When I officially left the Republican party around five or six years ago I felt a little bit guilty. I’d been a die-hard (R) for so long that it was both embarassing and disorienting. I left because I didn’t like the direction it was going. I didn’t like how Republicans in power were increasingly willing to compromise on their political ideals and philosophies in order to stay close to the gravy train and the trough.
As of today I no longer feel guilty, but I do feel extremely prescient.
I got an email today from something called the Don’t Go Movement. It sounds vaguely anti-war, but it’s something to do with Republicanism and opposition to Obama. The email was about how the stimulus plan was the first step on the dangerous slide into socialism. It spoke a lot about ideals and philosophies. The sad thing is, however, that those ideals and philosophies which seem so crucial to the people behind the email were the exact things the Republicans strayed away from in the last four years. When they were in power it was okay to ignore small-government, fiscally conservative policies, or to see them as nothing more than inconvenient road blocks to another four- or six-year term. Now, though, that they’re the odd men out it is all of a sudden okay to care again?
The way I see the current economic crisis it was at least thirty years in the making, born out of a combination of greed and easy credit. The lies came more easily as the money piled higher. It’s not an issue of Republican or Democrat–both parties were a party to building the house of cards which for so long was overpriced and so recently crumbled. But to the man in the street it looks very much like the Republicans caused it and the Democrats are fixing it. To that I say “’tain’t necessarily so”, but the appearance is the key in modern politics.
And the Republicans are looking baaaad right now. There is nothing they can say for this first six months that will save their reputation. If I were advising them on strategy I would say only this. Take a break until September. Let Obama and his government do what they are going to do. Right now is the honeymoon period and anything you say or do will be construed as sour grapes. But come September you’ll have enough information about the success and failure of this administration’s earliest actions that you’ll be able to mount a campaign to win back points in the war of public opinion.
Of course as a libertarian I would encourage them to keep looking bad in order to pave the way for the multi-party system we so desperately need.