What Killed The GOP? -Part II

The results of this analysis give us insight into why things happened the way they did and what will happen in the future. For example; the financial services meltdown was basically the result of “gentleman” politics, as was the current bad reputation the Republicans are now suffering from.

While the GOP was in power in the House, a deal was struck. Barney Franks, a typical machine politician, relies, as does any Democratic machine politician, on being able to hand out lucrative positions with a large bureaucracy that he has influence with. Just as Mayor Daley in Chicago invents positions within the city bureaucracy for people who support him politically, meanwhile requiring them to pay tribute to his election campaigns in the form of donations if they want to keep their jobs, many other Democratic political machines exist as well.

The one that happened to use Fannie Mae as a host turned out to be more than a small nuisance to the nation, however. This almost became a case of “killing the host organism.”

Barney Franks was interested in “expanding home ownership”, which just means that he was interested, like Chris Dodd, in maintaining influence over his personal political machine, just like Mayor Daley, Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco, or any number of other political machines. He made a deal; support the GOP leadership in the House on certain issues they were interested in, and in return, they would allow him fairly free reign with Fannie Mae. The result of this fairly typical bit of Washington horse trading has become plain for all to see, and Franks’ part in it only really interesting due to his endless denials of even remote responsibility for what went wrong.

The GOP failed in it’s responsibility for oversight, and it has paid very heavily. I do not believe that the cult of the gentleman (see part I) will ever really recover, and in many ways that is a good thing, since it is a political anachronism from a different age.

When the housing market collapsed, George W. Bush panicked, and gave up on the free market. Now what people outside the GOP largely do not understand is that President Bush was not by any stretch of the imagination a good example of a “conservative” President. He enacted protectionist tariffs on steel (anathema to GOP ideology on trade), increased Federal control over State education (anathema to GOP ideology on decentralized government), did nothing to decrease regulation, but rather increased it, failed to do anything to stop pork from Congress, and gave up on trying to achieve a balanced budget (admittedly, largely as a result of a war he could not foresee). In all these areas, Republican leaders quietly disagreed with President Bush in private, while publicly supporting him, and over time, the nation as a whole began to think that this was because he was the acme of Conservative Republicanism. Of course, this is not even remotely true.

It was gentleman politics to support Bush even when he did not support Conservative principles. The moment of truth was that vote on the House Floor in August. This, in my opinion, separated the boys from the men in the GOP, and almost all the House leadership, unfortunately, came in on the boy’s side.

What this means is that Republicans should be very leery of future convenient deals with Democrats like Franks. Even more dangerous to them is the deadly advice coming from certain areas inside the Beltway to double down on all the things that got the Republicans into trouble in the first place. I refer to this group as the “Meghan McCain GOP”.

After Barry Goldwater was trounced by Johnson in 1964, the Republican party reacted logically enough, nominating Richard Nixon in 1968, rather than another overtly “Conservative” figure. Nixon, father of the EPA and initiator of socialist style price controls, can never be considered conservative, of course. What is happening now is a strange, counter-intuitive push amongst some Republican leaders to give up on ideology (conservatism) and instead go back to a Rockefeller-style politics of personality. This is actually bizarre since, last time I checked, John McCain was not a particularly successful Presidential candidate, and he is the archetype of what this “moderate” faction is aiming for.

I call this the “Meghan McCain Republicans” after the vapid, intellectually barren, mouthpiece of the trend. This wing of the party seems to be just as ashamed of being Republican as President Obama is of being American, which is really saying something.

Let us look at a case study for this movement. Governor Schwarzenegger of California, the poster boy of a “kinder, gentler, more moderate, non ideological” GOP. He came to Sacramento declaring an end to partisanship as we knew it. He said the age of the ideologue was at an end. He alienated almost all active members of his own party by betraying them on several critical concessions they had won at cost from the majority Democrats in the Legislature. He was willing to burn most of the GOP in return for popularity with a liberal press. Well, Arnie, where are your liberal press friends now? His popularity hovers in the upper 30 percent range.

Does that number seem familiar? It should; that was where George W. Bush’s approval rating sat for months on end during the last quarter of his Presidency. Sure Bush was snubbed by Schwarzenegger (as were most GOP leaders), but the two are structurally similar than they are different. Bush preached a “compassionate conservatism” that wasn’t really conservatism at all. Both were holdovers from the age of the personality politician. Indeed, you won’t find a better example of a “personality politician” than Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As I outlined in my last post; the age of the personality politician is over. Meghan McCain, in her expansive experience and great wisdom, would have us do whatever we had to in order to be liked by MSNBC. She is given a platform and allowed to speak principally by people who would love to see the GOP in the wilderness for decades, and the people who back her up with their message that free markets, small government, and strong defense are passe, are insider Washingtonians who haven’t got out of DC to have a look around in decades.

There will always be opportunist politicians, like the neo-blue dog Democrats, who are largely Democrat only because that party is in the majority now. This exception merely proves the rule that ideology is becoming the dominant paradigm in politics today. Since we know that conservatism is far, far closer to the thinking of the average American than the liberalism of Obama’s party, we can look forward to an inevitable resurgence, just as soon as we clear up a few things amongst the Republican party first;

One; do not listen to Meghan McCain.
Two; never make a deal with Barney Franks.


~ by Jubal Biggs on April 20, 2009.

3 Responses to “What Killed The GOP? -Part II”

  1. How r u write so much on politics and politicians its all amazing.

  2. Ha, I like how you ended that one. If only doing these two things would fix the Republican party…. kind of like if only we could tap our ruby slippers together and go back to 1892…….

  3. Hello,
    Ugh, I liked! So clear and positively.

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