Mar 16 2007

GOP’s Useless Civil War

Published by at 10:35 am under 2008 Elections,All General Discussions

The Republicans seem hell bent on killing each other off. I have never seen so many violations of Reagan’s 11th commandment, but one story in the RCP top reading for the day shows an disgusting amount of internal attacks and uncalled for denigrating. Take this example of Libertarian snobbery (and I am not calling all Libertarians snobbs, that is not my intent):

The New Individualist is published by The Atlas Society, a Washington think tank. The magazine champions reason, individualism and freedom inspired by author and philosopher Ayn Rand. It co-sponsored the Conservative Political Action Conference in March, offering libertarian principle to the intellectually bankrupt.

Intellectually bankrupt? What is the reason behind that kind of comment? And the backstabbing of the administration cannot be passed up with a start like that:

Exhibit A is President George W. Bush’s oxymoronic “compassionate conservatism”

Bush had been attempting to remove the stigma the liberals painted around ‘conservatism’ with this catch-phrase. But clearly many cons are anything by compassionate – especially around the intellectually bankrupt. We have someone disproving Bush’s claim Cons come to their policy views from good intentions and a desire to make things better. What a dumb place to attack Bush, for all of us.

I find the fact so many have lined up to pile all their personal frustrations at the feet of George Bush pathetic. Bush has done a lot for this country, more than any of his critics could hope to accomplish. And yet they lash out at him saying things that could come from a BDS driven liberal. The entire Attorny General fiasco is a liberal media generated nothing issue, and the response from too many was to lash out at Bush and Gonzales. Let the dems have their petty investigations – does anyone think 8 people losing their jobs in a country of 300 million is going to register? When are the reps going to stop the bloodletting?

14 responses so far

14 Responses to “GOP’s Useless Civil War”

  1. crosspatch says:

    I view many “conservatives” the same way I view many “liberals” … inflexible in their strident political dogma that anyone who isn’t in lockstep with them is “wrong”. The truth is that this country is made up of communities with many different cultural values. What is right for the people of Seattle probably isn’t the same as what the people of Tulsa would feel comfortable with. Neither community should have the other’s values forced down their throat. They should both be free to enact local laws that reflect and enhance their local community.

    I see a desire on the part of both the far right and the far left to dictate cultural values through legislation across the country. If Kansas wants to make abortion illegal and Illinois wants to allow it, I am fine with that. People are free to live in a community that respects their values and if they find that they simply can not tolerate their local culture, fine, move to a place what is more in line with your values. And we should have places where people are free to move to that do reflect their values. We shouldn’t have a blanket set of cultural values dictated out of Washington with each side trying to stamp out the other. It polarizes our politics and our society. It makes it harder for people to get along and come together as a common nation when all feel that others want to oppress them.

    Our founders understood this and that is why they gave so much power to the states to enact laws that were best for the various states.

    The truth is that the harder the liberals and the conservatives push their “base” values on the nation, the more support they lose. We are getting to the point in this country where the largest political demographic is the demographic that is not aligned with either major political party. More people are feeling alienated by both the Democrats and the Republicans. More people feel that neither party really serves their interest and the parties are simply more interested in battling each other than in moving the country forward.

    Personally, I tend to have much more in common with Republicans than Democrats but would describe myself as more libertarian. Note that it is the REPUBLICAN party … not the CONSERVATIVE party and while people aligned with the Republican party tend to have more traditional values than the Democrats, the Republicans also tolerate a much wider spectrum of view than the Democrats do. You can be a pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-gun control Republican and run for office. The reason is that you hold other values that define you as Republican … such as personal responsibility, the notion that government isn’t Robin Hood, the idea that competition and the marketplace is better than central government control, and so forth.

    The job of one party isn’t to stamp out cultural values of another … it is to create an environment where all Americans can prosper no matter what their values and can have a community that reflects their regional culture without interference from Washington DC.

    This bickering inside the Republican party is really about factions feeling that they need to control the defining culture of the party. They are unwilling to accept that others might have different points of view and that those points are just as valid as are their own. I see the same thing in the Democratic party between the nutroots and the bluedogs. Factions in both parties need to knock that off or they are going to wake up to find that a huge portion of America has left them behind and no longer cares. They are going to walk themselves right into irrelevance through their dumb arguing about who is “right”. The fact is they are all “right” … and we need to allow all of those to be “right”.

