Giving up on issues and abandoning principles in the hopes that the electorate will come to its senses is suicidal for the Republican Party and the nation as a whole.
Rush Limbaugh said it on July 31, 2013; the strategy of capitulation is incomprehensible. His comment was directed at the discussion over whether the Republican Party should continue opposition to Obamacare. According to polls, the majority of Americans oppose its implementation, yet most Republican office holders are ignoring these numbers. Many seem afraid to express any opposition to the controversial Act, which has been described as an approaching train wreck. Maybe, Rush suggests, these Republicans are afraid that people will actually like the train wreck when they hit it. Or maybe they want be elves to the Democrats’ Santa Claus. These are valid suggestions, if such strategies were able to bring positive results, but they never have in modern times, and in history they are the equivalent of Neville Chamberlain’s “peace in our time” approach to dealing with Nazi Germany. Playing defense or letting the opposition have its way is never a strategy for success.
There is the possibility that one could use the enemy’s momentum against them as in Judo, but personal combat is not the same as politics. This is particularly important to recognize when one party is using the (supposedly apolitical) mechanisms of government against their opposition. Hence the lessons of the IRS denial of tax status letters to Tea Party groups because it served the administration’s political interests. Obviously, trusting the modern Democrat Party to “follow the rules” is rank foolishness.
Utah Senator Mike Lee responded to Rush’s questions by pointing to the difference between Washington DC and the rest of the nation. Inside the DC beltway going against Obamacare is controversial. In the rest of America it isn’t. The Senator does admit that Republicans may be afraid that some people could be unwilling to give up entitlements when they kick in, which he calls a reason to fight all the harder now. Lee also noted that Republicans were given a majority in the House to oppose Obamacare. Thus, if they refuse to fight, they are derelict in their duty.
What is more likely in the case of John McCain and a few others of a similar nature is that they have essentially given up on being in the opposition and are siding with the enemy in order to avoid unpleasant consequences later on. McCain has demonstrated that he was never all that dedicated to the Conservative cause. In any event he appears to have decided to cross the line for personal reasons, whatever they may be.
Meanwhile, the political consultant class maintains, consistently, that the Republican party must concentrate on independent voters to win elections. According to these consultants the independent voters are the approximately twenty percent of the electorate who do not identify with either major party and who vacillate between the two based on factors other than ideology. The consultant class maintains that they can secure these voters. Republicans who follow this advice end up chasing a small minority of the electorate and ignore the base. This drives that base away. It is a strategy that is totally misdirected, which may have been demonstrated by the fact that a significant number of Republican voters stayed home, rather than vote for Mitt Romney.
What the consultants have ignored, willfully or negligently, is that an increasing number of independent voters are not part of a “mushy middle,” but rather are disaffected conservatives who have given up on the Republican Party because it has refused to take an ideological or principled stand. In fact, the mushy middle may be more myth than fact because if you define independents as anyone who does not identify with the two major parties, then we can assume the following:
Those independents who identify with the Left; socialists, greens, “peace and freedom party” (if it still exists) and so on, are most likely to vote Democrat, because Democrats are closest to their viewpoint. If not, it is logical to assume that they will not vote Republican.
The remaining independents more likely to be associated with the “right” and could vote Republican if they believed it would serve their purpose. Libertarians had no problem voting for Republican Ron Paul because they saw his affiliation as a flag of convenience, rather than an ideological identification. Others will do the same IF the candidate is sufficiently in line with their particular beliefs.
Therefore, if Republicans want to capture independent voters then they must draw a decisive line between themselves and the Democrats in order to attract the “right independents” and be more likely to win as a result. If their present strategy isn’t working, then moving away from the Democrats would not be any worse than the present results.
Senator Lee has also indicated that being inside the DC beltway has an effect on people’s ability to think logically and reasonably. As a result, they ignore the truth and follow the siren’s song of personal power, ignore the rights of the people, and allow the nation’s heritage and way of life to be destroyed. It also supports the idea the there is no longer any significant “middle” of the supposed political spectrum.
We may finally conclude that a major missing ingredient in the political process is leadership and integrity. A large number of politicians have abandoned these principles and our national heritage. The rights of citizens are no longer important in their view. If this is true, then it is no wonder than Republicans cannot win; they lack the leadership to capture the imagination of the voters and are left with those who vote for them as the only alternative to the opposition. If Republicans desert their base then it is also no wonder that their base refuses to support them. What they should consider is that if you die slowly or fast, you are still dead in the end.