Disaggregating the Republican Party
Liza and I very briefly discussed a short time ago the categories that seem to comprise the Republican Party. I do think the concept can be fruitfully applied to the upcoming elections. I find the following compelling:
1. The Religious Right and Social Conservatives. Perhaps 25 percent or so of the voting population cites Christian faith as a reason to belong to the Republican party. The focus is narrow: abortion, gay rights, prayer in school, and if we really tethered them from the other groups, maybe it’s 20 percent.
2. The NRA Gun Lobby. Like #1, the focus is narrow. They have hairpin triggers about the slightest efforts to regulate or restrict the sale of firearms of any kind, and they funnel large contributions to Republicans who promise to protect their interests.
3. Corporate Barons (Oil, Pharmaceuticals, Health Insurance, etc.) who find the Republican zeal for slashing taxes and implementing corporate welfare legislation attractive. Profits before people!! Corruption and greed rule, and the job is not finished until a few thousand people own the entire planet. Implement regressive tax policies and constantly seek ways to create tax breaks for the wealthiest apex of the affluent.
4. Goldwater / Buckley traditional conservatives who support sound fiscal policy, strong defense, and limited growth of government. These relatively intellectual individuals see #1’s social intolerance as childish. They stand for a strong country with solid infrastructure. They are anti-corruption, anti-pork, and anti-deficit. They are smarter and more cautious than group #6 and are disgusted with group #3..
5. Also intelligent, we have moderate and business friendly GOP members like Tim Bee, Ray Carroll, Toni Hellon, Rudy Giuliani, Bob Walkup, who have the intellect to reject extremist positions and seek sound compromises across the spectrum of issues from taxes to immigration to defense to education to health care.
6. Neo-conservatives of the PNAC variety that want to take over the world or at least subjugate it to the best interests of group #3, with whom they get along fabulously. Our Vice-President is clearly in the #3 and #6 camps.
7. The opposite of #6, the isolationists like Michael Savage (sort of ) or Pat Buchanan (still?) that want to "circle the wagons" and build some mega-fortress protecting us from the rest of the world. These people foam at the mouth about the border and scream about "English only" and the "foreign threat" well spoken by Victor Goode who saw Muslim Ellison’s election as the beginning of Congress’s conversion to Islam.
Iraq has got to be one hell of a bloody nose for group #6. From Rumsfeld’s "I don’t do quagmires" to Cheney’s, "We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators," to Bush’s appearing under the "Mission Accomplished" banner they all look like idiots. The outlook for Group #6, while they will always be obscenely rich, is not good for continuing to run the country. The corruption, scandal, and arrogance perpetrated by #3 and #6 have infuriated just about everyone.
Rich as they are, they can’t just buy the planet, especially with other people’s money, which they are spending at unprecedented rates, profusely bleeding this country, disturbing #5 and enraging #4.
I think the party is going to split. The tent is coming apart. How do you put Rudy Giuliani in the same tent as Brownback? We have both of our Senators working hard to deliver a comprehensive immigration reform bill to an eager president while the chair of the state GOP holds up a piece of paper and Nathan Sproule vents violently about the destruction of the party. How do you get Kyl in the same tent with the Randy and Randy after this immigration thing plays out, YEA or NAY?
Both the deficit and the rich poor gap are spiraling unchecked. Which group is hit by four buck a gallon gas? Which color (red or blue?) do you associate with four buck a gallon gas? Although perhaps few, some Christians have Christian values. As poverty soars some might notice that for every ONE abortion performed each year, over TWENTY children perish in the group of 47 million without health care. How many children currently live in poverty? Isn’t there a song about Jesus and children?
The Christ I studied had this thing about the poor and their suffering. Like the hundredth monkey, or the straw on the camel, I see #6’s ability to play #1’s like puppets growing on thinner ice. #4 and #5 need to find a common voice for reason in this mix, and at some point #1 is going to want its soul back.
Bottom line--#3 and #6 have screwed, booed, and tattooed the rest of us, laughing all the to the bank, and people are starting to notice.
What does all of this mean for the CD 8 election in 2008?
The next time they put Giffords on a horse, sling a shotgun over her shoulder and put a revolver on her hip. She should take Randall dove hunting. Note: I said Randall, not Cheney.
Bee seems like a great guy and I wish him well as a human being, but CD 8 in 2008 will tear him to pieces in this climate. Who is Bee's friend, Kyl or Pullen? No matter what he says about Iraq, it's shaky. No matter what he says about immigration, it's shaky. If it is true there are rumblings on his right about the budget, even more precarious. I would love to hear from Framer or someone with deeper insight into this, but it looks like a nightmare to me.