National GOP = Off the Reservation

I have no words to describe the national Republican Party.  Chaotic.  Rudderless.  Torn.  Confusing.  Lost.  Broken.  That is the stream of conscious version.  If you watch network TV and hear mention of the GOP, than it most likely is some version of  this reapeated over and over:

1. Chariman Michael Steele says something that seeks to paint the GOP as a more moderate party.  For example, “On if women have the right to choose an abortion: “Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.” 

On whether homosexuality is a choice: “Oh, no. I don’t think I’ve ever really subscribed to that view, that you can turn it on and off like a water tap. Um, you know, I think that there’s a whole lot that goes into the makeup of an individual that, uh, you just can’t simply say, oh, like, ‘Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being gay.’ It’s like saying, ‘Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being black.'” 

2.  Then he takes all kinds of heat from some GOP salwarts.  See HERE and HERE.

3.  Third, Steele panics and says the complete opposite thing.  For example, he in fact opposes abortion and supports a Constitutional ban, Ben Smith reports. 

4. Finally, another established GOP figure whispers about Steele being taken out. 

If it wasn’t so sad, it would be hilarious.  

This is a mess that must sort itself out, because it represents a battle between the two fractions of the Republican Party.  It’s very much generational, though not exactly split by age.  

One side thinks “conservative” means that there is an unalterable, ironclad set of rules that should never change and are not up for moderation.  The other side thinks that “conservative” means a governing philosophy based in caution, pragmatism, and defaults to less government involvement.

Count me as a supporter of the latter version.  We will win in the end.  But it may take my entire lifetime before the conversion is actually complete.  The Steele silliniess is just the opening.

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4 comments

  1. The disillusionment I’ve seen among formerly staunch Republican friends seems in part what you describe at the end there, and another part a seeming veneration of not only a specific set of rules and values but more importantly an archaic one. Holding to convictions is not necessarily bad, in fact it is often more impressive than vacillation. It seems, however, that there is a growing rejection of a specific set of social values. The resolution of small government pragmatists and the refusal of the national party to allow discussion on these social issues is where the fight for the future of the party will be fought.

    I personally don’t hope either side wins or that the conversation ever ends. I don’t have faith in the staying power of any ideology or movement past future or present over time.

    I started a blog on this domain recently. You seem like an old pro, so if you have any tips on how to do it well let me know.

    -Bilal

  2. I think you eloquently hit the nail on the head. I agree.

    Veneration of a seemingly sporadic set of social values versus small government pragmatism. From our 2009 vantage point, it seems like a natural unwinding of the shaky coalition the GOP built in the wake of the Civil Rights era.

    You are right that no ideology lasts indefinitely, though nothing in our meager human history ever lasts ad infinitum. I think that is why Bob Dylan’s “Times they are A’Changing” will forever seem timely. Whoever owns the right to that gem is golden. 🙂

    But, I suppose we do have to work with what we are given, including the ideologies that happen to be en vogue. And I still feel comfortable advocating the version of conservatism that will make more logical decisions than not, or perhaps just fewer silly decisions.

    So count me a small government pragmatist w/ caveats. At least for the moment.

    As far as this blog advice goes, I’ve got nothing. I am more of the stream-of-conscious, unpolished thoughts blogger as opposed to the well-considered thoughtful pieces type of guy.

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