Aug 01 2010

A Modest Suggestion for the GOP

Published by at 4:57 am under All General Discussions

Ronald Reagan was known as The Great Communicator and was loved by many Americans of both parties. His success was rooted in emphasizing not those things that which divide us, but by emphasizing those things that unite us and define us as Americans.  Newt Gingrich touched on that recently in a speech he gave. In order to have a “big tent” you do not have to moderate on your issues. You do not need to be wishy-washy on anything. What you need to do is be careful in your selection of issues that you choose to define your campaign.

The GOP platforms of recent years have been almost painful to read. The last one was a tome. There is no need for that. The platform can be a crisp, bullet-point list of easily understood ideas with no more than a paragraph or two to expand on each one.

Reagan was a great communicator because he kept it simple and he kept to the issues that bind us together.

How many of you would support a platform such as the following five quick bullet points:

1. The individual entrepreneur is the engine of America’s economic might. The government should be a partner to the small business, not an impediment to it.

2. No country, no matter how much it spends on sophisticated defense systems, can ever be secure if it neglects its borders. We need to know who is entering our country.

3. Government lives in the same economic reality as everyone else in this country. We can not grow government, increase salaries of government employees, and pay extravagant pensions on the backs of the people who are struggling to make ends meet for their own families. Everyone must share the pain of an econimic downturn and the size of government must be reduced.

4. The family is the basic unit of our American culture. Well-intentioned government programs have over the years been broadened to the extent that they have, in many cases, replaced the role of family, friends, and community. The programs that were meant to improve our society are tearing apart the fabric that binds us. Government isn’t the answer to every problem. Government programs, in taking care of our aged, our handicapped, and others with special needs deprive us of the opportunity to grow as human beings in caring for our own.

5. We must stand willing to defend the idea that government is subordinate to the people and give moral support to those in this world who struggle to throw off the burden of tyranny. Rights do not derive from the government to the people, the people give rights to the government.

Not a single divisive thing in there. Such a platform would probably draw crossover support from many Democrats, be supported by many Independents and by most Republicans. There is nothing in those statements that would cause even the most staunch conservative to give an inch of ground on their values.

This is, I believe, the way forward. The Republicans can not campaign on criticism of the Democrats.  One can not simply stand at the station and complain that the train is on the wrong track. The GOP must offer the people a different destination and describe where their track is going. It must be a positive, uplifting message that reinforces what is good in our culture. The GOP must show leadership and have a “Follow Me!” approach to things.

I could easily put 5 or 10 more things in there but this was just to illustrate the point, not to be complete. Notice that there are no divisive social issues in that platform. That is by design. The most divisive issues are best handled at the state level. What is best for Oklahoma is probably not what is best for California and whatever might be cooked up in Washington D.C. is probably not going to be best for either of them. The states should be free to reflect their local values in their laws. The people would then be free, paraphrasing Reagan, to vote with their feet.

And people ARE voting with their feet. Texas stands to gain three to four House seats while liberal Northeastern states stand to lose influence. That is how it should be. We have 50 states. We should have 50 different approaches to problems. The federal government could play a very important role in informing us of what is working and what isn’t working in the various approaches. And if one approach fails miserably, the damage is contained to that state and the other states can avoid repeating the same mistake. It isn’t a national catastrophe as might happen if the entire country were in lock-step to Washington DC’s cadence.

So at the federal level we should focus on the issues that bind us all together as a country and as a culture. We should allow the local governments to enact laws that reflect the values of their populations. People shouldn’t be afraid that Washington is going to shove some alien culture down their throats and the GOP should, at the federal level, be about getting government off the people’s backs, give people incentive to form businesses, give incentive for businesses to hire employees, and lets get this thing rolling again.

I have no doubt that we can do this. We have more in common that binds us together than the things that set us apart. This is for the good of the country, our future generations, and the world.

20 responses so far

20 Responses to “A Modest Suggestion for the GOP”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chattertrap, AJ Strata. AJ Strata said: new: A Modest Suggestion for the GOP […]

  2. Terrye says:

    I think you are absolutely correct. Very good list.

    I think parties have made the mistake of being too negative. And I also agree that states and regions have their own approaches to dealing with problems.

