My Growing Concern For The Republican Party

February 18, 2014 9:15 am

by Nathan · 97 comments

Do you remember the characters from “King of the Hill”? Remember Hank Hill? The even-keeled propane salesman who loves America just as much as he loves propane. He trusts his government (sometimes naively to a fault, but he did speak out when he believe he was being wronged) That’s the Republican Party I remember when I first became involved. We trusted the government for the most part, but we made our voice known when we believed that things weren’t going well.

Remember Dale Gribble? The paranoid exterminator who bought into wild conspiracies and had a “healthy” distrust of government. That’s a segment of the Republican Party that I see growing, and I’ve seen it grow a lot more since the 2013 Republican Convention cycle.

We have gone from the Party of Ideas to the Party of Conspiracy. Common Core, Diebold (Premiere Elections) voting machines, Agenda 21, and other fear-mongering has taken hold within parts of the Republican Party. No wonder we have such a hard time winning elections. I believe it would be difficult for an independent/undecided voter to support a party that has a fractured voice (see the three responses to the 2014 State of the Union address).

They say that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Well, the loud squeaks coming from the uber-conservative wing of the Republican Party has caused candidates to run even further to the right…which is good for Republican conventions and meetings, but we have to remember that Georgia, although an overall conservative state, is becoming more center-right as the years go on….which will force our nominee (and future nominees) to run more towards the center.

Presumptive nominee Michelle Nunn is already running to the center and pointing back to the days of her daddy (just thought of something, the Democrats point back to Sam Nunn just like we point back to Ronald Reagan….just mull on that a bit). The unfortunate thing about this election cycle is that the Democrats only have to sit back, let the Republican candidates bash each others brains out, and see how much we are able to alienate each other a la “I won’t vote for [insert name of Republican candidate] because s/he’s not *the* true conservative.”

The Republican Party can’t continue to be fractured with the expectation of winning elections. Maybe we need better leadership, or maybe our elected officials should respect leadership. Not bow to their every whim, but not sell them out just because it will get you accolades by conservative commentators and the vocal constituents back home.

We’ve tried to force President Barack Obama’s hand a number of times, but we fail. We fail because we just don’t have the numbers to back up our talk. We tried shutting down the government to force the delay of Obamacare. That didn’t work, and we didn’t win much support with the average voter. US House Speaker John Boehner is garnering flack over the “clean” debt ceiling bill. If I were in the House, I probably would have voted against it, but I wouldn’t have wasted all of my ammunition over this battle. We’ve fought on the debt ceiling before and lost every time. Why should cause an already nervous market go into a tailspin over the debt ceiling debate when ultimately we would probably cede to the President anyway. Again, we wouldn’t have garnered any friends from the average voter.

My fellow Republicans, we need a winning strategy. Principles are great to guide policy, but you can’t implement policy until we win. Obamacare is a horrid piece of legislation, but let’s not promise to repeal Obamacare only to be faced with failure. Let’s focus on our strong points, and let’s come up with solutions that make sense and work to achieve some Democrat buy-in. I mean, if we are honest about the Republican Party being about ideas, then we should work to flesh out good ideas…and those ideas should sell to both Republicans and Democrats.

Let’s aim for more common sense ideas and not harebrained conspiracies.

{ 97 comments… read them below or add one }

Harry February 18, 2014 at 9:29 am

To guys like me the GOP looks to be rearranging the deck chairs, at best. Unfortunately the best days of the GOP and the USA are behind us.

Lea Thrace February 18, 2014 at 9:44 am

Guys like you are what he’s talking about. Just a few days ago, you were touting a clearly bad piece of legislation that would create/enable legal “separate but equal” discriminatory practices for a significant segment of the population.

http://www.peachpundit.com/2014/02/14/morning-reads-for-friday-february-14-2014/#comment-374261

How does that hold to small government or conservative principles? How? You are part of the problem and the fact that you do not see that is disheartening.

Harry February 18, 2014 at 9:50 am

It’s the GOP problem, not my problem. I’m sure that’s disheartening.

Nathan February 18, 2014 at 10:12 am

You say it’s not your problem. You’re a Republican, Harry, or at least you claim to be, so it is absolutely your problem. It’s all Republicans’ problem. Winning elections is a team effort, and we certainly don’t need any more fair weather friends who will congratulate us for one thing and call us RINOs 10 seconds later.

We need standard bearers who can communicate our message and don’t have a terminal case of “foot-in-mouth” disease. We lost competitive senate seats in 2012 because the “true conservative” couldn’t keep his mouth shut on certain topics (Todd Akin). It’s like what Georgia’s patron saint Lewis Grizzard said: “damn brother, don’t believe I’d told that.”

The media is already against us, so we don’t need to gladly hand them ammunition for them to shoot us with. It’s the whole “think before you speak”….and that should go double if you’re running in a swing district/state.

Harry February 18, 2014 at 10:16 am

Sorry, I’m not leaving the GOP. The GOP is leaving me and millions of others. Good luck with Karl Rove and the new political calculus.

Ghost of William F. Buckley February 18, 2014 at 10:53 am

Where next, compadre?