  2. crosspatch says:

    By the way … Ronald Reagan has pretty much the same idea when he said that the people could “vote with their feet”.

  3. AJStrata says:


    Interestingly you use “conservative” to denote the more narrow minded faction and I use “republican” to denote them. I guess, since I am an independent conservative who is not in line with the Reps all the time, and since I see most of the hard right running the Reps (and bashing the moderates like Snowe, etc) I see the problem as from outside the Rep party. As you said, we all have differing and valid views.

  4. Aitch748 says:

    More people feel that neither party really serves their interest and the parties are simply more interested in battling each other than in moving the country forward.

    Hoo boy, is that true, if the comments on various right-of-center blogs are any indication. One comment on, that might just have been pent-up frustration but that struck me as simply lunatic, suggested that the Democrats ought to impeach Bush so that Cheney could take his place and spend the next 18 months bashing liberals. I don’t think I need to explain to present company why each and every piece of that idea is idiotic. 🙂

  5. crosspatch says:

    I would say that “Republican” spans the spectrum of thought from Tancredo to Rudy … but folks who consider themselves “conservatives” say that Rudy is no conservative. They also believe that you have to pass some litmus test of conservatism to be a Republican else they call one a RINO. I consider myself a more Reagan style Republican. He was for more open immigration, more flexibility in accepting various local cultural values, yet strong on national security and for smaller government and less taxation. People today would say Reagan was no “conservative” due to his positions on immigration and the like and his willingness to let the Democrats get part of what they want in exchange for getting part of what he wanted. THAT is why Reagain was effective. He was a leader that even Democrats could vote for and many did. Reagan didn’t alienate people, he was accepting of them and gave people the feeling that it was okay if you had values that differed from his, he wasn’t going to call you names or make you feel as if you were less of a person for it. That is why people from all across the spectrum loved him so. He could disagree with you in a friendly way, wasn’t afraid to laugh at himself or his administration when it made a mistake (remember him giving the Hole In The Foot award to the Secretary of the Interior at a press conference?).

    THAT is what we need. Not people who are so wrapped up in their social agenda … but people who want to create a better place for all of us no matter what our agenda. Reagan gave us the feeling that he really cared about the country and the people, even the ones he disagreed with.

  6. Carol_Herman says:

    By definition, all civil wars are a disgrace. They’re used by losers who want more of a portion than their ideas deserve.

    While you’re on the subject, do notice that this issue was the one that Lincoln tackled. At first, he tried to be reasonable. He assumed the south would come to its senses; and re-join the Union after a few days. Instead, the blood lust increased. And, they really did do stupid stuff.

    Lincoln, again, held back. Until the idiots in the south decided they’d fire the first shot. And, then a very long, hard, slug fest was entered.

    Lincoln also knew that NOT TO FIGHT meant the end of the Union. Since nothing would hold it together. Any lunatic could run a flag up a flagpole, and say they’re OUT. Not IN. At least at great cost we solved that one!

    Here? If you didn’t post this? At least six people, who are commenting, wouldn’t even have known that academic jerks are arguing about something not related to a parking spot.

    It really doesn’t matter, either. Since this isn’t how you’d grow a “libertarian” movement. Maybe, they’d have had better luck just picking colors for their costumes? I dunno. And, I don’t even care.

    Politics, by definition, is always going to be brutal. It’s on par with prize fighting. Something that requires a definite development in your tastes, to sit by a ring, and watch grown men slug it out. At least their in shape. And, they were gloves. Big. Fat. Padded. Gloves.

    In DC? Well, the best definition I’ve seen says it attracts the same kinds of people that are attracted to leave home to join circuses. Later, vaudeville. Then, hollywood. But the crew in DC don’t have to be born with good bone structure. They can “reach the top” even though their features are as ugly as hell.

    You wouldn’t like nice people doing this, either. “Nice people,” instead, usually join religious groups. Or cults. Where they then get to sway their audiences with “beliefs.” Sometimes? It works. And, sometimes, the crowds don’t come. Like lots of things in life. A mixed bag. With plenty of failures you just never even hear of.

    While for politicians, when they lose; they also need jobs. And, that’s about why you see a development in “think tanks.” So that it pays to make a career out of something, many normal people wouldn’t even touch with a ten foot pole.

