Sunday, June 14, 2009

GOP vs. "The Base"

Do you remember "Wilson", the blood-smeared volleyball that became Tom Hanks' conversation partner in the 2000 movie "Cast Away"? The last time I was at the sporting goods store, I noticed that you can now OWN Wilson, or something that looks just like it, for about $20. I'd guess that's a new form of "product placement".

The Old Country (that is, Cedar Rapids, Iowa) became famous for a minute last week. A woman took a picture from her office window in 2007 that now leads the people who study such things to name the first new type of cloud in almost 60 years! What I noticed about the picture was the familiar buildings - the huge complex of structures that make up the Quaker Oats plant which marks the north edge of downtown. I could almost tell precisely where the woman's office window was located from the picture itself. Oh, well. It was interesting for a second or two.

Now the GOP. Schools, churches and political parties all depend on lots of volunteer help. These are folks you depend on to get the scut work done that has to happen in order to reach your goal. In politics, these people are known as "the base" - the ones who would never desert your cause even if the Second Coming happened to get in the way.
The Republicans have such a group, and it is something anyone would envy. But these days, there's a problem. The base thinks it can tell the bosses just who and what they will work for - and with. The Party's gotten narrower, and Reagan's old Big Tent now appears to be locked, with a large sign out front which reads: "Middle age and older white folks only. You must be a Christian, and WE decide WHO that is. This means you, Mormons and other such. We already have one black, and a couple of Latinos. No young people, hippies or especially liberals need apply. Moderates accepted only on a probationary basis. All Pro-Choice go away. No one admitted WITHOUT firearms."
OK, maybe that's too many words for a sign, but the meaning is pretty clear. It isn't so much a Party anymore as a club. And the club's goal isn't winning elections. It's being RIGHT, whatever the cost. And it's even worse than that, because after losing, the Club turns angry and whips itself into a lather because (ready for this?) the people they worked for "weren't REAL GOP candidates, but RINOs". That's GOP sneer talk for "Republican In Name Only". The solution to these Zealots is - going even FURTHER right. That's why venerable Republican senators are now facing challenges from THEIR right, along with the fact that they all seem to want to reach the Strom Thurmond mark - 100 years old - while still in office.
I'm on record as saying the Republican Party will stage a comeback at some point, and I still believe that. Anyway, it's more likely than the prospect of millions leaving the Party to become Libertarians or Ron Paul groupies. But right now the GOP seems like a guy dressed in a suit with a big knife sticking out of his back. You ask urgently if you can help. The guy calmly replies "I can't see it from here, so tell me. Does the knife go with the suit?"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, the GOP is in total disarray right now. Republicans as a party are looking for a leader to rally around. I think this is only temporary. Republicans will take back the house and senate in doubt about it.

Funnily enough, from my point of view, I think your whole post could be turned around to describe liberals. Obama is breaking campaign promise after campaign promise making for a very unhappy base!

As for conservatives...we ARE angry. Angry because no one listened when we told them what they would get if they voted for BO - and now we are all suffering under his socialist policies. Angry because the GOP isn't listening to us - real conservatives who believe in God, Country, and Family. If the GOP clearly stated their values and adhered to them as a party conservatives would back them. Moderates would back them. Remember - in every state that voted on the gay 'marriage' issue - it was voted down. The latest poll says 41% of this country is conservative. There are extremists in every party. Most conservatives are less extreme than most liberals...check out any rally at the HC courthouse for evidence!

The fact is, the rhetoric is out of control on both sides and in the media. No reasonable discussion of the issues can even take place any more. Even the news media is taking sides and fanning the flames - all for ratings!

-Angela (Fellow TM'r) :-)

11:05 AM  

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