Ghost of William F. Buckley February 18, 2014 at 10:42 am

@Harry,
RE: USA I have unbridled optimism that we will muddle through good and also hard times to come based on strong young folks, science, innovation, and our know-how.
RE: GOP, not as optimistic.

@Nathan,

This post duplicated a discussion I just had walking the dogs with a neighbor. The Tea Party ideals are congruent with what most conservatives believe deeply about spending, waste, growth of government, but get a bit wonky as they use Agenda 21, conspiratorial rhetoric, and bullying pol tactics to get their ‘pieces on the board.’

Good conservative reps are being challenged locally, and as part of a national policy.

Within the GOP, the Old Guard and Tea Party factions duke it out, and to your point – losing elections -some sit it out. Hence four more years of an activist Presidency. If the next Dem come out as being Clintonesque fiscally conservative, in ’16, then it will be harder for the GOP to prevail. Especially with a deeply divided Party and our Dem neighbors are all about consensus.

We’ve heard it many times, American politics are like a pendulum. In the past we’d go several elections, either Dem or GOP. In the last 30 years, the pendulum swings were every 8 years. It is tough to make policy in one set of eight years, when the following set of years seeks to undo the previous incumbency.

As a Nation, we ALL suffer.

notsplost February 18, 2014 at 10:22 am

The Republican party is caught in a credibility trap of its’ own making. If I were a Madison Avenue ad agency I’d say that it’s product offering no longer reflects the brand that consumers supported in the 80′s and 90′s.

There ought to be a party that stands for personal responsibility, fiscal restraint and smaller government. However what we have today is a party that largely stands for crony capitalism, capitulation and preserving the corrupt status quo.

For examples, see Senators Chambliss and Isakson. It’s hard to argue for smaller government when you are busy making sure that your district gets every available piece of Federal largesse, including weapons systems the Pentagon doesn’t even want.

Look how they voted on TARP, on the Patriot act and their rhetoric on Snowden. They’re functionally equivalent to the Democrats with an occasional sop to placate the base on social issues.

If the GOP cannot offer a distinction from the Democrats, they will go the way of the Whigs. I’d prefer that this happen sooner rather than later, so that we can get a true alternative to what has essentially become one party rule.

Harry February 18, 2014 at 10:39 am
Ghost of William F. Buckley February 18, 2014 at 10:49 am

BOTH Parties are complicit in the status quo, which I describe as “Guns and Butter all grown up.”

Our discretionary budget is consumed by DoD, programs, and services. The real cap on spending is more elusive than rainbows and unicorns, and our enemies – Well, they simply wait.

The good news is that we came back from a Depression, A Great Recession, and will face any future challenges, as ONE Nation. Always have, and always will.

Nathan February 18, 2014 at 11:05 am

Toss the bums out!!! That has to be *the* solution since folks say it all the time. Call me in 2020 and see how that works out for ya.

I don’t know what sort of “alternative” to the Republican Party there would be. It’s happened earlier in American history, but the fact is we are a two-party system. We really do need two strong parties. “Republicans are no different than Democrats.” Really? We may not be perfect, but I can certainly see differences (for instance, what Republican voted for Obamacare in 2010?). I guess it’s hard to see differences if you proclaim to be on the super, uber right wing.

Rhetoric like that does nothing to unify the Republican Party. All it does is divide us and allow the Democrats to use that division to their advantage.

Ghost of William F. Buckley February 18, 2014 at 11:11 am

We are the same when it comes to spending, Nathan.
We talk a good game, but in the end, DC spending for the GOP is only slightly better than Dems.

Unity? Really?

Look at the Tea Party moving their candidates into undisputed GOP Districts and then tell me my words, “… divide us and allow the Democrats to use that division to their advantage.”

Good Grief!

Nathan February 18, 2014 at 11:19 am

No, I agree we have a spending problem, GoWFB. I was actually responding back to notsplost, but you’re right. We are ceding safe Republican territory to the Democrats because our Republican candidates “don’t measure up” to the TEA Party standards and get primaried, smeared, and lose. We may win some seats, but we have lost seats that we should’ve won. I’m afraid we will cede even more ground in 2014.

I admit that our party was borrow and spend from 2000 to 2006 (maybe we learned our lesson…we’ll see). Democrats are tax, borrow, and spend a lot. I want to see Republicans move more in a direction of fiscal responsibility, and maybe we can pass legislation such as Cut, Cap and Balance that was introduced in 2011 and stalled out in the Senate.

notsplost February 18, 2014 at 12:00 pm

It’s not a matter of being “ultra right wing.” There just isn’t much of a functional difference between Democrats and Republicans 90% of the time.

Another example, this time picking on the Democrats – during the Bush administration there was a huge outcry over warrant-less wiretapping and privacy violations in the name of the “war on terror.”

Yet once Obama took office, those same people fell silent. It has subsequently been revealed that the NSA spying has gotten worse. We also have an NSA head who committed perjury in front of Congress, yet not one Congressional member Dem or GOP has stood up to file a bill of impeachment against him.

I want a choice, not an echo (credit to Barry Goldwater.)

Ghost of William F. Buckley February 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Since 1948, there is a government-within-the-government and that group is without Party.

National Security Act signed in 1948 gave birth to an assault on the Bill of Rights. It has taken decades but we now accept acts that our forefathers both warned of and fought against.

