Setting the Record Straight

November 18, 2008

Reconsidering the GOP

GOP = SOP: The Same Old Party

     The week after the devastating rejection of the Republican Party at American polling places, the Republican Party at all levels has been undergoing a self-assessment, a “what went wrong,” if you will.
     The upshot of what has been said by the congressional GOP leadership and would-be leadership, from the Republican Governors Association and from other party members across the country is: same old party.
     Apparently, they just don’t get
     It seems all they could come up with is something like, “We forgot to follow Reaganism.” That sounds just about it, except when one asks what “Reaganism” is, the response is all over the board.
     One may recall that Reagan ran on and championed in the early years of his eight-year administration, a balanced budget. He championed reduced spending and he championed lower taxes for businesses, and all the other stuff the anti-government clique supposedly holds so dear, and about which they complain when the government, at any level, fails to deliver.
     That is not a very good explanation of what Reaganism is, but then neither are any of the other definitions posited by its adherents. It supposedly covers “family values,” whatever they are, a Pavlovian response to the flag, motherhood and apple pie on the good-feeling side and to socialism, communism and the anti-Christ, whatever that is, on the “let’s go get ‘em side.”
     And therein lies the problem of the newly introspective Republican Party—“We forgot who we are, but who are we?” Unfortunately for the GOP, it is still the party of the cold war that no longer is, “support our troops” that amounts to little more than pasting a yellow-ribbon decal on the SUV, and give corporations and the elite what they want because the largesse will trickle down to the masses, eventually.
     All summed up, Reaganism, as amorphous as it is, is little more than “us versus them,” the them meaning anybody who doesn’t look and act like us, the us being the white upper-class in gated communities with enough money to send their kids to schools where the riff-raff are not bothersome.
     For some strange reason, Reaganism attracted a lot of blue-collar America in 1980 and for many years later, which meant it also attracted the immigrant-American, both segments that believed somehow that trickle-down economics would benefit them. They were the “Reagan Democrats.”
     Twelve years of Reagan and the elder Bush, an eight-year interregnum of the Clinton presidency and then eight years of the foolish Bush appears to have convinced “Reagan Democrats” the term applied to them was an oxymoron.
     Natural Democrats, blue-collar Americans, immigrants, all the people who do the real work that makes the nation run on time, largely saw the light this year and came home to the party that actually represents them and does not just repeat nice-sounding phrases.
     The Republican Party needs to decide what it really stands for. Sarah Palin currently is the darling of the party’s right wing, but the continued adulation of her suggests the party may be self-destructive if it does not jettison her and the rest of the far right and begin representing a larger segment of the population, one that is a bit brigsr-screamjpeghter and more sophisticated.
     That would leave the party unburdened by the right-wing fanatics and focused on the commercial sector and those who have disposable income and feel the GOP is better at protecting it for them—from taxes, the criminal class, other riff-raff and whatever. But that may not leave the party with enough adherents to win elections.
     The irony of the Bush years is that the financial crisis in the United States has reduced the number of well-off voters while increasing the number of poor, a mix that does not bode well for the future of the GOP—er, SOP.



1 Comment »

  1. Michael Reagan says; The new Reagan Revolution
    Bring Conservatism back

    Read his comments @

    It’s the so-called “leaders” of the GOP who are at fault for this humiliating defeat and I say it’s time to name names and make heads roll in our party.

    Comment by Tom — November 18, 2008 @ 2:22 pm | Reply

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