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January 07, 2005

The Republican Crisis (UPDATED) « Politics As Usual »

I've seen a number of articles asserting that Democrats are facing a crisis that may result in the collapse of their party.

I'm beginning to wonder if Republicans are, too.

Here's the issue: should Kid Rock be allowed to play at a concert hosted by President Bush's daughters?

One of the reasons the roll of Republican voters swelled in the last election is because the Democrat Party kind of went nuts. Many of the ones who couldn't take it voted Republican. With no where else to go, they want a party to match their views, and they are trying to change the Republican Party to suit them.

Even before this new influx of Republican voters, there was a movement known loosely as "South Park Republicans" who aligned themselves with the Republicans mainly on the ideals of fiscal conservatism, fighting the War on Terror, and opposing some of the whackier Democrat platforms.

These two factors tend to be more "moderate", it seems. Many are for homosexual marriage, are pro-choice, curse a mean streak, openly enjoy pornography, have no discernable desire to have children or even demonstrate much concern for the health of society. They may vote Republican, but they are much closer to Libertarians in individualism, I think.

And that's okay.

But the GOP is still, first and foremost, a Conservative institution, not moderate. The crisis we are facing now is, should we change.

From Christine Todd Whitman to Arlen Specter to the Log Cabin Republicans to the college "conservatives" who are merely revolting against the entrenched liberal establishment among the faculty without holding any commitment for typical conservative values, we are being told, "It's my party, too!" "Lighten up," we are told. "Lower your standards to be more inclusive!"

Well, how far do we lower our standards? I will not be held hostage on the basis of trying to retain votes. Some things are worth taking a principled stand for, and fighting a losing battle against the erosion of decency standards so that my children don't have to worry about profanity and vulgarity in, say, elementary school is worth it to me.

You don't like to be in a political party that doesn't appreciate someone who gets rich off the use of profanity and obscenity? Fine. Go vote Democrat. You don't care if nudity is shown in prime time so parents should "turn it off if we don't want to see it"? I don't need to ally myself with that to win elections.

I may not be able to do anything to make my children's environment less polluted, but I can and will continue to fight that battle to try to return a more children-friendly society for my grandchildren. If you think because you are an adult that we can stop trying to protect children, I don't really want to discuss politics or society with you. It's easier for an adult to make choices to find the lavicious material they want than it is for a child to avoid it when "adult level" is the default. I'm not trying to turn the clock back to the 50s, but mid-70s or early 80s standards wouldn't be bad.

There's nothing wrong with you holding your view, mind you. But I won't knuckle under to your "let's be reasonable: do it my way" arguments.


Lest I leave a wrong impression, I'm not talking about kicking anyone out for holding a view not 100% in-line with mine. I'm saying that if you join a group, you assimilate first, then try to change attitudes from within through debate and discussion. And using arguments that are more rhetoric than substantive is a little childish.

Here's the comment I left over at Gary Cruse's site:

Well, I got a little excited in my writing, perhaps, but my point is simply: moderates may have made the difference in the national election, but you can't use that to blackmail the whole party into accepting your viewpoint. We will discuss and work out our differences of opinion as normal.
Now, it may be that we will become the party of South Park Republicans. If it happens because of reasoned debate, discussion, and simple numbers, no problem.
But when I see moderate Republican voters complaining about Christian conservatives, worrying aloud about the GOP moving toward instituting a 'theocracy', and otherwise trying to change the GOP into a Democrat Party Lite, should I be sanguine about it?
No, I'll debate and argue.
What I won't do is whine and threaten that if the whole party doesn't kowtow to my opinions, I'll take my vote and go home, like I've seen many moderates do.

Posted by Nathan at 03:51 PM | Comments (7)
» The Owner's Manual links with: Big Tent or Sno-cone?
» Jeff links with: Who may support America? Part II
» The LLama Butchers links with: This one's right up there with the Nullification Crisis, Court-Packing, and dare we say the Revolution itself

I fall about halfway between traditional conservatism and libertarianism, so take this for what it's worth:

I agree with you insofar as cheap rhetoric is concerned and I, too, get mighty annoyed with a lot of the moderate carping. That said, I believe it unwise to target Kid Rock based largely on his earlier recordings. Kid Rock's more recent recordings read a lot like the old country musicians who did a lot of stupid things and are paying the price for them, including a song lamenting an aborted child, and of someone trying to find himself and, more liberally read, God. But the point is not Kid Rock (whose music I don't particularly care for), but that Kid Rock, if let in "the tent" can speak to an audience that won't listen to you or me. It'd be something else if he was intending to sing his younger, offensive stuff at the inauguration, but getting this worked up in protest of a reforming artist who risked his career in support of Bush is extremely unwise, a missed opportunity, and honestly one of the things that kept me from hearing and understanding the Republican message sooner.

Posted by: R. Alex at January 7, 2005 08:08 PM

I can see your point.
A few thoughts/reactions: I don't really have an opinion of Kid Rock, to tell the truth. My reaction was for the commenters on Ms. Malkin's site who were disdainful of people who might not like Kid Rock representing the GOP or Conservatives.
And that's kind of the other thing. Absent some sort of repudiation of his past invective on his part, his appearance in the concert would be seen as a representation or endorsement, and I can understand why some people might object to that.
Personally, I'm not planning on watching the concert so I really don't care who they have. But it won't just be the Oak Ridge Boys and the singing policeman, I'm fairly sure.

