Two really interesting reads this morning. The first from Kurt Schlichter in Townhall in which he tries to figure out what a “mad as hell” Republican is supposed to do. In the end he is short on answers, but as close as he comes a short list is Rubio, Bush and Christie with a twist of Fiorina. The tone is one of “kill them all and let God figure it out.” He is PO’d and little else.
Then in the Wall Street Journal come Morton Kondracke and Fred Barnes with a piece extolling the virtues of a Jack Kemp-like approach that sorta proclaims a short list of Rubio, Bush and Christie. The tone of the piece is one of reason and thought and discusses the need to look forward to something positive about America.
From a political/messaging viewpoint the pieces are about as opposite, while staying on the same side of the aisle, as two pieces can get. From a practical standpoint (who to nominate) they both end up in pretty much the same place. I think that is great for the primary/nominating process – the race is starting to coalesce. But it is awful from a general election standpoint. Messaging that diametrically opposed is going to confuse people, not win elections.
What troubles me is I look at this situation and I see that on some fundamental level a significant portion of the GOP constituency suffers from the same malady that the Dems do, it is just expressed differently.
I think we can all agree that the Dems are the party of “Gimme what I want.” Entitlements, unearned citizenship for illegals, college degrees – you name it, the Dems want to give it to you. With the Dems in charge nobody will ever earn anything ever again; it will simply be granted by boon of the state.
But the fact that Schlichter, despite having something like a short list, is in the end short on answers seems to me like the same thing. But in this case what people want is not money or stuff; they just want to express their anger. It is a different desire but in the end, is it ideologically any different really? The “mad as hell” crowd is fond of telling us that there is little difference between the Republicans and Democrats, but it seems to me like they are not all that different either. They want government to give them something too – an outlet for anger.
It seems like just about everybody is putting all their eggs in the basket of government. What they want, government should supply. Be it material as in the case of the Dems, or emotional as in the case of the “mad as hell” crowd, they are turning to government. Again, peas in a pod, just different shades of green.
What is missing in both groups is the notion that government is not the end all and be all.
The founders knew that the government they were designing would not be the end all and be all. Of course they did, that’s why they strove to create limited government, and that is why they strove to make sure there was lots of room in our societal order for other things besides government – things like religion.
What’s really amazing is that most, if not all, of the “mad as hell” crowd claims religious foundations. Yet they turn to government with their anger when church might be a much better place to go with it. That, I think, says more about our religious institutions than it does our government. I think it distinctly possible that more than our government needs fixing.