The GOP is Falling Apart

Image from sodahead.com
Image from sodahead.com

On Saturday night, before sitting down to play Die Macher with a handful of friends, I had the opportunity to speak with a local professor about politics.  A self-identified Republican, he voiced his frustration with the direction that the party has been heading.  In an earlier conversation he mentioned that although he had donated to the party in the past, he has not done so in some time.

As a libertarian within the GOP, the professor said that he now has little in common with the other factions in the party.  Although the Republican Party used to be an advocate for both fiscal responsibility and limited government, those haven’t been primary concerns in many years.  Amusingly, the professor has a Republican elephant magnet on his refrigerator, but it is turned upside down as if the party were now dead.

Looking at the matter objectively, what have limited government advocates gained in the past 15 years with the Republican Party?  Yes, in the first half George W. Bush was president and in the second Barack Obama has been at the head.  All the while the Republican Party has been in control of Congress more often than the Democrats.  But the policies under both the Republican and Democratic leadership have been fairly consistent.  We’ve gotten a massive increase in our national debt and an expansion of government programs including: No Child Left Behind, Common Core, Medicare Part D, Obamacare, the Patriot Act, NDAA, continual war in the Middle East, the TSA, the Department of Homeland Security, curtailing of our civil liberties, extrajudicial killings of foreign civilians, scores of executive orders, and the list goes on.

As the professor lamented, far too many social conservatives seem to tolerate or even embrace these intrusions so long as Republican politicians continue to offer lip service to God in the public sphere while national defense Republicans howl at any sort of cost saving measures regarding our armed forces or the idea of cutting back on our ever-expanding policing of the world.

Perhaps the worst part is that limited government conservatives are actively being fooled (or more realistically they are fooling themselves).  For example, when the 10th district of Virginia was deciding upon a Republican candidate to replace Frank Wolf, anyone who had been paying attention would know that based upon her rhetoric and record that Barbara Comstock was not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination.   After she won the nomination and the election many seemed surprised when she voted more like the Democrats than any other national Republican legislator in the state.  Or how about Paul Ryan?  When he campaigned for vice president in 2012, I had an opportunity to listen to him in person and came to the unfortunate conclusion that he was about as committed to limiting the power of government and reducing the national debt as my own representative, Bob Goodlatte (VA-6).  It seems odd that people are now calling Speaker of the House Paul Ryan a traitor after he pushed through the latest budget given that his track record showed that that was exactly what he was going to do if he were given such authority.  Isn’t it painfully obvious that neither Paul Ryan nor Barbara Comstock share our ideology?  Therefore, why in the world should we support them?

Over at Bearing Drift Brian Schoeneman bemoans the infighting in the Republican Party, declaring that the libertarian Republicans “openly flaunt their unwillingness to stand by the Party when it does things they disagree with, going so far as to run and support third party candidates that have cost Republicans victories”.  However, the better question one should ask is, why should liberty-minded folks continue to support the Republican Party?  In the last decade and a half can you name even one federal department that has been eliminated or drastically curtailed as a result of Republican leadership?  Can you point out more examples of ways that the Republican Party has reduced government involvement in our lives…or ways that they have expanded it?

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The William & Mary College Republicans and Margaret Thatcher in 2000.

I would argue that regardless of party Americans desperately need a Margaret Thatcher.  After World War II the Conservative Party more or less surrendered on the issue of limiting the power of the British government, much like the current Republican Party, instead trying to make the bloated national government as efficient as possible.  However, Thatcher upset the wisdom of the day by openly questioning government involvement in a variety of areas that used to be under the control of the private sector, charities, or churches and, once she became prime minister, instituted policies which began to dismantle government control.  How many leaders of today’s Republican Party are willing to take such a step?  Certainly not Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, not Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and not most of the Republican or Democratic candidates running for president.

The traditional three-legged stool of the GOP is falling apart because the party has almost completely abandoned the tenets of liberty and limited government.  The party is led by men and women who treat power and not principle as the holy grail of politics and are willing to sacrifice anything to achieve it.  When these people don’t get the influence that they so desperately desire, rather than blaming their failed policies they blame us for not blindly following them!  If the Republican leadership is unwilling or unable to abide by the limitations set forth in the Constitution, perhaps liberty-minded folks ought to take the advice of Dr. Henry Jones at the end of Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade:

17 Replies to “The GOP is Falling Apart”

  1. The GOP is falling apart, huh? Hmmmm…most “liberty-minded folks” as you call them that I’ve ever encountered absolutely adore chaotic situations (and downright anarchy if they’re honest – LOL), so sounds like you should be as happy as a “libertarian” collecting a huge federal government salary+benefits!!!!! Collecting that huge federal government salary+benefits in the most anti-government “liberty righteous” sense, of course! LMAO

  2. Good write-up, though I’d add it goes back further than that. “libertarian Republicans” got the bait-and-switch in Reagan’s first term, and haven’t gotten anything from the GOP since to justify voting Republican.