    I do think that something some people on the right need to stop doing is complaining that some representatives from states like California and Mass are not conservative enough..well if we are believers in states rights then we also have to accept the idea that the voters themselves might have different opinions, therefor the people they elect will represent those views and not some rigid platform designed by a national party.

  3. kathie says:

    Most people who study human behavior will say that lasting behavior changes come about through inspiration, short term changes can happen through punishment. Obama likes to punish, threaten and hurt those who don’t conform. Anybody who runs for public office needs a platform that inspires people to live up their highest aspirations for themselves, their family and their country.

    Let’s be truthful about the latest economic downturn. Everybody wanted the economy to expand, everybody wants people to own homes, lenders lent, bankers found a way to make money available, and it collapsed under it’s own weight. OK, do we punish or do we correct somethings and move on?

    It looked like Obama might be the person who inspired, his words were in that direction, however, who he is, who has informed him as he has grown into manhood, leaves me to believe that his words were hallow. He payed the game very well, but the chickens are coming home to roost. The scores he is trying to settle were not our best moments as a people or a country. He can punish the doers into submission or he can inspire the doers to great things. He has chosen the first path, he reminds us everyday how bad we have been. A loosing strategy for sure.

    Obama creates chaos rather then certainty. He punishes those who take care of themselves in favor of those who don’t or can’t or won’t. He reminds me of a bitter, small man who has no idea how the world works, the bad news, he has tremendous power.

    I think that any 4 or 6 point platform that has as it’s theme, economic certainty, inspires people to raise above the petty to reach higher goals even if tough, and has a big dose of common sense, would be a winner.

  4. ivehadit says:

    Kathie, not to be picky but I have to disagree with you on this:
    “Let’s be truthful about the latest economic downturn. Everybody wanted the economy to expand, everybody wants people to own homes, lenders lent, bankers found a way to make money available, and it collapsed under it’s own weight.”

    THIS is what the government wants you to believe. In fact, it was government interference in the free markets that caused the downturn, imho. Every sector has its day. That is true throughout the history of investing. Sectors go up and sectors go down. How many depressions have we had during this time? Hmmm.

    Think about this: only 7% of mortgages were not being paid in the summer of ’08. Hardly a problem. But, the congress had passed a law requiring that investments be MARKED TO MARKET. This law came about by congress trying to look important, imho, after Enron. So ALL mortgages had to be priced to market REGARDLESS of their quality, more or less…which then set off a rolling debacle, imho. Suffice it to say it was NOT a typical sector rotation in ’08. Add to that, the interference of the democrats’ Community Reinvestment Acts (ramped up under Clinton) which sent home prices skyrocketing and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s love affair with the Black Caucus (see the video of this) and the government forcing banks to lend to those who were N (o) I (ncome) J (ob) A (ddress) aka NIJA’S (more wealth redistribution as Fannie and Freddie GUARANTEED the loans, which now means us. Forget the fact that they are AGENCIES of the government NOT the government. (A GNMA is/WAS guaranteed BY the government.) And did I forget to mention Goldman Sachs? And credit default swaps?

    AND add that capital requirements for leverage had been lowered. And the price of oil SUDDENLY GOING TO $4.00/gallon. Tell me why it had NOT GONE UP this summer or this year?????? How many people got upside down because of the cost of gas in ’08?
    And WHO started the run on the money markets on that mid-September day?

    All I mean to say here is don’t believe everything you hear about this subject. ’08 was VERY fishy, imho. In fact, Rush Limbaugh had a great description of what happened in ’08 just this past week.

  5. […] popular music. Garcia made his mark as a musician and songwriter with the Grateful more… A Modest Suggestion for the GOP – 08/01/2010 Ronald Reagan was known as The Great Communicator and was […]

  6. crosspatch says:

    I think there would definitely be room in such a platform to make the point that government social engineering by tinkering with our economy our homes and other investments is a bad idea and that history has shown that such social engineering always backfires with unintended consequences.

    I left out an energy policy where I believe we should move ahead with more modern, safer nuclear reactors and reprocess spent fuel.

    Rather than paying people to sit on their butt at home, maybe we should have some visionary public works projects. How about a national coast to coast high speed electric rail system powered by those new reactors? We could move passengers, freight, and troops in the face of an oil embargo. It would put people to work from the lowest unskilled laborer to the most highly trained engineers.

    There is so much that can be said in a positive direction that will get people of many a political stripe on board.

