My Conservative Friends Keep Missing Opportunities

Mike King's picture

Alas, as a staunch right-winger I cannot help being at a loss at the direction of the Republican Party. With all their rhetoric about the doom and gloom pertaining to the Obama Budget, why is it that just now they are offering an alternative?

Why did they waste their entire time while in the majority and did absolutely nothing to remedy issues like Social Security. We from both sides of the aisle can agree that it must be addressed. Recently, a really fine mess was made of the immigration issue(with help from their friends, surely).

As fiscal conservatives, they failed miserably and with a Chief Executive who lacked the fortitude to veto any budget until he actually realized that he was being played as Congress's personal budget puppet. While in the majority in Congress, the Republicans never garnered the acroos the board angst received by the likes of Pelosi and Reid with the exception perhaps of Gingrich who simply fed off the morality of the Clinton administration without regard to his own personal life.

Say what you will about our current Chief Executive, but at least give credit for doing exactly what he said as a candidate. This, at least to me shows the potential for getting things done, so why not entertain the idea of term limits for Members of the House of Representatives and return to the fifty state legislatures the responsibility of appointing Senators and put an end to the career politicians from both sides of the aisle that continue to hamper the effectiveness of government.

Just a thought.

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JeffC's picture
Submitted by JeffC on Thu, 04/02/2009 - 2:53pm.

Republicans are certainly not going to take advice from me but I'm throwing in my two cents worth anyway.

The Party has been taken over by the radical wing similar to the position the Dems found themselves in at the end of the sixties. Conservative Dems were purged followed by the moderates as the McGovern/Kennedy wing gained control. Carter won by being the first to implement a 50 state campaign to acquire enough delegates to win but this was an anomaly. Remember the convention in '80 when Kennedy pranced around the podium snubbing Carter by not shaking his hand and contributing to a further split in the Party?

Bush seriously damaged the Party, both with the war and with his fiscal policies. Hard core Reps agreed with the war but rightly or wrongly the voting public was alienated by, if not the war itself, then the prosecution of it. Probably much of the backlash can be attributed to Bush's policies which caused people to doubt the Reps foreign policy, always a big plus for the Party until now, and to doubt their claim to fiscal responsibility. This made it extremely hard for candidates to sell on those two issues leading to the nomination of the “maverick” candidate who ran a deeply flawed campaign.

The Party stalwarts have interpreted McCain's loss as a repudiation of Rep. moderation and have clamored for a return to more doctrinaire and rigid conservative litmus test in an effort to “cleanse” the Party. I am astounded when I hear Rush celebrate the defeat of the few remaining moderate Republicans.

The Party must open up and accept new voters instead of shrinking itself. There just aren't enough hard core conservatives (as defined by the Rush/Hannity clique) to win national elections. This is going to be very difficult for technical and issue reasons. Because of redistricting, the Reps left are from the safest districts representing the hardest core, not unlike our own county. Those left in office naturally have control of the Party apparatus and are veering the Party more to the right than ever. At the same time, the most prominent Party spokesmen have been identified as Rush/Hannity/Beck... flamethrowers preaching incendiary rhetoric to the choir. We're working to promote Savage as a spokesman too. May as well throw in the most rabid dog. All clamoring daily for the purification of the Party. Shrinking the base.

Your issues work against the Party too. Abortion is a litmus test for the Rs while the Ds can be for it or against it. Regardless of the merits of the issue, it is not an issue which increases the Party. You've already got them, and for the vast majority of people its an issue they wish would go away. Hispanic voter should be a natural for the Party, hard working, self reliant, mostly Catholic, more conservative on family values than average. Thankfully, the Party's extremism on illegal immigration led by right wing talk radio and nuts like Tancredo drove all those potential voters to the Ds. The religious fundamentalists work against the Party too. They have so much influence that Palin became VP with her only qualification being the she was one of them and didn't have an abortion. They hurt Romney's chances because he was a Mormon. A total non-issue for the Ds. When Udall ran, I don't ever remember it being mentioned. Most people don't even know that Harry Reid is Mormon. Again, you've already got them. Somehow the Party has to move on. Most people don't think the world is flat and Adam and Eve lived with the dinosaurs. Fiscal policy? After Bush its just a marginal advantage at best. If Obama's policies work, and I suspect they will because we always recover sooner or later and Obama will most certainly claim credit, the issue becomes one for the Ds; specially after the leader of the Rs so publicly proclaimed he wanted Obama to fail. And there has to be something besides tax cuts. A good issue but limited.

