Well guys, it's Tuesday night and I've been writing all day long. From early morning until five o'clock I hovered over the keyboard banging keys to create reviews of my employees. And then, fingers still stiff and sore from that - I went on a blog tirade. So then, it's a longwinded political rant today, and I'm not going to do as much pre-defense and positioning as I typically do (mostly because it's all embedded in the glut of it all). I'll return to regular blogging as soon as possible.
One of my favorite daily (when I can) reads are the all-out crazy forums over at the neo-conservative haven that is Free Republic. "Freepers," as they are called, have a simply laid out forum where they can post stories and comment back... and the prevailing topics of conversation could be said to lend insight into what the larger GOP "base" is talking about. Of course, there are nuts everywhere on the internet (and in the real world, for that matter) - both on the left and right and even in the non-committal center. But man, the Freepers can really do some good crazy... like Hannity crazy. Oh wait... you don't think Hannity is crazy?... oh boy you're gonna love this then...
I mean, some of the threads there are just beautiful. Here, check some of this cerebral stuff:
Took the words right out of my mouth!! I am a member of Team Sarah and we are doing everything possible to assist Sarah in anyway necessary to get her the nomination in 2012. She will wipe the floor with Obama, please, Obama is crapping his pants now thinking of it. He doesn’t want to be in the same room with Sarah Palin, if they do debate, I hope he is wearing dark pants
From Dissing Palin
Couldn't they put the koran in the bathroom? That's where my copy is, at least what's left of it.
Shouldn’t it be on the floor where islamderthals can walk on it?
Foolish people, Lord, worship a man rather than You. The thing created ignores its Creator and worships a fellow creation. What a crazy world we live in these days, and getting crazier by the moment.
Heavenly Father, we come to You today amazed that almost one month into the Obama Presidency that there is never a lack of things to pray for. I wish his first month would have been less eventful, but as I feared, he has moved swiftly in his destruction of all that we hold near and dear. Still, we are not destroyed entirely and so there is hope. There may be scars we may pay for for years, but if You were to intervene, this nation could still be saved. Whether or not it is in Your plan to intervene in this case is not something that You have revealed to me. Still, I believe it pleases You when we recognize You for who You are. You are the great Almighty God, and nothing is too difficult for You. Men's hearts are as putty in Your hands. And Obama's heart is not beyond Your grasp. Is he meant for judgment or amazement? I really don't know. But so that we may have peaceful lives in this nation, I pray for his soul that the world may be amazed at the change You bring in his life.
Radical Islam is an insane murder cult.
Moderate Islam is its Trojan Horse in the West.
From Islamic subversion alleged by speaker, where we learn the secret-Mulsims are silently implementing Islamic law in the USA
In a brainwashing project that ought to tug on liberal heartstrings, schoolchildren have been encouraged to address prayers to Chairman Zero. A touching example:
I would appreciate it if you would try to make this a greener planet and try to bring home the troops and end the war. I am very luckey because I am not part of a military family, but it saddens me to hear about all the people who die in Iraque and know that somewhere In the world people are greiving over a lost family member.
It looks like our public schools are succeeding in their mission of cranking out a new generation of Democrats.
Sorry to over-represent the religious aspect, but those tend to be some of the "better" threads. And now that I've poked a little fun (to be fair, there are some level-headed folks on there too), I feel like I can use the open-door to talk about my current theory around the neo-conservative movement in the US.
For my purposes here, I want to lump a bunch of folks into one category - that may seem unfair, but I want to apply some thinking to the group as a whole, and I'm trying to make the point that, although modern conservatives have a varied and diverse taxonomy, some things can be said of them as a group.
Now, who am I talking about here? Those referred to as neo-conservative and the Christian or religious right, that's who. It's my belief that these groups are killing the Republican party, and that if their philosophies are not decoupled from its basic dogma the GOP will not win a general election again in this increasingly moderate USA.
Hey look, I realize the GOP's "problem" has been looked at and analyzed (not to mention denied in its very existence) by folks with a heck of a lot more degrees than I have, and I'll be the first to say my thoughts here aren't entirely my own. I've read several political pundits variations on this same thing, so I'm at best doing an ineloquent rewrite here of an already prominent school of thought. But, that's what the internet is all about right? I also realize things aren't near as simple as an "extreme" right becoming an increasingly alienated minority in an ever-more progressive nation - but that's a reality and it's where I've chosen to write. With those disclaimers in place, I'll plow along.
Part of the GOP's problem right now, as I see it, is that they've completely lost "country focus." That is, their "base" has become a group that is fighting stupid battles, and as such their platform and policy have drifted away from things which are centered on the welfare of the nation and has instead been laser focused on several extremely divisive wedge issues. I'll go even further, and say that this "base" has become xenophobic, fear-controlled, overly militaristic, ritualistically distrustful, and even strangely proud of their cloistered ignorance.
Oh boy, there it goes... now I've got some folks mad I'm sure. If the party continues to court this group as their "base," I believe they are doomed to spiral into obscurity.
What seems at-odds to me, however, is that I don't really believe these types are the true GOP "base." In fact, I think the GOP's got it wrong... and that there is a large group of traditionalist conservatives and right-leaning moderates who are being alienated by the party's pandering to these more "extreme" factions.
The "base" doesn't have to be the folks who are afraid of people with brown skin, doesn't have to be the people who think Islam = terrorism, doesn't have to be those who would remove evolution from curriculum and prize profit-generation over sustainability. Oh look, now I've opened myself up to arguments that I'm pigeonholing and stereotyping conservatives. Just bear with me and accept that I'm talking about just those folks who believe those things, and am not trying to apply those qualities to all conservatives.