    Meanwhile, if you want a sport. Find a lake. Find a long stick. Attach a string. And, a hook. And, then relax as you let your string float in the water. Then? Well, you’re only looking for a fish to decide to attach itself to your “floatilla.” How much brains does the fish have to have to get caught? Relax.

  7. crosspatch says:

    Carol, the only difference between a civil war and a revolution is which side wins. The war between the states would be the Confederate Revolution if the South won.

  8. Retired Spook says:

    The truth is that the harder the liberals and the conservatives push their “base” values on the nation, the more support they lose.

    Crosspatch, your whole post was dead on the money, but I found this statement particularly intriguing. I happen to agree with it, but I’m at a loss to explain why a viable third party hasn’t yet risen out of the political chaos we’re witnessing. I liked your idea (at least I think it was yours) a while back for a “Common Sense Party”. I doubt that more than 60% of the American population have any degree of “common sense”, but that’s enough for a strong governing majority.

    BTW, I’m archiving your whole post — it’s that good.

    I’m a life-long registered Republican who’s beginning to have second thoughts, and I’m considering reregistering as an Independent before the 2008 election. As an interesting side note, I know a number of former Democrats who are now Republicans or Independents, and I know a several former Republicans who are now Independents, but I don’t know a single Republican or Independent who is now a Democrat.

  9. crosspatch says:

    “I happen to agree with it, but I’m at a loss to explain why a viable third party hasn’t yet risen out of the political chaos”

    I believe there are two major reasons. One is that there are too many barriers of entry in the current system in many states to allow a third party seed to grow. The second reason is the media.

    Not so many years ago most cities had at least two and usually more daily papers. They were owned by different people with different agendas. You also had radio and TV outlets also owned by different people with different editorial policy and political agenda. These days things are different. You have huge media conglomerates that own the only daily paper in many major cities. You might have most of the radio and television stations in the country owned by a handful of companies. You have media groups that own TV and Radio also owning the entertainment outlets. So you now have a consistent message on radio, television, print, and in the movie theaters. They can hammer a message and through the movie studios, indoctrinate the masses as to what is “right” and what is “wrong”.

    By the same token, they can prevent a seed from growing by simply ignoring it. A new party with a great idea would get little national coverage and probably no local coverage at all because it would be a threat to the status quo. Not only would they have a hard time getting on the ballot … it would be nearly impossible for they to be seen by the masses. Political debates on the major networks have a hard time now getting all the candidates of every party on the air and must exclude some of the “lesser” candidates. This means most people will never know of that candidate’s message. In a presidential debate, how many parties should be represented? Chances are good that there will only be the two candidates from the two major parties.

    Another issue is money. To start a viable third party you need A) a lot of money and B) good candidates who people have heard of before because you aren’t going to get much chance of getting the message out about someone that people haven’t heard of. So in order to be viable, you need people who are willing to take a large financial risk for a long time … say 12 years. You need to establish your party in all 50 states and you need access to media to get the word out. 99% of the population doesn’t read blogs and will have no idea unless they hear about it on the AM station during their morning commute. You need candidates who are “names” that the media will cover just because they are “names”. You also need to get very active at the state and local level and get candidates for every office in every state. That is hard to do.

    We tend to work more by morphing the existing parties than by starting new ones. Each party swings from more conservative to more liberal over time. These swings are often not in sync and we currently have a system where both parties seem to be going in opposite directions away from the center. The other problem is that most of the commercial media outlets are now aligned with the Democrats. They are actively promoting the Democrats and actively attacking the Republicans. That has a tendency to distort the picture to the average person who doesn’t research and makes it look like the Democrats are more popular than they really are and the Republicans less popular. They would never even hear about a third party. You would think that if the war in Iraq and President Bush were so unpopular and if he was the “Worst President Ever” that his approval ratings would be horrible but they are better than Truman’s or Carter’s were. As of today, Rasmussen has Bush at 40% approval with nearly 70% of Republicans approving. Disapproval for Bush is pretty clearly along party lines unlike Nixon, Truman, and Carter who lost support from their own party.

    So … the media does a lot to keep third parties out and the existing two parties do a good job through election laws to keep third party candidates in the weeds and unnoticed. The fact that third parties tend to run nutty candidates doesn’t help either.

