As some may have noticed, my posting frequency has been dropping, and it’s going to be (at best) intermittent until sometime around early November. My job has shifted to “field season,” which means I’ll be out of contact for periods of time and what spare time I do have is usually spent on other things besides blogging. What blogging I might be able to squeeze in is probably going to end up on my other blog, not here. Now, on to the politics!
I’ve devoted several posts to the Republican Party’s failing attempt to attract a wider and more diverse set of voters. Their major problems with that, and the reason I said “failing,” is that the voters they’re trying to attract not only don’t believe them, they don’t like what the Republican Party is saying or doing. How do I know that? All I have to do is look at the reactions and polls. I do have some suggestions, which, yes, I know, they won’t listen to.
1) Develop a set of principles you’re actually willing to stand by. I’m sure that any Republicans reading this will immediately point to their party’s platform, and swear up and down that they mean it. They don’t, not really. That’s why they come off as massive hypocrites. “Small government,” “Government is the problem,” “We want the Constitution to be followed,” and so on are all things you’ll see them say on every conservative blog and media outlet. It’s complete bullshit. All I have to do is look at the reactions to the sequester, the calls for aid when a disaster strikes, the growth of government agencies – including creating new ones – whenever the Republicans are in charge, and the reactions to anything except the Second Amendment to realize that. Blindly following a discredited economic philosophy, saying that “deficits are important” while actually increasing them when you’ve had control of the government just adds to the impression that you don’t mean what you’re saying. So why not develop some that you’re actually willing to implement and live with?
2) Embrace reality. Without that, you’re not going to get step 1 finished. As I said in an earlier post, “Facts only “have a liberal bias” because you deny them. They really don’t have a “bias,” they’re objective.” That means putting a stop to things like this:
Tremblay is part of a disturbing trend of – conservative state legislators and even congressmen entertaining conspiracy theories that are creepy and unseemly coming from average citizen, but a sign of civic rot when they start getting parroted by elected officials. (snip)
This week in Missouri, state legislators voted to cut funding for the state’s divers license bureau because it had been tasked in 2003 with also overseeing concealed-carry permits. The wife of state Rep. Kenneth Wilson explained – in the words of the Columbia Tribune – that the bureau “was part of a plot to impose United Nations policies in this country. ‘I have been doing some study on U.N. Agenda 21,’ Melissa Wilson… told the committee. ‘With this information going to the federal government, I feel that I will be a target. With Agenda 21, I will be someone who will be put on a watch list.’” She added that Agenda 21 is being pushed through in part because of a mass brainwashing known as the Delphi Technique.
Seriously. Completely discredited conspiracy theories being promulgated as “reality” by your legislators!
Cut through the nonsense and we are left with two questions. First, should Americans support mass transit, denser urban development, bike paths and the like because the UN wants them to? Of course not. Spittle-flecked Bircherism notwithstanding, America’s scepticism of top-down internationalism is on balance a good thing, better by far than ceding national sovereignty to people unelected by that nation’s voters. But there is a more important question: should Americans oppose mass transit, denser urban development, bike paths and the like because a document published 20 years ago by the UN supports such measures? Again, of course not. Slavish opposition is just as liberty-sapping as slavish endorsement. Some things are a good idea even if a UN document says they are a good idea.
It goes hand in hand with being against a UN treaty on arms trafficking which was written and pushed through the UN by the Bush administration! That’s just a small sample of what your Party has been going off the rails about, and it’s not helping you. Global climate change, caused by humans, is real. Science is real. Coal, oil, and gas supplies will eventually start to decline, leading to extremely high prices. Our transportation infrastructure needs serious repair or replacement. There are problems which are real, and if you want to come up with solutions, it does help to be on the same planet as the rest of us.
3) Read and understand the Constitution. When Republicans took over the House after the 2010 election, they made a big deal of publicly reading the Constitution on the first day. Unfortunately, that appears to be the last time they looked at it, and their memory isn’t very good. For all the claims of “defending the Constitution,” and all the comments made on conservative media, it’s apparent that your actual respect for that document is virtually non-existent, and only when it’s expedient for you. A great deal of time was spent recently talking about the Second Amendment. Then came the Boston bombings, and Republicans immediately forgot that the 4’th, 5’th, and 6’th Amendments existed. Dr. Ben Carson was “defended” for his comments by pointing to the First Amendment, which was conveniently brushed aside when it came to attempting to install a state religion. Helpful hint: The First Amendment does not shield you from the consequences of your speech. It just gives you the right to say it. Over and over again, the Republican Party has demonstrated its inability to understand what the Constitution says, instead picking and choosing which section they feel like following on any given day or which they think justifies them. It doesn’t work that way.
4) Along with #3, recognize that government is not only necessary, it requires you to participate. For the past 5 years, Republicans have been “the Party of NO.” Standard, previously non-controversial, routine business, even legislation that was their idea, has been blocked, simply because it might make the President look good or he asked for it. That “works” in a parliamentary system, it doesn’t in the form of government we actually have. In our system of government, you are required to “do the work,” since you control one house of Congress. That means that you have to learn to compromise, because otherwise the people you represent will start to realize that they like a lot of the things that government is doing and you’re either stopping it from happening or trying to do away with it. When they realize that, they might just decide your Party isn’t what they want holding office.
Those, along with my previous “tips” are a start. It’s at the core of why the Republicans have been watching a shrinking base, and to be honest, it’ll shrink even faster once President Obama leaves office and they won’t have the racist contingent to keep voting for them rather than the “scary black man.” I see a lot of ex-Republicans out there, and that’s because the Republican Party decided to “embrace the crazy” and they decided to get out while the getting was good. Young people and minorities who might have some reasons to join are equally turned off by it. Until the Republican Party gets serious about what it’s about, it isn’t going to be getting any larger, just smaller.
The system of government we have rather requires having two major parties, but the way things are going, it’s looking like the Republican Party is busily making itself into a minor party. While that’s good for Democrats, it’s not the best thing for the country. I miss the days when I could debate with pragmatic Republicans, but those days are gone. I’d like to be able to do again.