By David Beilstein
This headline may appear strange. Especially, as it were, to men and women having paid attention to Republican politics over the course of 20 years, and why, subsequently, with the Obama White House riddled in scandal, the vaunted party of Abraham Lincoln — the G.O.P., finds itself ideologically and electorally, adrift.
The Grand Old Party is unmoored from its historic, dramatic ideological parable — one used to exposit where America has been, where it is, and where it is going.
The G.O.P., and to a greater degree, the pop conservative movement, has sought relevance outside the dramatic realities of life, unable to put together a narrative to cogently defend the idea of liberal government and its philosophical premises in a classical sense. Without a story, dramatically rendering the past and the present and the future, the details of classical liberalism fall to irrelevancy to many Americans.
Successful politics are about big ideas. Jonah Goldberg, NRO editor, made this point following Romney’s less than successful attempt to oust the most corrupt politician of our time, Barack Obama. Nevertheless, successful politics are about more than big ideas — but the narrative by which those big ideas are exposited to the people of America.
In a word, successful political campaigns — be they electoral, or policy aimed — are implicitly a dramatic story, which not only persuades a plausible explanation of our society to voters and its trajectory, but also incorporates a natural apologetic to its ideological premises. In recent times, Republicans have had no dramatic skills to tell our free republic’s story, nor the obstacles America faces — obstacles that when built, threaten liberty, attenuate individual and corporate mobility, and make people servants of the state, rather than the state a servant of free peoples, who allow through work and life for its existence.
Some of this is due to personality and experience. Republicans and conservatives, often acquiring maturation in the private sector, learning and working and raising families within a penultimate orbit sprinkled with details and facts on the ground, do not always see the need to dramatically contextualise the purposes of our republic and the individuals who live here, however diverse the Madisonian factions of our country exist.
Finally, the Obama White House and its scandals tell a story. A dramatic story. A story that can be structured in a dramatic arc; a narrative, which naturally and descriptively contains within it the apologetic of antipode and antidote which classical liberalism offers to, and also dismantles, progressive ideological premises.
Human beings learn by the narrative of life. Minute details, day in and day out, often go ignored by human being. Suffice to say, it is when the narrative of life (packed with details and human grist) forms a cohesive, though often paradoxical whole, is when life’s assortment of verities effect our lives, contextualise our lives and our politics — shaping fundamental ways how we think — as individuals, communities, and nationally, as a republic.
A dramatic Republican leadership story in response of President Obama’s supposed refutation of scandals affecting his administration and the federal government as nothing more than a “political circus,” is that it is Obama’s scandals that dramatically illustrate the Obama White House has either erected, or not been able to prevent, the government from becoming no more than a political machine of the powerful and elite.
In a sense, scandals, politics are not about details and facts and figures. It is the visual picture and dramatic narrative communicated by people of those details, which create successful throughways into understanding and comprehension about historical circumstances, and the consequences of inept leadership.
There is no better illustration of this point than the old, but true adage the facts of life are conservative. Yet, without a dramatic narrative to encompass that reality in the form of political polemics, structuring a story which meets voters where they live and how they experience this life, and we see those with the facts can finish last at the ballot box. The power of modern Democratic Party is its story — its unfolding narrative, which likewise is the way people learn and decide their lives. But there is severe disconnect between the progressive narrative and the real one — but Republicans have been silent.
Men and women of classical liberal persuasion do not lack verity, nor truth’s attendant details. They lack a dramatic story. Romney had the numbers; the successful business tycoon had the facts and figures — the details as it were.
But Barack Obama had the dramatic story, and this is what people now, and in ages past really respond to. And so, there must be a dramatic story which refutes the large morass of Barack Obama’s on-the-ground policies, which have unleashed upon this once free and constitutional republic a witches-brew of economic and cultural immiseration; and corruption at the highest levels of government; all leading to a dreadfully attenuated individual sovereignty and a collapse of constitutional conceptions of the rule of law.