    That was Reagan’s “secret sauce”. We shouldn’t forget it. The one who I see closest to that message today is Sarah Palin and she is currently using that to support a broad array of local candidates. So far it seems to be working.

  7. Terrye says:


    I was a realtor for awhile and people need to take some responsibility as individuals. I can not tell you how many times I had buyers refuse to even look at houses within their means. They wanted too much. I think that was a common attitude not so long ago. People are more thoughtful and careful now. But no one made those people take out those loans. The government should not have gotten so involved, but people sure as hell were ready to take advantage of anything and everything that came their way.

  8. kathie says:

    WOOOOOW, sinking like a stone

    President Obama Job Approval

    RCP Average

    Approve 45.0
    Disapprove 49.7


  9. ivehadit says:

    Terrye, not saying that people should not take responsibility. Just saying only 7% were not functioning and that is a pittance in the overall scheme of things…this should not have caused a massive collapse.

    What I am saying is that someone threw sand into the economic gears, imho.

  10. del says:

    A great post but it is too practical.

  11. crosspatch says:


    Part of it was, as you mentioned, mark to market requirements. But another part of it was a combination of two things:

    1. The large number of 5year ARMs. Once foreclosures hit the market and started to depress housing values (pushing down the local median home price), many of those were suddenly under water and could not be refinanced to a conventional mortgage. People were left with no choice but to give up the house. This caused even more houses to hit the market and sell at firesale prices. The downward spiral fed on itself.

    2. Boomers hitting retirement age deciding to cash out of their homes and move to Arizona or wherever.

    The sand in the works was for the first time since 2001 the fed started raising interest rates. So you had a bunch of people with adjustable rate mortgages they could barely afford and suddenly interest rates went up causing the mortgages to adjust up. They defaulted because they couldn’t make the new higher payment. Those were the first wave of foreclosures. Those foreclosures depressed market prices and that messed it up for everyone else whose mortgage was set to reset but COULD make the payments. People who had been set to refinance to a conventional mortgage suddenly found all their paper equity wiped out and the bank now withdrawing the refinance terms.

    When you build on a foundation of paper gains, the resulting economy is only as strong as those paper gains.

  12. Kate4 says:

    Another good list:

    Top Ten Things That Define The Tea Party
    10. The Tea Party is all about Freedom, personal and otherwise
    9. The Tea Party is True Grassroots, not top down authority
    8. The Tea Party is for Protecting our Borders
    7. The Tea Party is Against Big Government and the Nanny State
    6. The Tea Party is Against Racism in all forms
    5. The Tea Party is Against Globalism and the New World Order
    4. The Tea Party is Against The Military Industrial Complex / War
    3. The Tea Party Is Against Carbon Taxes and Global Warming Hype
    2. The Tea Party is Anti-Federal Reserve and International Banks
    1. The Tea Party is Anti-Tax

  13. crosspatch says:

    I sort of disagree with that list. That might be your local tea party group’s list but I wouldn’t paint the entire movement with that brush.

  14. ivehadit says:

    Yes, I agree, Cross, those were definitely factors, imho, after the sand had been thrown into the gears so to speak. The question is which came first the chicken or the egg…And all this was happening during a presidential campaign… 🙁

  15. WWS says:

    There’s another very important factor in the collapse of 2008, and this one *is* Wall Street’s fault – the Credit Default Swaps, or CDS.

    It doesn’t get as much discussion as it should because 1) it’s quite arcane and as difficult to understand as it is to explain, and 2) when you DO figure out what the major institutions like Lehman, Goldman, and AIG were doing with these it’s almost impossible to believe that these guys were playing with fire that they knew could blow themselves up and the entire economy up every day. And they KNEW they were playing with fire! They simply bet on being able to make a lot of money fast and then get out before it all went Kablooie. Goldman won that bet, AIG and Lehman lost.