As long as the security apparatus works for the powers of good, we can feel safe in a relative “Fools’ Paradise.”

DavidTC February 19, 2014 at 10:06 am

If the GOP cannot offer a distinction from the Democrats, they will go the way of the Whigs. I’d prefer that this happen sooner rather than later, so that we can get a true alternative to what has essentially become one party rule.

Oh, but they do offer a distinction. They’ll randomly shut the Federal government down for no reason, causing massive disruptions in services and costing us money to shut down and spin back up, *and* take us to the brink of default for no reason, causing our interest rate to go up and thus more money to be spent.

You want to spend your tax money on government services, the Democrats are your party. But if you want to literally throw your tax money away doing completely random or even harmful things, with no benefit at all, vote Republican!

griftdrift February 18, 2014 at 10:39 am

Nathan has obviously been affected by the chemtrails

Ghost of William F. Buckley February 18, 2014 at 10:52 am

Local Dunwoody Tea Party leader plays a HAARP: Government control of the weather.

http://ntlconsulting.blogspot.com/2014/02/haarp-weather-modification.html

DavidTC February 19, 2014 at 10:27 am

HAARP, the real HAARP that is, is actually a pretty cool thing.

We still know very little about the ionosphere, despite using its reflective properties all the time for radio, and despite placing space stations in it. It’s a fairly important part of this planet. Additionally, understanding how it acts will tell us a lot about how the sun acts.

And it’s nice we still have open research projects where the US can do research along with the rest of the world. Yes, HAARP is an *non*-classified project that foreign nationals have a lot of access to, making it a rather surreal thing to be the subject to ‘secret government project’ conspiracy theories. I’m sure we’re letting guys from the University of Tokyo that donated a induction magnetometer wander in and out of our secret weather control project.

Nathan February 18, 2014 at 10:53 am

Affected? I cause them.

Ghost of William F. Buckley February 18, 2014 at 11:03 am

Maalox.

John Sanders February 18, 2014 at 10:40 am

The Democrats cannot wait until Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, or another nut job is nominated as the Republican candidate. Nunn will sit back and wait for him to talk about “legitimate rape” or some other fantasy the far right dreams up.

The sad part is Gingrey or Broun represent a small fraction of Republicans, but they are hijacking the party. If the GOP does not nominate the right candidate in Georgia, it could cost them the Senate.

Charlie February 18, 2014 at 10:59 am

I for one welcome Hank Hill as a leader in our party.

Nathan February 18, 2014 at 11:06 am
Lea Thrace February 18, 2014 at 11:08 am

I’d vote for him.

Jon Lester February 18, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Hank has a healthy distrust of Oklahomans, too.

Three Jack February 18, 2014 at 11:34 am

The GOP will never revive itself until such time as a positive, growth oriented message is agreed to and acted upon.

Currently what do most folks think of first when they hear ‘GOP’ or ‘Republican’? My guess is they think anti-gay, anti-mexican, anti-science and anti-woman. The GOP is still built upon a declining base of socons which alienates the vast majority who simply want to live life without worrying about some wackjob passing legislation that will further limit ones ability to live life.

Stop opposing gay marriage, you failed to stop this movement.
Stop opposing immigration reform. Not only is it necessary to modernize our system, it will help to grow the economy and create jobs.
Stop discounting climate change data just because Al Gore made a movie and you don’t like Al Gore. There is enough evidence to support further study with reasonable solutions to be offered. Once again, job creation will be a bonus.
Stop letting old white guys talk about women. It does not work, you do not sound intelligent and it only serves to alienate the majority of our population. Just shut the f up, change subjects or open your minds to the concept that women actually have the ability to decide for themselves how they would like to care for their bodies.

The GOP needs an optimist, not another silver haired naysayer. So far not one of the potential candidates for president has presented a futuristic plan built upon American ingenuity that will lead to a more prosperous economy. Instead they wallow in the muck of pessimism fueled by their total disdain for anything Obamaesque. Time for big changes.

John Sanders February 18, 2014 at 2:12 pm

well said

Ellynn February 18, 2014 at 11:34 am

Any party needs to have folks who vote near the center, and folks who are their parties extreme. It is only in resent years that the centeral leaning left have been label as the left extreme to the point that any one in the center, even the right leaning ones have become the libarals if they have no party or if a member of the GOP, the RINO. In 2005, Christine Todd Whitman was highly demonized by her own party for putting in print what the moderate GOP felt.

In the years since, the far right has forced long standing GOP groups like The Wish List and The Log Cabin Republicans into the shadows or the history books. The Ripon Society is losing members. These were strong groups of the GOP future less then 20 years ago. There members lists where a who’s who of up and coming GOP office holders. Most of the rank and file who belonged to them have been silenced, if only to keep their seats. Some have left to be indpendants. Some retired out right then to deal with what the party has become. Yet here’s the problem; until they were shamed by their own party they were still reliable GOP votes from the middle that could bring in the central left with them to win an election. This might not seem important in the state of Georgia, but in places like Ohio it’s the difference between a blue leaning president, and a red leaning president.

Lea Thrace February 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Yes to all of this.

