Framing the Dialogue

The End Is The Beginning

We’re not the same, we’re different tonight

Tonight, so bright

Tonight

And you know you’re never sure

But you’re sure you could be right

If you held yourself up to the light

– – Smashing Pumpkins – –

It should come as no surprise to you that last November’s election was a supreme disappointment to me.  I am not as shocked as Mitt Romney is reported to be as he and Paul Ryan thought they had it sewn up.  Unfortunately the fat lady had not sung yet and Obama’s troops delivered while registered Republicans did not.  More qualified people have dissected the reason for the low turnout and subsequent Obama victory, but there seems to be a lot of conservatives who hold to one or two issues and if the candidate does not fair well on that issue they simply won’t vote or vote for someone else out of principle.  He’s not strong enough on abortion – I’m not going to vote.  He’s too soft on illegal immigration – I’ll vote for the someone else.  He’s a Christian – I’ll vote for the Libertarian candidate.  I can understand principle and it is important, but so is getting this great country back on track.  Putting the guy who shot our ship full of holes back in charge with a bigger canon is not the way to set the ship afloat.

Democrats on the other hand seem to understand the politics.  Most, though not all, will vote for their “guy” even though they don’t like his position on many issues.  How else can you explain how a vehemently anti-war person voting for Obama who still has us in Iraq, Afghanistan, bomb Pakistan regularly, and got us into the middle of the Libyan civil war and probably into Syria as well.  They recognize that their guy is better than our guy.

I used to be a Democrat, not because of any comportment with their ideals, but because of where I am from you were a Democrat.  It is still mostly that way.  I couldn’t tell you the last time there was a Republican mayor or even a serious Republican candidate for mayor.  When I grew up I realized that I was actually a conservative and hence the change in party affiliation.  I am still a conservative, but I don’t think that I am a Republican any more.  Channeling Reagan I am leaving the party, the party is leaving me.  My state has a Republican governor, senate and house, yet still cannot achieve basic conservative milestones promised in their election.  I’ll give them much credit as they inherited   a mess from the former Democrat governor and they have balance the budget…sort of.  I cannot, however, be proud of their few accomplishments when I see Michigan of all places passing Right-To-Work legislation while our capital sits on their hands.  Alas bold moves are not for this state.

So what do we do?  We probably need to “primary” many of the Republican leaders as they are far too comfortable in the opposition party role and probably look forward when they no longer have to lead, but can keep their power by opposing everything Democrat and empowering an ever increasing federal government.  Pennsylvania’s “TEA Party” Senator Toomey voted for the recent tax increases.  There were a few minor fixes in there for citizens, but it was a money grab by Obama and Reid and the Republicans laid down as they will surely do on the debt ceiling.  There needs to be a strong message and tossing a few Republicans may be the way.  Boehner would be a great start though Obama would be very sad losing this unworthy adversary.

Jonah Goldberg wrote a great article on the Republican “brand” back in December.  The Republicans have both a problem with branding and the messenger.  Marco Rubio may be the great conservative hope and I hope that he is, but the Republicans are great at snatching defeat in the face of victory.  They are sure to have a candidate selected who is next in line to lose against Biden or Hillary.  Goldberg makes great points that the conservative message is not as simple as promising more like the Democrats.  Education is bad…throw more money at it; there are hungry children…throw more money at it;  Head Start doesn’t work…they need more money;  Wall Street is bad…create more regulations.  It takes more than a thirty second commercial to explain that the more government involved in education the more rules there are and the more money is costs and the results are worse.  It is easy to portray conservatives as mean spirited racists especially with willing accomplices in the mean stream media.

“the progressive wins entirely on the principled question of direction. The conservative (or libertarian) loses on principle but gets concessions on how fast we‘ll go in the wrong direction.  The progressive says, “Let‘s move to Mars.” The conservative says, “Earth is fine.” They compromise by moving to the moon. And, before the first lunar dawn, the progressives start agitating about how Mars would be so much better. You can see this dynamic on full display as progressives respond to the unfolding disaster of ObamaCare by arguing for a single-payer system. This gets to the heart of why the Republican “brand” is in such terrible shape. Over the 20th century, progressives erected a system and culture where the government in Washington is the agency of first and last resort for all of our problems.”

Goldberg’s solution, and I love it, is Federalism;

“Well, if the game is rigged against you, continuing to play the game is the very definition of idiocy. You have to change the rules.  My own view is that conservatives should recommit themselves to federalism and states‘ rights. The Party of Lincoln should protect core civil rights, but beyond that, states and localities should be given as much freedom as they can handle.  Of course, conservatives already say they believe in federalism, but they rarely demonstrate it. Which brings me back to the question of principle. In principle, Republicans should look at the monumental clutter in Washington like a boat with too much ballast to stay afloat: When in doubt, throw it overboard.  In practice, Republicans should be more strategic and discriminating. That means taking positions that are right on policy, but also, when possible, highlighting issues that run counter to the (unfair) caricature of Republicans as prudish moneybags.  I‘d start with federal marijuana laws. The tide has turned on pot, and states are going to keep legalizing it. Why should Washington stand in their way? It‘s just not Washington‘s fight.”

I believe that smoking marijuana is bad for you and is a potential gateway drug, but alcohol is also bad for many people.  Our financial situation and ever-growing government is such a huge problem that nothing else really matters all that much.  We need to repeat the message of the Tenth Amendment until it is heard loud and clear!

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

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