The point here is that there's a whole other "base" the GOP can court and develop. It's those folks who want a fiscally conservative government, a less involved government, to keep their guns, to be governed by guiding principles set forth in the Constitution. And no, I'm not speaking strictly about Libertarians or Madisonians or whatever you choose to call those folks who want to return to the embryonic and idealized government in place during the days immediately following the Philadelphia Convention, though parts of their ilk would certainly fall in here (well, but for the conspiracy nuts... looking at you Truthers and Federal Reserve haters and Moon-landing doubters). But, it's this base... which is undeniably a more "moderate" base, that I think could do the GOP right in coming elections.
As a party that would have any designs on acquiring office again, I fully believe the GOP will have to make concessions which will completely alienate a percentage of the current "base." Unfortunately, in a strictly two-party system this might be suicide, and is likely why it hasn't yet been done. I'm sure Republican political strategists who are multiple whole-brains more intelligent than I have mulled this, it's a certainty. And, if they're anything like me, they may have realized that there may be a solution that's neither black nor white - yet something in between. That is, I believe you can successfully court this more moderate conservative "base" and at the same time alienate as few "extremists" as possible. Sure you're gonna lose some, the most hard-core... but I'd argue those are the thinkers you need most to lose as they hold the most party-damaging ideology.
If you can convince Christians that they are free to hold their views and those views will continue to be respected by government, but that they simply have no place being legislated - you stand to minimize losses from their corner. If you can convince neocons that a military strategy of homeland-security coupled with a well-educated technologically-advanced population is a better than one of Manifest Destiny, world-police, or Imperialist expansionism - you stand to minimize losses from their corner. Once you've successfully stratified those groups into the somewhat open-minded and the absolutely close-minded, you can begin to rebuild your new "base."
Those hardline conservatives who simply cannot deal with these concessions will be out of luck, and can perhaps have a go at creating a viable third party. I guess I'm not really sure how huge this group is, and, as I said above, perhaps they are too large to be cast out and still leave enough "moderate" folks for a viable party. Perhaps this is the GOP's quandary: they have to court today's "base" because without them they are nothing. All the more reason for an image makeover, says I. What the party needs is its thinking conservatives back... those who align with conservative social policy, fiscal policy, foreign policy, energy policy, etc. - but who are not driven by phobia, racism, and rank biggest-dick Nationalism.
The bottom line is that, unless Republicans can change the knee-jerk classification of their rally-cry from: "Dollars before humanity. Because the Bible said so. Dollars before environment. Kneel to Christ or pay the price!," they are doomed.
Republicans can be environmentally conscious. Republicans can be proponents of social justice. Republicans can support free-market capitalism without turning a blind eye to greed and corruption. Republicans can share an airplane with a Muslim; a cab with a Sikh. Republicans can have a less binary understanding of "good" and "evil," and might enjoy a vacation someday to Iran. They can be all this and more, it's in their existing and potential constituency right now, I promise.
So here's where you yell something like, "So you want to turn the USA into a Godless carbon-copy of handout-happy Europe?!" No; whatever; actually that's a stupid thing to say, idiot. I want the USA to be a place where my children can live freely, stand to prosper with hard work, and are for the most part safe. And, being a Democrat myself... I don't want to see the Republicans die. Just like Home Depot needs Lowes and McDonalds needs Burger King (although a bit more important than just healthy competition). As a Democrat, I rely on the GOP to check my party's stupid spending diarrhea, pipedream socialism, and overly humanistic hippie "everything's cool with me" mentality.
So c'mon GOP, pull out of this tailspin. We're all waiting for the second coming of Buckley, for a new Reagan. Something. Get it together conservatives, get a party colonic and clear the old clinging crap out of your pipes. You'll feel better for it, and it'll give you new life.
But, since you're this far... I'll do a bit of epilogue here, I think.
Reading this, you may be tempted to think I'm over-indicting religion or religious folks. I'm not; I promise. Religion certainly plays a role here, but it's not the problem. Part of the problem is that the Right wants to legislate morality - and this simply won't work. In fact, there are several books making their way through Christian circles right now that show the Bible speaks against pushing religion through government.
Unfortunately, the problem the GOP has is also the problem that American Christians have: That is, the two have been near inextricably tied. Christians are looked at as environment-hating, frightened warmongering Hawks who want to cram their belief systems down the collective throat of the populous; and the GOP is seen this way by association. Conversely, the GOP is seen in a similar light; and Christians the same by the reverse association. The connected stereotypes feed on each other, and do harm to both.
It seems both Christians and the GOP are suffering from the whole Kleenex vs. "tissue," Xerox vs. "copy" brand-image dilution problem. Both could benefit from a little distinction. Christians can be Christians, Republicans Republicans. Their ideologies may even overlap to a large extent - but they need to steer away from co-identification. Same deal with with the party and its neocon element...
What's interesting here (to me, at least) is that I identify as religious, as "Christian"... I believe in a lot of the principles and theology (to tell you exactly what super/sub-set would take forever, and I'm not entirely sure myself yet). Thing is, I know plenty of church-going folks who feel as I've written here, that the "religious right" is tanking the Republican party, and are pushing for disengagement from the business of politics. I hope that line of thought gets wings. Bottom line, even though it's easy for my more agnostic/atheistic friends like to immediately paint God-phyllic folks as feces-throwing cultural barbarians - nothing could be more untrue. Sure some of them are, but there are nuts in all walks.
So, wrapping up - let's get smarter people everywhere. On the left, on the right, in the middle, in the pulpit, in the classrooms, in the boardrooms... everywhere. Let's bring rational thought back to politics, let's bring intelligent discourse, respectful debate, accountability.
Now, how we gonna do that?
No time to proofread, typos surely abound. Goodnight.