Alarming News

March 31, 2005

Don’t cry for me, Argentina

So, what about the political implications of this whole situation? My Democratic friends have been happily insinuating that the Terri case may permanently split the Republican party, between the religious conservatives and the small government libertarians. I don’t think that’s going to happen, at least not any time soon, and here’s why:

The ‘Right’ is the only side debating anything and this is no different. The last election saw us debating gay marriage, abortion, immigration, the war and a myriad of other issues and deciding how Bush fit into our personal equations, while Democrats did their best to pretend John Kerry was their dream candidate.

The ‘Left’ has a much more dire situation than we do. They are supposedly for gay marriage, except that none of their leaders feel the same way and when ‘blue’ states like Oregon get to vote on the issue, they knock it way down. They are supposedly pro-choice but anyone on the (D) side that wants to run for president has to make the usual ‘I personally….’ comments against abortion. They are against the war, but most of their leaders voted for it. They are against the Patriot Act but nearly all of their leaders voted for it. They are against the No Child Left Behind act but many of their leaders voted for it. There’s no debate on the left, the people decide what they want and then the leaders they choose do the politically expedient opposite.

So, save the glee that a Republican split is coming. It may be, but as I’ve written before, it will be at the expense of the Democratic party’s existence. Yesterday’s editorial in the NY Times by Bill Bradley (a great read, by the way), describing the Democrats’ reliance on ‘the promise of a charismatic leader who can change America by the strength and style of his personality’ reminded me of my graduate thesis on Third Parties. That’s exactly the way most Third Parties have functioned in the last century. They sprung up around charismatic leaders and would disappear a few years later, unable to sustain the momentum without their chief. If the Republican party does split, one side will pick up conservative, protectionist Democrats while the other will pick up socially liberal, free-marketeers. Democrats can hope for the Republican split, but should understand the consequences.

Posted by Karol at 12:26 PM |
Comments

Agreed. I’m a big believer in the old maxim “That which does not kills us, makes us stronger.” If the Republican Party is willing to encourage such debate and show that they’re not in the thrall of extremists, then there’s no telling how successful the GOP can be…
…which is, admittedly, a bit scary.

Posted by: Shawn at March 31, 2005 at 1:08 pm

So…wow…after your personal “last word” on Terri Schiavo we only get three more posts mentioning her. Well done.

Posted by: Not Dawn Summers at March 31, 2005 at 1:21 pm

There are some other things to consider:
- Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader aren’t exactly republicans and they came out in strong support with the supporters in this. 50% of the democrats who voted on the issue voted for the legislation, so I would say there is more of a split in the democratic party than the republican, which had only a handfull vote against the legislation.
- Church going blacks support this, and they vote democratic. What are they going to think about the Party of Death?
- Hispanics? They’re Catholic and not exactly enamoured with the democratic position on this. They are already trending republican, and this could bring more of them into the fold.
- The disabled? They’re all convinced the democrats want to euthenize them. Yeah, there aren’t too many of them, but just one more example of a democratic groups being turned away from the democratic party because of this.
So I think the “split the republicans” people are doing some wishful thinking. Besides, what are the dems going to do – run adds with pictures of Schiavo and say “Republicans wanted her to live. Vote for us and we’ll make sure that won’t happen!”

Posted by: whatever at March 31, 2005 at 1:29 pm

Dawn, I’m sorry you don’t realize that there are interesting issues around the case that have little to do with the case itself.

Posted by: Karol at March 31, 2005 at 1:32 pm

Not Dawn’s post reminds me. Don’t have Dawn write the living will for you.
She will write the contract in such a way that you will be killed if you have even a hangnail in a doctors waiting room.

Posted by: Jake at March 31, 2005 at 1:35 pm

Apology accepted. Don’t let it happen again.

Posted by: Not Dawn Summers at March 31, 2005 at 1:36 pm

I like these occasional dustups in the Republican Party. It serves to remind wayward Republicans that we are a limited government party.

