By David Beilstein
ANDREW MCCARTHY at National Review posted a scathing review of the Republican Party in total. A home run. McCarthy goes through the election numbers but more importantly the resent past of the Grand Old Party. I could spend a half-dozen posts on this one article alone.
The easiest thing for me to do is commend McCarthy. I agree with every damn thing he says. The Republican Party in Washington is a progressive party and is not serious at all about reducing the size of government. Check out House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) balling and trying to compromise with the president. It’s distressing. Why House Republicans cannot find a classically liberal version of Harry Reid’s obstructionist passion against Bush inside themselves does not make sense until you get one thing straight: Washington Republicans are reticent progressives.
They lost the 2012 election to the Democratic true believers. The Grand Old Party might even like being a minority party — gripped by a chance to run alongside Leviathan, but never attempting to slay it.
The support Mitt Romney needed to be president is fed-up. And they stayed home. An increasing amount of them echo such Ron Paul-ian diatribes as “there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats” and they are more correct than Republican loyalist conservatives will admit.
McCarthy brought his sledgehammer to work,
The brute fact is: There are many people in the country who believe it makes no difference which party wins these elections. Obama Democrats are the hard Left, but Washington’s Republican establishment is progressive, not conservative. This has solidified statism as the bipartisan mainstream. Republicans may want to run Leviathan — many are actually perfectly happy in the minority — but they have no real interest in dismantling Leviathan. They are simply not about transferring power out of Washington, not in a material way.
McCarthy’s concluding thoughts are even better,
Republicans talk about limited central government, but they do not believe in it — or, if they do, they lack confidence that they can explain its benefits compellingly. They’ve bought the Democrats’ core conceit that the modern world is just too complicated for ordinary people to make their way without bureaucratic instruction. They look at a money-haemorrhaging disaster like Medicare, whose unsustainability is precisely caused by the intrusion of government, and they say, “Let’s preserve it — in fact, let’s make its preservation the centrepiece of our campaign.” The calculation is straightforward: Republicans lack the courage to argue from conviction that health care would work better without federal mandates and control — that safety nets are best designed by the states, the people, and local conditions, not Washington diktat. In their paralysis, we are left with a system that will soon implode, a system that will not provide care for the people being coerced to pay in. Most everybody knows this is so, yet Republicans find themselves too cowed or too content to advocate dramatic change when only dramatic change will save us. They look at education, the mortgage crisis, and a thousand other things the same way — intimidated by the press, unable to articulate the case that Washington makes things worse.
McCarthy buttressed his comments further with an appeal to the spending record of George W. Bush — numbers National Review’s Jonah Goldberg recorded in 2004. That’s a pretty bad list to be sure. It tore any credibility out from underneath Republicans feet for a good many years; especially sense the financial collapse happened on Dubya’s watch.
It becomes clear, then, the GOP wrote checks economically, and politically, it could not cash. Tuesday, Nov. 6, Republicans found out the effect of that when they lost an election they should have won by almost every historical indicator. Moreover, when duty called and a consistent classical liberal record could have been forged (this precedes Bush) conservatives were out there as cultural-warriors, championing clowns like Rick Santorum, worried people were doing more than eating Frito Lays in their bedroom.
It’s crap, I’m sorry.
Meanwhile, Santorum is championed from high to low as a conservative from people who ought to know better. Mr Vatican signed all of the big Bush progressive spending legislation! And Bush ranks below only Obama and LBJ in terms of the heft of profligate spending. That kind of inconsistency has been found out, folks. And it’s been going on for a while. The House Republican leadership is even worse. It’s no longer just Democratic Party leftists who find the GOP completely irrational — tilting toward becoming comically irrelevant.
The Democratic Party could not invent a better party record to run against. And that feeling has spread to regular folks. In a previous post I suggested Republicans in Congress should seek to destroy Obama’s presidency politically. I meant it. But I should have remembered. Republicans do not have the stones for that kind of political attack. Harry Reid did it against President George W. Bush — then again, Harry Reid’s a former pugilist.
It now seems likely the GOP will have to be completely destroyed and rebuilt from the ground up in order to be a significant classically liberal party actually aroused by Enlightenment principals of Constitutional government — enabled to approach government as the problem, not the solution. That was Reagan’s slogan. I cannot imagine a Washington based Republican fantasising about such a sentiment.
Sadly, it will require that kind of ideological edge to invigorate the support the GOP needs to be politically effective — to cruise back to majorities, reducing the size and scope of the Federal Beast.
But the question is — is it too late?