It has already been argued ad nauseum that the GOP is no longer conservative. If we take that as a basic fact, then perhaps there is a chance at redemption. Additionally, if we recognize the fact that arguing on behalf of “values issues” is useless in this society, there is a modicum of hope that we can move toward some level of sanity in this nation, when it comes to fiscal issues. And finally, if we stop considering the moniker “RINO” an insult, but embrace it as a means to recognize anyone that is focused primarily on moving our nation to a path of fiscal responsibility, there may be some hope for conservatives yet.
It is being argued that we have lost the culture war to the left, and that is mostly true. Matt K. Lewis makes a very valid point, that Americans have generally shifted away from “traditional values.” Turn the clock back to the late 1950’s, and the current laissez-faire attitude toward traditional family values was just beginning in the form of youth rebellion. They owned their narrative, defined their generation, and started us on the path to where we are now. But, most importantly, instead of attempting to force their lifestyle choices on those that disagreed with them – primarily their elders – they simply demanded to live as they chose.
And there lies the problem with the current right-wing. We are being marginalized on important policy and fiscal issues because any opposition we have immediately – and rightfully – assume that there will always be secondary agenda of forcing legislation on social conservative ideals. And we keep allowing our mouthpieces to preach about these issues, in spite of failing miserably for years, even with legislative majorities, to pass laws on them. And there is a hypocrisy inherent in this behavior, since on one hand we cry against nanny state initiatives, like denying consumers Big Gulps, but insist that traditional family values be made the law of the land. But, what would the political landscape look like if instead of trying to force these social issues onto the legislative dockets, we simply fought against secularization on the basis of the First Amendment assurances of the freedom to observe whatever religion we choose? What if we used the same tactics that the youth of 50’s and 60’s did? Thanks to Obamacare, various religious organizations have already started doing this, and they have been at least somewhat successful.
As for the loss of the culture war, perhaps that isn’t over yet either. Ironically enough, Hollywood is offering up at least a couple opportunities for conservatives to take at least one of their favorite issues into the spotlight with the help of pop culture. The remake of the film “Red Dawn” and an upcoming television show about cold war era spies offer a golden opportunity to discuss gun rights from a geo-political and national security perspective. And it remains relevant, because the fact is that China is quite interested in seeing our citizens disarmed. They also aren’t really happy about that remake of “Red Dawn” either.
Finally, our politicians really do need to stop displaying a stunning level of naïveté. It really does no one any good to act stupid, or suggest that anything that this administration would come up with is surprising.
“He has an insatiable appetite for this thing,” Ryan said. “He’s been extraordinarily partisan since his election, even to my surprise. But now there’s no excuse. There’s no getting around the fact that spending is the problem.”
That was Paul Ryan, of course. And if he was honestly surprised about Obama’s desire to bleed the rich dry, maybe it’s a very good thing that he isn’t a heartbeat away from the Presidency himself.
We can’t simply cut our way to prosperity. Cutting spending has to go hand-in-hand with further reforms to our tax code so that the wealthiest corporations and individuals can’t take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans. And we can’t keep cutting things like basic research and new technology and still expect to succeed in a 21st century economy. So we’re going to have to continue to move forward in deficit reduction, but we have to do it in a balanced way, making sure that we are growing even as we get a handle on our spending.
If Ryan didn’t already know Obama held that belief, regardless of whether or not he’d heard the President make that statement, then he sincerely does not have a grasp on reality. And Ryan’s Pollyanna contention that now that Congress has passed that abominable excuse for a budgetary intervention, they can concentrate on spending cuts is bluntly delusional. Either he has an extremely misguided faith in the honor and decency of his fellows on the House floor, or he honestly believes that the pack of thieving wolves on the other side of the aisle actually give a damn about anything other than maintaining their status quo of spending us into oblivion. It is a sad situation, because once upon a time, it appeared that Ryan actually was smart enough to figure out a way out of the financial mess this nation is in, and might have had the nerve to stand up against the crowd to promote his theories. While he still might have the mental chops to figure out the numbers, he certainly doesn’t appear to have the ability to fight to do anything with them.
Phrases like “we must own the narrative” are bandied about, but until we actually start doing that, we’re finished. We are the new rebels. Whether it’s a desire to build businesses without severe hindrances from government, or wanting to live a piously religious life without having to fight secularists at every turn, we’re all battling a common enemy – the left. Now, we can continue to let the left divide and marginalize us, or we can put our differences aside, so we can focus on taking down the left. Which will it be?