Republicans: The Virtue of Realism

 

As I sat down to type my nth comment defending the Republican Party against claims that it is useless, has accomplished nothing, and needs to be abandoned, I decided to write a post about it instead.

If the Republican Party were a monarchy, it could announce its intentions and its loyal subjects would fall in line and march as ordered. As king, the Republican Party could use its fiat power to declare that the things it claims to support and believe in — American exceptionalism, limited government, free markets, a strong military, and the Constitution — were sacrosanct; the Party’s subjects would dutifully vote for the Party and elect its candidates.

But that isn’t how political parties work. They may lead a little, but mostly they seek to attract voters who are generally sympathetic to the party’s positions. The party doesn’t tell the people what to want, but rather tries to convince the people that the party is the best vehicle through which the people can move their own agendas forward.

We have two viable political parties. One, the Republican Party, espouses those ideas mentioned above, of limited government and traditional order; the other has a far more expansive view of the role of government, and places little value on tradition. One, the Republican Party, is dominated by a large center-right contingent that is rarely sufficiently ideological to please its more right-leaning members; the other is increasingly dominated by a hard-left radical fringe that more and more alienates its larger center-left membership.

There is no practical alternative to one of those two parties, nor will one arise in the near future. It’s important that conservatives understand this: There is no path to a successful conservative alternative to the Republican Party that does not pass through huge and sustained Democrat victories at the national level.

This is true because we live in a strongly left-leaning media space, one that reaches most Americans on a daily basis through mainstream media and social networks almost all of which are relentlessly and increasingly dishonest and biased. Any attempt to create a conservative alternative to the Republican Party would be met with glee on the left, which would correctly recognize an opportunity to confuse, mislead, and divide the conservative electorate and prevent either conservative party from achieving a viable majority. This should be obvious to anyone who gives it even a moment’s thought.

The parties exist to get their candidates elected. They attempt to do this by attracting members and supporters who agree more with their positions than with the other party’s positions. Since most Americans are neither far-right nor far-left, each party has to try to appeal to a substantial portion of the electorate closer to the middle of the political bell curve. That means that neither party can be “purist,” in the sense of taking a strong ideological stand that is at odds with a large majority of the electorate.

Conservatives have an advantage at the moment in that the Democratic Party is increasingly being directed by hard-left extremists, and it has become difficult for even a complicit mainstream media to hide that. Now is a good time for the Republican Party to reach out to an electorate increasingly disenchanted by the left’s excesses. The greater the electoral advantage the Republican Party has, the more it can safely put forward candidates who represent the Party’s more conservative positions. We should be working to increase participation in the Republican Party by pointing out what the Party represents and how that contrasts with the progressive left’s agenda. This should be a moment to build up the Republican Party, not tear it down.

If the Republican Party has not been conservative enough for my tastes, I think that has more to do with the electorate than with the Party. The Party has to strike a balance between ideology and relevance: it has to get its candidates elected, and that means competing in the large center of America’s political space. Our goal should be to increase the Party’s electoral margins, so that it can put forth conservative candidates who can be confident of broad support, and so that we can afford to choose candidates a little further to the right without fear of losing critical moderate votes.

There is no ultimate victory here. The battle between conservatism and radicalism never ends. America will never be as conservative a nation as I want her to be. The Republican Party will never be as conservative as I am — not in my lifetime, anyway, not while remaining politically viable.

But the Republican Party is the only political platform that can successfully oppose the left. Criticize it sensibly. Encourage it to embrace the best of the Trump experience and to welcome those who saw in him something missing in American politics. Push the party to live up to its own stated vision. But don’t abandon it or run it into the ground. We are seeing right now what the alternative looks like.

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  1. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    HR: Yes, I don’t expect this one to go over very well. It’s easier to throw bombs than to invest time and energy in constructive efforts. I think we saw that writ large throughout 2020, as our cities burned.

    Well that violates the CoC in assuming bad faith. But you are a Contributor so that is ok.

    I think this is the first time I’ve been accused of having Contributor privilege.

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    You have failed in Pollyanna post after post to prove anything different.

    I’m trying to persuade, Bryan. I don’t think either of us knows whether I’ve been successful and, if so, how successful. But I’m going to continue trying.