It looks bad, sho' nuff. The Ds were out for 20 years except for the Carter insurgency. The only real answer is rebuilding and broadening the Party. Waiting for politicians to vote term limits on their own selves or pining for a Constitutional amendment to repeal elections for Senators is just wishful thinking.

And anyway... do you really want government to be more effective?

Mike King's picture
Submitted by Mike King on Fri, 04/03/2009 - 8:31am.

Points well taken and your comments are always insightful. But allow me to comment on your rather satirical question pertaining to our government being more effective. Mr Obama's time in office has shown itself to be potentially more effective than any president in recent memory. I say this at risk of taking ire from those who continue to worship the mystique of Reagan conservatism.

Factually, the major issues facing both the economy and foreign policy for America have been allowed to fester by an unwilling Congress to do their collective jobs. Whether they be Ds or Rs, it has made no difference as they continue to wallow in their own self importance. Scandal after scandal they just continue to be reelected, can you honestly say that you are truly comfortable with Nancy Pelosi being two heartbeats from the Presidency?

There was serious debate in 1994-5 about term limits led by none other than Georgia's own Newt Gingrich, but by a 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court it was tossed. We limit local and state elected officials so why not Members of Congress. Today's high court might just well allow Congress to limit themselves and since they will not restrict themselves we are stuck trying to do the near impossible of tossing out incumbents.

I would like to see substantially more effective government that I believe would be enhanced by a competent President and an equally effective Legislative Branch. Maybe with an infusion of ample new blood in Congress we could see this in our lifetimes.

After all, I can hope, can't I?

JeffC's picture
Submitted by JeffC on Fri, 04/03/2009 - 9:00am.

And I would and do support term limits.

In retrospect, the Amendment to elect Senators was probably a mistake also. It fundamentally changed the structure of the government. I believe the founding fathers knew what they were doing by having one body represent the people and the other represent the states. Had this arrangement remained, I have no doubt that we would now have a much, much wider diversity of "experiments" (I can't think of a better word, but you know what I mean) in legislation among the states; a competition if you will among ideas in governance which we have lost.

I am only partisan up to a point. The Republicans need to be strong enough to mount a credible challenge as do the Ds when the Rs are in power. Its possible that 2010 will be the turn around point. I think they'll either lose more or make very low gains compared to historic off year elections and the 2010 candidates will be the ultra conservatives, disproving the current trend in the Party thus setting the stage for a more centrist candidate in 2012. (I'm not using "ultra conservative" disparagingly, I'm trying to describe the current trend in the Party. Some of their positions don't seem conservative at all to me).

IMO, if y'all pick a Palin or a Huckabee yer gonna be wandering in the wilderness.

'Course Obama might save you by really screwing up. Lots of people around here think he already is but I don't see it. So far he seems pretty strong.

Submitted by Davids mom on Fri, 04/03/2009 - 5:14pm.

After observing the effect of term limits in California - it has been noted that the 'experts' in government are the staffers, not the legislators. Anyone with a different observation?

yardman5508's picture
Submitted by yardman5508 on Fri, 04/03/2009 - 7:00pm.

if not the power to choose who we want to hold office. Granted, we have not done such a hot job of that lately, but, you put term limits in place, and you remove the very LAST source of input by the voters in the system. Are we all that willing to give up our last vestige of power? I certainly am not. Keep the faith.

Democracy is NOT a spectator sport

carbonunit52's picture
Submitted by carbonunit52 on Fri, 04/03/2009 - 7:18pm.

That's what voting in a democracy is, and we already have the systems in place. Let's quit the bitching and "git er done".

It's not easy being the carbonunit

hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Fri, 04/03/2009 - 5:34pm.

Just an observation, but , I think our politicians are expert only in getting elected, no matter how long they've been in Washington. When your first concern is re-election, I think the voters will always get the dirty end of the stick.

I yam what I yam....Popeye

The Wedge's picture
Submitted by The Wedge on Thu, 04/02/2009 - 3:15pm.

You touched the issue of illegal immigration. I think that we can safely define both extremes to this position - the elimination of all immigration legal and illegal and the elimination of national borders-let people roam where they may. Since neither party has core principles around this issue, it has become political football. Can you outline the Democratic plan for this issue? I am having trouble determining how close to the extreme they are going to go. What do you think? The democractic plan is the one that passes since they have the majority everywhere.

JeffC's picture
Submitted by JeffC on Thu, 04/02/2009 - 10:55pm.

I'm waiting to find that out myself. Last I heard anything about it they were going to make some proposal within 180 days and that had to be 6 week ago. I suspect that its going to be some kind of amnesty for those here, pay some back taxes, blah , blah, blah. A lot of pledges to tighten up the border. Nothing exciting. A centrist plan. Personally I'd probably do more than whatever they're going to come up with.

