|(not, I suppose, to be confused with hiatal hernia. If, that is, "hiatal" is even a word.)|
Much of the commentary I've heard and read from my last post is along the lines of preferring to re-make or rescue the GOP, rather than outright kill it. And I respect that: there is a certain pragmatic realism associated with that position.
But I think it's possible that reality may be changing. And maybe it's possible that I listen to too much Glenn Beck, but my conversation with my father-in-law confirmed something for me: if there were a viable alternative to the two-party system, there are a lot of people who would be more than just a little interested in making that intellectual leap right now. The landscape has changed: union people, while appreciating the ownership of Detroit that Obama is giving to Big Labor, still have deep affection for America and are troubled by the vaguely un-American tone of the President; Big Environment is, at some point, bound to call in its markers with the newest or next Car Czar and all but shut down the auto industry (thus killing Labor); the niceties of the "public" health care system will be all but forgotten twelve months from now when a.) the actual cost of the program gets reported and b.) millions of people get that letter from their employers informing them that they are being dropped from private insurance and funneled into the "public" system (by the way, the handful of Republicans who will end up voting for this because they got bought will tarnish all Republicans); the Wars will again be front page as Iraq begins to collapse and the lawyers will begin to lose Afghanistan because a.) the press will want to cover ANYTHING but the domestic fumbling of this administration and b.) it will give them another chance to swing at Bush and Republicans for the War (don't buy it? what was the headline this past weekend . . . ); and three or four more Republicans will be forced to resign or be shamed by the fact they are human, hitching their trailers to the Religious Right has teed them up for charges of hypocricy, and some of them (ahem . . .Gov. Sanford) are just plain stupid.
Sure, the domestic bumbling will be pinned on the Democrats; but the Republicans will look just as bumbling because they can't keep a team on the field. And, as my brother said so well " . . . Americans want to be inspired, and today's GOP is possible the least inspiring organization ever!" So people will look to something or somebody to lead them out of the darkness.
If the GOP can find a star to grab the reins and command the stage with a message that, as the Captain says, understands limited government as defined by Amendment X, recognizes the difference between national interests and international wants abroad, and makes a new and strong case for competence and common sense, then I think the GOP can be remade. But that's gonna piss a lot of people off, and I don't think it likely that such a message can survive the powers-that-be. I could be wrong . . .I hope I am. But I don't think so.
And, by the way, if you don't think "bumbling" is a good word to apply to the GOP, just watch the Sotomayor hearings. Anybody with an even passing interest in this already knows about the "wise Latina" speech, so there's no point dwelling on it--besides, anybody with half a brain knew it would come up, and knew she would have a good answer for it. What the public needs to hear is HER talk about her judicial philosophy. Set her up, and make her answer to contradictions. For instance:
Senator: Do you believe the Constitution contains an absolute Right of Privacy? Where is it found?
Do you believe the Constitution contains a prohibition against holding illegal combatants in a time of war? Where is THAT found? And define what constitutes "cruel and unusual" punishment, and to whom that clause applies in a Constitutional sense.
Do you believe the Constitution allows the federal government to regulate the activity of an organization, such as a gun manufacturer or a religious sect, that limits its activities to a single state? Where is that found?
Explain you understanding of the Equal Protection Clause. How does that justify preferential treatment for one group of people?
Do you believe that the Constitution forbids the sort of prayer which begins every SCOTUS session? How do you balance the Free Exercise Clause with the Establishment Clause?
Now, you've cited a number of Court precedents, some treaties, and some intellectual writings as justification for your judicial philosophy. Can you then explain how that philosophy would fail to embrace plain-text readings of the Constitution with regard to Free Exercise or the 2nd Amendment?
Crude, but you get the point. Sen. Kyl would do well to realize that what we need is not a well-formulated, informed question that yields a short, pat answer; what is needed are short, direct philosophical questions that force long, deep answers. But again, even the smartest GOP Senator falls victim to the desire to look smart on TV (for the 43 people watching), completely forgetting that what they need is a 30-second sound bite from the nominee that can be turned into a commercial that will be seen by millions.
For the record, S.Sotomayor seems very smart, very poised, and quite liberal. I stand by my long-held position that a filibuster is inappropriate, but that doesn't mean the Senators need to support her. Hold a vote, vote "no", let the public understand how the Left is remaking the country through the Court.
But I digress. The Left is overreaching in breathtaking fashion; the Right is incompetent. The case needs to be made for a smarter approach to running the country, and I would welcome it from within the GOP.
But I'm open to it from without.