DavidTC February 19, 2014 at 10:36 am

Yet here’s the problem; until they were shamed by their own party they were still reliable GOP votes from the middle that could bring in the central left with them to win an election. This might not seem important in the state of Georgia, but in places like Ohio it’s the difference between a blue leaning president, and a red leaning president.

Well, it *didn’t* seem important, back when this started.

It’s looking more and more like the GOP, in Georgia and nationally, is managed to screw things up so much that the GOP could start losing here, if they keep screwing stuff up. For example, it is very easy to imagine a universe where Nunn wins because the GOP race eats itself.

Ghost of William F. Buckley February 18, 2014 at 12:08 pm

I call it “Tentshrink,” and it is an urgent issue, 10 years in the making.

All good points, Ellyn and Three Jack.

seenbetrdayz February 18, 2014 at 12:31 pm

William F. Buckley’s ghost ruined my chance to be the first to bring up an issue like the NSA and pose the question as to why we’re surprised so many people don’t trust the government.

Hell, the government doesn’t trust us, for freak’s sake. (and by “us” I mean all of us, regardless of political affiliation; if you happen to use a cell phone or fly on a plane, you aren’t trusted).

What sucks is that even when they’re caught red handed, such as when an IRS official admits that the tax code was used as leverage against political opposition, or Obama unabashedly speaks of killing American citizens with drone strikes, sans trial, all that gets glossed over, and instead few ‘fringe’ groups are ridiculed for their stance on something like ‘Agenda 21′.

The question Nathan should have asked is, “with all the unethical, illegal, and unconstitutional things our government does in broad daylight, why don’t MORE people MIStrust the government?”

Jane February 18, 2014 at 12:31 pm

We do have some Dale Gribble’s in our party but they rarely get more than a handful of votes. Ray McBerry got 17,171 votes in 2012 and 48,498 in 2006, Ron Paul got 59,100 in 2012 and 28,096 in 2008. To put this in comparison, over 830,000 Republicans voted in the Public Service Commission primary races in 2012. The Tin Hat crowd are not a factor in statewide races.

Now, if a few get elected into the state legislature that is not a bad thing either. We need a few Gadfly’s especially on economic issues. They can keep the establishment officials honest, but there is not enough create a serious problem to governance.

PS. At this time, I will probably vote for Paul Broun. I have known him since the early 90’s. We need another Gadfly or two in the US Senate. For every John McCain and Lindsey Graham, we need a Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and even perhaps a Dr. Broun to create balance in the party.

Salmo February 18, 2014 at 1:39 pm

That shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how the United States Senate is designed to work, though. In the House, a gadfly is a great thing as they can call out the actions of their colleagues publicly to keep them honest. They also don’t create many problems when they’re way out of the mainstream, as they just have a single vote and often get overwhelmed (just as you see in your example about Ray McBerry).

In the Senate, though, often all it takes is one gadfly to completely wreck everything. We saw this with Ted Cruz a few months ago, and the GOP is still trying to recover from that one. Senators are elected to represent their states, and I fail to see how the election of Paul Broun will be good for the state of Georgia as a whole. I want my Senator to be conservatively principled in votes that will actually make a difference, but to also have the ability to realize that if you don’t have the votes, sometimes making a Quixotic stand will just screw your state over. There’s a pie that’s going to be divided whether you like it or not, so your choice ends up being whether you want to have a slice of pie or whether you’re just going to give your pie to your buddy Delaware in protest. The same amount of pie still gets eaten, though.

Many folks on here don’t like Chambliss or Isakson, but those two are perfect examples of what I’m talking about, and many who aren’t in on the inside baseball will never know how many times those two have quietly helped out the state of Georgia because they knew how to operate in the Senate. They also were Republicans when Paul Broun was still a Democrat, a fact I imagine many of his supporters don’t realize.

John Sanders February 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm

The Democrats are begging the GOP to nominate Dr. Broun. Anyone who calls evolution lies straight from the “pit of hell” is unelectable in an ever more centrist Georgia.

From what I’ve seen, the GOP’s best shot is Kingston, Perdue, or Handel.

John Vestal February 18, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Sadly, there will always be “This is the hill I’m willing to die on!” folks (with the prerequisite poor grammar) whose best contribution they will make in helping the party move forward will be…..doing just that.

Selah.

Jon Lester February 18, 2014 at 1:21 pm

I like that libertarian-minded, anti-interventionist members of both major parties are finding their voice (Rand Paul and Alan Grayson were both on the right side of the Syria thing), so I hope more people will consider candidates’ actual stands on issues rather than simple (nominal) affiliation.

I expect to ask for a Democratic ballot this spring, for the sole purpose of voting for Dr. Rad, but should the Senate race come down to Paul Broun and Michelle Nunn, I’ll have to decide on the basis of foreign policy. I’ll live with six years of crazy talk if it means one less vote for new military adventurism.

notsplost February 18, 2014 at 1:32 pm

I’d gladly vote for Elizabeth Warren if she were crazy enough to move down here and run for office.

Sadly I doubt we’ll ever get that kind of choice here.