My point above though is that its just not a big issue for the vast majority. Its really not. I saw a poll a couple of weeks ago that it was the top issue for something like 4% of the people. Granted the economy overshadows everything now. There is a xenophobic wing in the Rep Party which caters to the most extreme and inflammatory language that transcends illegal immigration and frightens or angers legitimate Hispanic families. I used to listen to Glenn Beck on the radio and cheer him on. Drive all of them into the Dems Party. Go Glenn, go! Then you have the Tancredos making it a litmus test in the R Party with such force that the Presidential candidates in the debates were forced to try to out bash each other vis a vis the Hispanics, even that Gov. guy from Mass. who implemented a free zone in Boston groveled like he didn't know who it was that had done that.

It is just a teeny tiny issue of almost zero real importance. Certainly not something that a Pres. candidate should rise or fall on. The Rs should hope that the Ds push something through that they can denounce and then, right-wing political correctness having been served, drop the issue and move on.

You understand that I'm just commenting on the politics of it, right?

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Thu, 04/02/2009 - 8:24pm.

and those sympathetic to that cause will only be happy when there is an open border. I hope this President can stand up to them and say no.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Thu, 04/02/2009 - 2:34pm.

Regardless which side of the aisle is in power, you have as much chance of getting term limits as you do getting an ethics bill with teeth passed. When it's a politician who benefits, the politician looks out for themselves first, regardless of affiliation.

I yam what I yam....Popeye

Submitted by Davids mom on Thu, 04/02/2009 - 2:17pm.

It's interesting that the conservatives who responded didn't answer your concern. It has been amazing reading the press from around the world - and their positive acceptance of our president and his wife. The Queen, who is a techy, and has her own Blackberry, seemed very pleased with her gift. She and Prince Philip were quite animated while talking with our president. We’ll have to see if he is affective in gaining the cooperation of the other world leaders in solving this global economy problem.

There are many conservative who at first were very skeptical about the Obama administration - but as you said, he is getting things done! We are in a mess that took years to make and certainly more than one administration.

This is a time for all Americans to be a part of the process; keep up with the spending of the stimulus/recovery funds; stay in touch with your representatives in local, state, and federal government. Never before has government of the people, by the people, for the people been more apparent. The funds of the government have always been taxpayer funds - OUR MONEY. We have allowed special interests and lobbyists tell our representatives what to do. We have to be a part of the change - and monitor our elected officials closely - or we'll be right back in another mess. WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT! GET INVOLVED!

Fred Garvin's picture
Submitted by Fred Garvin on Thu, 04/02/2009 - 11:48am.

For the second time in my adult life, I am ashamed of my country.
The first time was when ol' barry gave the PM the stack of DVD's.

Barack Obama's gift for the Queen: an iPod, your Majesty

President Teleprompter is such a moron.

The United States of America
July 4, 1776 - Jan 20, 2009
Rest in Peace

Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Thu, 04/02/2009 - 1:11pm.

When did you start caring what the world thinks of the United States anyway? You've always been a follower of the "Freedom Fries" doctrine regarding international relations.

Where was your indignation when Dubya was making a complete global arse of himself for 8 years?

Fred Garvin's picture
Submitted by Fred Garvin on Thu, 04/02/2009 - 1:14pm.

"......but, but, but what about Bush!"

That's their answer to everything.

Hey Main Stream, remember what Omumbles the bumbling teleprompter reader said - "we won"


The United States of America
July 4, 1776 - Jan 20, 2009
Rest in Peace

Submitted by skyspy on Thu, 04/02/2009 - 12:34pm.

to embarrass the country. What was the last cheap gift he gave in return for a historic artifact? I think it was some cheap DVD's or something....

The media has been having fun with this one.

Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Thu, 04/02/2009 - 4:10pm.

"The media has been having fun with this one."

...but, but, but we all thought the media was liberal!?

You Repub's can't have it both ways now. Which is it then? The media IS liberal...or...the media is NOT liberal because it is criticizing Obama? Puzzled

Fred Garvin's picture
Submitted by Fred Garvin on Thu, 04/02/2009 - 5:57pm.

Main: "You Repub's can't have it both ways now." Awww, poor main got his feelings hurt.

It was a foreign publication, Main - pay attention and stop yer catterwallin' everytime someone criticizes your dear leader Obumbles.

The United States of America
July 4, 1776 - Jan 20, 2009
Rest in Peace

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