Saturday, October 23, 2010

Look Timmy, a one-man Republican Pride Parade!

A while ago, Dennis wrote about how politics (specifically, liberalism) had become its own religion for many Americans, particularly Jews. He shared an anecdote about how he felt much guiltier the first time he voted Republican than the first time he ate ham (apparently not considering that for many people, political involvement is reflective of an all-encompassing worldview, whereas keeping kosher is merely one component in maintaining Jewish observance/identity). As always, anything that happened to Dennis is presumed to be reflective of all humanity. Because he's modest.

Anyway, since then Dennis has been beating the Republican drum a little louder, first trying to nudge the Latino vote rightward, and now trying to galvanize the troops by talking about how he's bursting with pride at how awesome the GOP is. Sock it to me, Dennis. 

After I became a Republican in the early 1990s – in a recent column, I explained how emotionally difficult it is for a Democrat to vote Republican, let alone become one – I concluded that I had left the dangerous party and joined the stupid party.
Wow, off to a great start. You should be in PR.
President Obama and his left-wing party have given his country three enormous gifts:
First, they created a level of political/moral clarity that it has not had in this baby boomer's lifetime.
Second, they induced a consequent eruption of conservative activism – i.e., activism on behalf of limited government – that may be greater than at any time since the founding of the country.
And third, they are producing a Republican Party that actually stands for something other than being an alternative to the Democratic Party.
Let's work these backwards. While I agree that of course parties should actually believe in their principles, my impression has been that party Republicans are still pretty low on ideas and policies. By contrast, the Tea Party is such a loose confederation of activists that they have too many ideas, and wind up coming off as incoherent, scattered, and, thanks to some of their wackier candidates, downright loony. Last, the moral clarity Dennis alludes to seems to be more rhetorical than anything else. Obama has not been great, but he
certainly hasn't been the Socialist dictator the right has tried to sculpt him into. If anything, he's just been plain old ineffectual. Hardly the evil catalyst for moral clarity.

Dennis says the proof of principled politicans and voters can be seen by the total Republican refusal to vote for new federal regulations from the Democrats. As always, he refuses to provide links, so I'm not quite sure what he's talking about. If anything, though, I would guess that this simply shows politicians paying attention to the polls and the upcoming midterms. The Republicans know their base is pissed, riled up and getting ready to vote. Therefore, they're toeing the party line. Why so shocking?

Dennis also says that Republican voters are finally standing behind their core beliefs. Assuming this is actually happening to the degree he claims I agree that, as a concept, it's too bad that Democrats aren't doing the same. That said, politics is always about more than merely people's personal philosophy. There will always be elements of practical gain and basic pragmatism that will be involved as well. Until you get a critical mass of people on the left who care about and vote for specific issues enough to be noticed on a national scale, it's just not happening.
And if all this is not enough to fill a Republican with pride, there is a development that is as dramatic and unforeseeable as was the unanimity of Republican opposition to the transformational Obama-Reid-Pelosi agenda: The quality of many Republican senatorial and congressional candidates in the 2010 election is the highest in modern memory.
Here Dennis just seems to be throwing crap at the wall and seeing what sticks. He gives some details about individual candidates, but doesn't give you enough to make any meaningful comparison between this years' and those of "modern memory" (what's that, a 20 year spread?), he just says it and lets it hang there. Gee, Dennis, thanks for anecdotally wasting our time.

One last thing-- California-resident Dennis makes a point of singling out Fiorino and Whitman as examples of upstanding Republican challenges to career politicians like Boxer and Brown. As both these races immediately affect me, I have some thoughts:

I haven't exhaustively researched either of their records, so I won't claim them to be perfect. But to argue that the "powerhouse women" CEOs are more accomplished and are on "an incomparably higher level" than the incumbents who have a combined 60-plus years in public service is nonsense (to say nothing of unsubstantiated). However you feel about Boxer and Brown, you have to be pretty dumb to argue they've spent their careers sitting around twiddling their thumbs. What Dennis calls "working to be re-elected" most people would call "serving their constituents", or "doing their jobs." I'm not going to say that businesspeople can't be successful public servants, but the implication that between an established politician and a businessperson you should naturally favor the latter over the former because business is good and government is bad just doesn't make any sense. They're two entirely different jobs and skill sets.

Are the Republicans going to get some victories in the midterms? Of course they are; that's usually how midterms work. But the idea that the GOP is turning into a more principled, more talented, and more moral party... well, good luck to you, Dennis. Let me know how that works out. I still don't think it'll be enough to make Jews vote Republican, though.

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