Build Your Own Cage

Thinking about the idea of a split in the GOP makes me wonder about how we got where we are. Why is the leading candidate for the party unpalatable for a large segment of the party base? I am reminded that “parties are simply alliances of groups that can put aside their differences sufficiently to focus on a few areas where they mostly agree.” Considering that it is not so surprising that the fiscal conservatives are ready to back Giuliani after years of being out-shouted within the party by the social conservatives.

The real dynamic of the nomination process is that the Democrats are united in their desire for a large government that will protect us from negative consequences with social programs to help us go to school, pay for necessities when we lose jobs, ensure access to health care services, legislating social tolerance, and promote international good will by throwing money at the problems plaguing poor nations. Social conservatives have been content – even excited – with a large government that will protect us from change by spending money to wage war against radical Islam around the world, building fences at our borders, listening in to our private conversations in case someone expresses an idea they deem dangerous, and regulating our public conversation against indecency. There is a third group who wants less government and more personal responsibility – including the possibility of suffering the consequences of poor social or financial choices. This group is so tired of being pushed to the side that they are willing to settle on any candidate who will at least promise to keep the growth to a minimum.

The ability of this third group to make Giuliani the frontrunner is what has lead to the warning by social conservatives that they might not support Giuliani. After so long in power they seem to forget that this was a coalition. They don’t seem to care that Big Government is the Enemy of Freedom. They want to coerce the nation in to following their vision of what this nation should be and forget that their coercive tactics would lead them into this very trap.

4 comments for “Build Your Own Cage

  1. October 3, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Big government is the enemy of freedom, and Bush isn’t? Which viable Republican candidate is out there promising to restore the freedoms and rights that Bush stomped on?

    You are right that “parties are simply alliances of groups that can put aside their differences sufficiently to focus on a few areas where they mostly agree.” And right now Republicans mostly agree that imagined safety is more important than freedom.

  2. October 3, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    I think that my argument here is that Republicans don’t mostly agree about much of anything. Bush has not proven to be a proponent of small government so I don’t see that we disagree there.

    As for which candidate out there is promising to restore the rights that have been vanishing since 9-11, Ron Paul is quite vocal about restoring those rights. Whether you consider him to be viable right now depends on your definition of viable – I’m undecided on that point at this time.

  3. October 3, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    Mitt Romney has a health care plan that he says is better than Hillary Clinton’s. It’s kind of like health care done NCLB style. See how wonderful that top-down big-government program has worked?

    The GOP is in a similar situation as the Democrats were four years ago. There is a clear front runner, several candidates ready to jump in if he falls apart (like Howard Dean did), and a number of lower-tier candidates. Democrats ended up settling on John Kerry, not because they particularly liked him, but because they thought he was most likely among the bunch to be competitive against Bush.

    Although Kerry came awfully close to unseating a sitting president, there was not much enthusiasm for him. He was simply the best anti-Bush. The GOP may be on track to produce something similar: a candidate that doesn’t really generate a lot of excitement, but simply appears to be the best anti-Clinton (Hillary).

    Is this a recipe for success?

  4. October 3, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    I find it funny that Mitt Romney says of his health care plan in Massachusetts that it worked for Massachusetts but that different states would adopt different systems. Now we have a group in Utah (how different is Utah from Massachusetts?) proposing a system that looks just like the Massachusetts legislation. (This despite the fact that Utah is so vocally opposed to NCLB.) {end rant}

    I think that the GOP is almost exactly where the Democrats were in 2004 and I fear the result – not the election of Hillary so much as the probability that the GOP will pick their nominee for all the wrong reasons. It’s not a recipe for success, but success or failure it’s bad democracy.

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