GOP now looking to traditional leadership
Conservatism is now divided into two camps – the Burkian type which is business friendly in its orientation and the hard Right which is cultural in interest. The latter is fairly new in that its thrust is not economic, but asks the question “what is happening?” to the United States.
From the state of the American family to manners and morals, the new right covers subjects not usually contemplated by traditional conservatives.
Barry Goldwater, the GOP’s standard bearer in 1964, was alarmed at the religious right in 1988. His cause was “freedom,” not moral readjustment. Each generation changes and the Arizonan began to question hard rights views on homosexuality and government imposed moral standards. To his mind, the review of Thomas Jefferson that “the government that governs least governs best” was the cornerstone of Goldwater’s belief. However other leaders on the Right saw the decline of moral standards as the reason behind every social malady.
Hence the dislike of “consensus” politics. The ravenous Tea Party is against business as usual and cannot stand status quo compromise. To their minds this guarantees an oligarchy which monopolizes the profits and prestige. Bipartisanship is seen as a code word for keeping those holding power in power. Locked out are the middle class who feel left out, who obey the rules and are suckers as a result. Exotic practices, they believe, are condoned and their importance is diminished as a result.
But the realities of what the Republican Party is at its core are beginning to show. Even the Koch brothers do not desire a default. Brinkmanship goes only as far as the money line. Mitch McConnell is in the uncomfortable position of having to explain to the Tea Party that big business does not approve of either the government shutdown or even a hint of debate over the debt ceiling.
President Barack Obama, thanks to the obduracy of the Tea Party, has been handed a political victory. Poll after poll show the GOP bearing the burden of blame.
American finance and business for practical reasons can only frown at the Tea Party tactics. Like the Populists of old, the lack of sophistication becomes onerous and tiresome.
Under these circumstances even Obama looks better to the corporate elites. In the end. ideology is an academic exercise. Money is necessary as a top priority.
To Republicans there must be a yearning for the Ronald Reagans, Jack Kemps and Bob Dole’s. The day of playing for all the marbles they believe must be laid aside. The enthusiasm for New Jersey’s Chris Christie in some circles in the GOP speaks to this sentiment.
Although it must irk some Democrats that they have become dependent on big business and Wall Street, the new reputation as the party for grown-ups must be pleasing. For the GOP this must provide some cautionary lessons.