GOP’s focus is on tactics
Because the perception that the Tea Party is in decline, Republicans of a more establishment stripe are confident that they will prevail in 2014. Yet they are concerned with tactical rather than strategical considerations. It is the return of compassionate conservatism, that mushy, murky thing once offered by George W. Bush.
These are vague sentiments that masquerade as ideology. Remember George H.W. Bush’s “thousand points of light” and “kinder, gentler nation” rhetoric. What it meant was dismantling the safety net and replacing it with a promise that private initiatives could make up the difference. Also, the Bushes stood four-square for corporate supremacy, unbridled and unrestrained. As a set of ideas, they proposed nothing more than a sentimentalized set of proposals that pretended to be Conservatism.
During the 1960’s, New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, trying to build upon President Dwight Eisenhower’s “modern Republicanism,” attempted to give Social Darwinism a new face. His platitude-laden addresses were often dismissed as BOMFOG, -brotherhood of man, fatherhood of God. In reality, it was a reduced version of Democratic notions of business progressivism that dull imitation of compassionate conservatism. In fact,either concept is intellectually flaccid, grounded in a bold notion that the “right people” should monopolize the profit and prestige.
Which gets us to this new dismissal of the Tea Party. Despite the energy that group gave to the GOP in 2010, they are widely seen now as a liability. Suddenly those agents of corporate supremacy, such as Karl Rove, are encouraging Republicans to take soft positions during campaigns, then governing any way they want if elected. Pat McCrory is a good example of those who offered a “thousand points of light” during the campaign, then afterwards enacted a Right-Wing agenda.
Now the Tea Party is far less cynical than those engaged in essentially disguising what they believe. And their theory of how victory is attained is far different. By fighting with open visor they calculate that turnout will be increased. And they fault the upper-crust GOP for having no faith in the voter. More important, although some of their candidates have been awkward, Tea Partiers see politics as a marathon, not a sprint, while the Roves of the world see it the other way around.
True, Todd Akin, the poster boy of ineptness could have been vetted better, thus taking a Senate seat in Missouri. But an essential Akin was a standard Republican on the corporate front. His embarrassing reflection on women’s health no doubt shocked the say-anything-to-win Republicans. But what they ignore is that voters need to be confident that their candidate will not repudiate what he stood for the day after election day. On this point, the Tea Party devotees have a compelling argument.
What the modern Republicans fail to realize is by trying to market to a more diverse clientele, they risk alienating their own base. Indeed the confident prediction that they could take Senate if only they adopt a soft message and a small wink of an eye might prove wrong in the approaching midterms.