Posted by: Nathan at January 7, 2005 08:35 PM

I understand where you're coming from in regards to the comments section. The word "theocracy" has the same effect on me that the word "nazi" does in a debate. The problem is that moral issues are harder to discuss between people who are coming from very different sets of assumptions and it's easy for both sides of that debate to fall into a theocrat/heathen non-productive dynamic.

Posted by: R. Alex at January 7, 2005 08:38 PM

...and when I get excited/passionate, I probably contribute to that! [grin]

But I try to calm down and restrict myself to discussions of my opinion, my gut reactions, and the facts (as best I understand them)...

...and then, the overall reason for this blog is to stimulate consideration and discussion, even if it too often falls short.

Posted by: Nathan at January 7, 2005 08:41 PM

'Lower your standards to be more inclusive!"'

Your standards are no higher or lower because you have a diferent political opinion. In fact it could be well argued that your standards are lower based on your stances on gay marriage and other social positions.

If they want Kid Rock to play, let him play. It's a sad fact that conservatives have to have their entertainers pass a litmus test so they can listen to music.

The GOP is, well, was a fiscal conservative party. They have not always been socially conservative. One could argue, and many 'conservative' republicans of old have that the party is actually a liberal party with the government imposing it's will into the lives of Americans more and more.

A true conservative is not one to want the government to create laws to prevent freedom, but allows individuals freedoms, meaning 'small' government rules the day. Something the republican party doesn't adhere to much anymore. It's enough to make me go independent in the future.

Posted by: DC at January 12, 2005 07:48 AM

The GOP is, well, was a fiscal conservative party.
Is it? Where-ever do you come up with that from?
The Republican Party has long been an advocate of very expensive military spending, has it not?
If you look more closely, it should be clear that the Republican Party is socially conservative. This has led them to opposing on principle many of the socially-liberal and entitlement programs. One of the arguments used to oppose liberals is that it makes better fiscal sense to not give money away to people who don't earn it because it removes impetus to working for yourself.
But that's not a commitment itself to save money whenever and where-ever possible at all. Now, those arguments for not wasting money giving it away so that you don't have to continually raise taxes attracted fiscal conservatives to the Party, but that hardly means "The GOP is or was a fiscal conservative party".

From your words, I guess you consider "true conservatives" to be indistinguishable from libertarians. To tell the truth, I get suspicious when anyone tries to staple the word "true" onto a word whose meaning is already well-known, because, just like you, they are trying to alter the meaning.

The nature of "conservatism", by definition is that we already have a good thing, there's no reason to mess it up by trying to move in any certain direction, except maybe back to a previously embraced circumstance, standard, or situation.

For instance, most conservatives would like to return to the government of the 50s, or perhaps the mid-80s. The conservatives I would associate with would not want to turn the clock back on racial issues, but feel that 'progress' in the sexual arena has reaped the whirlwind, and would prefer to return to more conservative sexual mores.
See? You can't insert your definition of "conservative" into that sentence without making it false. Thus, your assertion is clearly disproven.
The difference between Conservatives and Libertarians seems to be that Libertarians want the smallest government possible and pretend to be conservatives to try and advance their agenda, whereas conservatives just want to stop trying to fix what isn't broken.

I know you'll vehemently disagree with this, but that's okay. Feel free to vent.

Posted by: Nathan at January 12, 2005 08:13 AM

I don't vehenently disagree with what you said. I think you are clearly wrong on several points but don't take much of this personally.

You said:'Is it? Where-ever do you come up with that from?'

From the fact that the party platform has long been associated with limited government intervenion into business actions. Your military statement not withstanding, that is more an exception to the historical rule.

'If you look more closely, it should be clear that the Republican Party is socially conservative.'

Again, historically they have not always been so. They are frequently moved by their more reasoned members.

'The nature of "conservatism", by definition is that we already have a good thing, there's no reason to mess it up by trying to move in any certain direction, except maybe back to a previously embraced circumstance, standard, or situation.'

No by definition a conservative is one who by the dictionary-Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change. One must wonder why?

But that is semantics. Then one gets into a discussion on what is tradition? Is keeping slaves a valued tradition, not allowing women to vote, etc. All were at one time traditional values held by millions.

Tradition is a bad reason to continue doing something. If it had false premises at the get go carrying them on makes little sense. Much of 'progress' is simply shedding mundane laws and methodologies that a modern world simply has no use for give our current state of knowledge.

'For instance, most conservatives would like to return to the government of the 50s, or perhaps the mid-80s. The conservatives I would associate with would not want to turn the clock back on racial issues, but feel that 'progress' in the sexual arena has reaped the whirlwind, and would prefer to return to more conservative sexual mores.'

Ahhh, now the truth of the matter. They want the 50's? How sad. Our nation has progressed so far and yet these 'conservatives' long for bygone eras.

This is cafeteria conservatism at it's finest. Keep the racial progress, but oppress other freedoms. Oh yes our sexual mores are so terrible. To whom? A nation who goes into capitulations over an exposed nipple? That type of repression?

Why does it bother others what occurs in the privacy of anothers bedroom? I hate to tell all the social 'conservatives' out there but there is no more sex now then before, it is just more visible.

And yes a true conservative would be close to a libertarian in todays language. Limited government that doesn't intrude into the daily lives of citizens. One cannot be a conservative and want the goverment regulating private lives.

But feel free to disagree.

1 man 1 vote.

Posted by: DC at January 12, 2005 11:07 AM
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