    1. Hello Andy.

      Yes, you are certainly right about the time frame I think. However, as that was before my time in politics, I try to stick to my own experiences.

      Also, I keep seeing your ads for your campaign. Good luck with it! Running for office can be pretty tough.

      1. If running for office is “pretty tough”, then don’t do it! Otherwise, you are simply the “victim” of your own political initiatives. Of course, perhaps that’s the point! 😉

    2. Just count your blessings that the “establishment GOP” hasn’t thrown the “libertarian Republicans” in the gulags since Reagan’s first term. I mean, obviously, the “establishment GOP” is such a horrible, horrible group of people with no value to humanity whatsoever! LOL

  3. The Republican Party is not really falling apart. I’ve been a Republican forever and the party has always been this loose affiliation between moderates, Country-Club Republicans, Conservatives (Social, Economic, and Values), and Libertarians. The folks with the money have always cared only about being elected and not so much about principles or issues so they are pretty much like all the other go-along to get-along principle-less rodents that inhabit the hallways of power. But they used to at least occasionally pay attention to their base. Apparently no longer … must be too much money in not listening so deafness is spreading. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    1. Mr. Schneider – here’s the dirty little secret: it’s even about THE MONEY for the libertarian politicians! 🙂

      Do you think Ron Paul turned down his $175K annual Congressional salary? Do you think Rand Paul turns down his $175K annual Senatorial salary? Do you think Karen Kwiatkowski was gonna turn down the same salary if she got elected in 2012? No way, no how! LOL

      Perhaps we need to abolish salaries for elected government positions? Then, I suspect, the cream will indeed rise to the top, and we can fulfill The Founders original vision of “citizen-politicians”.

  4. I don’t think there is any cream to rise to the top. The human race consists of folks that are all full of sound and fury signifying nothing. A man is worthy of his due. If you are serving in a position that you ought to be remunerated. On the other hand the failure is one of virtue, principles, and integrity, which are things we now fail to instill in the young. So it is no great surprise that we find ourselves surrounded by knaves. C.S. Lewis nailed it pretty well in “The Abolition of Man”

    “We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.”

    We have no one to blame but ourselves for failing to instill the standards of virtue and honor in our children. It will prove a fatal mistake.

    1. Wow – even I don’t take that dark of a view of things. There are still a few virtuous and honorable young people. I’m 44 and in recent years, I’ve made a point in my life to try to find them, and I have found a few. Whether there’s enough of them – well, that’s a different story! 🙂

  5. I’m 73 and the supply of folks that even begin to know the language of virtue, values, and integrity has declined so horribly that without some movement of serious restoration I see little probability of change. The schools are turning out intellectual cripples and brainwashed camp followers who only want to be told what to do. Unless that changes soon I doubt we will have much chance. That is a dark view of things but then you are too young to remember how things really were having been born after they had already steeply declined.

    1. And with that bright outlook – Happy New Year everybody! May the “libertarian revolution” continue to march on in 2016! 😉

  6. Happy New Year! Politics isn’t everything. Indeed, politics is one of the main depressing things in the world since leftists were invented. So be of good cheer and kick back a little tonight and do something to fix things in the New Year.

  7. Happy New Year! 2^5+2^6+2^7+2^8+2^9+2^10 = 2016 …. That doesn’t happen every year! As for Libertarians, their primary problem is that they are a tad incoherent. They want a lot less government (who could disagree except totalitarians) but they want to dictate the terms which is inconsistent at least. I simply want what the Constitution promised, small government with limited powers. We’re created a monster in Washington that threatens all our freedoms. May we start on a return path to sanity in 2016.

  8. I’d like to comment on your quest for the Thatcher in our midst. As a big fan of Lady Thatcher, I must point out the situation in Britain in 1979. Known as “the sick man of Europe,” the island nation was beleaguered by strikes of subsidized nationalized industries leading to limited hours for electricity, garbage piling up in the streets and so on. These strikers were folks paid by taxpayer dollars. Eventually, the middle class (and even some of the working folks) who were not lucky enough to have these subsidized jobs had enough of this set up. Even though the Conservative party had been led by the old aristocracy forever, those middle and working class folks saw in Thatcher someone who came from a place like they did, who had worked as hard as they had. It wouldn’t have mattered how great Margaret Thatcher was, however, without the political will for change driven by the dire circumstances in which Britain found itself. I’m not sure that level of political will yet exists to move things in the direction you desire.

    1. Thatcher was also savvy enough to know you don’t constantly tear down the group of which you are a member. You soldier on, pushing your view, marshaling your forces. You wait for the tipping point to arrive and act. If you have alienated a large portion of your constituency, you will be hobbled when the moment arrives.

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