the shovels are ready: funeral time

It didn’t take Nate Silver to inform our electoral sensibilities that the Republicans would get their asses wiped. Or as Bob Dylan once sang, “I don’t need the weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.”  Lame candidates, too much white trash, no social media savvy, a liberal biased press, Hollywood, the moving roadside bombs known as the Tea Party and a host of other issues served to undermine what at bottom is the appealing message of the party of Abraham Lincoln, who ironically as the man who abolished slavery finds his party with no African American voters.

Of some solace to GOP supporters is to look at how the Conservative Party of Canada rose from the ashes to become dominant through a top-to-bottom modernization that included inculcating conservative values among neo-Canadians and other minorities looking for a clearer path to control over their own destinies rather than a massive expansion of government which appeals to a more passive mentality. Clearly, Obama was able to corral the twenty percent of the electorate who are the non-involved and not politically engaged to follow the trend. It seems an inexorable drive to socialism with more disenfranchised looking at the government as the basis of a personal bailout and a desire to see risk eliminated from the system which is at the basis of socialism as opposed to government as a guardian of fair play risk management which has been the traditional basis of the American conception of freedom, something that went terribly awry with corporate power on the right nibbling at fascism. The GOP is going to have to be imploded, but on th positive side, the Obama infatuation with power and dictating risks, as well as the inevitable implantation and effect of technological unemployment is going to be a net negative when the knives come out among the Democratic infighters.

—But in fact it does. The 11 Mondrian canvases currently on display in the Busch-Reisinger Museum (“Mondrian: The Transatlantic Paintings”) seem to vibrate and sparkle with a mysterious energy. It has become commonplace for naive critics of the “my-5-year-old-can-do-better-than-that” school to dismiss Mondrian’s paintings as mere wallpaper, but the powerful presence of these works contradicts such a judgment. —Read More:

(see link at end)  David Frum:After-the-fact finger pointing and blame shifting will miss the bigger truth. The Republican Party is becoming increasingly isolated and estranged from modern America. In the quarter century since 1988, there have been six presidential elections. Only once—once!—did the Republican candidate win a majority of the popular vote, and then by the miserable margin of 50.73 percent.

We Republicans may console ourselves that we did win two big victories in the recent past, 1994 and 2010. But those were off-year elections, when 60 percent of America stays home, and those who do turn out are the wealthier, the older, and the whiter. Exit polls indicate that 34 percent of the 2010 electorate was over age 60; in 2012, only 15 percent of voters were older than 65. The Republican success in those elections only underscores the bigger problem: the GOP is rapidly becoming the party of yesterday’s America.

The ratification of the Obama agenda will understandably enrage and depress conservatives. Yet if there is any lesson conservatives ought to have learned from the past four years, it is the danger of succumbing to angry emotion. We’ve had four years of self-defeating rage. Now it’s time for cool.

—“The nonwhite vote has been growing — tick, tick, tick — slowly, steadily. Every four-year cycle the electorate gets a little bit more diverse. And it’s going to continue,” said Paul Taylor of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.
“This is a very powerful demographic that’s changing our politics and our destiny,” Taylor said, adding that the number of white voters is expected to continue to decline a few points in each future election cycle.
Data has shown for years that the United States is poised to become a “majority minority” nation — with whites a minority of the country — over the next several decades. But Tuesday’s results highlighted the political impact.
About 80% of blacks, Latinos and other nonwhite voters cast their ballots for Obama on Tuesday compared with less than 17 percent for Romney, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling. Obama also won about 63% of total voters age 18 to 34.
Overall, Romney won nearly 57% of the white vote compared with 41% for Obama, the polling data showed.—Read More:

….Almost half of those surveyed on voting day said they wanted to see taxes raised on Americans earning more than $250,000. Exit polls do tend to oversample Democrats, but the tax result is consistent with other polling that has found that even Republicans would prefer to raise taxes on the rich than see cuts in Medicare.

… it’s not the stuff that swings undecided voters in Colorado and ­Virginia—­especially not the women voters who formed 53 percent of the electorate on Tuesday; or the

rates, men and women, who formed 41 percent of it; or the nonreligiously observant, who formed three quarters of it. Only 34 percent of the vote Tuesday was made up of white men. The share of the vote that was made up of older, conservative white men must have been much smaller still….

And deep down, we all know it.

Yet if we know that extremism is dangerous, why do we see so much of it?

