Friday, November 10, 2006

What Now, Republicans?

So of course now the proverbial fecal lump has really hit the fan. The monster that is the GOP has begun to turn against itself. They've got lots of self-analysis coming. And it's a long time coming. Conservative nuts like Hannity and Limbaugh are turning on their former leaders with a heaping load of hypocritical vengeance. Word is out that the Republicans have lost their traditional conservative values. What a surprise! Where have these folks been over the last six years?

These pundits parroted the Bush administration talking points for so long that they started to believe them. Now they are shocked to see, via exit polls, that more Americans place their trust in the Democratic party for addressing the federal deficit, lowering taxes for the middle class, and decreasing government spending. It seems a bit disingenous to me. All of a sudden they realize that the GOP is responsible for the most wasteful, corrupt political era in modern history? I don't buy it. Would they be making these assertions if the Republicans would have been able to maintain their hold on power? I don't think so. Call me cynical.

So who is out? Donald Rumsfeld? Of course it has NOTHING to do with the Democratic sweep. Bush claims, despite his pre-election prevarications, that he was going to dump Rumsfeld anyway. I'm not so sure I believe that. But regardless, he's being forced to break his ties to the neo-con cabal. Many observers see the shadow hand of George Sr. in this change in direction. Robert Gates is a Bush 41 man. And so is James Baker, who as we speak, is preparing an exit strategy for Iraq. The father is taking away his son's toy... which unfortunately for 300 million Americans just happens to be their homeland and its military. I wouldn't be too surprised to see a gradual draw-down of troops announced this Christmas. At this point the GOP can't politically afford two more years of Iraqi mire. Prepare yourself for Mission Accomplished Part Two.

The big mystery is who will come out on top in the fight for control of the remains of the Republican Party. Will it be the Christian Conservatives- otherwise known as the "Theo-cons"? If that's the case, then they will eventually have to develop a platform that extends past the wedge issues of gay marriage and abortion. Did anyone really buy all that compassion crap? No... that would entail social programs to help the underprivileged. That's not likely with the looming federal debt. Perhaps a "small government" party seeking to build off of a growing libertarian strain in modern politics? Well... that would entail a downsizing of the military and a reduction of corporate subsidies. The groups that benefit from government contracts and handouts are the ones that finance the GOP. No chance. Maybe it transform into a populist party that tries to reclaim the center of the political spectrum that the Democrats have effectively stolen. But do you really see the Republicans calling for a higher minimum wage and an end to the disastrous free-trade policies that have siphoned jobs from the nation? Me neither.

I really do think that the Democrats are better positioned to take up some of these causes. Yet I have an almost equal amount of cynicism regarding that potentiality. There are not many politicians I trust to embrace the issues that loom over our future. What would bipartisanship even look like nowadays? It would probably be aimed at simply maintaining a stasis... at best decelerating our forward march to disaster. We are in for a bumpy ride. It's time for fresh ideas, but I don't believe that they will come from the leadership of either of the major political parties.

Alternative energy... electoral reform... fiscal responsibility... a just and equitable tax system... nuanced diplomacy... international cooperation... human rights...

Who will embrace these values?

2 Comments:

Anonymous jefg said...

"Who will embrace these values?"

I note in your post both optimism and pessimism.

Honestly, I think the American public (ummm...that'd be the majority) would be more than willing to embrace those values. I wouldn't care what party. But, to get people onboard with some meaningful commitment, it will take a strong leader. Frankly, I don't see one. Do you? Is there some sleeper out there who will emerge in the next year and bring some optimistic (and realistic) approach to some pretty formidable tasks. I wouldn't be looking for a God-like saviour (history has been down that road with some not-so-positive results), just an honest even-handed open-minded (and bright would not hurt) person.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

jefg,

I don't think anyone from either of the two major parties is ready to do anything about electoral reform. Neither do I believe the majority of the public has invested much thought in the system. People seem more apt to simply claim ignorance and throw their trust behind whatever party they have traditionally embraced.

Most would be behind a more equitable tax system... but they are too easily distracted by one-time $300 handouts, distributed while the wealthy get significant (and permanent) tax breaks.

No... I really haven't identified any single articulate and thoughtful politician likely to spearhead such significant changes. This movement is going to have to be built from the bottom... in a grassroots style... gradually... until our leaders can no longer ignore it.

11:55 AM  

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