A. Neil LeCage February 18, 2014 at 1:30 pm

It takes compromise to run the United States government, which was how this nation was created ( The Great Compromise, a.k.a. the Connecticut Compromise, as an example) AND how we were expected to go forward in governing (Missouri compromise as an example). If today’s political environment existed in 1787, they would still be there fussing and fighting.

We have some real problems that need to be solved. To steal the propane metaphor, it’s like we have a propane leak and many Republicans are walking around fussing about “the right way” to fix it or pointing fingers in blame about who caused the leak INSTEAD of actually fixing it. All the while it continues to leak and leak. Senator Chambliss is labelled a RINO because he had the guts to actually want to find solutions. He ain’t perfect, but he at least had the fortitude to attempt something. We need grown-ups in this process, not more whiners.

seenbetrdayz February 18, 2014 at 6:37 pm

On the other hand, this nation wouldn’t even exist if attempts to compromise with King George III hadn’t been such a complete and utter disaster.

A. Neil LeCage February 18, 2014 at 8:14 pm

You are kinda making my point. King George was not willing to compromise and lost the United States.

seenbetrdayz February 19, 2014 at 8:14 am

His loss was our gain. At least, until our government started functioning more like a monarchy than a republic. It seems we’re about to come full circle.

DavidTC February 19, 2014 at 10:46 am

He didn’t even have to ‘compromise’, he just had to give us(1) our basic rights due as Englishmen.

But the history of Britain is of their subjects being granted rights, or just expecting privileges they already had to continue, then the crown trying to pull back on that and the people revolting. It’s just this time, instead of revolting over there and either getting a new king or forcing the king to give back the rights at swordpoint, we revolted over here and just left. We’re only really unique in English history because of *distance*. Something to think about.

1) Well, not ‘us’ personally, but Americans, or rather, British subjects who lived in America.

Three Jack February 18, 2014 at 1:44 pm
John Vestal February 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm

I recall reading about Singer’s initiative sometime last Summer. Somehow managed to stay somewhat below the media radar.

Scarlet Hawk February 18, 2014 at 3:09 pm

While at lunch and discussing this post (which was well written and possesses sound judgement), my friend and I thought that for the average voter there could be some very basic ways of eliminating party factions: a death match. I personally enjoy watching party members eat their own. It’s WAY more entertaining than actually discussing policy.

My suggestion for the first match would be between Senators Balfour and McKoon. It could be both an opportunity for them to air their grievances openly and compete for the trophy of the media’s favor. It could also be an AMAZING party fundraiser with tiered level seating. The Attorney General could moderate.

In all seriousness, my friend asserted (and I agree) the party in majority will always have infighting b/c they have power and are just deciding what to do with it. The minority will always appear to be unified b/c the only thing they can do is oppose the majority. If the goal is to maintain the party, then it is important that those disagreements within the party are not aired as openly as they have been.

I personally think parties only serve to make voting easier for the voter by giving an either/ or option and messaging easier for the candidate by having talking points already drafted from above. If elections were nonpartisan we might actually talk about individual candidates’ stances on issues and/or plans to address real challenges rather than superfluous hot button topics.

Salmo February 18, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Perhaps, but it can also lead to a situation where candidates in a crowded field feel that have to be outrageous/noisy to get attention if they aren’t already a clear-cut favorite. The current Senate race in Georgia is a perfect example of this, as you’re seeing Jack Kingston say some things that you’d never expect him to in an attempt to generate attention. Yes, that’s within a primary setting but there’s no reason to think that wouldn’t happen in a wide-open general election just the same way.

Jane February 18, 2014 at 3:37 pm

While you might not agree with them, there have been honorable Gadfly’s in the Senate in my lifetime. William Proxmire, George McGovern, Barry Goldwater, Jesse Helms. Each of whom fought the good fight even within their own party. These people representing an ideological perspective was more important than party. You might say Calhoun and Webster were Gadfly’s in an earlier era, but historians respect both. They each represented a minority perspective, that rarely prevailed, but was important enough to be heard even in the gentle halls of the Senate.

Salmo February 18, 2014 at 3:50 pm

I’m not old enough to have watched Goldwater’s political machinations, but I’d imagine he still went in to his job as a Senator with the intention of doing what he thought was best for the state of Arizona. I also know he was articulate enough to explain his side of an issue and honestly debate the other side without just throwing a bunch of names around trashing them and voting no on everything just for the sake of voting no. Do you see Paul Broun doing the same if he’s elected as the junior Senator from Georgia? I’ve heard him talk about his litmus test, and, while admirable, it doesn’t necessarily fit within what a Senator should be (in Salmo’s opinion, at least). Representative, yes, but Senator, no.

I actually think we’d be much better off if we went back to direct appointment of Senators, but I’m afraid that ship sailed long ago.

Ellynn February 18, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Having known Sen. Proxmire, I’m not so sure he would personally like to being classified as a Gadfly. A Gadfly would be just too ordinary in his mind.

Harry February 18, 2014 at 3:49 pm

The GOP Establishment doesn’t have strong leaders, and are consequently incapable of consolidating and leading various interests. To the contrary, they tend to alienate the grassroots. On the other hand, Democrats have been capable of moving in lockstep even without strong leaders and are instead united by self-interest …so factionalism is not a problem for them at this time.