Victorious presidential candidates have always spoken to the entire country and promised to represent all Americans. “I ask you to trust that American spirit which knows no ethnic, religious, social, political, regional, or economic boundaries; the spirit that burned with zeal in the hearts of millions of immigrants from every corner of the earth who came here in search of freedom.” That’s Ronald Reagan, accepting the Republican nomination in 1980. The tragedy of the modern Republican Party is that it remembers Ronald Reagan’s lyrics—the specific policies he recommended for the problems of his time—but has lost his music.

—into $16-trillion now, and has financed most of it by selling bonds to the Treasury’s 100% subsidiary, the Federal Reserve, in exchange for bogus cyber-notes. This violates George Washington’s injunction to defend an indissoluble Union militarily and with a strong currency. It isn’t debt at all; it is just a money supply increase of incendiary inflationary consequences, with a delay-fuse provided by the proportions of the economic slow-down the official extravagance has failed to alleviate, in which the 25% annual gasoline price increase and double-digit food and milk price increases are disguised by collapsed housing prices and minimal interest rates, and the recessionary pricing of manufacturers. It is a giant shell game, but there is nothing under any of the shells.
The United States runs up additional debt of $188-million per hour, this President has added $17,000 of new debt for every man, woman and child in the country, and given no hint of how he proposes to prevent the U.S. currency from becoming toilet paper. And there are five million fewer Americans working than four years ago. The greatest and wealthiest nation in history is sliding into a more profound bankruptcy than any serious country has had since Weimar Germany, and almost the whole country seems to be in a delusional fantasyland. The whole American project is under threat as it has not been since 1933, if not 1861. It had the swiftest ascent, and is now nosing into the steepest dive of any great power in history.—Conrad Black. Read More:

At a time when the need to broaden the party’s appeal seemed overwhelmingly compelling, Republicans narrowed their appeal to the most ideological fragment of the conservative base.

The Mitt Romney who began seeking the presidency in the early 2000s—the savior of the 2002 Olympics, the author of Romneycare, the man who’d redirected Boston’s “Big Dig”—was exactly the candidate the Republican Party needed by 2012: competent, managerial, pragmatic. Unfortunately, in the interval, Romney had been refashioned into something very different—to the point where nobody knew really what he was; to the point where even he may no longer have known.

Half a decade ago, many leading Republicans urged a rethink of their party’s direction. After the 2008 election, such calls for rethinking were shelved in favor of the back-to-basics message of the Tea Party. But now, post-2012, it’s time to return to the path of reform and rethink what Republicans and conservatives explored in the later Bush years.

The emergency phase of the Great Recession has ended. We are moving into a phase of economic growth, but a growth that will not restore Americans to their prior prosperity for a very long time—let alone bring new progress. What will conservatives say in the months and years of reconstruction ahead? What ideas and what hope can we offer a battered and pessimistic country?

If conservatives are to succeed in the century ahead, they need to rethink what conservatism means in a time as far removed from Ronald Reagan’s as Reagan’s was from World War II.

In 1980, the gap between rich and poor had only just begun to widen from its narrowest point of the whole 20th century. Today, the typical worker earns less than his counterpart of 1980, middle-class incomes are stagnating, and wealth and power have concentrated to a degree that would startle even the Astors and the Vanderbilts.

In 1980, presidential elections were publicly financed, and post-Watergate reforms tightly governed congressional elections. Today, the post-Watergate reforms have collapsed, and presidential elections are increasingly financed by small numbers of extremely wealthy individuals who can bend the political system to their will….

…In 1980, this was still an overwhelmingly white country. Today, a majority of the population under age 18 traces its origins to Latin America, Africa, or Asia. Back then, America remained a relatively young country, with a median age of exactly 30 years. Today, over-80 is the ­fastest-­growing age cohort, and the median age has surpassed 37.

…In 1980, marriage remained the norm among heterosexuals and unimaginable for homosexuals. Today, a majority of American women are unmarried, and same-sex marriage is on its way to becoming the law of the land….

In 1980, our top environmental concerns involved risks to the health of individual human beings. Today, after 30 years of progress toward cleaner air and water, we must now worry about the health of the whole planetary climate system.

In 1980, 79 percent of Americans under age 65 were covered by employer-­provided health-insurance plans, a level that had held constant since the mid-1960s. Back then, health-care costs accounted for only about one 10th of the federal budget. Since 1980, private health coverage has shriveled, leaving some 45 million people uninsured. Health care now consumes one quarter of all federal dollars, rapidly rising toward one third—and that’s without considering the costs of Obamacare.

These realities do not dictate any particular political choice. But they do shape the menu of choices that will be available to political actors, as well as the range of outcomes that are achievable.

