Why This Fight? (for the soul of the GOP)

By: Erick Erickson (Diary) | February 19th, 2014

I was once an elected Republican. I started the College Republicans at my school. I served as the state chair of the College Republicans in Georgia. I have worked for more than two decades to get Republicans elected. But more and more I cannot tell you what it means to be a Republican other than opposition to Barack Obama. I want to be for something, not just against someone. And I surely do not want to be for a party that thinks the problem is Democrats in charge of government and not government itself.
As a former political consultant I know most people want to vote for something or someone, not against something or someone. That, frankly, is one reason why Mitt Romney lost in 2012. He did not really give people something to vote for. He just assumed people would vote against Barack Obama. But a majority liked Barack Obama even if they disagreed with him. New polling shows a majority of people who voted for Barack Obama regret doing so, but they don’t regret not voting for Romney.

What does the GOP stand for? I know what conservatives stand for — limiting government, local control, free markets, and life. But what of the GOP?
Many of those in charge of the Republican Party and their allied talking heads in the press claim the GOP is conservative. While that is what they preach, in practice they too expand the government. They want Washington calling the shots. They turn the free market toward their large donors. They prefer to not make eye contact on social issues. They focus on Wall Street, not Main Street. They, like the Democrats, offer platitudes to middle class, while ignoring middle class economics for Davos dalliances.
The basic message of Republicans in Washington these days is that they can control the Democrat created leviathan better than the Democrats. They will tinker with it, mend it, and control it. But we know they cannot. When last the GOP ran everything in Washington we got Medicare Part D, an expanded federal role in education, and eventually their assistance in banning the incandescent light bulb.
If the Republican Party returns to power in Washington, the same people who did all that will again be in charge. They will still stand for nothing unless a poll or billionaire tells them otherwise. In short, the modern Republican Party has abandoned its convictions to billionaire donors and crappy pollsters.
There are elements of the Republican Party not in office who see the GOP as better than the Democrats and are, consequently, willing to trust in those in charge. They view the need for majority as so critical that they resent any and all boat rocking that might jeopardize the chance for a majority. Their concerns are very valid. The GOP would be better than the Democrats.

But then there is my camp — we believe the GOP should offer more than better technocratic management of the leviathan. The GOP should not just preach small government, but practice it. And most importantly, we cannot do those things or offer new ideas with the same faces in charge. We cannot relate to the middle class and Main Street if the puppet masters of the party are coastal elite billionaires who think Wall Street is Main Street and have grown detached from the conservative concerns of working moms and dads trying to make ends meet.

I’m not willing to settle for just taking back the Senate. I want to take back my country. And I don’t want to take it back from the Democrats, but from Washington itself. That is impossible with a Republican leadership intent on telling me what Washington can do for me if only I would let them help.
I want Washington to leave me the hell alone. And the only way that is possible is this fight now in the Republican primaries. The patricians of the party must be defeated if we are to be left alone. If we do not change the face of the GOP, we will not change Washington. And if we do not change Washington, we can never change our country.

We must challenge and replace Republicans. We must fight. We must. http://www.redstate.com/2014/02/19/why-this-fight/
~ ~ ~ ~
Tbone
Erick, you are beating a dead horse. The GOP is not going to be changed from the inside because the GOP insiders will fight against that change far more viciously than they are willing to fight the liberals and the Democrats. They will undermine every effort just as they are doing and they will co-op the majority of the elected just as they have done to Marco Rubio et al.
What this Country is going to end up having is an “US” Party which actually will fight the “Them” Parties.
Yes, it take years but look at the steady gains the UKIP party is making in Britain. We didn’t get in this mess having the Country run by a DC Aristocracy overnight and it will take years to depose them. That is the price every civilization has paid when the tyrants have taken over and that is the price that has to be paid now.

watk0052 Tbone
Why surrender our Republican party to the RINOs? It is they who are the odd ones out! Why should we have to leave? It’s our party! I am proud to be a Republican! I want to get rid of these imposters–let THEM create a third party–and they can let Murkowski lead them. At least she won. The Establishment can have Alaska, we’ll take the rest.

sterchus
Everywhere you look and everywhere you listen the “republicans” are going to have a “huge” 2014 election.
First of all they’re counting “unhatched chickens” and they’re going to end up with “egg on their face[s]”.
Second – the republican “establishment” will fight the conservative candidates in the primaries tooth and nail.
Third – the republican “establishment” will not support any primary-winning conservative [read tea party] candidates – in fact they may support the dem or the libertarian or just “damn with faint praise” and cash-starve the conservative republican candidate [think Cuccinelli in VA].

