If you’re down and confused
And you don’t remember who you’re talking to
Concentration slips away
Because your (party) is so far away
Well there’s a rose in a fisted glove
And the eagle flies with the dove
And if you can’t be with the one you love, (voters)
Love the one you’re with
— Stephen Stills
“Love The One You’re With”
Some in the Republican party say they have no idea how they got where they are. Many claim they do not know when they lost their party and, for that matter, where the great interloper we know as Donald Trump came from.
I know it all.
The party faithful, and the veteran politicians they have supported for years (some for decades), put us exactly where we are right now.
In recent years the GOP took great solace, and sometimes rightfully so, at being the party of “no.” Saying no to a bad idea is always the right thing to do. But once you have successfully defeated a bad idea, you better have an alternative primed and ready to go, and that is where the GOP pooped right out.
Obamacare, and all that has come with it is the greatest example of this phenomenon we have ever seen. Republicans rebuffed the concept of socialized medicine with a strong and affirmative hand when Bill Clinton was in office. You remember that speech he gave when he held up a mock “insurance card” and spoke vaguely of a plan that would solve all the problems that the healthcare system was causing the country?
The plan back then, which was September of 1993 to be precise, was to have the First Lady head up the effort to get the overhaul in place, and the effort was actually dubbed “Hillarycare.” While no conservatives were considering a complete overhaul of the status quo, everyone with common sense acknowledged obvious problems with escalating costs, portability of insurance coverage, and the issue of “pre-existing conditions.”
To say the initiative went over like a lead balloon would be generous. The issue is credited by many as the main inspiration for the great “Republican Revolution of 1994.” It was the November political bloodbath that not only gave us Newt Gingrich as the new Speaker of the House, but it also helped to create a new GOP surge in states like Georgia and South Carolina that continues to hold strong over 20 years later.
But alas, all that surging, all that turnover, and even eight years of George W. Bush in the White House, and what great Republican alternatives did we see presented to the long-standing issues we had with the American healthcare system?
Not DOODLY SQUAT.
Nature abhors a vacuum, and looky-loo, as soon as President Obama was able to assure his people that the last vote was counted and his victory could not be threatened, he made changing the healthcare system his No. 1 priority. The sheer uncertainty of it all made the issue almost invisible on the campaign trail in 2008, at least as far as Obama’s team goes, but the moment he was shielded from the wrath of the voters, he was able to reveal his real ambitions.
And just like we saw in 1993, the GOP had nothing.
We can cite this exact same dynamic on the issue of tax reform. Conservatives have been clamoring for real change since the mid-‘80s, and the Republicans have delivered exactly nothing. The Dems have favored “more of the same” with escalating tax rates on the producers and achievers, all the while expanding the rolls of those who collect great support from the federal government while paying virtually nothing, or very little, back into the system.
Statistically we are at a tipping point with more of the population on the “free end” of that equation than the “business end” of it. And when that officially occurs, and we see it manifest at the polls in a way that further facilitates the political goals of that particular crowd, good frigging luck to the rest of us.
If conservatives do not use 2016 as a point of debarkation, if they do not do something to aggressively put forth the specific ideas and initiatives that they believe will save the country from the liberal policies of our current president and his party, then we deserve far worse than Donald Trump as our nominee.
As a lifelong Republican, there are many things I would have never predicted I would believe in or consider. But times have changed. As a party we have to stop behaving like cassette salesmen in the digital age. If Donald Trump is that guy, then so be it. I will take an eccentric, sometimes goofy conservative over a crazy liberal (Bernie Sanders) or a crooked liberal (Hillary Clinton) any day of the week.
Trump ain’t perfect, but if he is the nominee, I am all in.
If you are a real conservative, you better be too. The alternative is something too depressing to consider.