Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Conservatives Need Deep Soul-Searching

From Daniel Horowitz, at Conservative Review, "After budget betrayal, conservatives need deep soul-searching":
Thursday, May 4, 2017, will go down as a watershed moment in political history. This day showed us the culmination of all of the vices of our 28-year addiction to the binary idolatry of politics. Under the false dichotomy of binary choices (“but you might get the Democrats”), we are left with a political system that looks like a bad unibrow. If we don’t engage in some serious introspection and forward-looking planning, there is essentially no purpose to continuing this red vs. blue game. We have reached the moment when, just like the Whigs in 1854, after they failed to stand for anything related to the issues of their time, a group of us will have to meet in a schoolhouse and chart a new course.

Speaking of binary choices, I began the day with the choice of watching C-Span 1, where House Republicans sounded like Democrats on health care and were making ObamaCare popular again, or watching C-Span 2 and seeing Senate Republicans extol the virtues of a Democrat budget while having full control over government. For my own blood pressure, I opted for neither.

The events of Thursday – betraying the ultimate promise to save a sixth of our economy and pass a Democrat budget, all with control of all three branches – is the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act moment for the GOP. I am not comparing these issues to slavery, but the political dynamic is identical. At the time, the new Republicans recognized that the Whig Party was completely maladroit and failed to confront the consummate challenge of its time. That is the context from which the Republican Party was born. Yet we have now been keeping a comatose party afloat for 28 years – since the retirement of Reagan – longer than the entire shelf life of the Whig Party.

Too many people will get caught up in the minutiae of the politics, details, and process of the health care and budget bills. The reality is much broader. The party just doesn’t share our values. When a party has principles, it finds a way to win even when it has very little power. Thus the Democrats. When a party has no principles, it finds a way to lose, even with full control of government. Thus the Republicans...
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