Salmo February 18, 2014 at 3:58 pm

If you were in Leadership, would you be falling all over yourself to cater to a grassroots that seems more interested in criticizing you than the supposedly common opposition?

In reality, the GOP Establishment still gives the Tea Party (I’m going to use this moniker rather than grassroots because I think the two can be VERY different things within the GOP) wing a disproportional amount of credit/attention. They’ve just decided in the past couple of years that there were times where the TP folks don’t need to get everything they want, and that has made y’all even angrier with them.

All of this is funny to me, because in reality John Boehner is far more conservative, in the traditional sense of the word, than Ted Cruz could ever hope to be.

Three Jack February 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Harry, dems are just as screwed up as the GOP – http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/the-battle-within-the-democratic-party/282235/ – They have their factions just as the GOP does and with no apparent leader (Obama no longer occupies this role as his popularity declines), they will have ongoing battles over immigration, trade, taxes and spending.

Lea Thrace February 18, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Agree. Difference (in my opinion) is that their “crazies” do not get handed the keys to the car as visibly and vocally as has happened with the GOP in recent memory.

griftdrift February 18, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Exactly

DavidTC February 19, 2014 at 11:00 am

Yeah, the Democrats pretty much decided that letting the crazies drive was a bad idea after the 60s handed government to the Republicans for a long time. By the 80s, the Republicans had taken over, handed the keys by people who had grow up surrounded by the crazies.

And that was even *with* Nixon seriously damaging the Republican brand, *and* with a lot of the crazies in the 60s being rather more accepted by history than one would have expected. (Turns out they were right, and racism and sexism *was* a bad thing!) Even Clinton had to run almost in dead center, and with his massive popularity didn’t really do a lot of ‘left’ stuff.

It’s not until *now* that the left has really recovered from all this, and the talking head on TV and radio *still* seem to think it’s 1975 and time to bash some more hippies.

One wonders how long the *right* is going to take to fix their reputation after they start being unable to win. In 2030, are we going to have a Republican Clinton-figure elected, with him having to run center-left to get into office? And, believe it or not, the right probably *won’t* have the advantage of being proven right by history…people are going to look back on some of the stuff that’s happening now and *shudder*.

Harry February 18, 2014 at 5:23 pm

They are using the Tea Party as a diversion and a whipping boy. Instead, they should be attacking Obama for more than doubling the national debt. No leadership.

Will Durant February 18, 2014 at 5:57 pm

And you are doing the Tea Party and your claimed “grassroots” a disservice by continuing your inane regurgitation of conspiracy theorists and Lester Maddox philosophies. President Obama will get no defense from me but you can’t bring up national debt without considering the stupidity of starting wars on two fronts without raising taxes to pay for them.

Harry February 18, 2014 at 7:04 pm

I make no apologies, there are more of us than there are of you. The GOP has to get the leadership to hold as much of their base as possible – meaning grassroots people like me. I’m not losing any sleep way or the other about their electoral prospects. Common sense will prevail in the long run.

Charlie February 18, 2014 at 7:09 pm

What I’m always amazed at when I read comments like this Harry is the frank and brazen selfishness of it barely cloaked by willful ignorance.

The selfishness is “If I can’t have Republican/Conservative rule my way, I go home.” Everyone else must do it your way. If not, to hell with everyone, even those that mostly agree with you.

The willful ignorance is the more you see people leave your alliances/party, the more you choose to see that more people agree with you. Losing the next election and the next as those people you invited to leave vote against you doesn’t seem to faze you a bit. Because you just “know” that there are more of you. Every day except election day.

Harry February 18, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Give it a break. Enough of your stupid ad hominem insults. Either the party can hold enough selfish, willfully ignorant folks like me, or they lose us. Nothing said by putative spokespersons such as you is going to change hearts and minds. If the GOP makes the mistake of turning over leadership to your types, then they deserve to lose badly.

xdog February 18, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Harry, I sympathize with you to a point. People sharing Charlie’s views have enabled people sharing your views for at least a couple of generations because they could use you to win elections and could keep you damped down the rest of the time. But now gopers are facing a demographic electoral crunch and the rest of the country has seen that you guys can’t carry the weight, and party movers want you to sit down and shut up. Like all breakups, it’s tough on both sides.

Harry February 18, 2014 at 7:47 pm

It’s always good to get the constructive comments of Democrats, and this site is swarming with you folks.

xdog February 18, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Wrong number, I’m not a donk. Come to think of it, I didn’t offer any advice either.

Harry February 18, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Well, we’re for sure not on the same team. Yes, there are many constructive voices in today’s GOP but they’re not favorites of the media or the establishment.
Please carry on with all the helpful insults and comments, me I gots work to do.

Nathan February 18, 2014 at 11:20 pm

I don’t think it’s totally unjustified, Harry. For one, the Tea Party looks to be fickle. They eat their own children. Case in point, Sen. Marco Rubio after he tried to open up a dialogue to find a rational, reasonable, and agreeable way to handle immigration reform. Next thing you know, it’s like he’s President Obama’s best bud or some such (http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2013/05/01/georgia-billboard-to-target-marco-rubio-and-immigration-reform/). Sen. Ted Cruz is the current Tea Party darling for the fact that he is willing to push his colleagues in front of the bus to make a point and proclaim his love for #LIBERTY. He’ll do something to screw up or the Tea Party will find their next darling. It’s only a matter of time.