For example: it’s certainly possible for Republicans to choose to be a white person’s party. If we do so choose, however, we are also choosing to be an old person’s party. Since the elderly receive by far the largest portion of government’s benefits, an old person’s party will be drawn by almost inescapable necessity to become a big-government party. Indeed, that is just what happened in the George W. Bush years: Medicare Part D and all that.

In the Obama years, the GOP rebelled against Bush-era big government. But because it remained an old person’s party—more so than ever—the only way to reconcile the voting base and the party’s ideology was to adopt Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which loaded virtually all the burden of fiscal adjustment onto the young and the poor. And that of course intensified the party’s dependence on the old, white voters who set the cycle in motion in the first place.

…As the GOP relies more heavily on less-educated voters, it finds itself relying on a class of people who have lost ground economically. Those voters understandably tend to mistrust business. It’s an odd predicament for the party of free enterprise to base itself on the most business-skeptical voters—a predicament that cost Romney dearly in the industrial Midwest.

What do we stand for? For Republicans, the Tea Party was the beginning of that rendezvous. It must not, however, be the finale. It cannot be the finale. The outpouring of anguish and anxiety that characterized the Tea Party should command attention. Yet nostalgia for a misremembered past is no basis for governing a diverse and advancing nation.

The central divide in American politics is the same as the divide in almost every advanced democracy on earth: between one party more committed to private enterprise and another party more supportive of the public sector. These parties may be called Conservative and Labour, Christian Democrat and Social Democrat, Gaullist and Socialist. By comparison with some other democracies—in fact, by comparison with most other democracies—the purely ideological differences between the parties in this country are relatively narrow. Yet the political game is played in this country with a vehemence and recklessness unseen almost anyplace else in the democratic world.

…On the Republican side, the road to renewal begins with this formula: 21st-century conservatism must become economically inclusive, environmentally responsible, culturally modern, and intellectually credible….

…When I began to pay serious attention to politics, it was the Democratic Party that housed all that seemed most obsolete and reactionary in American politics: urban machines that misgoverned troubled cities; industrial unions that looked to trade protectionism to maintain their advantages, foreign-policy experts who saw the next Vietnam in every challenge to U.S. power, members of Congress who dispensed expensive favors as if nothing had changed since 1965, writers and thinkers still dazzled by the Bright Tomorrow promised by revolutionary socialism.

Where the airports were new, where the businesspeople wore casual clothes, where young people were getting married and buying homes—anyplace the future seemed nearest—there, the party of Reagan was strongest. Where the good old days had ended with the Japanese surrender, where the pay phones were broken, and where aldermen were indicted—there you found the Democratic strongholds.

In those days, it was the Democratic Party that fought internal battles over the need for change: Gary Hart, Les Aspin, and other “Atari Democrats” (as they were called back when Atari was a cool, new brand) vs. Walter Mondale, Tip O’Neill, and other machine pols who sneered back, “Where’s the beef?”

Yet in the end, it was the Atari Democrats who won. A century before, a great British conservative, the Marquess of Salisbury, warned, “The commonest error in politics is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.” The Democrats of the 1980s and 1990s had the courage and honesty to identify which of their policies had died and then ruthlessly discard the carcasses. It falls to modern conservatives now to heed Salisbury’s advice: to abandon what is obsolete—and to meet the challenge of the new.

… we must emancipate ourselves from prior mistakes and adapt to contemporary realities. To be a patriot is to love your country as it is. Those who seem to despise half of Amer­ica will never be trusted to govern any of it. Those who cherish only the country’s past will not be entrusted with its future. Read More:

Frum’s analysis is most eloquent, the tone of liberal conservatism and moderate republicanism that was ideologically treated with weed chemical over the past generation and has got to be given wide scope to invigorate the party, particularly with areas such as facilitating company creation and financing as well as the above mentioned scrapping of the present campaign financing. The Koch Brothers for example got most of the nasty press, but the Dems were no better and in fact had the larger war chest. Income inequality is not going to disappear anytime soon, in fact it will likely deepen.


(see link at end)…Conrad Black:For the first time, a combination of non-white minorities and whites who are invested personally, either emotionally or more often for tangible reasons, in the redistributive side of the political civil war between advocates of growth and of direct transfers of resources from those who have earned them (or inherited from those who did) to those who haven’t (regardless of mitigating circumstances), has eked out a clear victory. If American politics continues along these lines, the social strains, piled onto the funeral pyre of the national accounts, will put the fate of what has long been the world’s greatest nation in acute doubt.Read More:

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