Anybody Know What ‘Republican’ Means, These Days?

ElephantThe only folk seeming to know that answer are Democrats. It’s clear to them and they make it clear to their spear carriers that Republicans are the out-of-date, selfish and greedy scalawags who stand in the way of progress and try to destroy everything good. And Republicans are liars, too. This sells and the GOP, writhing in its grip, appears unable to respond.

That’s true because the GOP itself is enmeshed in its own battle for control of its ideology and such power as accompanies that control. The sniping between such as Senator John McCain and Senators Rand Paul or Ted Cruz , all Republican stalwarts, illuminates the Republican struggle for a uniform identity.

The recent Presidential election illustrates the dangers of such navel-gazing, the GOP leadership rigged the primaries against a surging, conservative Tea Party element and with gleeful media and Democrat support, emasculated it. And were repaid by watching the reelection of Barack Obama as the Tea Party voters stayed home.

Rather than learning the lesson mastered by past Democrat and Republican leaders who failed, adjusted and progressed in a wiser direction, the party’s leaders are doubling down on the theory, apparently, that they are right, everyone else is wrong and all they must do, is try harder while divesting the party of those who disagree. But those who disagree, is proving to be an increasing number.

The Republican leaders say that the out-of-date Teafolk represent the past; the Founders’ 18th century Liberalism is extinct, a pitch that makes them sound curiously like Democrats. Sounding like Democrats (but slightly watered down) is the magic key to acquiring the youth vote, is the story. And trading in the seniors for the youth is the deal. Forward-looking, right?.  .

A major mouthpiece for those erstwhile Republicans being made to walk the plank, is Senator Rand Paul, who recently said that Republicans will win again “when the party looks more like America.” So far, his voice lacks resonance among the GOP mighty, who seem to feel threatened by his rising prominence.

The Democrats have the left sewed up; they own collectivism and its (tax) and SPEND shtick. Rush Limbaugh spoke to the core of the Left with his: “You can’t fight Santa Claus.” A Republican response of: “We’ll spend, just not so much” doesn’t have that ringing appeal, seems to me. GOP’s Congressfolk Boehner and Mitchel have the power, but lack the salesmanship, or the charisma, or maybe just the understanding that big donors are great but you need LOTS of voters, too. Throwing away lots of proven voters in the hope of gouging some young, new ones out ot the Dems’ hide is betting on the come, and it ain’t coming.

The stuffed elephants ‘leading’ the GOP need to go; they’re blocking the door to progress. With them out of the way, the party can re-recruit those it has forced out and yes, even gain some of those youth so ineffectually pursued ’til now. You’ll think me mad, but new Republican leadership might find fertile youthful ground at places like Harvard, as the linked  article from the Harvard Crimson shows.

The Democrats fought this battle starting a couple of decades ago.Their extreme Left prevailed but didn’t read the losers out of the party; they were better politicians than that. Today’s GOP can gain from aping the Democrat’s organization…but not from aping its politics. Where is the choice between two parties of the Left?

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
This entry was posted in Barack Obama, Democrats, Elections, Ideology, Rand Paul, Republicans, Tea Party, Voting and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Anybody Know What ‘Republican’ Means, These Days?

  1. Do you have any factual support for these claims? Any evidence that “Tea Party voters stayed home”? All evidence points to a significant loss of respect and interest in the Tea Party, so how these voters impacted the election, based on your claims, remains unclear. Where is the evidentiary support?

    • Jack Curtis says:

      Both Republicans and Democrats stayed home if one compares 2010 and 2012; but Republicans, more so. And a large portion of the non-voting Republicans were apparently Teafolk, by their characteristics. will provide more on that.