They, of course, think WE should forgo our principles and vote “republican” simply so the “establishment republican brand” can win. After all, we’ve held our noses before, why wouldn’t we do it now.
I’ve held my nose an awful lot in the voting booth and finally come to realize that you can’t get rid of the stink until you get rid of the turd.
DITCH MITCH for starters!

whitetop
Anyone who thinks the establishment republicans won’t support a democrat over a tea party candidate is treading on thin ice. Rush already reported this week the establishment is in favor of Obama using the IRS to harass Tea Party groups. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. No wonder there are problems in Washington.
Ausonius
“A republic, if you can keep it.”
Benjamin Franklin knew that over the course of centuries, Athens and Rome declined into dictatorships of various kinds.
“Res publica” roughly translates into “public affairs,” i.e. the government handles things that are in the national interest: roads, bridges, crime, national defense.
The amount of sugar in pop, the depth of mulch at the end of a playground slide, worrying about my seat-belt, taxation on top of taxation to pay for the 2 + million governmental employees creating millions of pages of rules to “protect” us….
Embarrassed, we must admit to Mr. Franklin that we have not kept a republic.

lakeworthcane
Wow, this is a long comment. I always get carried way: sorry.

Anyway, I’ve long had the same thoughts and held the same observations that Erick has manifested in his above diary post. The “conflict” between the Republican and Democratic Parties is largely a fabrication: a mirage. Politicians in the two parties are much more mutually supportive than they are opposed.

I think the U.S. political arena would make an excellent research project for any clear-thinking, clear-seeing graduate student who wants to show the continuity of well-documented behavioral patterns among ruling classes over the course of human history. They always move to grow and consolidate their wealth and power. They do so by taking control of the government and the media. With the government, they write and enforce laws to increase their wealth and power.

The media’s role is crucial. It’s no mistake that whenever despots seize power, among their first moves are control of the media and the arrest of dissenting media voices. With the media, they control the flow of information: what “the masses” know and believe is real. Especially with today’s technology, ruling classes can maintain massive and highly effective propaganda campaigns.

Control of education is important, too. Aristotle’s observation about “ignorant armies” is a mainstay among those who’d seek power and control. We spend massively on education, but our population is among the most uneducated among industrialized nations. That’s no mistake. Every one of our ruling class’s gigantic educational policy changes has resulted only in a larger, wealthier, more powerful bureaucracy, and an aggressively maligned educational system.

It’s all right here in the good old U.S. of A. It’s happening–or perhaps has already happened–on the grandest, most sophisticated scale in human history. But it’s the same pattern that historians have described many times over.

I find that somewhat puzzling. As often as historians have described this phenomenon, and as often as astute observers of human history and behavior have for centuries warned us about it, I somewhat naively believed it could not happen again: especially not here, in my country. But–alas–Americans are human.

Even more curious: the political party–the Democratic Party–that has always spoken out most energetically against power and control in the hands of the wealthy few, and the wealthy few’s “oppression of the masses,” has clearly now emerged as the most energetic perpetrator of that very scenario.
But maybe that’s only because the Democratic Party has been in control in Washington for several years now. The Republican Party was in control for several years before the democrats came to power, and we got the same thing.

I think that the media’s role cannot be understated. The media maintain, and gloriously profit from, the mirage of conflict between republicans and democrats. The media stoke this political rivalry the same way they stoke sports rivalries, and I believe for the same reason: to increase the size of their audiences–in attendance and watching on television–before, during, and after contests. But the media’s participation is for more than profit. The “revolving door” between the media and the federal bureaucracy strongly indicates that the two are part of the same entity.

