The Alabama Moderate

Painting the Red State Purple.

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Revisiting the GOP

Posted by ALmod on November 12, 2008

Ron Paul wrote a commentary for CNN addressing it, today, and I have to admit that he’s spot on.  It seems like everyone else is addressing this in spades, so I figured I would add to what Dr. Paul has to say on the matter.

Yes, I think that straying from the party’s core message of limited government and fiscal responsibility is part of it, but I want to make note of a couple other things.  I disagree with Paul and a few others that Reagan fits into the same category as Barry Goldwater.  I like Reagan to a point, but his was one of the first Republican administrations to take the party in the wrong direction.  His was the administration that gave us George H. W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney.  1980 was when neoconservatism started to really take over the party, and Barry Goldwater was not exactly thrilled by the direction Reagan took the country in.  In particular, he had some harsh words for Reagan on the Iran-Contra Affair.

The problem with neoconservatism is, as I agree with Goldwater, it abandons conservatism alltogether in order to pander to the Christian right.  Being a Christian, I don’t mind being pandered to, but I don’t like the government sticking its nose into my personal business, and I don’t like them sticking their nose into my religion.  I see a fine line between allowing religion to dictate governing decisions and allowing governing decisions to dictate religion.  You can’t really have one without the other.

So now we have a Republican party who believes that nation building is okay.  They believe that allowing the federal government into your private business is okay.  They believe that increased spending is okay.  They believe that unnecessary war is okay. They believe that it’s okay to ignore portions of the U.S. Constitution.  And why do they believe this?  Because the Christian right needs them to believe this in order to achieve the ideal they have for this country.  Nevermind the practicality (or lack thereof) of doing these things.

The other big problem that I see is the fairly recent strategy of winning at all costs– particularly winnig by dividing the country.  The general attitude that I’ve noticed among Republicans is an “us versus them” attitude.  Phrases like “real Americans” get thrown around.  “Liberals” is a slur.  Instead of encouraging all Americans to come together and work together for the common good, there is a message being conveyed that they don’t want the best for our country and they are bad.  They are not as good as we are, and we should look down our noses at them.  They are not as moral as we are.  They are snobby elitists.  It’s never implied that they might want what’s best for this country as well– they just happen to disagree on the process of getting there.

When I heard Barack Obama’s “Red States, Blue States” speech in 2004, I knew then that he had the potential to one day be president.  Why?  Well, the message of “change” wasn’t just in government policy.  I notice a genuine desire among Democrats and moderates to bring this country back together.  It was a key element that remained in Obama’s speeches at the Democratic Convention and on election day.  I was born in 1979 and have never had the benefit of living in a United States of America that lived up to its name.  Rather, I’ve been raised in a Red and Blue States of America.

If there is only one “change” that Obama can make, I hope that this is the one– for both this country and the political parties.

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7 Responses to “Revisiting the GOP”

  1. Lee P said

    A few corrections:

    1. It was Richard Nixon who “gave us” Donald Rumsfeld, not Ronald Reagan. Rumsfeld never served in Reagan’s cabinet or on his staff.

    2. Dick Cheney never served the Reagan administration in any capacity whatsoever. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the entire time Reagan was President.

    3. At the time Reagan tapped George H.W. Bush as his VP nominee, Bush was considered part of the moderate wing of the Republican Party. NO ONE considered him to even be a conservative, much less a neoconservative. If you’re insinuating that he was, then you either don’t know George H.W. Bush or – more likely, considering the evidence – you haven’t a clue as to what a “neoconservative” really is and instead just apply the term to any conservative you don’t happen to like much.

  2. ALmod said

    A few corrections to you, Lee.

    1. I never stated that the Reagan Administration is where any of these political careers began. Rather these people served under that administration in some capacity. I was using their roles to illustrate that neoconservatives of the party were already at work even in the Reagan Administration– not that they got their beginning there.

    2. Donald Rumsfeld did in fact serve the Reagan Administration as a member of the President’s General Advisory Committee on Arms Control from 1982-1986. He was also sent as a special envoy on several occasions and acted in an advisory capacity on several others.

    3. Dick Cheney had previously worked under Donald Rumsfeld before taking Congressional office and later served as Secretary of Defense under President George H. W. Bush, who had been Vice President of the United States under Reagan. To say that Cheney wasn’t still working very closely with the Reagan administration simply because he was in Congress at that time is unbelievably naive.

    4. What someone is “considered to be” is a relative term. And the fact that at the time a neoconservative was considered to be moderate is precisely my point– that Reagan’s time in office was considered to be a turning point in the Republican Party. Nowadays, it’s the conservatives who are considered to be the moderates. And while I will give him that he was much less liberal than his son’s administration, he lost a reelection largely due to his tax increases.

    I know you fight hard for any opportunity to foam at the mouth at me, but you might want to actually check your facts next time. I know it’s hard when it’s not part of your daily dose of talking points from the RNC, but it does help to read a book or newspaper on occasion. It also helps if you read my entire post and not just the parts you happen to like.

  3. Lee P said

    Suggesting that the Reagan administration “gave us George H. W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney” implies that those men either began their careers or came into prominence as members of the Reagan administration, which is not accurate. Just thought I’d help you clarify that.

  4. ALmod said

    Right… Because when a restaurant “gives us” a good waiter, it’s the first time the waiter has served a table.

    You seem to have a knack for “clarifying” things either with incorrect information (like your comment that Rumsfeld was never a part of the Reagan information) or by “clarifying” your own special interpretation of interpretation of what I said– even if I never said it. And to boot, you did it by insulting me. (Heaven forbid we don’t see Reagan as the infallible “Dear Leader” of the 1980s GOP. Let’s twist some words and make stuff up to attack the person who said it and suggest that she’s an idiot!)

    I’m not surprised, since that’s pretty much the response I’ve come to expect from you on just about anything. If/when I want a serious right-leaning commentary on anything, I go to Flashpoint. If I want a good laugh at how people reprint e-rumors and talking points and feel like being met with insults and “you’re idea is stupid” rather than a counter argument, I go to A Bama Blog.

  5. Lee P said

    I said that “Rumsfeld never served in Reagan’s cabinet or on his staff.” And that is absolutely true.

  6. ALmod said

    *rolls eyes*

    Whatever you say, cupcake. I think we know what was implied, but if you want to go that route, you might want to go back and figure out why you would have “corrected” me in the exact same capacity.

  7. Lee P said

    I suppose I do tend to get very defensive when it comes to Ronnie.

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