      You seem to find the decline of Tea Party influence, or increased disparagement of it, a general phenomenon; it appears to me rather Left-centered. The presence of the GOP leadership on the anti-Tea side doesn’t alter that inasmuch as the current Republican leadership is Leftish and wishes to move the party further in that direction, exactly what the Teafolk oppose.
      It seems to me, that the Teafolk were finessed out of influence in selecting the GOP candidate and stopped participating as a response. However correct, that analysis suits the interests of neither the Dems nor the GOP leaders. Facts are often found inconvenient by the mighty.

      • Your link says that IRS targeting was the answer, but this does not make sense. If IRS targeting was the answer, why was it not brought up earlier? If the Tea Party crowd did not know about IRS targeting, how could it have stopped them from voting? The article has huge logical flaws.

        This does not explain the Tea Party losses in what are largely uncompetitive districts, or the general disaffiliation with the Tea Party nationally.

        Furthermore, all of the reasonable polls showed the President’s victory, and did so for months, but everyone was told that the polls were biased, and not to listen to them. The polls ended up being right. So it is not as if a sudden Tea Party dissatisfaction with the candidate could have proven the decisive issue.

        Is it just possible that no one wants to buy your particular brand of politics, and the only person to blame is the message itself?

      • Jack Curtis says:

        The facts reported without disagreement show fewer voters in 2012 than preceding. The missing ingredient for the GOP fits the Tea Party demographics. The IRS affair seems less likely an explanation than some earlier predictions that the Teafolk wouldn’t vote for Romney. That’s all opinion, the facts seem to me to say that those who stayed home were likely Teafolk; an analysis that doesn’t serve the purposes of either Democrat or Republican leaders so they naturally refuse to consider it. Such is politics, these days… More important now, appears to me whether the Tea Parties have gone home and quit when sent by the pundits and popinjays.

      • You say that there were fewer voters, then assume that the deficit was in the Tea Party, but there is no evidence for this. In fact, in September of 2012, was claiming there were 41 million Tea Party supporters ready to vote.

        Was BreitBart wrong?

        Romney lost amongst youth, women, and minorities, groups which by and large do not support the Tea Party either.

        Why do you think that the Tea Party message is not to blame?

      • Jack Curtis says:

        The left, including the GOP leadership, seems to say that the Teafolk are too far right and lost the political center voters.

        An analysis of the Teafolk suggests that those voters are willing to let GOP candidates fail if they disapprove of their stances.

        Breitbart commented that a lot of conservative voters staying home was a major factor in Romney’s loss.

        These are the factors that underlie my opinions stated in the instant post. Of the two analyses, the latter one seems to me the more cogent. It agrees with the political scientists’ analysis of the Teafolk as well as with Breitbart’s political view. The more Leftish analysis seems to me more self-serving (by both Democrats and GOP) and less researched so it seems less credible. But, if one prefers the ‘establishment’ version, he will have lots of company.

      • That is kind of the whole point. It is not that the Tea Party is too far right, I have read a LOT of political theory, and the Tea Party is neither right nor left, they don’t fit within the paradigm. They are not Liberal, but they are not Conservative either, by any accepted definition of Conservative. The best label would be reactionary. And their message is not well accepted. But this is the problem.

        First the problem was that the IRS was suppressing the Tea Party Vote, but that makes sense.

        Then it was that people did not show up, but this makes no sense. No one considered this until after the election was lost, before the election, a massive turnout was predicted. Are we supposed to believe the same source that incorrectly predicted a massive turnout can then be considered a good source that there was a minimal turnout?

        And then there is voting to begin with. Voting is a patriotic function, are we to believe that the Tea Party members would eschew this basic civic responsibility? I have heard nothing from the Tea Party except that President Obama must be removed at all costs, but because Mitt Romney was less than 100% what the Tea Party wanted, they just stayed home?

        Is this really the civic patriotism that the Tea Party is known for? Then there is the local races. Allen West ran in a district that had been solidly Republican since 1989, but he lost.

        Why is it that you provide any explanation for the loss instead of accepting that the message is just bad and not enough people like it?

