What “The Party Of Stupid” Might Become (Updated)

By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Bobby Jindral, Governor of Louisiana, has caused quite a stir in Republican circles calling on the party to throw off the mantle of the stupid and prejudiced among us. Pleading for an end to dumbed-down conservatism, the former golden boy of the party (before a disastrous 2009 televised reply to President Obama’s address to Congress) begged the party to turn away from being the champion of the “haves” and, most importantly, jettisoning its appeal to the lowbrow of society.

It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that.  It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.

That sentiment is being echoed in many of the cloistered salons of the GOP. Even bomb throwing (but weirdly cerebral)  Newt Gingrich, responding to Mitt Romney’s childish comment that he lost the election to Obama because of bribes gifts to core Democratic constituencies, seems poised to make a philosophical change of course. “I just think it’s nuts,” Gingrich said on ABC. “I mean, first of all, it’s insulting. The job of a political leader in part is to understand the people. If we can’t offer a better future that is believable to more people, we’re not going to win.” Amen.

The transition appears broad-based and involves more than a little soul-searching for the political party whose victories in the 2010 mid-term elections seemed to leave it poised for a complete take over of the government this time around. The shock of November 6th seems sincere enough and could lead to something we haven’t seen in conservative circles for some time – a push to make the party one of  ideas and not just demagoguery.

Not so long ago — before the party was held hostage by that tax-pledging Rumpelstiltskin of the Right, Grover Nordquist, — Republicans felt free to represent conservative values and the nation’s interests. Imagine a Republican congressperson saying today, “I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.”  That was the late Everett Dirksen, the horn-rimmed Senator from Illinois, and one of the men directly responsible for the Herculean efforts to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Open Housing Act of 1968. Both laws decidedly liberal, decidedly unpopular, and decidedly needed to realize the American dream of social equality.

Voting for cloture against the southern Democrats who filibustered the measures, Dirksen told the Senate:

Victor Hugo wrote in his diary substantially this sentiment, ‘Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come.’ The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing of government, in education, and in employment. It must not be stayed or denied.’

That’s intellectual gravitas not seen in the GOP in some time. Compare it to the rhetoric from the current Republican intelligentsia, this time in the person of South Carolina Lt. Gov. André Bauer arguing against the Food Stamp Program and free school lunches for poor children:

My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed. You’re facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don’t think too much further than that. And so what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to curtail that type of behavior. They don’t know any better.

It doesn’t take a physicist to see how far the party’s grip on the American soul has slipped or how fast.

What can a resurrected GOP accomplish? Here are some ideas:

1.  Less Government Intrusion Into Our Lives – The GOP has a traditional and noble role of  advocating smaller government with an eye on protecting the property and privacy of its citizens. It was Dirksen who said, “It is the expansion of Federal power, about which I wish to express my alarm. How easily we embrace such business.”  Few people would disagree that endless (sometimes mindless) government regulations and bureaucratic red tape are social ills that an effective government could end. Henry David Thoreau’s observation that,  “[t]he best government is that which governs least” is as true to the American psyche now as it was in 1849.

2. Strong National Defense — The world is still a dangerous place as Einstein used to say. Whatever you think about the military-industrial complex, it’s worth remembering it is that institution that’s kept us safe and free for decades although we can certainly debate the costs of that security. It’s also worth remembering that for all our flaws, America remains the only nation in the history of the world who having once conquered foreign lands promptly returned it to the indigenous people to govern. A strong America means some sense of justice in the world if only an imperfect one.

3. Protection of Privacy – A political party founded on conservative principles could be in the forefront of protecting the privacy of its citizens. Women’s issues should be the cutting edge of that philosophy especially those relating to control over their own bodies. True conservatism means less government interference in personal decisions and a rejuvenated Republican Party could lead on this issue with perfect philosophical consistency.

4.Advocating For Small Business – The backbone for the American economy remains small business. According to the SBA, fifty percent of all American jobs remain in small business (defined as any entity employing 500 workers of fewer).  Most importantly small business fill niches in the labor market that are under-served. For example small businesses employ greater proportions of Hispanics than large businesses (65% versus 35%). Also small businesses hire more high school degree or lower attaining workers as well as more of the elderly and disabled than large business. While  small business does not match large business in campaign contributions it is the largest growth area in the economy and worthy of  support from a party openly dedicated to capitalism.

These are just a few of the areas where bona fide conservative principles aid rather than detract from the national dialogue. A return to them, and away from the religion-based rhetoric that got the GOP scorched in the last national election, would mean a stronger party and a stronger nation.

For the two-party system to work you really do need two viable political parties who are willing to both advocate and cooperate. The GOP has done a poor job of both. If demographics truly are destiny in politics, the GOP will have to change or die. For the sake of all of us, let’s hope they change.

