I started out a Democrat because my parents were Democrats. When I was old enough to conclude that the Democratic Party was so socialist I could not remain one, I became a Republican. In her nineties, even my Mother registered as a Republican. Times change and people change. Now I am considering registering as an independent. I am waiting for the outcome of the November midterm elections.
My decision will depend on how many Tea Party movement candidates are elected and my hope is that it will be a wave election that rejects so many Democratic candidates that power in the Congress–particularly the Senate–returns to the GOP. Then I will watch to see how much action they take to reverse the damage of Obamacare and other programs in much need of reform, replacement and rejection.
According to Gallup, currently an estimated 42 percent of voters today self-identify as independents. Those who identify themselves as Republicans fell to 25 percent. In 2013 Gallup reported that 41 percent regarded themselves to be conservative or very conservative, but that was the lowest since Obama took office in 2009.
A recent Rasmussen poll found that 59% of GOP voters say that Republicans in Congress are out of touch with the Party’s base. I suspect that’s because the base is more conservative than its elected representatives. Conversely, Democrats are quite happy with theirs.
The emergence of the Tea Party movement has dramatically demonstrated the unhappiness of voters with the direction the nation has taken since Obama was elected in 2008. At the heart of their displeasure are the dreadful state of the economy and the growing fear of a Big Government that extends more and more control over all aspects of their lives.
The internal debate within the GOP is showing up in commentaries among its pundits. It reflects to some degree the fears of its establishment elites who have managed to serve up John McCain and Mitt Romney, both of whom lost because they waged campaigns devoid of any serious criticism or confrontation with liberalism. The Party has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections.
They suffered as well from an incessant Democratic Party campaign to define Republicans as indifferent to the poor, aligned with large corporations, and hostile to illegal immigrants, homosexuals and women.
With the help of the mainstream media, these themes are constantly repeated. Meanwhile, cities and states run by Democrats are going bankrupt thanks to their devotion to spending and alliance with public service unions. You could line up the agendas of the Democratic Party and the Communist Party USA side by side and find very little difference.
Unfortunately, there are voices in the GOP that sound more like Democrats than Republicans. The most visible to emerge is Jeb Bush, a former Florida Governor, whose informal recent remarks sound like Democrat-light. He could have better articulated the need for immigration reform, but he did not. This is a common problem among too many Republicans in office or running for one, no matter what the issue may be.
Jeb Bush favors Common Core, a federal program of education standards that represent why education in America is failing and has been for a very long time. Regrettably, his brother, George W. Bush advocated “Leave No Child Behind” with its comparable standards. Parents today are clamoring for charter schools to save their children from the indoctrination imposed by teachers unions since the 1960s. Democrat demands for pre-kindergarten programs are just a further intrusion into their lives.
In a Wall Street Journal commentary, former Florida Governor, William W. Galston, characterizes the war within the GOP as being between “the social conservatives and defense hawks that Ronald Reagan created in the late 1970s” and the current GOP leadership who think those values should be abandoned to entice youth, women, and homosexuals. He expressed the war as a generational one between younger and older Republicans.
“The tea party offers nothing except nostalgia for a demography that is in retreat and a Constitution that never was,” said Galston. “By contrast Mr. Bush wants to run as a conservative unafraid of the future.” His wish for a campaign that avoids mud-slinging betrays a timidity that could cost the GOP another loss if he were to become its presidential candidate. My view is that Republicans, as per the Rasmussen poll, want a candidate and a Party that would more boldly fight Democratic Party and liberal lies.
In a March commentary by Karl Rove, the former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, had nice things to say about the party’s reformers such as Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, and governors such as Bobby Jindal, Rick Snyder, Scott Walker, and John Kasich. He cited their efforts to help the poor, but left unsaid was that they are poor because they are either a permanent class of the poor or the result of Obama’s failure to turn the economy around.
Rove could well have mentioned Tea Party favorites such as Senators Cruz, Lee, and Paul who are reinvigorating Republican principles and giving voice to them.
The GOP is not about the poor. It is about the middle class and too many are sinking into poverty thanks to Democratic programs emphasizing spending, borrowing, and expanding programs such as food stamps, unemployment payments, and an increase in the minimum wage. All of Obama’s blather about income inequality is aimed at those who think such programs will help the economy, but all they do is undermine it.
“Conservative reformers seek to broaden opportunity, increase prosperity for every American, restore the value of work, and strengthen markets, competition and choice,” said Rove. “If successful, their efforts would help the GOP among middle class voters.” That could have been written by a member of the Tea Party movement.
“It is hard to overstate how much the Republican Party is hurt by the persistent belief of many voters that its candidates are out of touch and do not care about people like them,” said Rove. That’s the message of the Democratic Party and always has been. It is a message that mainstream media repeats.
The Tea Party movement, however, is overcoming that message and the success of Republican governors and the popularity of its candidates suggests that many Americans see the movement as the salvation of the nation. The Republican Party too often looks pale by comparison and that must change.
© Alan Caruba, 2014