There’ll never be another Reagan, but we could certainly use someone with his vision and determination today. A genuine conservative who looks upon the Republican Party these days can only shake his head in contempt. McCain, Graham, Rove, Boehner. A host of pygmies do not add up to a giant.
I think one of the main differences between Democrats and Republicans – and I am talking about the professional class of politicians, most especially the elected ones – is that Democrats never feel that they have to be in a majority to make a difference, whereas Republicans (at least the current crop) seem to feel that if they don’t have solid control over at least one legislative chamber and the White House (or both legislative houses) they are utterly powerless.
Now, Democrats will fight tooth and nail to get what they want, undermine the opposition at every turn, and, even when indisputably in the minority, keep the pot on the boil in order to be ready, at any time, for the main chance. Much of what they subscribe to is tragically wrong, and some of it is stone-cold evil, but they do believe. Belief is important. Open, uncompromising commitment to ideals is important. Ideas matter – bad ones, too, because they are sometimes amazingly popular, and the only way to effectively combat bad ideas is with good ones.
Which brings us to the Republican Party, or rather, its “elite”. Against the ominous juggernaut of the nanny state, the national suicide pact known as ObamaCare, the usurpation of congressional authority and the destruction of constitutional rights by an imperial president, the disastrous fiscal policy, the fox-in-the-henhouse regime at the DOJ, the Republicans are offering…what, exactly? The last time I checked, a disconcerting number of them seemed to be obsessed with helping the Democratic Party acquire millions of new voters through the implementation of an amnesty scheme. And when they’re not doing that, they’re busy trying to undermine the handful of genuine conservatives, like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, who are attempting to rein in the excesses of a government that is growingly dangerously large and out of control. “Yes, yes”, the elite seem to say, “all in good time. Mustn’t do anything rash, however; we need to wait until we have overwhelming numbers. Then you’ll see some action.”
Swell. A whole officer corps made up of McClellans. And assuming they do ever have the upper hand in numbers – an increasingly doubtful prospect – what will they do with their power? My guess is, very little, indeed. The Republican elite is all about tinkering around the edges, not wholesale reform. They don’t really believe in anything but their own incumbency. And yet, what good is it to be an incumbent - sitting in your posh office in the nation’s capital, well away from the madding crowd of your constituents, luxuriating in prestige and privilege – if the cool kids at the Washington Post and Politico and CNN are going to disturb your equanimity by saying mean things about you? That eventuality is simply not to be borne.
Completely self-defeating, of course. It takes votes to win elections, and if the only thing the Republicans have to offer is discounted, “just as good”, factory-second socialism lifted from the Democrats’ scratch and dent table , the “independents” who like big government are going to go ahead and choose the Democrats’ flashy designer version, and the conservatives are going to stay home, or start their own party. It is simply not reasonable to expect substantial numbers of people to rally around a banner reading “Me, too!”
To be rigorously fair, I may be overstating the extent of the Republican elite’s insouciance about the growth of Big G. It’s possible that their hearts secretly throb with a passionate love for our constitutional rights and our traditions of personal freedom, but that they have decided, in a misguided excess of realpolitik, to bide their time against the advent of developments more favorable to ultimate victory. Perhaps they plan, after a long period of near-dormancy, to burst upon the scene in overwhelming numbers and to sing in one loud, unified voice as they roll, unstoppable, across the land. In which case I submit that it would be more honest for the GOP to exchange the elephant for the cicada as its symbol. Unfortunately, the motto, “We shall return – after eating dirt for 13 years or so”, strikes me as being somewhat uninspiring as a clarion call to arms.
I confess: at this stage, I am more sanguine about the survival of conservatism as a political movement, than I am about the survival of the Republican Party. Leftism is a congeries of fantasy, sinfulness, violence and mental illness; while nature will not permanently abide it, nevertheless, much damage can be done, and many lives wasted or destroyed, as long as it is in the ascendency. If the Republican Party continues to serve as an enabler of leftist metastasis, then the Republican Party deserves to die.