Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Just When I'd Gotten My Blood Pressure Back Down Again...

I sometimes think that some of my co-workers are in league with Agnes to drive me to apoplexy so that she can cash in on my insurance. The latest piece of evidence came yesterday, when the helpful fellow at the next desk directed me to this article on CNN: RNC Members Draft New 'Socialist' Resolution.

The article discusses a new document approved by the Republican National Committee which advances the deification of Ronald Reagan and sets forth the bedrock conservative Republican dogma. According to the document, anyone who wishes the support of the Republican party must accept at least seven of the ten policy positions it contains.

Now, as you all know, I'm a bedrock slightly-left-of-center Independent. I'm disgusted by the ludicrous head-up-the-wazoo positions of both the far right and the far left. I believe in political pragmatism and I believe that the government isn't the horned, fork-tailed devil portrayed by the radical right. Here are a few observations from the principled center on the RNC's new Official Catechism...

1. You don't have to support the President's policies, but accept the reality: he was elected to his office by a majority of the voting population. He deserves the respect due his office, if nothing else. Quit saying things like "Obama's socialist agenda," "Obama-style government run healthcare" and "Obama's 'stimulus' bill." Say "President Obama" the way you repeatedly say "President Ronald Reagan." A little common courtesy won't kill you.

2. Policy position number six reads: "We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges." I think most of us would support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan. But I also think a reading of history and a little thought would make it clear that we can't kill our way out of the mess in which we find ourselves in these unhappy countries. I think "victory" - however we choose to define it - will come not by blindly adding more troops to those already in place, but by adopting a careful strategy that combines force with the judicious use of our social and economic "soft power."

3. Policy position number two reads: "We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare." Oddly enough, I believe that market-based health care has gotten us to the situation in which we find ourselves today, when many people cannot afford basic health insurance. I think it is incumbent on the foolish windbags of both sides - Republican and Democrat - to stop using inflammatory and misleading language, to clearly explain what terms mean, and to conduct a civil and responsible debate on the pros and cons of various health care reform approaches. Here's an example of what I mean: can anyone out there tell me exactly what is meant by the term "public option?" I didn't think so. It's easier to shout than to think.

4. Policy position number one reads: "We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama's "stimulus" bill." Everyone wants smaller government, but everyone wants the services and benefits that big government provides. You can't have it both ways. I don't think anyone with a functioning brain believes that we can have smaller national debt and lower deficits on the one hand and lower taxes on the other. It's good to remember occasionally that the purpose of taxes is to provide the funds to run the government, and that every government program, no matter how small, insignificant, or silly, has a constituency that will turn crowds out into the streets if it's cut. Until we have elected reprehensives on both sides of the aisle who have enough spine to stand up to vested interests, we will never have smaller government. And Republicans can lower taxes to zero, but the money to run the government still has to come from somewhere. I personally think it's silly to believe that lower taxes generate more revenue, although I know that any good conservative Republican can quickly call out a reinforced platoon of clueless economists to prove that I have no idea what I'm talking about. I don't think they do, either.

5. Finally, policy position number ten says, "We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership." I feel much safer now, knowing that every lunatic with a grudge can buy all the guns he wants. I believe we're long past due for a reasonable, clear-eyed reassessment of the Second Amendment. But I believe in Santa Claus, too.

Now, before all my Reagan-worshiping conservative Republican friends (yes, I have a few) break out the tar and feathers, I need to say that there are parts of the Republican Dogma I can support. The position on illegal immigration (number 5) for instance, is laudable, although it espouses an overly simplistic, one-dimensional answer to a complex problem (if you haven't had the opportunity to review my comprehensive immigration reform plan, let me know and I'll send you a copy). But on the whole, I think this document - rather than demonstrating that the Republican party "welcome(s) those with diverse views" - simply provides an anchor to inflexibly lock the party into positions from which no divergence is permissible, even in the face of compelling evidence and common sense.

I've pretty much given up on finding pragmatic, rational leadership in Congress, or from either of the traditional political parties. As we approach Thanksgiving, I don't find much on the political scene for which to be thankful.

But that's a post for another day.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Gilahi said...

"You don't have to support the President's policies, but accept the reality: he was elected to his office by a majority of the voting population."

Except in the case of Bush vs. Gore, and perhaps a few other historic elections.

Leslie David said...

Keith Olbermann commented on this--he said that under these standards that Ronald Regan wouldn't make the cut.

Mike said...

I went to the article. Most of the comments are right in line with your assessment.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Just because the official was elected, the people do not have to support everything. They should realise that.

De said...

No tar and feathers from me tonight. As I sit in my chapel decorated with a Win One for the Gipper sign from a GOP National Convention, and a framed copy of Reagan's reelection campaign poster, I'm muttering under my breath..."I'd rather be right, than liberal." Happy Thanksgiving Bilbo!!! :)