      • Jack Curtis says:

        Your analysis appeals to me too; the Teafolk are reactionaries, hearkening back to Classical Liberalism. Their recalcitrance leading them to pass on voting in the presidential election was predicted in several places, one of them: . I also read it from Breitbart before the election. My own theory re the Teafolk view of the duty to vote suggests that, seeing two unacceptable alternatives, they could easily vote for neither on principle. And that seems reasonably likely to me…of course, I am emulating that behavior myself, in leaning toward a minority analysis of the drop in the numbers voting. But, there it is…

        Do the Teafolk have a public future? They weren’t an organization, so much as a spontaneous response from disparate and scattered people pulled together via technology and a common reaction to events, seems to me. If so, it can certainly occur again. The failure of the events to cohere into a stable organization reduces the likelihood but fails to cancel it. We may hear again from the ‘Occupy’ fringe, this time more spontaneously as well as the economy stumbles.

        Net result: the Republicans have not resolved their conflict between stated principle and pragmatic politics and will continue to limp but for areas with strong sentiments in one of the two directions prevailing. And those areas’ politicians will conflict until one or the other prevails nationally. One caveat: If a sudden economic event publicly demonizes the Democrats, the GOP may be a short-term beneficiary.

      • So…America was founded on a massive compromise when people could not agree on principle, but were willing to work with others…and the Tea Party instead refuses to compromise…and this is classical liberalism?

        The Tea Party, by your analysis, is opposing the very foundation of the American republic. Please explain. Why is it called the “Tea Party” by the way?

      • Jack Curtis says:

        We’re moving a bit past my post, nor am I expert re the Teafolk. ‘Tea Party’ was attached by a writer likening the phenomenon to the Boston original, by what I’ve read. It stuck and was thereafter adopted. The primary common denominator I detect among them is the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, buttressed perhaps by some of the Founders’ writings. If the Founders had anything in common, I see it as Classical Liberalism and hence, attribute it to the Teafolk (at one remove, by adoption). You see them as reactionary; that seems to me to require a precedent and in this case, that is claimed to be the Founders’ principles.

        Political compromise serves to move toward one’s goal; no politician compromises without gaining something. You don’t pay for nothing, right? In the recent election, a Tea voter might have seen the choice that way, giving reason to abstain. En passant, there seems little political compromise these days, from anyone. Perhaps technology is providing so many windows for people to watch through, that the traditional smoke-filled back rooms are neglected for posturing. And smoke is now disapproved, too…

      • So the Founders’ advocated for representative democracy, because they had issues with decisions that involved their lives, but did not involve them in the decision process. Now we have a group that does involve the constituents. These constituents do have a representative, a representative that was elected through a process that can involve these constituents on a regular basis.

        But they do not like the representative…

        Does anyone recognize how small, petty, and immature this sounds. The FF fought for representation, which we now have in a process that has them elected at regular intervals, but now someone is elected that a group does not work, and rather than simply work with the process, people are advocating a revolution?

        Compromise was the basis of our government, the grand bargain that made the Constitution and Declaration of Independence possible, but now we elect government that cannot compromise, in the spirit of those Founders?

        How does this make sense, and how can someone who has studied American history support it?

      • Jack Curtis says:

        A representative Republic, yes. One in which the power was divided between the states, that picked the Senate and the voters, who picked the House. Now, we have a group represented by both bodies and states sans representation. Not sure that, prior to Magna Carta, the serfs complaining of the Barons’s decisions were appearing small, petty etc.

        Lamenting the absence of willing compromise is probably to some extent, lamenting human nature but it seems to me, that the missing ingredient is about equally absent on both sides here. Hence my wonder as to whether the instant electronic transparency may be a factor in that.

