Sunday, November 07, 2004

Republicanism's Big Tent

An excellent opinion piece in the WaPo:
A Coalition of Conviction
By Kate O'Beirne

Republicans were mocked when popular social liberals Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger were showcased to make their party's case on national security and economic opportunity at the national convention in New York. What Democrats saw on the podium were dissident Republican politicians with enlightened views on abortion and gay marriage who had been enlisted in order to deceive voters; what we were all actually looking at was the makings of a successful majority party.

The moderate Republicans who spoke at the convention are at home in their conservative, pro-life party and represent countless others who share their views on such issues as foreign policy, tax rates or tort reform. Political parties are coalitions, and elections are won when a self-confident party can remain faithful to its core principles while appealing to voters with different priorities. President Bush's success exemplifies that approach: He is unapologetically opposed to abortion but passes no judgment on those who disagree with him and encourages them to find common cause with him elsewhere. Last year, Sen. John Kerry was calling pro-lifers "the forces of intolerance."

The election was won because neither Bush nor his party pretended to be something they're not. George Bush was the Real Deal running against the Great Pretender.


Ghost Dansing said...

Even as a child, I could feel the rush of J.F.K.'s presidency racing forward, opening up a thrilling world of possibilities and modernity. We were going to the moon. We were confronting racial intolerance. We were paying any price and bearing any burden for freedom. We were respecting faith but keeping it out of politics. Our president was inspiring much of the world. Our first lady was setting the pace in style and culture.

W.'s presidency rushes backward, stifling possibilities, stirring intolerance, confusing church with state, blowing off the world, replacing science with religion, and facts with faith. We're entering another dark age, more creationist than cutting edge, more premodern than postmodern. Instead of leading America to an exciting new reality, the Bushies cocoon in a scary, paranoid, regressive reality. Their new health care plan will probably be a return to leeches.

America has always had strains of isolationism, nativism, chauvinism, puritanism and religious fanaticism. But most of our leaders, even our devout presidents, have tried to keep these impulses under control. Not this crew. They don't call to our better angels; they summon our nasty devils.

Jimmy Carter won the evangelical vote in 1976, and he won it in Ohio. He combined his evangelical appeal with a call for social justice, integrating his church and laboring for world peace. But W. appealed to that vote's most crabbed insecurities - the disparaging of the other, the fear of those godless hedonists in the blue states out to get them and their families. And the fear of scientific progress, as with stem cell research.

When William Jennings Bryan took up combating the theory of evolution, he did it because he despised the social Darwinists who used the theory to justify the "survival of the fittest" in capitalism. Bryan hated anything that justified an economic system that crushed poor workers and farmers, and he hated that the elites would claim there was scientific basis for keeping society divided and unequal.

The new evangelicals challenge science because they've been stirred up to object to social engineering on behalf of society's most vulnerable: the poor, the sick, the sexually different.

Yet the Bush conservatives do their own social engineering. They thought they could toughen up the American character with the invasion of Iraq. Now they want to reshape the country on "moral" issues - though their morality seems to allow them to run a campaign full of blatant distortions and character assassination, and to mislead the public about the war.

Smoke Eater said...

Ghost, there are many things you have said that are not correct. The only one I will address here is stem cell research. President Bush has NEVER said that he will not fund stem cell research, he only opposes EMBRYONIC stem cell research, which in the simplest of terms creates a DEMAND for ABORTION. Senator Kerry agreed with the President on this point (and I didn't see any other) when he said that he believes that life begins at conception, therefore even a 2 hour old fertilized embryo is a person, and the process of "harvesting" the stem cells in that embryo (according to Sen. Kerry) constitutes MURDER! As for umbilical cord and adult stem cell research (which many experts say is much more promising than embryonic), the Government (as well as many private investors) ARE funding it. Look for a post at "" by 11/9 for my response to the rest of your comment. Froggy, sorry if I stepped on your toes here, but I feel that I also need to "chime in" or "speak up" on this. God Bless Froggy, and I (like you) will be fighting for our warriors (on my knees, in prayer) DAILY and NIGHTLY!

Smoke Eater said...

Sorry STCA, forgot what blog I was on, but I know you're praying for our warriors too.

Pat said...

Don't tell me Ghost is really just Maureen Dowd!

Anonymous said...

The exposition on why the Republican Party is so successful is wholly lucid and clear - which is more than you can say for Ghost's reasoning. Judging by your writing, Ghost, you weren't even a twinkle in your GRANDPA's eye when John Fitzgerald Kennedy was president. In fact, if you examine his writings and his positions, today he too would be more comfortable in the Republican Party and would be utterly embarrassed by his bloviating brother. CLEAERLY you weren't observing when that nasty, small-minded Jimmy Carter was producing the worst presidency in 40 years! He was a failure both domestically and internationally and other than Habitat for Humanity, nothing he has done since has done anything to burnish his reputation. The Vietnam (Did you know that John Kerry spent 4-1/2 months there?)adventure was started by John Kennedy (who was planning to pull out when he was killed) and escalated beyond all reason by Lyndon B. Johnson - both Democrats.

So yes, Ghost, I am proud to be a Republican. I have been one since 1963 (which was the year I was first eligible to vote) and while I do vote for people who are not Republicans with reasonable frequency in local elections - I have never seen good reason to vote for one nationally. The Democrats have become a "one-trick pony" scattering diviseness, hatred, intolerance and duplicitous sedition. They don't WANT to hear other points of view - they only want to listen to themselves. NOT a way to maintain majority status - as results have clearly shown.


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