When Tony Blair won leadership of the British Labor Party, it had long been unelectable. A previous party platform had been dubbed “the longest suicide note in history” because of its loony left agenda. Blair set out to fix that, most importantly by getting Labor to rescind the dearest left-wing shibboleth of the party charter, nationalization of premier business firms. And, to signal this decisive break with the party’s unappealing past, it was rechristened the “New Labor” party.
America needs a New Republican party.
Or, rather, a new OLD Republican party. The pre-Tom DeLay party; the pre-Jerry Falwell party; the pre-Karl Rove party; and, yes, the pre-Bush party.
Those guys’ approach may admittedly have won a few elections, but at the cost of positioning the Republican party athwart the tides of history.
The colossal irony of the GOP’s later years in power was how it tried to buy votes and achieved the opposite. The whole point of “pork” spending is to bribe voters (with their own money, i.e., tax dollars) – and the GOP tried to compound it with tax cuts besides, having the government go into hock to pay the bribes. But what it got for its pains was not gratitude for doling out goodies, but instead, becoming known as the bribery party.
Somehow, the Democrats had managed to play the same game with impunity for decades. Maybe they had perfected the art of such bribery. For Republicans it did not come naturally, they weren’t slick enough at it.
Its height was the prescription drug program. After decades in which Democrats perennially scared elderly voters that the GOP would take away their Social Security, Republicans actually imagined they could turn the tables with a massive new bribe to elderly voters. Even though existing entitlement programs were already careening toward a huge budgetary train wreck. This was fiscal insanity. The Republicans did it anyway, for the wrong reason – not because they really thought it made sense, but in a crass bid for political gain. They didn’t understand the difference between seduction and whoredom.
As if becoming the bribery party was not enough, they also thought it was somehow a good idea to become the intolerant party, the anti-immifgrant party, the torture party, the anti-science party.
But don’t get me started on all the ways the Democrats too have their heads up their posteriors.
Yet I’m still an optimist. I’d far rather live in this crazy country with its crazy politics than in, say, China, with no politics at all – at least none that ordinary people can participate in. This blog would not be allowed in China. It would be shut down, and I’d be jailed.