May 21, 2009
I am no fan of the Republican establishment. So naturally, I am inclined to agree with the central thesis of a PJM piece by John Hawkins, which is that the Republican establishment "views the conservative base like a medieval monarch viewed his serfs."
What it all comes down to is that the Republican establishment is out of touch, doesn't respect the people who put them in office, and has no principle they wouldn't compromise for little more than a few kind words from the media.There is no question that the Republican establishment is unprincipled and moribund, and that the party needs to be reinvigorated or else it will keep losing.
But a nagging question (for me at least) is who is the base?
Personally, I'd love to see the Tea Party movement simply take over the party en masse. Surely they constitute a large portion of what Hawkins calls a "more motivated and demanding base."
However, there are certain "motivated and demanding" activists who are (IMO) just as likely to cause the party lose as the moribund, out-of-touch establishment. While it would be illogical and unreasonable of me to make sweeping generalizations about these people and say that they all fall into the same camp, the fact is that their views are sufficiently outside of the American mainstream to provide plenty of ammo for the Democrats. And they don't mind making this an easy task for the Democrats by being plenty loud.
Mind you, I do not think the Republican base believes Barack Obama was born in Kenya and the State of Hawaii is lying. Nor do I think that the Republican base agrees with Rush Limbaugh that evolution is wrong, and creationism is the way to go. However, such views are asserted loudly enough -- and repeated often enough by accepted spokesmen for the so-called Republican "base" -- that Republicans will be hard pressed to distance themselves from them regardless of who actually wins or holds power. (Frankly, I might find it a bit embarrassing to be told that I belong to a party that opposes evolution, but I have a thick skin.)
Once again, being a libertarian is a curse, because libertarians have no responsibility for any of this, and because they tend to abhor political meetings, they sit on the sidelines, later claiming to be squeaky clean. They can plead not guilty to being part of the Republican establishment, and not guilty to being part of the motivated and demanding activist base.
Then later, of course, libertarians can smugly say "I TOLD YOU SO!"
If I were part of "the base," I'd probably hate libertarians even if I agreed with them.
However, if we consider that the base has no official gatekeepers, perhaps libertarians ought to infiltrate it by stealth.
posted by Eric on 05.21.09 at 09:53 AM
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