A Missed Opportunity for the Republican Party

Part 1

In a few weeks, the election will be over and the Republican Party will ask itself where it went so wrong that caused them to be beaten so badly. McCain is a war hero, loads of experience and fairly clean for a politician. What is not to like? I can save some time and clear things up for them. McCain failed to clearly stand for anything.

Maybe We Should Subsidize Fertilizer
Maybe We Should Subsidize Fertilizer

Obama seems to be a good man overall. He is compelling, dynamic and strikes me as someone who believes in what he is saying. The problem is not whether he is a nice man though. At issue is whether he will do a good job with the country. His prescription for how to best fix things: follow one of largest expansions of government spending in the history of the country with an even larger one. If you think that is a good thing or that productive people have a responsibility to work for those who are not productive you can stop reading here.

When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic. Benjamin Franklin July 4th, 1776

In any interview with McCain and in any opportunity to spell out his plans, the answer to any question that comes up invariably involves spending more money. According to the National Taxpayers Union John McCain will increase annual federal spending by $92 billion and Barack Obama will add $293 billion. If the race is to be decided by whoever promises the most to the public, McCain is getting beaten badly. At the same time, it is very difficult to put on a serious face about being fiscally conservative when you are saying that you want to increase the budget deficit by 20% your first year in office.

The question is, if McCain is not trying to buy the vote with his fancy promises of fairytale government healthcare (still socialized healthcare, but not AS socialized as Obama’s doesn’t sound that nice), increased privatization of foolish real estate speculating or a myriad of other attempts to take from those who are productive and give to those who are not, then what IS he trying to appeal to voters on?

The answer to why McCain got slaughtered in this election is not that he is old, boring, choose a running mate that talks to her invisible friends or even that he is following an awful president from his own party. The answer is that he does not stand for ANYTHING. There may have been a time when John McCain spoke his peace and stood up for what he thought was right even if it was against the advice of his political handlers. That time is long gone.

McCain’s platform is now a mush of compromises intended to appeal to the most people possible. The result is a plan where any underlying guiding principles or philosophy that he may have once possessed has been obliterated. Trying to appeal to the “average” American who shoves fast food in their face by day and rots their brain at night with American Idol and the like on TV is not the answer to fixing what is wrong with this country. These people will continue to fester and decay and their vote is not what is going to chart a successful course for the country (although it may lead to government subsidized McDonalds in 2012 paid for with more debt and the sweat of the few remaining productive people of this country).

The Republicans have missed an opportunity to define themselves for future generations. Instead of being a party that stood for letting honest men earn and keep the product of their efforts, they grasp onto scaled down versions of the same social engineering experiments the Democrats are proposing. It is as if they are conceding things like “Capitalism doesn’t work”/ “The Free Market Failed” etc. but don’t want to address it as aggressively as the Democrats. Instead of defending the principles that built the country, the Republican’s have given tacit endorsement to having the role of the government be that of a Nanny.

Rather than debate whether the government should be growing at all, the only permissible conversation is how MUCH the government should grow. When you don’t stand for the free market (healthcare, banking etc.), when you don’t stand for personal responsibility (socialize losses from foolish real estate investments), when you don’t stand up for free speech (warrant less wiretaps) and you have no plans to reduce our foreign presence (permanent troops in over 130 countries), what DO you stand for?

Up next: What can we do about it BEFORE the election?

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2 thoughts on “A Missed Opportunity for the Republican Party

  1. As a Democrat I have to agree with you. It feels a little late in the game for McCain to be using the tried and true populist themes (lower taxes, guns, anti-communism, individual rights, etc.) to close the gap. It just doesn’t seem like a platform. It feels more like a last ditch attempt and just comes off as slop. If he had been on a solid platform earlier on this might have seemed more sincere.

    As a Democrat I believe that everyone in this country deserves a shot. If they take advantage of that shot then great. If they screw up and want to sit on their butt, then that is their problem. The problem, of course, is that really poor people who crash and burn end up putting an even greater strain on the system (e.g. the “dole” in England). This could be said for the folks who took out loans they couldn’t afford.

    Light regulation, and a mild tax breaks for poorer people should have the effect of giving these people a slight initial boost. The American Way is about working honest and hard. Sure, it would be great if everyone could afford to pay an extra 3% in taxes but many can’t. Only by growing a strong middle class (instead of letting it shrink) and providing a slight boost to those aspiring to the middle class, can we realize the American Dream.

    85-90% of all Americans are broke if you remove the value of their homes. The current situation is not a verdict on the free market. The situation was caused by a classic bubble and grew out of control once the whole world was allowed to bet on it. Bubbles have always been part of the free-market and will always be part of the free market. Mild regulation is often necessary to prevent criminal activity.

    I’m babbling obviously. But I think you’re right about your candidate’s message or lack thereof. Most people don’t understand the differences between the parties outside of a couple buzz phrases like “they’ll take what is yours”,”they’re socialists”, etc. The kind of conservatism you’re advocating is probably far more agreeable to Democrats than the bloated, corrupt, foolish acts of the past 8 years.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I have a second half of the article / post that I will put up tomorrow with a call to action for anyone – especially conservatives – who might be disillusioned with their choices. As a hint to the subject matter – I realized that the Republican party did not want me in 2000. McCain has never been my candidate and that is too bad.

    The past 8 years are a black mark on us all – both sides of the aisle included. I hope you didn’t give me a nod that I did not deserve when you implied I understood the differences between Dems and Republicans outside of buzz phrases. I think they are largely the same when it comes down to it.

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