s go blow up Iraq.

As for the economy, that one is pretty simple; quit assuming that a thriving Wall Street is the only thing that matters in a strong economy. I’m no economist, but it doesn’t take an economist to understand that with an increasingly global economy, the Stock Market can continue to grow while people in middle America only suffer more.

In fact, that reality is exactly why Republicans are facing revolt on two fronts when it comes to the voters.

All of which leads one to a pretty simple conclusion. Republicans have convinced themselves that their policies are not only valid, but the best available. This is fine, conviction in one’s beliefs is a virtue to be admired. But after reality proves those ideas to be faulty, and after the people that elected you have chosen to reject them, you have only two options available to you. Change your policies, or stick to them and suffer electoral disaster.

From the looks of it, Republicans have chosen the latter.

Also see, Jillian at “Sadly, No!”

(edited by DrGail)

One Response to “Fixing a Problem by Making it Worse”

  1. Chuck D says:

    Um, you are an idiot. Please spare the world from trying to analyze something ever again. In the case that you do, try to at least be factual.

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