Friday, April 24, 2009

Loosing By Winning

For most of my life, one defining characteristic of the Republican party has been their political effectiveness. Not necessarily at accomplishing anything, but at winning. They developed the concept of party unity and discipline to an extent that the Democrats never did. It kept them winning elections, and to a large extent controlling congress even when they did not win elections.

And it is what is killing them now. The current crop has learned a pattern of behaviour that has been successful their entire careers, but that is all it is. A pattern of behaviour. The ideas and ideals have long since been replaced with talking points and dogma. It's not enough anymore, but the party structure has no room for new ideas.

But because it has always worked, they cannot adapt. They lash out in frustration, doing the same things they have always done, and they cannot understand why it doesn't work anymore. Look at their 'budget' proposal. That has to be the most pathetic thing I have ever seen. Lower taxes but then expect the deficit to fall because people will voluntarily pay more than required? Seriously? Freeze spending? Oh, yeah, and then I'll make my car run better by cutting off 20% of the fuel. They attack Obama for everything but breathing, and hell they will probably start in on that next. This is particularly bad because there are some things he is doing that do deserve some serious scrutiny, but no one is listening to chicken little anymore.

The Republican party needs to grow the f$%! up and start looking at what they can learn from Obama. It is not about strategy. It is not about tactics. It is about having a real plan about policy and a real goal for the future.

And the Democrats should probably be looking closely at the failure of the Republicans. This is the long term risk success brings.


TAO April 24, 2009 at 8:02 PM  

WOW! That is an interesting post!

The trouble is they cannot grow up because they are anchored to a base that needs to have its anger fed, a base that needs to hate, and a base that is anti intelectual.

They don't want positive, they want to believe that someone and or something is threatening us, they don't want ideas because ideas represent change and they want to believe that the here and now is great.

The want the exclusivity of smallness because anything else requires compromise and that is an alien concept.

OpenMindedRepublican April 24, 2009 at 8:14 PM  

If they do not start to grow up, they will break the party.

And I am not at all certain that would be a bad thing.

As I mentioned elsewhere, the far right has a disproportionate amount of power because of the primary process. If they loose that, they will fade into obscurity. And who will regret their passing?

(O)CT(O)PUS April 24, 2009 at 9:31 PM  

OMR, a very interesting indeed ... and I wish I had more time to give this post justice. Nevertheless, here are a few quick thoughts.

In the language of cinema, the panoramic "establishing shot" sets the time and place, and since I don't want my comment to be construed as partisan, consider this a wide angle view.

For the most part, Republican ideas have dominated American politics for almost thirty years. About the one Democratic administration during this interval, it is ironic that the Clinton administration embodied Republican ideas more than the Republicans themselves ... at least in terms of fiscal policy such as balanced budgets and a reduction in national debt.

In my view, the Bush administration did not usher in a new order for the new millenium, but in many ways represents the death throes of an old order.

In the year 2009, where is the Republican Party? Angry, obstructionist, out of touch. More than these, what I see is a paradigm shift taking shape and suddenly a different world than what we saw as recently as last year. I cannot sum this up in prose, but the first lines from a poem by W. B. Yeats sums it best for me:

"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

So what I am saying is: We are in a period of paradigm shift infused with passionate intensity, while reeling around us are "shadows of the indignant desert birds" ... an allusion to those who resist change.

Anonymous,  April 25, 2009 at 4:33 AM  

OMR, I really hope there are enough people like yourself in the Republican party to help turn its course back to its roots. Though, I do agree, at least to some extent, with the Obama admin on spending to stimulate the economy. In the long run (besides being dead), we need to get the books balanced. It would be nice to see some rational pressure from conservatives to do so. The Tea Parties didn't seem to have the focus that one might like to see.

My fear is that if there is, God forbid, another 9/11 type incident then the Republican party will move even more into the crazy and might be able to swing enough independents their way. There seems to have been a steady devolution from Nixon to Reagan to Bush II that makes me a little apprehensive about what the next Repub president is going to do. I'd like him/her to be somewhat less than an authoritarian despot. I'm setting the bar intentionally low.

That being said, I'm not happy to see Obama keeping some of the more egregious surveillance of our post 9/11 world. I don't want my authoritarianism from either side of the political spectrum. But, that's a tenet of conservatism that should have rebelled against the Patriot Act excesses in the first place. That's the type of political thinking that needs to be restored.

OpenMindedRepublican April 25, 2009 at 4:32 PM  

The odd thing about this is that there are the fringe parties, the Libertarians and the Constitution parties, that in concept come a lot closer to what I would like to see in a major party. But they get taken over by the crazies almost instantly.

The Republican party was supposed to be all about 'negative rights', conservativism, and fiscal responsibility. But they have failed to deliver.

TRUTH 101 April 27, 2009 at 4:38 PM  

The two party system prevents third parties from achieving much of anything. You're not going to change that because 96% of lawmakers are dems or republicans. One or the other party will have to adapt and grow it's message to appeal or the other one will. Or most likely, the one in power will screw up and the other one comes back.

But election law and protocols are based on the two party system. They draw election maps. They control voter lists. You're welcome into the Democratic Party OMR. I've invited TAO many times. We have room for smart, rational people like yoursleves. I think it would be a tremendous shame to waste your talents on the republican party.

Tom the Redhunter April 27, 2009 at 6:35 PM  

"Lower taxes but then expect the deficit to fall because people will voluntarily pay more than required?"Please, do yourself a favor and google for "Arthur Laffer" or "Laffer curve"...

OpenMindedRepublican April 28, 2009 at 4:29 AM  

Tom - Actually, Luis and I had a discussion about the Laffer curve in the comments for an older post just a couple days ago.

But the Laffer curve is not what I am condemning here. They based their budget on lowering taxes massively, ant then based their deficit numbers on the notion that people would voluntarily keep paying at the old rate.

Empirical if somewhat limited evidence for where we are on the Laffer curve can be found by looking at the Clinton and Bush administrations. The numbers strongly suggest that we are well short of the peak.

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