I t’d be fascinating to watch–how coldly, heartlessly, and skillfully politicians and the media rouse human passions, and how eager most people are to be passionately aroused–if it didn’t have such devastatingly destructive consequences: if it wasn’t all to achieve very bad ends.

But I think it’s key that, right now, in the United States, the largest populations of easily manipulated people call themselves democrats. Another way to put it is that the “mob psychology” has a much stronger grip on the Democratic Party than on the Republican Party. As such, the wealthy, ruling class profits more with democrats in control; people who identify themselves as democrats are more likely to blindly accept propaganda, as long as they believe it’s coming from one of their own. Democratic voters will blindly support, en masse, politicians like Barack Obama (a male, African-American democrat) and Hillary Clinton (a white, female democrat) no matter what they do or have done.
But my current litany is that both democrat and republican politicians work for the same corporation: Federal Government, Inc., the largest, most powerful corporation in human history. It doesn’t matter which party controls Washington D.C. They both seek to increase THE Corporation’s already massive, indomitable wealth and power.

It’s very disheartening to see this, and to see how strongly democrats still buy into the charade. It’s disheartening to see that my generation is the one that so brashly and self-servingly codified and solidified this phenomenon. But given my generation’s neurotic fascination with and glorification of itself, perhaps its mid-Victorian desire to deify itself and its excesses at other’s expense, all the while denying it and proclaiming its altruism, was both predictable and inevitable.

Anyway . . . right now, I think the country’s biggest and most immediate threat is democrats’ blind belief in their own and their heroes’ moral superiority. I see that as an extremely dangerous condition. Indeed we have seen that the wealthy ruling class can and most positively will use these people to amass power and wealth at an accelerated pace. If we’d meet our enemy head on, that is the “battlefield.”

Our weapon is information: the inarguable, statistical proof that the Democratic Party has become the vanguard of the wealthy elite’s grab for power and control.

cbartlett lakeworthcane
I have one minor disagreement: I think “…the country’s biggest and most immediate threat….” is actually what you stated a little earlier – the massive number of under-educated and under-informed that make up our electorate. That is the basic reason we are where we are and why it will be an uphill battle to get out of it.

zman37
The GOP establishment are nothing but lickspittles to the democrats.
That has been shown time and again. Either we primary them out completely, or the GOP will collapse like the Whig Party did in 1860.

The beginning of the end came with the “Compromise of 1850”, in which the party elites betrayed their base on the issue of slavery, something the base was adamant about getting rid of. The party base was absolutely betrayed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.

The Whig Party went through several years of decline, and when it collapsed, it was very sudden. It’s just like bankruptcy……it starts slowly, then you hit a certain point and it happens suddenly. This year will mark the point of no return for GOP collapse. Either they win big and knock the establishment permanently in-line with the base, or the GOP collapses forever and a new, Conservative party will rise from the ashes.
nicktheyank
It’s a sad state of affairs when you can’t feel comfortable voting for the party you’ve endorsed your entire life. That’s what the GOP has become. The powers that be in the GOP are lifetime powerbrokers who sit in seats of power that no man should have.
The Government of the people by the people and for the people stands as a tool for the elite to broker more power. I see the winds changing and I hop the conservative out there will move to vote for every Tea Party candidate out there and oust these lifers like Mitch McConnell who only care about themselves.

The fact that Boehner, Mitch, Ryan, McCan see the Tea Party as such a thorn in their sides speaks volumes to how lost and out of touch they are with not only America but the founding principles of their ow party. That they can’t be bothered to put up a fight for te greater good and tell people the hard truth signals an end to their reign.

