The Elephant’s GraveyardBy
I’ve gotten a lot of guff for my post last week handicapping the Republican congressional primary field here in the 11th…not for what I predicted so much as the fact that the prediction appeared here in this pinko e-rag and under my own shiny new byline. You see, for today’s Republicans, this is a betrayal of the first order: “Thou shalt not lie with liberals as with conservatives: it is an abomination!”
Of course, there are so many orders of betrayal among local Republicans these days it’s kind of hard to keep track anymore.
Having worked for Republican candidates all my life and professionally for the last three years here in Asheville — heck, above my screen hangs a picture of me and President Reagan at a White House Christmas Party and another of me and President George H.W. Bush at a private BBQ on the south lawn of the White House; I could go on, but you get the idea — I can honestly say that I can’t see this happening again anytime soon. The Republican Party I knew for so many years has gone off the rails — effectively destroyed here locally from within — by sanctimonious bigots, religious zealots, misanthropic doctrinaire Randians, and most importantly by piss-poor, unelectable candidates.
And they see none of it. They’ll have none of it. For many Republicans, it’s not even about winning elections anymore (which they have increasingly no clue how to do). It’s about being right, at least it their own minds. It’s about the self-satisfaction of going down with the ship. It’s about wagging their cold bony fingers at anyone who doesn’t agree…and condemning them as RINOs and Sinners and Socialists. Oh my.
And speaking of predictions, as it’s currently constituted, the Republican Party won’t win any local elections in at least the next decade. Among other things, they are plagued by Perpetual Candidate Syndrome (think Don Yelton, who has run for more offices and lost than I own pairs of shoes). And besides, they lack the infrastructure. They lack the technology. They lack the donors. They lack the volunteers. They lack….I could go on, but you get the idea.
This blog post by Andrew Sullivan, called Leaving the Right, is worth a read. He’s come up with his own manifesto of sorts, all of which I (and more and more of us in the modern world) agree with. Will the Right-Wing listen? Not likely. Today’s Republicans are all-too-often stubborn creatures of their own self-destructive habits. And nevermind what they call “conservatism” is really nothing of the sort.
But Andrew says it better than I ever could, so here goes:
- I cannot support a movement that claims to believe in limited government but backed an unlimited domestic and foreign policy presidency that assumed illegal, extra-constitutional dictatorial powers until forced by the system to return to the rule of law.
- I cannot support a movement that exploded spending and borrowing and blames its successor for the debt.
- I cannot support a movement that so abandoned government’s minimal and vital role to police markets and address natural disasters that it gave us Katrina and the financial meltdown of 2008.
- I cannot support a movement that holds torture as a core value.
- I cannot support a movement that holds that purely religious doctrine should govern civil political decisions and that uses the sacredness of religious faith for the pursuit of worldly power.
- I cannot support a movement that is deeply homophobic, cynically deploys fear of homosexuals to win votes, and gives off such a racist vibe that its share of the minority vote remains pitiful.
- I cannot support a movement which has no real respect for the institutions of government and is prepared to use any tactic and any means to fight political warfare rather than conduct a political conversation.
- I cannot support a movement that sees permanent war as compatible with liberal democratic norms and limited government.
- I cannot support a movement that criminalizes private behavior in the war on drugs.
- I cannot support a movement that would back a vice-presidential candidate manifestly unqualified and duplicitous because of identity politics and electoral cynicism.
- I cannot support a movement that regards gay people as threats to their own families.
- I cannot support a movement that does not accept evolution as a fact.
- I cannot support a movement that sees climate change as a hoax and offers domestic oil exploration as the core plank of an energy policy.
- I cannot support a movement that refuses ever to raise taxes, while proposing no meaningful reductions in government spending.
- I cannot support a movement that refuses to distance itself from a demagogue like Rush Limbaugh or a nutjob like Glenn Beck.
- I cannot support a movement that believes that the United States should be the sole global power, should sustain a permanent war machine to police the entire planet, and sees violence as the core tool for international relations.
To further quote Andrew, who paraphrases Reagan: “I didn’t leave the conservative movement. It left me.”
I invite your thoughts.