    Now if Fred Thompson, Joe Lieberman, and a few other high profile people wanted to start a new party, they probably could, but they would need a Soros-like financier to back them. I am not holding out much hope of ever seeing that.

  10. crosspatch says:

    Having thought about this a little more, maybe there IS a way to get a third party started. First you need a state where people tend to be independent minded, has a lot of seats in congress, and a large demographic of voters who are not aligned with either major party. We have that. It’s called Texas.

    One role such a party could play is a moderating role on the other two parties. If they have enough votes in the House, they could say to the Democrats, for example, “we will vote with you on this bill if you remove this provision” or say to the Republicans “the Democrats are just nuts on this, we are going to cast our votes with the Republicans on this issue”. I put it in those terms because the Democrats are in power in the house right now, reverse the roles if the Republicans are in power and the ones proposing legislation.

    Texas has a lot of people that don’t think kindly toward folloing the herd. They are independent thinkers, feisty, not afraid of a battle, and they have a large congressional delegation. If such a party could get a start in Texas, it could spread to other states.

  11. The Macker says:

    Good post.

    Randians are about as compassionate as Marxists. That’s my objection to Libertarianism. And neither has the standing to call Bush “intellectually bankrupt.”

    Multiple parties don’t work well in Europe, and where does the splintering end? Conservatives have differing priorities among themselves and there would still be differences within a third party. Winning takes a coming together of enough people in one party that can agree on enough issues and can accept their respective differences. I believe two parties are best.

    Crosspatch, good analysis of the media. Further, the media conglomerates blur the distinction between news, entertainment and their own businesses. They can select news and cover stories to advance their book or movie divisions. It’s a wretched arrangement. Internet blogs and forums are preserving the free flow of information and are the free market at its best.

  12. crosspatch says:

    America has mostly had a two-party government over its history but they weren’t always the Democrats and the Republicans. Sometimes new parties spring up and old ones die off. Looking at the demographics where in many large states such as Texas, the independents have more voters than either the Democrats or the Republicans, there is an indication that there is a problem with the two major parties. In California, those not aligning with either party is the only demographic that is growing. Republicans are steady and Democrats are actually dropping a bit. The Republican areas of California are the fastest growing areas in population and the hardcore liberal areas such as San Francisco are losing population and thereby political clout.

  13. Terrye says:

    Great post and comments.

  14. crosspatch says:

    “As an interesting side note, I know a number of former Democrats who are now Republicans or Independents, and I know a several former Republicans who are now Independents, but I don’t know a single Republican or Independent who is now a Democrat.”

    Yeah. I think many people are more altruistic and idealist when they are younger. They see poor people and say “we should just help them” and then don’t realize that real help isn’t throwing a check at them every month. That only makes them dependent on the system and gives a disincentive to making a real change. The Democrats are basically Robin Hoods. They want to tax the rich and give to the poor. The problem then becomes taxing the rich out of existence and being left with boatloads of government subsidized poor.

    As one matures, possibly raises kids or gains experience in managing or leading people in industry or possibly the military, the maturity and wisdom that comes with it leads one to either leave the Democratic party. Or, you decide to become a leader of those idealistic sheep and use them to move yourself into a position of power.

    In a nutshell the Democrat game is “we will give you free money as long as you vote for us and we will tax those evil corporations and rich people to do it”. So the Democrats become the party of choice for the young people newly on their own who see a mean world and are anxious about their future … or the people that take advantage of that anxiety. The Republicans are the more confident who are more interested in making their own way in the world and keeping what they have earned. The Democrats tell the poor “we will give you free fissh” and the Republicans tell the poor “we want to help you be a more successful fisherman”.

    The reason people don’t go in the other direction under normal circumstances is that once you have matured out of the altruistic phase and understand that it is up to you to make your own way in the world, the Democrat way is revealed to be cruel and enslaving. It is in the interest of the Democrats to keep you poor and dependent on them so that you keep them in office. It is in the Democrat interest if you are an ethic minority to keep you separate, keep you speaking your native language, keep you from completely assimilation and keep you dependent on government programs.

    But in the case of severe economy hardship such as the Great Depression, people can go in the opposite direction. The Democrats are working hard now to push America’s rich and America’s corporations offshore by making it too hard to do business here. This creates more Democrats as high quality jobs get harder to find. The problem is that it also gets harder to find rich people and corporations to tax to provide their Robin Hood benefits.