My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Back From Hiatus 

. . . and the landscape is a little grimmer.

It's not just that the Republican brand is damaged. The Republican brand may be SO damaged as to be unrecoverable. And it's not just the Bush/Cheney/Iraq angle, like I think too many GOPers are comforting themselves with. It's that from top to bottom there is a dearth of ideas, there is a lack of leadership, and there is almost no understanding that the game is different now.

Who's the last GOP figure to make a strong policy statement? Newt? Okay, but he is hopelessly damaged goods. And besides, he "debated" Al Gore on climate change, and ended up agreeing with the Prophet. And so, we all get saddled with a trillion dollar climate cap-and-tax bill that has almost no hope of accomplishing anything other than crippling our economy. I'm not exactly optimistic that either Alan Carlin or John Christy will show up on the witness list when the Senate gets around to holding hearings on the bill.

Because the Republicans in the Senate are weak. And unwilling to fight.

I understand part of their dilemma--common sense tells you to only fight one battle at a time, and I suppose they're keeping their powder dry for the health care debate. The problem is, if the enemy attacks on three or four fronts at once (climate, health care, Sotmayor, not to mention foreign policy), then you had better be prepared to fight on that many fronts, also.

And, by the way, a salvo or two for the press would be well-deserved. A press that seems to be in "shock and awe" at the Obama administration's multi-front policy drive. But I digress . . .

Was a reasonable alternative mentioned in the House? I think so, but nobody made a very good case for it. Or, at least, not a case that made it through to the public consciousness. Which is amazing, since the public doesn't really care for cap-and-tax. But Republicans couldn't make the case.

Which may be why--or because--eight Republicans actually voted for this thing. Eight.

That's where that lack of leadership comes in. These eight had better not get a DIME from the NRCC or the GOP, or . . . oh, whatever.

Leadership would also have been useful to shut down the stimulus so we could avoid a $787 billion dollar bill to save . . .ZERO jobs. At least, apparently, since the bill was supposed to prevent a jobs crisis but we climbed to 9.5 percent unemployment, anyway. How's that climate bill gonna help that?

But all of this is just complaining--pointing out the obvious flaws in a political party that has already been massacred in the last two elections. I guess that's nothing terribly original or useful.

What worries me most is the future, and the fact that the game has changed. Politically, the GOP seems to still be fighting a Marquis of Queensbury fight while the Dems and their allies are fighting a street fight. If this were a real party interested in winning, somebody would have presented to the press a redacted version of their notes from the CIA-Gang of Eight briefings in which the CIA told her about "enhanced" interrogations. And the one, solid, grassroots effort to assert conservative ideas has been shunned by the old men at the center of the GOP power circle. I was at the Tea Party this last weekend, and was amazed at the principles articulated. What's more, the next day I was in the car with my father-in-law, a lifetime labor Democrat, who is now exploring the wisdom of Libertarianism.

But he doesn't trust Republicans, and he's never been more open to their message. They just don't have a message that will resonate with him.

But the Tea Party party seems to.

The Republican Party is dead. It must either be reborn in a Reagan/originalist image, or it must be stashed and have dirt heaped on it's grave. I'm open to the latter.

I'm not sure what you would have to call it, but let me throw this out: the Independence Party. We stand for originalist ideas of limited central government, states' rights; we stand for a strong national defense with limited and clearly defined international responsibilities; we stand for open markets and economic freedom; we stand for American sovereignty and the right to protect our own borders; we stand for American individualism and the need to disentangle from international institutions.

But mostly, we stand for the rights, privledges and responsibilities articulated in the Constitution of the United States.

Sounds like a Republican platform . . . from 25 years ago. If the GOP still stands for these things, they've not acted like it. So they should join the Whigs and the Soviet Communists on the trash heap of history.

Really, what difference could it make? Would that sort of a thing guarantee an electoral failure? Oh, wait . . . we already have that.

And it might--MIGHT--at least widen the dialogue and educate Americans about what their country really is.

footnote: my hope--and, really, the only explanation I can come up with--for Sarah Palin to quit her job so early is that she wants to be in the forefront of the formation of this new Party, and it would take somebody with her sort of celebrity to give it the priority it deserves.

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