Posted by: Jake at March 31, 2005 at 1:41 pm

I’m going to make clear that I don’t even want Dawn interacting with my brother, she’s too pursuasive and way too evil.

Posted by: Karol at March 31, 2005 at 1:42 pm

Yes, Karol, don’t let Dawn realize that there are interesting issues around the case that have little to do with the case itself again.

Posted by: Shawn at March 31, 2005 at 1:42 pm

Not to mention, that black D voters have never seen eye to eye with the Party regarding abortion and gay issues. Detroit’s voters sent the gay marriage boat sinking in Michigan. People who complain that the Republican tent isn’t one big happy are deluded if they think the same isn’t true for the Dem voters.

Posted by: Carin at March 31, 2005 at 1:44 pm

You’re making a very common mistake, Karol—using “the left” and “the Democratic Party” interchangably. They are NOT the same thing.
Speaking on behalf of the the Left, I assure you we consider the Democrats slightly less horrifying than the GOP.

Posted by: Don Myers at March 31, 2005 at 2:13 pm

don,
indeed.

Posted by: Not Dawn Summers at March 31, 2005 at 2:14 pm

It’s frightening that the modern Donk party just isn’t far enough to the left for some people. Happily, people like Don Myass are a very small minority.

Posted by: zetetic at March 31, 2005 at 3:13 pm

Karol,
Great points. If there is any seismic political shift, it will be done within the Republican family. For example, Conservatives could likely replace RINOs who don’t take action soon on federal judges. It seems like anyone engaged in this debate was a Republican of some permutation anyway, so I don’t expect Demo-cants to pick up any gains. Where are the pro-lifers who think Jeb could have done more gonna go? The Dems? Hardly. Where are the strict constitutionalists who feel members of their own party in Congress went too far with the Palm Sunday bill gonna go? Same answer. Could the Bush Brothers have done more? Perhaps, but just because Clinton and Reno sent troops in to blow up a compound in Waco, shoot a man in Ruby Ridge, and kidnap a terrified little boy in Miami and deport him to Cuba, doesn’t justify the use of federal troops. Kudos to the Bush Brothers for standing up for life.

Posted by: Matt at March 31, 2005 at 4:15 pm

I acknowledge and feel the same way about the Democratic parties seemingly hypocritical views on the mentioned issues. This is why I don’t think it appropriate to refer to the republicans as right wing and the democrats as left. They are one in the same. Two different teams if you will in a long drawn-out game. The Republicans are like the Yankees and the Democrats like the Red Sox (they never win…well last year excluded). These aren’t parties of the people but rather parties backed by billion dollar investments. If the democrats didn’t have pride, they would join with the Republicans and turn the US into a one party state; which isn’t really that far from what it is now.

Posted by: ptilden at March 31, 2005 at 5:30 pm

The comments illustrated an interesting point.
Liberals think there is little difference between the Democrats and Republicans.
I don’t think I know a conservative who would say the same thing (unless we were talking about New York State Republicans exclusively).

Posted by: Sean at March 31, 2005 at 10:51 pm

You’re probably correct on a more macro level and about the ideas you’re talking about from yourthesis, but in the short term I think the Republicans could suffer some severe setbacks.
Simply put, there’s the Hillary in ‘08 factor. From the present vantage point I would probably vote for HRC for president over say Bill Frist or Rick Santorum, though I would definitely vote for Giuliani over HRC. The problem is that Giuliani probably wouldn’t be able to survive the Republican primary process for obvious reasons. How many people – Repulbican/Democrat/Independent/whatever would say the same thing? I would guess a not inconsequential number. For instance, Ed Koch, who was one of the leading Democrats for Bush, has been the first Democrat to publicly go ahead and say that he’s supporting Hillary, before she’s even formally announced.
I think a lot of non-social-conservative Republicans will find themselves in a similar situation for the next Presidential election.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at April 1, 2005 at 12:27 am
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