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Old 2009-05-13, 23:33   #1
cheesehead
 
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Default Rabies for the Republican Party

As a former moderate Republican whom online political quizzes rate as still moderate (at the triple border of libertarian/liberal/centrist), I think it's important for each of the two major American political parties to act as a rational check-and-balance brake upon the other, whenever each finds itself in the minority. So, from my POV, each party should carefully consider the views of its extremists (who may have a good idea once in a while), but not allow the extremists to take over the party.

In this regard, the GOP has sinned in recent years. The consequence of its having pushed the national pendulum too far to the right is that now the backlash has considerable chance of running that pendulum way too far to the other side. In order to be an effective force in limiting the leftward excursion, Republicans need to recognize and abandon certain right-wingisms that aren't helpful.

I've frequently expressed, in earlier threads of this forum, some criticisms of ideas that were issued by conservative think-tanks in the 1970s. I'm also a frequent critic of the anti-science non-rationality that the Religious Right's excessive influence in the GOP has brought into Republican policy in the past two to three decades.

Now that the Republican Party is widely seen as having crumbled recently, I wish to explore potential remedies to enable it to regain effectiveness as a balancing force. That's my intended theme of this thread. There can be explorations of how it went wrong, but those need to be accompanied by remedies for the maladies. (Sometimes it will seem simple: kick the kooks out. But kooks can vote, too. Can the kooks be reformed, or the kookism tamed? How might society minimize creation of future kooks?)

BTW, I sometimes let my emotions get the better of my rationality. If you see that I've not followed my own thread guideline about balancing criticism with remedy, please feel free to call my attention to such.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2009-05-13 at 23:37
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Old 2009-05-14, 01:57   #2
Prime95
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Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
... its having pushed the national pendulum too far to the right ...
I think this is an over-simplification. I think the Republican's 3 biggest sins over the last decade were not related to the ultra-right-wing of the party getting their way.

1) The Republicans are supposed to be the national security party. Yet, they went to war and mismanaged it. Americans are willing to go to war, but you'd better have a plan for winning it and extracting the troops in a reasonable time-frame. Bush had plans for winning, but no plans for getting us out.

2) The right is supposed to be for smaller government. Instead, they acted like hypocritical pigs at the trough. Even if you ignore the war costs, spending ballooned.

3) The Republicans like to champion themselves as capable of running an efficient government. Then came Katrina.

As to your question of how they can come back, I don't think they can unless Obama and the Democrats fail. The Republican's currently strategy is to complain about the deficits, new spending, and bailouts. Yet, everyone remembers just 5 months ago Bush was doing the same thing. This is clearly a losing strategy and looks like insincere political posturing at best, whining at worst.

The Republicans need to develop a platform a la 1994's Contract with America. They need to admit their failures and propose specific remedies they will implement to show they've changed. Big ideas are needed, not small ones.

One example of questionable constitutionality:

1) We will fight waste: If elected we will pass a law that allows the president or state governor to cancel any earmark spending and have the cash go to the state to spend as it sees fit.

Other big ideas they could add (and its easy to come up with more):

1) Fair tax.
2) End or severely cut agricultural and a host of other subsidies
3) Specific regulatory reform for banks and insurance companies
4) A workable Social Security / Medicare plan.

They also need to abandon the capitalism-solves-all-ills rhetoric. Anyone with half a brain watching the economic collapse over the last 2 years knows that regulation is necessary. Also, admit that the health insurance system is broken - propose a plan rather than arguing for the status quo.


Sorry for the rather rambling response. In conclusion, the problems listed above are enormous. The leadership is so incompetent, beholden, and backward-looking that they have little chance of overcoming their problems anytime soon. New young leadership is needed.

P.S. I agree that de-emphasizing the religious / pro-abortion / anti-science stance will help too. Cater to independent, libertarian crowd instead.

Last fiddled with by Prime95 on 2009-05-14 at 01:59
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Old 2009-05-14, 04:03   #3
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Just for the record, the original title for this thread was (in case someone finds that it has changed :) "Rabies for the Republican Party".
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Old 2009-05-14, 04:12   #4
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1) We will fight waste: If elected we will pass a law that allows the president or state governor to cancel any earmark spending and have the cash go to the state to spend as it sees fit.
1) I'm confused; are you saying Republicans should propose that, or that they already have proposed that?

2) "to cancel any earmark spending and have the cash go to the state to spend as it sees fit" ?? -- Do you mean that if a $10 million earmark for a bridge-to-nowhere in Alaska (:-) is cancelled, the state of Alaska gets the $10 million anyway and can spend that as it sees fit (including on some bridge-to-the-same-nowhere)?
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Old 2009-05-14, 04:22   #5
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Just for the record, the original title for this thread was (in case someone finds that it has changed :) "Rabies for the Republican Party".
Those who can change titles, can also change posts. Just sayin'.
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Old 2009-05-14, 04:43   #6
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Those who can change titles, can also change posts. Just sayin'.
The more times I repeat the original title ("Rabies for the Republican Party"), the more tedious will be their task.