Harry February 18, 2014 at 11:37 pm

I hope you’re not setting yourself up to be an apologist for the NY/DC GOP Establishment, because that’s a losing proposition even in NY and DC.

Harry February 19, 2014 at 12:45 am

Nathan, please read this and give me your comment.
http://eaglerising.com/4728/ted-cruz-calls-rinos/

Salmo February 19, 2014 at 8:48 am

Not Nathan, but here goes. This is such a softball-filled article that I don’t know where to start. This is probably a good place:

“We know that Cruz, Lee and Paul aren’t grandstanding for power, wealth or fame… because there are easier ways to do it. If they would just compromise they could more easily gain positions of power and influence.”

That’s not true at all. Ted Cruz has been in the Senate for a year. Mike Lee has been in the Senate for three years. Rand Paul has been in the Senate for three years. None of them would have any considerable position of power at this point in their career if they kept quiet and tried to play the game. Yes, they could get an appropriations-type chairmanship eventually, but they’re at least two more terms each, if not more, from getting there. On top of that, if the Republicans can’t gain a majority (and those three, particularly Cruz and Lee, are as much to blame for a continuing minority status as any), they’ll NEVER have any positions of power. About the only thing Republicans in the Senate can do these days is block stuff via filibuster. If that’s your ultimate goal as a politician, well, good for you, but as a conservative I’d like to see us get a majority back so we can start fixing some things, some broken before Obama came into office, others broken since he came into office.

These guys are running for President. That’s why they’ve been grandstanding. If they didn’t, nobody would be mentioning them as candidates. They’ll lose spectacularly, but they’ll sell a lot of books in the process and get a contributing gig on one of the cable news networks. In the end, that’s probably what really matters.

Harry February 19, 2014 at 9:02 am

You get rich by playing the game. They’re not getting rich. However, I do hope Cruz and/or Rand Paul have plans to run for president. Somebody needs to rattle the incestuous money tree of DC/NY.

Charles4Truth February 22, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Nathan, please!!!
Define ” immigration reform” How can you reform Illegal immigration?????

Ignoring the legal system is only reform in the eyes of a liberal who is willing to sell their soul to win.

Tea Party people are willing to point out hypocrisy in their own ranks. The Republicans are too often willing to hide and ignore hypocrisy in their party…

Charles4Truth February 22, 2014 at 10:11 pm

This article is disturbing because it is an attempt to silence those who may disagree or hold a higher standard when it comes to representation.

It uses the Democrat’s technique by demeaning those who disagree and may be overly cautious about where things are headed. This author seems to believe that if you have a R behind your name it means you can do no wrong.

Some may say the Republican party in 2014 is the democratic party of 1976

Charlie February 22, 2014 at 10:19 pm

And yet, here’s your comment, right here.

Apparently, we’re not doing too good a job of silencing you. I’ll speak to management and see if we need to try harder.

Harry February 22, 2014 at 10:33 pm

They made the same mistake in Ukraine.

Charles4Truth February 22, 2014 at 11:02 pm

I guess according to you, one has to succeed in silencing those who disagree in order for it to be considered an attempt..

Rather than finding solutions for the concerns of Common Core, Agenda 21 and Diebold, the author demeans and dismisses their concerns.

I hope demean and dismiss isn’t the new Republican party platform.

Charles4Truth February 22, 2014 at 11:06 pm

FYI – You cant say yo u disagree with Obama, Nunn, and the liberals if you vote along side them….. Example – Obama care, Budget, and Debt Ceiling..

Harry February 23, 2014 at 12:25 am

Charlie looks to having a role in the future Grand Coalition.

Charlie February 23, 2014 at 12:26 am

See, still not silenced.

Not making any sense, but definitely not silent.

Harry February 23, 2014 at 12:49 am

Nothing makes sense in this Obamanation.

Nathan February 23, 2014 at 9:17 am

Show me one Republican who voted for or spoke favorably towards Obamacare when it was making its way through the Congress in 2010. Just one.

Show me one Diebold voting machine that was hacked/cracked/fraudulated in some manner. Just one.

You don’t like my outlook on my the Republican Party, and that’s fine. We’ll disagree, but there are a lot more out there that tend to agree with my outlook who are disheartened. Keep on toiling away to make every conspiracy a key plank in the Republican platform and see how far that gets us. I’m betting it won’t get us very far in the long-term.

Charles4Truth February 23, 2014 at 1:33 pm

What is the republican party doing to Stop Obama in his destruction of the constitution with Obama Care and nullifying parts of the law whenever he wants? He can only do what he is doing by setting aside the mandates with a republican party that bows and caves to peer pressure.

Same with the debt ceiling!!!!!!

Diebold – we are just pointing out that it can happen… Can you agree that there should be a printed record at the time of the vote??? This would prevent fraud… Let me vote and print my copy for the recount if needed..

Its not the outlook that I speak of, it is the win at all cost… Take Illegal Immigration reform. How can you reform something that is illegal???? ONLY IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A VOTE no matter the COST.

