Obama has been on a tear, raging against the Republicans that they are the ‘party of no.’ From a recent speech:
“There were no new policies from Mr. Boehner. There were no new ideas. There was just the same philosophy that we had already tried during the decade that they were in power — the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place: Cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations.”
If only this were true! If only the GOP were eschewing new ideas and holding tenaciously to the perfectly good old ones! If only. Not that I am conceding Obama’s argument, here. Either he is an idiot or we are- or he thinks we are. The Bush tax cuts had nothing to do with the housing bubble. Barney Frank (D) and Chris Dodd (D), did, and let us remember that this ‘inherited’ recession came only in the last few months of an 8 year term. Shame, shame, Mr. Obama. But I digress.
As the candidate field shapes up for the 2012 presidential election there is an opportunity to lay bare the fatal flaw in GOP ‘conservatism’ in the hopes that maybe something can be done about it. Let me be clear, this isn’t a new development. The problems began decades ago- even before we were born. To help me get at what I’m talking about, let me begin with what may appear to be another digression.
Much talk has been made about Sarah Palin’s intelligence and education and her suitability to be president of these united states. And this on the conservative side! Have we ever wondered why we need our presidents and politicians so sophisticated?
We perceive that a high level of sophistication is necessary because the issues that our politicians will have to grapple with are so hugely complex that on no one of them could the president get away with saying, “this is above my pay grade.” The underlying assumption, however, is that these politicians are going to have to actually navigate these hugely complex issues.
Therein lies the problem. Constitutionally speaking, precious little is supposed to be done by the Federal government. There shouldn’t be a thing called social security. Or a department of education. It shouldn’t require three doctoral degrees to balance out how taxation and distribution impacts the whole economy. In short, the reason why ‘intelligence’ is needed in government these days is because we all take as our working assumption that the job of our politicians is to tinker, tinker, and tweak.
Now, this is to be expected from the Democrats. These people believe that leaving things be leads to social inequalities and only the machinations of the government can balance it all out. Of course, when you tinker with part of the machine you will inevitably disturb a different part of the machine. When your machine has a million parts which all are interconnected, if you perceive that your job is to personally make sure the machine runs with efficiency- as you perceive efficiency- then no doubt, a high level of intelligence is required, and not just by the president, but by the hundreds of other agencies established to monitor all the different parts of the machine.
The problem with the Republican Party (for decades) is that it buys into this mindset. It takes for granted that the layer upon layer of government ‘tinkering’ is proper and appropriate at some level. Thus, they smart at the accusation that they are the ‘party of no.’ They wince when the grass roots produces normal, average people to run for office on a truly conservative platform, because they know just how hard it is to operate the ‘machine.’
In point of fact, the government that the founders established required men of character and principle, not multiple degrees in social engineering.
I don’t need, or want, my politicians to be highly intelligent and continually cognizant of how the government’s policies affect one and all of us. I want the government to mind its own business according to the dictates of the US Constitution. But this seems to be a tall order, even for Republicans.
Indeed, with the rise of the Tea Party I wonder if even these new candidates are aware of this fatal flaw. They will be entering Washington in droves in November. They will be faced with this argument: “So you don’t like the way that we bend, twist, crank, beat, rattle, and torture the machine. Every time we suggest a new way to intrude in the many parts, you say ‘No!’ Why don’t you give us your ideas on how to bend, twist, crank, beat, rattle and torture the machine!”
To make the point as vivid as possible, imagine coming across a woman being raped in the street. You yell out, “Hey there! You stop that right now!” The man turns to you and says, “Come on bloke, why are you always saying ‘no’? Haven’t you your own ideas?” Then, wishing to appear as clever and sophisticated as the rapist, you say, “Ah, well you’re right. You know, if you hold her down this way instead of the way you’ve got her…”
This crass illustration is meant to evoke an emotion. Most morally decent people would find it disturbing to the extreme to see such an event actually transpire. Yet the American people have been subjected to the wills and whims of a domineering group of individuals for many, many years. The GOP, instead of stopping this ‘rape’ have taken it as the baseline from which to work on, suggesting their own ideas. The consequences have been tragic. Lives have actually been lost. Livelihoods have been destroyed. Freedoms have been lost. “No means No.” Right?
I wish the GOP really was the party of no.
Unfortunately, it isn’t. I fear that even the moral and principled men and women heading into power this November will still operate on the assumption that they’re actually supposed to use this power.
Now is not the time for conservatives to provide new ideas. Old ideas are what we need. The best of the old ideas is that when you come across someone being molested, you make the molester stop. You don’t help him do it more efficiently or with slightly less pain to the one being molested.
And you don’t need a fancy degree from Harvard for that kind of perspective. In fact, maybe you could say that for that kind of perspective, you can’t have a fancy degree from Harvard.
Originally as posted: “I wish the GOP was the Party of No“