        My impression is that compromise on the Founders’ Constitution was not intended, after it was adopted, less a full Amendment. Their investment in compromise therefore, was limited. We now have a President and Congress attacking the Catholics and some Protestans (and local govts attacking Judaism) e.g. Obamacare mandates on Catholic institutions, gay marriage policies and anti-circumcision ordinances. The Prez just announced that Catholic and Protestant education must end.( CatholicEducation ) We have moved, I think, beyond the Founder’s vision without bothering with Constitutional amendments. If that is valid, the Teafolk, as representatives of the Constitutionm, can’t be criticized for lack of compromise.

        Those who’ve studied American history must then support the Teafolk or repudiate the Constitution and its related socio-religious construct, or repudiate the whole thing from the outset. Or so it seems to me…

        In reality, it seems we’ve bypassed both the Constitution (excepting lip service) and both Christianity and Judaism and are now under full sail without, as a noted historical Brit put it, an anchor.

      • A representative Republic, yes. One in which the power was divided between the states, that picked the Senate and the voters, who picked the House. Now, we have a group represented by both bodies and states sans representation. Not sure that, prior to Magna Carta, the serfs complaining of the Barons’s decisions were appearing small, petty etc.

        My impression is that compromise on the Founders’ Constitution was not intended, after it was adopted, less a full Amendment.

        So the Constitution should be changed by Amendment, but it was an Amendment that put election of Senators up to popular vote. The comment makes no sense in this light. Please explain?

        You have said, “We have moved, I think, beyond the Founder’s vision without bothering with Constitutional amendments.”

        But the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare was Constitutional? How can you say it is not, when the organization with the responsibility to make this decision has already ruled. I suspect the Court will also rule gay marriage is Constitutional.

        Will you agree or oppose the Court?

        Those who’ve studied American history must then support the Teafolk or repudiate the Constitution and its related socio-religious construct, or repudiate the whole thing from the outset. Or so it seems to me…

        Except, as stated above, these things are Constitutional.

        In reality, it seems we’ve bypassed both the Constitution (excepting lip service) and both Christianity and Judaism and are now under full sail without, as a noted historical Brit put it, an anchor.

        Are you saying that the Constitution was the anchor of Christianity and Judaism?

      • Jack Curtis says:

        Yes, I see the Constitution as the anchor for religion in the U.S. governmental framework. It served to keep religion in a particular place, preventing it from asserting political control and protecting it from political control.

        I don’t remember specifying unconstitutional items, but Obamacare as an illustration, is a legal action of government per the Court. One may disagree with the Court, but must recognize its decisions. )At least, until the government itself requires changing, as Jefferson noted in the Declaration.)

        I observe two significant processes seemingly progressing during the last say, 150 years: 1. A socio-political ‘drift’ from the Judeo-Christian, Classical Liberal roots of American society with its emphasis on the individual toward an atheistic, more collective view. 2. A developing pattern by politicians (and the Court)) of implementing that drift into the legal system and into government in disregard of the nicities of the Constitution, unless the case is both flagrant and threatens someone’s reelection. Such things date back at least to President Lincoln, likely earlier. But they seem to me to have enlarged now into a trend.

        We seem to be in the developmental stages of an fiat, rather than constitutional, government. (Probably a reasonably likely result of Marbury vs. Madison)

      • I am not sure your analysis is based in either historical understanding or the root of the American system.

        The social contract that forms the basis of the American Republic was neither necessarily Judeo-Christian, nor would you ever want it to be. In one breath you state that the Constitution prevents and protects politicization of religion, then state that the document is itself a summation of a religious enterprise. This is highly contradictory.

        Additionally, the social contract specifically was designed to adapt as the society needs. The problem that many have does not seem to be government, but that government does not reflect their views as much as they believe it should, which going back to a previous discussion, is highly immature.

        Additionally, you have said this, about the Judeo-Christian roots before, but why is it that countries that have completely abandoned the traditional Judeo-Christian roots, such as Sweden, are doing so well, but the US is doing so poorly?

