By David Beilstein
WHEN political parties lose there is always hell to pay. Peggy Noonan, Conservative columnist for the Wall Street Journal and former Reagan speechwriter, quoted Heather Higgins of Independent Woman’s Voice:
“A majority of the American people believe that the one good point about Republicans is they won’t raise taxes. However they also believe Republicans caused the economic mess in the first place and might do it again, cannot be trusted to care about cutting spending in a way that is remotely concerned about who it hurts, and are retrograde to the point of caricature on everything else.” She notes that in exit polls Republicans won the “Who shares your values?” question but lost on the more immediately important “Who cares about people like you?” “So it makes sense that many . . . are comfortable with the Republicans providing a fiscal brake in the House, while having the Democrats ‘who care’ own the Senate and the Presidency. And that is what we got.”
Ms Noonan speculates on Ms Higgins comments, pondering this,
The Democrats stayed hungry and keenly alive to the facts on the ground. The Republicans worked hard but were less clear-eyed in their survey of the field. America has changed and is changing, culturally, ethnically—we all know this. Republican candidates and professionals will have to put aside their pride, lose their assumptions, and in the future work harder, better, go broader and deeper.
But it is Ms Noonan’s next paragraph that caught my attention,
We are a center-right country, but the Republican Party over the next few years will have to ponder again what center-right means. It has been noted elsewhere that the Romney campaign’s economic policies more or less reflected the concerns of its donor base. Are those the immediate concerns of the middle and working classes? Apparently the middle class didn’t think so. The working class? In a day-after piece, Washington Post reporters Scott Wilson and Philip Rucker wrote: “As part of his role, [Paul] Ryan had wanted to talk about poverty, traveling to inner cities and giving speeches that laid out the Republican vision for individual empowerment. But Romney advisers refused his request to do so, until mid-October, when he gave a speech on civil society in Cleveland. As one adviser put it, ‘The issues that we really test well on and win on are not the war on poverty.'”
That is the authentic sound of the Republican political operative class at work: in charge, supremely confident, essentially clueless.
My previous posts have tried to provide exegesis on Ms Noonan’s first sentence. In the afterglow of Mitt Romney’s defeat conservatives of every stripe have communicated a ‘there goes the country’ dejection. I’m not sure if that is true. I do think there is a civil war in the GOP. It’ll get worse, too. Ms Noonan aptly points out Republicans are in very different shoes than in previous years when victory was achieved. Mainly, those voting blocks loyal to republicans in years past were economically hurt when republicans ruled the roost. The result was fairly typical – they either did not show up or voted for third party candidates.
More than three million Republican voters didn’t show up Tuesday. And we know Ron Paul’s minions made up two million during Republican primaries and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson totalled a million votes on Nov. 6.
There is simply too many Republican-leaning voters who have neither trust or support in the Republican Party anymore. If Romney had gathered three million votes he would have been President-elect on Wednesday morning.
Neither Ron Paul’s or Gary Johnson’s voters have any love for Barack Obama. They oppose Obama’s policies more than they oppose Republican policies. Still, many of both candidates’ voters used to be reliably Republican going back decades. There is a silver lining here. The Democratic Party has coalesced a divergent group of political entities into one swift electoral hammer blow – while the GOP bleeds support because of moderation on one side and a radical fidelity to religious convictions believed by a minority of people on the other side.
Thus, Republican moderation does not suggest a true alternative to Democratic progressive statism, and religious citizens demanding the Republican Party be the party of God; imposing cultural/moral uniformity on the nation at large, contradicts classical liberal philosophy — breaching the decoupled roles between the Church and the state organically infused into the U.S. Constitution.
The end result is both these two opposing forces within the Republican Party have forced the party to winnow away comprehensive classically liberal approaches to civic governance – disenfranchising key voting blocks because of disconnect.
It will be a corrugated road for the GOP until moderate Republicans are tossed from the party ass-over-teacup and religious citizens realise Christianity itself separates the kingdom of the state and the Kingdom of the Holy, Apostolic, catholic faith glimpsed only in Christ’s Church.
It becomes clear. What most modern evangelical Christians’ desire of the state properly belongs to the Christocentric role of the Church. How a change of direction transpires here is a wonder. There ceases to be much orthodox ecclesiastical distinction among evangelicals whose political proclivities align with the GOP. While opposite the godless utopia of modern progressives, evangelicals see God’s reign and the American realm coupled as one. But the City of God Holy Scripture describes is otherworldly; a heavenly city – one whose Maker and Builder is God.
A City that cannot be hewn into existence by men.