The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

We Have Always Been The Party Of No

Posted on | February 12, 2011 | 16 Comments

By Wombat

This was originally going to be a response to one of the comments in Stacy’s post Hecklers In The Big Tent, but it got a bit long and complicated, so I’m going to throw this up as a regular post without all the linkagery I normally specialize in here.

I think everyone is missing a fundamental truth about the GOP that has pretty much defined the party since the New Deal days. Unlike the Democrats, who have always been about getting and keeping power (and more nakedly so since the New Left took over the party in the 70s), the Republicans have always been a party defined by what it’s against. During FDR’s New Deal, the main thing we were against was the socialism of the New Deal. When the Cold War started, this receded into the background and was replaced by a fairly solid anti-communist stance that left us somewhat rudderless when the Soviet Union collapsed, until the War on Terror came along. This is one of the reasons the GOP has traditionally been supportive of the military and vice versa.

The social conservatives, especially the Catholics who mostly hang out at National Review, didn’t always represent a major factor in the party. They first became a major bloc in the party as the Reagan Democrats of the 80s found themselves marginalized by the radical Democrats’ insistence on legalized abortion with as few limits as possible, and switched over to the GOP. This is not to minimize the role played by evangelical Protestants or Mormons by any means; all social conservatives were and are important to the success of the GOP, and Republicans who ignore them get what John McCain got in 2008: lots of voters staying home instead of being foot soldiers and reliable voters.

Until W’s second term, the fiscal conservatives and deficit hawks have had their concerns given lip service at best, and the back of the hand at worst. Now the spendthrift socialism of the New Left, untempered by a Republican Senate or President, has been made fully operational, and in response the GOP has found another Big Idea to be against. Libertarians, social conservatives and yes, even gay conservatives have found something they can all agree on: the free-spending Democrats need to be expunged, the national debt needs to be reduced, and Uncle Sam’s credit card needs to be taken away. As with Communism, anything that distracts from tackling the Main Enemy needs to be shoved into the background until we have defeated the unholy trinity of New Leftists, public sector unions, and crony capitalists who are driving the country into a pit of over-regulation, hyperinflation, and economic stagnation.

This is why I can’t get too excited over the GOProud flap. As a Catholic traditionalist, I don’t agree with a lot of their positions, but on the other hand, they’re willing to argue about those issues at the state level (where arguments about society and culture belong) while standing shoulder to shoulder with us in the trenches of fiscal conservatism. Considering the treatment usually handed out to political apostates from the GLBT community, I think we should cut them a little slack and accept their support. Especially if we can get them to quit taunting the more thin-skinned social conservatives. 😉

The RINOs have always been with us. There are a lot fewer of them now than there used to be, but we have always had Republicans who liked the power offered by public office (the Washington insiders) or who were more liberal in the fiscal or social sense due to the nature of their state or district. Conservatives and libertarians need to decide on a case-by-case basis whether having somebody on your side 60% of the time is good enough or whether we want to purge them in favor of a possible 75- or 90-percenter who maybe can’t get elected. Yeah, we should always have somebody in the wings ready to threaten them in the primaries if they get wobbly on spending and taxes, but we should pull together in the general elections against the greater enemy — and if they won’t return the favor, we need to run them and their supporters out of the party and keep them out.


16 Responses to “We Have Always Been The Party Of No”

  1. Anonymous
    February 17th, 2011 @ 4:15 am

    Perhaps this is one of the most interesting blogs that I have ever seen. Interesting article, Funny comment. Keep it up!