- -

Also, those of you who are of like mind can stash copies of the original title in various documents, a la samizdat. They won't find them all!

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2009-05-14 at 04:48
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Old 2009-05-14, 12:10   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
1) I'm confused; are you saying Republicans should propose that, or that they already have proposed that?
I'm saying that is an example of a novel idea that they could propose.

Quote:
...is cancelled, the state of Alaska gets the $10 million anyway
I suggest that as a matter of political expediency. Congressmen will never give up earmarking. I doubt they'd ever pass a law giving president or governor veto power over the earmark. If the state got the cash, a congressman still gets to gloat to his constituents about bringing home the bacon. Hopefully, the state would spend the money more wisely...at least there is a chance for that.

Alternative proposals are welcome. I'm just saying they need to think outside the box. Originality and sincerity count.

Last fiddled with by Prime95 on 2009-05-14 at 14:40
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Old 2009-05-14, 12:30   #8
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Quote:
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As to your question of how they can come back, I don't think they can unless Obama and the Democrats fail.
Today's Republicans look like the UK Conservative Party of the nineties: bereft of ideas, weak in leadership, incompetent in government, and mired in corruption. Unsurprisingly they were wiped out in the General Election of '97. The incoming Labour Government was fresh-faced and energetic.

Fast forward to today, and the situation has reversed. Now it's the Labour Party which looks tired, weak, incompetent and corrupt, and if they don't seem to be as bad as the Tories were back then, it's probably because they haven't been in office as long.

I'm absolutely convinced that being in power corrupts the ruling party, and no party should be allowed to govern more than a decade at a time. That also appears to be the shelf life of a leader.

I've no doubt that the Republicans will come back. It might take one or two more electoral thumpings to bring them to their senses, but they will come round eventually.

Last fiddled with by Mr. P-1 on 2009-05-14 at 12:31
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Old 2009-05-14, 13:47   #9
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I'm tired of politics. I agree with Prime95, that the biggest mistakes the Republicans made were not really related to the right wing of the party. It was Republicans not being conservative, lying, etc...

Regarding Republican anti-science... what bothers me is that Democrats can be just as anti-science when it doesn't fit into their politics. Bush was right (one of the few times) to prevent experimentation on certain cells, as an alternate means was found to get stem cells. But strangely, the Democrats (just recently) allowed the experimentation to go forward even thought there is now an alternate source for cells which avoids the moral questionability.
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Old 2009-05-14, 16:14   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prime95 View Post
As to your question of how they can come back, I don't think they can unless Obama and the Democrats fail. The Republican's currently strategy is to complain about the deficits, new spending, and bailouts. Yet, everyone remembers just 5 months ago Bush was doing the same thing. This is clearly a losing strategy and looks like insincere political posturing at best, whining at worst.
I think it is telling that the GOP "strategy for winning" more or less amounts to "hoping Obama and the Democrats fail" on all major fronts ... to fix the economy, extract the troops cleanly from Iraq, make progress in Afghanistan, etc. Hell, many of them seem to be secretly (and in some cases not so secretly) hoping there's another big terrorist attack on Obama's watch, so they can leap to the top of their ethical dungpile and crow about "We protected 'Mericans from terrorism".

On the few issues (such as reining in government spending) where they actual might have had something positive to contribute, their utter hypocrisy based on their deafening collective silence on the very same topics during the Bush years means they have ceded any right to be taken at all seriously on such matters. They love to invoke to the ghost of Ronald Reagan, but conveniently forget that when faced with a difficult choice of allowing the budget deficit to balloon or raise taxes, Reagan actually had the integrity to do the latter. Today's Repugnicans seem to only remember how well that worked for Bush Sr. (as if that were the only reason he lost his re-election bid to Clinton) and appear to have taken a religious oath to never raise anybody's taxes ever again for any reason. Of course imposing huge hidden and future taxes by running massive deficits which will either require someone to raise taxes or severely deflate the dollar down the road, that they have no problem with: "We made your life's savings worth half what they should be, but hey - we didn't raise your taxes. Aren't we great?"

It's a sad day when I almost long for the days of Newt Gingrich, because compared to the current bunch he actually had just a tiny smidge of integrity and wasn't completely beholden to the radical religious right.
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Old 2009-05-14, 17:37   #11
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On the few issues (such as reining in government spending) where they actual might have had something positive to contribute, their utter hypocrisy based on their deafening collective silence on the very same topics during the Bush years means they have ceded any right to be taken at all seriously on such matters.
Deafening collective silence? Maybe among those at capital hill. However, among the rank-and-file there was a huge uproar. Among the talk-show folks (who I personally find too right wing) there was outcry also.
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