Charlie February 24, 2014 at 10:25 am

What we’re doing is losing elections. The fact that this is lost on you and yours as the best way to stop him speaks volumes about the problems we really face.

Charles4Truth February 24, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Yea, you have been loosing elections because of the Tea Pary.. LOL

Nathan February 24, 2014 at 11:07 am

We have tried, and tried, and tried some more, but when you don’t have the numbers to pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, then it doesn’t happen. We can continue to shut down the government if Obama doesn’t bend to our will, but the sad fact is that we will lose the PR game and probably end up losing elections if we continue with the same strategy. The government shut down didn’t win us many friends, and may have damaged our reputation. It was a last-ditch effort, and it failed.

As for the election machines, there are processes, procedures, and penalties that ensure free and fair elections. Also, we’ve had the machines for over 10 years. They’re reaching the end of their life cycle and probably do need to be replaced. Why all the fuss now? Why not back in 2002 (which, I believe, is when we began to use the Diebold machines) while Cathy Cox (our Democrat Secretary of State at the time, mind you) was still in office? The security holes were known then and the following elections. Again, I ask, show me a single election where the results were proven fraudulent using the Diebold machines.

As for the Hispanic vote, we, as a Party, have pretty much alienated them, so I don’t expect that we can do too much to win them over.

“Win at all cost” is what you see, but until we start winning and controlling policy, we will be taking a back seat to the Democrats and their liberal policies.

Harry February 24, 2014 at 5:52 pm

Which is why many are emigrating elsewhere.

Charles4Truth February 24, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Tried and tried to repeal it?
Where are they when it comes to ignoring the law and all the illegal things this administrations is doing? You are correct in saying they have given up.

Voting machines. We are just asking for more security. Thats all. You acknowledged the flaws… Fix them and put in a fail safe for recounts outside the machines. Yes we as a public slept on it from 2002 till now.

The Hispanic vote??? That is racist. The new way of the republican party. Follow the democrats and give people what they want if they promise to vote for them. It didn’t work with Ragan!!! Did it??? What makes you think it will work this time?

There isn’t an excuse for what they just did in raising the debt ceiling with no strings.

Win at all cost.. We have been allowing too many wolves in sheep’s clothing. Ever heard “Be not unequally yoked.” There are too many liberals using the R to get elected. You say the Tea Party eat their own… You just wrote an article where some may say you may be more equally yoked to the Democratic Party than the Tea Party..
The tea party is more of a threat than Liberals running as a Republican to get elected in weak districts…

Ellynn February 24, 2014 at 6:34 pm

So to clarify, you would like to have fought for strings to the debt ceiling bill; forcing a fight between house GOP and Dems, which would not have passed the senate; leading to a good old fashion ruler and stone weighing contest that in the end would have basically removed almost if not all of the strings from the debt ceiling bill – then force it through at the very, very, very, last minute – all while playing chicken with the credit rating of the US government, which would have forced the interest rate on all exist debt higher, costing even more then whatever cuts were all in the orginal bill of strings to begin with AND as frosting to the whole half bake idea, the voting public would blame the GOP leading into a midterm voting season?

You might want to take a few lessons in “Case and Effect” and “Strategy.”

griftdrift February 24, 2014 at 6:39 pm

It’s what happens when you’re constantly told the only conceivable reason for failure is a lack of righteousness.

Harry February 24, 2014 at 7:05 pm

The people of Ukraine took matters into their own hands and won. Maybe we need to ignore those telling us that it’s a done deal.

Charles4Truth February 24, 2014 at 7:18 pm

So to clarify, we should focus our efforts on stealing the 2 to 5 million voters who may switch their vote if we offer a bigger cookie or hold to our principles and capture the 5 to 20 million who wont vote because the candidates have been cave to peer pressure for the past 40 years?

I believe there are 10 to 50 million votes out there who have given up because the candidates cave in after 2 years in Washington.

griftdrift February 24, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Fascinating numbers

Doug Deal February 23, 2014 at 11:34 am

Yeah, those conspiracy theorist nuts, droning on about the government spying on their calls, attempting to embed FCC regulators inside news rooms including newspapers, tracking license plates and people with computerized recognition systems, and using the IRS to harass critics of the government. Where do they come up with these crazy ideas?

seenbetrdayz February 23, 2014 at 12:09 pm

bingo. But don’t expect anything to be done about it, because responding to these conspiracy theories, which actually turned out to have a fair or greater amount of truth to them, would mean that critics of those who first warned of these happenings would have to acknowledge that they were wrong.

So anytime something turns out to be true, they drop the issue. ‘No, we’re not gonna hold the IRS accountable, because it’s embarrassing to admit we were under the impression that the IRS was an agency comprised of saints and boy scouts.’

Charles4Truth February 23, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Exactly seen,betrdayz

Lets dismiss rather that problem solve. The so called conspiracies they are speaking of could be solved easily without issue.

Harry February 23, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Two words: Rand Paul.
Two more words: Ted Cruz.
We need to make sure one of these square pegs is persuaded to run for president.

Blake February 25, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Kudos to Nathan for trying to get this conversation started. A note: the Dale Gribbles have been on a steady rise for much, much longer than since 2013.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Paranoid_Style_in_American_Politics