      • Jack Curtis says:

        It seems reasonable to me that western civilization is characterized as Judeo-Christian; it proceeded from the Graeco-Roman after Justinian replaced paganism with Christianity and was carried forward largely by the Church. That being so, and with the development of Classical Liberalism within that, ascribing Judeo-Christian roots to American society seems necessary. The Constitution is non-sectarian but its implicit values reflect (to me) its Christian sources along of course, with English history. Nor is it in any way anticlerical. In short, the Constitution is a document from and for a Christian people, playing no favorites among churches. It is certainly not a “summation of a religious enterprise.’

        The adaptive mechanism, amendments, was designed to be slow and difficult, which fact leads me to conclude that ready adaptability wasn’t wanted. That came first with Marbury/Madison and second with President Roosevelt’s ‘Court Packing’ ploy. I believe we have become increasingly ‘adaptable’ (with the aid and encouragement of politicians and government) ever since, moving away from the Founders’ original concept. That is my view, likely a minority one these days. As to people acting like spoiled children when they don’t get their way, that strikes me as first, a description commonly applied when the other side disagrees with your actions and second, a fair characterization of humanity…

        “Why are countries that have abandoned their Judeo-Christian roots…doing so well and…the U.S. doing so poorly? A very important question, I believe and one desperately needing much more consideration than it seems to receive these days. I don’t know. Assuming that we don’t differ on ‘doing well” vs.’poorly’ I propose:

        That civilizations are cyclical, forming around some system of ideas that lend cohesion and support common attitudes, behaviors and expectations: a social contract of sorts. Events and advances reduce the utility of that system over time. Some abandon it, others cling to it and many don’t care about it. Government ends as the only source of order and authority. Government being people, is ultimately rejected itself and a new civilization-Phoenix is needed and at some point, appears. If that is what happens, it seems reasonable to me that we are seeing our ‘western civilization’ entering its final times and the answer to your very worthy question would then be: Different people with different experiences and differently sized populations move through the cycle at different rates. But to repeat: I don’t know.

        P.S. Expanding on the hypothesis: Much of the world now being connected, even integrated, is bringing many other, non-western, societies to the same point at what amounts to the same time by appearances. Which provides a great deal to think about!

      • Except it was Constantine who made Christianity the State religion, Justinian was a later Byzantine Emperor?

        The Weberian thesis has long been discredited, I am not sure why you are referencing it, or even if you are aware you are referencing it?

        The most neoliberal economies in the world are actually Asian, not even mildly related to the Judeo-Christian ethic, so your position is hurt badly here, but you do not explain the contradictions?

      • Jack Curtis says:

        Constantine absolutely, in hoc signo vinces and all that, thank you! Editors exist for a reason! I will correct my mistake.

    • the unit says:

      I can get banana split on order at ice cream shop. Have to wait til Christmas season for fruit cake. Or read Joseph Abraham for just plain fruit or nuts!

      • I’m sure you can back that up with a decent factual argumentation…?

      • the unit says:

        Well let’s see. Three statements to defend.
        #1. Go to any Baskin-Robbins.
        #2. Civitans sells for charitable reasons a pretty good fruitcake at Christmas.
        #3. Well…two out of three with facts ain’t bad. Third is just opinion as I get tired of windbags easily these days. You know the joke about opinions I guess? Windbags emit a lot more carbon dioxide and methane though.

      • Jack Curtis says:

        Hmnn…Mr. Abraham’s views would, if stated, add to the discussion, perhaps. It seems to me though, that he questions stated views more often than stating his own. Still, that can be a useful service to the general reader; critics may not be loved but their function is a contribution, right? I appreciate anything that leads folks to think about things…

      • This is “The Unit’s” response, because this is all he (or she to be fair) has. The Tea Party, the Republican Party, and the Constitution Club blog are not considered anti-intellectual for no reason. It is interesting to see how some members consider themselves the bane of liberal thinking, bane of liberal existence, but then surround themselves with like minded people in an echo chamber. This is because it is all bravado, there is really nothing there. The Unit is making rather childish insults….because that is all he has.

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