If we can wrest the power out of the majority of the weak kneed RINOs in office by infusing it with new blood who will stand up and fight then we may have a chance to save this country. Lord knows the Democrats will NEVER change, and why should they… they keep getting elected and it works for them. I will not vote for one incumbent in November!
Karamazov

The Whig Party is dead. They just don’t see it. The Whig Party that consist of Linsey Graham, Mitch McConnel, Boehner, McCain, and the other spineless, cowards and purely political whig politicians are rotting at the marrow. Their stench permeates the halls of congress and the senate. These Whig Party members are not public servants, patriots or heros. But self serving opportunist, that are all in for themself.

No more support for the Whigs. Otherwise known incorrectly as the Republican leadership. The Whigs are a decayed mass of deceit and deception, without virtue or righteous character.
This conservative will no longer support or enable those that at election time say one thing, then completely do the other the rest of their term.
Betterment does not come from wallowing with pigs. But by working with the noble.
hvts
There’s really only one party in Washington, D.C. That’s the Incumbency Party. There may be greater distinctions between GOP and Democrat officials outside of Washington, and there are certainly a few national-level GOP insurgents like Ted Cruz. But as a fair generalization, once they land in the District of Columbia they’re more concerned with staying in power than anything else. They’ve lost me forever.
ifcabob
Great note this morning Eric. Two key points to add:

First, we should find a way gauge conservative desires via polls & other methods that DO NOT INCLUDE BIG CITY BLUE STATE REPUBLICANS. These guys – often seen on MSM outlets like FOX & others are just big city RINOs and have too much influence, beyond their numbers. Their opinions should not count in polls just like their votes NEVER COUNT in their democrat controlled home city/states. Think about it.

Since their votes never count, why should their voices be allowed to skew republican voter views in polls and on MSM outlets. They have already shown “compromised” judgement by living in blue enclaves in blue cities in blue states. Their taxes pay for and enrich the big city democrats. This bad judgement of theirs should preclude them from poll numbers associated with so-called republicans because they are not. Think of some recent polls that say republicans #1 2016 presidential choice are people like Chris Cristie or Jeb Bush. No red state republican would EVER support these people but polls that include these blue city, coastal republicans WHOSE VOTES NEVER COUNT, inevitably skew these polls eventually (and perhaps by design) leaving us real republican voters with no choice at election time. Argh!

Secondly, this argument by MSM, coastal, RINOs that say the republicans in congress should just lay low for the next few years and play it safe in order to evenually & non-controversially win the senate, is too risky, IMO. We thought that way with Romney in 2012 and we got squat in the senate. What if that happens again & the senate stays, unthinkably, in democrat hands? Disaster!!! We will have lost 3 years not fighting Obama only to get another 2 years with the status quo, democrat Ried-controlled senate going into 2016 even further behind and probably doomed to never win another national election. Folly, I say. We must fight starting NOW and everyday and vote all establishment GOP guys out in primaries over the next few months while demanding the GOP house to stand up and resist at all cost.

Karamazov

Great point.
I will not push the lever for the Whigs such as Chris Cristie or Jeb Bush. Thus a realiable vote in a battleground state lost. Along with the others in the family that feel the same way.
No more Whigs. No more pale pastels. No more charaltans. No more Whigs.

onlyjb1

They said WE couldn’t start a new political party! Ok, so we decided to change an old party into the new party that we envisioned. Now the old moderate GOP is running scared! They see the writing on the wall as we attempt to transform the old party into a new party under the same name. Instead of the grand old party, it will become known as the new Conservative Republican Party! This is why old establishment are using the same tricks, like disinformation and propaganda and the socialist news media to defeat this new movement. Unfortunately this new movement is backed by the awakened American citizens and we know all the progressive / communist tricks of the left! Unfortunately, the socialist news media will not lend positive press to the movement, but that’s not needed and this will be their undoing and will open many eyes come this election time. I just hope we have time to finally witness this change come to fruition! Only time will tell!

 

 

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About arnash

“When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain - Politicians and diapers - change 'em often, for the same reason. "Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other." Ronald Reagan "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views." William F. Buckley, Jr. “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” - Bertrand Russell The people are the masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it. Abraham Lincoln “Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” - George Orwell “Satan will use a lake of truth to hide a pint of poison”.
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