    As you said, at the beginning only 7% of mortgages were in trouble, which should not have collapsed the system. However, thanks to the ubiquitous use of CDS contracts, these mortgages were leveraged out of all proportion to the underlying assets. Look at a CDS as nothing but a way to gamble on whether or not a mortgage will be paid – then realize that there were absolutely no limits on the amount that could be gambled. (Technically, I believe they qualified as selling uncovered insurance contracts, which should have been called naked options, not insurance) The same contract could have multiple CDS obligations associated with it. And when the underlying mortgages got bundled and stripped down to all kinds of strange permutations, we got to the point that the failure of a single $100,000 mortgage could easily trigger $3 – $4 million in losses to the financial insitutions playing this game. One of the main reasons Lehman collapsed is that at the end I believe the entire company was leveraged at a 40:1 ratio. That means that if 3% of your bets get zeroed out, you lose 120% of your capital – ie, bankruptcy. They would have had better odds in Las Vegas – ah, but you can’t bet a billion dollars a throw in Vegas which is what they were doing here. And remember that for every bet that worked out the trader making it got to put about a million in his pocket – so who worries about crashing the company when they got a chance to personally score a million every week or so, which is what the traders were doing?

    It was just as insane for any company to have done that as it was insane for any government to allowed that. The entire system was leveraged so highly that it would only have needed about 2% – 3% of the underlying mortgages to go bad for the system to crash; and as you said we hit 7%.

    Now we may be as high as 20%, nationwide, and the danger hasn’t passed – it’s just been put off until the day we stop pumping money into the system like crazy. It’s like the old Bill Cosby joke about Noah not wanting to build some crazy boat – God simply says, “Noah – how long can you tread water?”

    All we’ve been doing for 2 years now is treading water, and we’re about to find out how long we can keep that up.

  16. ivehadit says:

    Hi WWS, yes, the default swaps were betting *against* the success of the underlying investment. I believe the default swaps were the brainchild of a British firm…I have to look that up.

    And increasing the amount of leverage definitely played a role. And self-policing didn’t work either…which Alan Greenspan relied upon (per an interview with him on Kudlow).

    Packaging of mortgages was not the evil. GNMA’s have worked for years…It was the corruption at Fannie and Freddie that cooked the goose that laid the golden egg, imho. But it’s still interesting that this happened in a presidential election year, imho….

  17. ivehadit says:

    Here’s what wikipedia (!) says about the origin of CDS:
    “J.P. Morgan & Co. is widely credited with creating the modern credit default swap in 1994.” They do list source references for this.

    Should have known it was during the ’90’s…

  18. crosspatch says:

    It was even more than just the CDS. It got bad with some guy named Geithner at the NY Fed allowed AIG’s default insurance group to be regulated by the overseer of savings and loans rather than the banking regulator. The savings and loan regulator had a very tiny staff. If they did a serious audit of AIG, they would do nothing else, it would require 100% of their staff 100% of their time.

    He also ruled that the mortgages backed by the GSEs were to be considered “riskless” since they were backed by the US Government. THAT is why we were forced to bail them out. The government and the fed couldn’t tell people that something was riskless and then leaving them holding the bag when they failed. Since they are backed by the taxpayer, the taxpayer had to pony up.

    Congress didn’t want to dig deeply into what was going on because the whole scheme was enabling their scheme to get more and more low income people into the mortgages. It would have worked, too, if interest rates had never risen or if the people had been put into fixed rate mortgages instead of short-term adjustable rate loans. It is the short-term ARM that caused everything to fall apart. Had all these mortgages been fixed rate loans, we would have never seen the collapse when rates went up, we would have simply seen fewer new mortgages let.

  19. owl says:

    Love this post. Reagan knew what he believed but he didn’t try to force-feed it. But he would stand up when he needed to do the hard things (remember when he fired the entire bunch that everyone said he wouldn’t/couldn’t?).

    Your list is common sense positives that unite, but stops the 100 percent perfection. Bet Sarah could go for it.

    I don’t want the GOP to campaign on the ugly. I just want them to get ugly on the floor/tv/whatever when someone is lying to their faces. I want them to stand up. At that moment in time. Have a backbone. Shut up the lying crap that they allow to happen. Can you imagine how different it would have been if they had not allowed the DIMS to pretend they were ‘mislead about their war vote’?

  20. crosspatch says:

    There are people out there ready someday to play the role that we need. People like Alan West, Mike Pence, Michele Bachman, and Sarah Palin are quite charismatic. They inspire people. They speak at a level everyone can understand. They don’t talk down to the people. They stand ready to lead. There is a crop of folks with leadership potential out there.

    The message needs to be energetic, positive, but not glossing over the challenges all this debt and the damage from government social engineering will present.

    It will be tough. Hard decisions will have to be made, but we can do it.