Sources: Politico; CNN

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

Update 7:46 p.m.: Is the dike breaking? South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has added his name the growing number of Republicans rebuking Grover Norquist’s no tax hike pledge. Graham joins Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) in disavowing the now almost two decade old pledge. “I’m willing to generate revenue,” Graham said on ABC. “It’s fair to ask my party to put revenue on the table. We’re below historic averages.” New York Republican Congressman Peter King has also refused to honor the pledge bushing off any  of Norquist’s threats of retaliation saying, “A pledge you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress.” Norquist was nonplussed and blasted Chambliss. “If he wants to change his mind and become a tax increaser so we don’t have to reform government, he needs to have that conversation with the people of Georgia,” Mr. Norquist said on CNN’s “The Situation Room.” Chambliss retorted that “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge.”  

This one is going to get good.

Source: CNN

131 thoughts on “What “The Party Of Stupid” Might Become (Updated)”

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  2. hubert cumberdale:

    I would like to see links to that information. I have read some conservative bloggers say the same thing but it seems like anecdotal evidence.

    Supposedly Kennedy didnt win in 1960 so it does happen. But the polls had it pretty close so who knows. I wouldnt put it past the Obama machine to engage in voter fraud but I imagine some republicans probably did too.

  3. The party of the stupid re-elected its “messiah” Obama. However, it is debatable if Mr. Obama even won, since there are (as predicted) extreme cases of voter fraud in the states that do not require voter ID (which ironically, were needed for Mr. Obama to get an election). There is something obviously wrong when you have a precinct that has seven registered voters, but over 900 votes were cast in that precinct. Other counties that 100% vote for Obama, polling places that physically kicked out Republican poll watchers, groups like the NAACP and Black Panthers patrolling sites where such as a clear violation but they did it anyway – and were allowed to. Then we have all those military votes that either couldn’t get counted in time, or that mysterious plane crash that no one has heard anything else about, where thousands of military ballots were destroyed.

    If there was a clear case of a president “stealing an election” it is this one, where Obama couldn’t even fill an auditorium and had to move to a smaller one so it would not be obvious that he couldn’t draw a crowd anymore. It’s laughable, when you contrast this past election with the one involving President Bush where they alleged he “stole an election” when it was clear when the votes were counted again and again in Florida that President Bush had more votes and therefore won.

    The result when you see such apparent voter fraud and then the candidate end up winning and nothing is done, you see literally all fifty states petition to secede from the union. It’s going to get ugly and as the phrase goes “we ain’t seen nothin’ yet”. The “party of the stupid” apparently thinks the only way to get an election is to steal it with stuffed ballot boxes and precincts with 2000%+ voter turnout.

    1. Hubert,

      Why do you so hate our country? As for secession, please do. You probably live in a State that receives more from the Federal Government than it contributes.
      We don’t need States that are “welfare cheats” in our Union. You are a hateful person who probably will be damned after you die for that hatred.

  4. Rafflaw: “I think the correct phrase is they tried to steal the election!”

    Yes. She is a woman and a minority; she wanted to keep away from minority men, and guess why? She said, “They do the same thing inside their organization that they complain about outside their organization!”

    So she went to work for the Republicans. I asked her if the middle-aged white men were behaving any better than the men she had mentioned. She said: “Of course not but they are not so skillful at covering, either.”

  5. Santorum and his ilk are doomed for the foreseeable future thanks to the OCCUPY movement (relatively shortlived on the streets as it was but still seething below the surface) for it was the only thing that changed the debate against austerity and set the sights on the iniquity of the 1% and the growing economic inequality that’s the hallmark of the USA today.

  6. Copy that, leejcaroll.

    But it does have enormous humor value of you can discount how dangerous to the Constitution some of Santorum’s beliefs are.

  7. Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum says he is “open” to another run for president in 2016. Santorum was asked about a possible presidential campaign Monday at THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

    “I’m open to it, yeah,” Santorum replied. “I think there’s a fight right now as to what the soul of the Republican party’s going to be and the conservative movement, and we have something to say about that. I think from our battle, we’re not going to leave the field.”

  8. Tony & Idealist: I think you’re both missing a larger point. America’s past is it’s future. The past was about about murdering hundreds of millions of brown people to achieve it’s objectives under the guise of “freedom & democracy.”

    Fact is the USA is a one party state with 2 factions who bicker over the best way to steal the spoils of American workers — meaning it’s Big Oil Multinational Corporate Party A — vs. — Big Oil Multinational Corporate Party B.

    At this historical juncture the ruling class concludes the future rests on slaughtering lots more brown people to achieve it’s objectives so why not let the brown guy do it so as to dampen those inevitable inklings the masses have for a peace craze.

    Nothing shut the anti-war movement up so much as the 1st election of Obama — so the grand bourgeoisie have perniciously calculated that nothing will shut up the movement like another term for the brown man who bids their tidings to the hilt, with decreed executive privileges that would make the founders’ bile ducts overflow & their eyes spin on their axis.

    Bottom line is if America’s owners aims are austerity for the masses & perpetual war for perpetual peace then who better to do it than Obama?

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