    And I’m going to exploit every ounce of my mighty Contributor privilege in the process.

    Power is power. We have long seen the CoC does not apply the same. See Mona.

    You have proved nothing. Your attempt at persuading has always been to tell me to shut up, now hasn’t it? You don’t want me to be negative and have clearly told me to stuff it.

    I have never told you to shut up.

    It’s certainly true that I have often suggested that your negativity and apparent eagerness to declare defeat are counterproductive. But I hope I have never told you to shut up.

    It does seem to me that defeatist voices are growing here on Ricochet of late. I could be mistaken; I hope I am. It seems counter-productive to me, self-defeating. I’m sure I’ll keep commenting on it, because I’ve got dogs in this fight and think boldness and enthusiastic engagement will serve us better than gloom and cynicism.

    Saying that isn’t telling anyone to shut up. It’s just encouraging a more vigorous and, well, manly engagement. 

    • #61
  2. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    MSNBC is unhappy while it is coining a new phrase, “Biden-Youngkin” voters.  Disaffected Republicans can be coaxed back into the fold by a good candidate like Glenn Youngkin who, while not rejecting Trump, is not embracing him either.

    I googled “Pictures of Trump and Youngkin.”  There were no pictures of them together.  None, zip, nada, nothing.  This has been very wise of Youngkin.  For goodness sake, don’t attack or reject Trump per se, but don’t pledge allegiance to him either.

    • #62
  3. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    HR: Yes, I don’t expect this one to go over very well. It’s easier to throw bombs than to invest time and energy in constructive efforts. I think we saw that writ large throughout 2020, as our cities burned.

    Well that violates the CoC in assuming bad faith. But you are a Contributor so that is ok.

    I think this is the first time I’ve been accused of having Contributor privilege.

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    You have failed in Pollyanna post after post to prove anything different.

    I’m trying to persuade, Bryan. I don’t think either of us knows whether I’ve been successful and, if so, how successful. But I’m going to continue trying.

    And I’m going to exploit every ounce of my mighty Contributor privilege in the process.

    Power is power. We have long seen the CoC does not apply the same. See Mona.

    You have proved nothing. Your attempt at persuading has always been to tell me to shut up, now hasn’t it? You don’t want me to be negative and have clearly told me to stuff it.

    I have never told you to shut up.

    It’s certainly true that I have often suggested that your negativity and apparent eagerness to declare defeat are counterproductive. But I hope I have never told you to shut up.

    It does seem to me that defeatist voices are growing here on Ricochet of late. I could be mistaken; I hope I am. It seems counter-productive to me, self-defeating. I’m sure I’ll keep commenting on it, because I’ve got dogs in this fight and think boldness and enthusiastic engagement will serve us better than gloom and cynicism.

    Saying that isn’t telling anyone to shut up. It’s just encouraging a more vigorous and, well, manly engagement.

    You have been clear you think that those of us who are less sanguine than you are part of the problem and openly wished we would stop. You have come across as a scold. 

    I am not sure what you are selling. You offer no action plan other than more of the same. You call anyone not singing on to your optimism defeatist. We see ourselves s realists, responding to the actual past history of the GOP. They make promises and do not fulfill them. JPOD openly mocked us for believing them. You can offer not one victory from the past 20 years. Instead you blither about them slowing the left down. Hell, Trump, whom I supported started the fool unemployment and shut downs so even he helped the left along. 50 years ago a Republican took us off the gold standard. 

    And now you close with the idea that we are realistic that we are unmanly. Skirting the edge of name calling. Why not just say you think we are cowards? Say what you really think, Hank.

     

    • #63
  4. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I googled “Pictures of Trump and Youngkin.” There were no pictures of them together. None, zip, nada, nothing. This has been very wise of Youngkin.

    Oh, whew! What a relief! I’ll bet for a moment there you were afraid you were going to have to donate to McAuliffe.

    • #64
  5. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    HR: Yes, I don’t expect this one to go over very well. It’s easier to throw bombs than to invest time and energy in constructive efforts. I think we saw that writ large throughout 2020, as our cities burned.

    Well that violates the CoC in assuming bad faith. But you are a Contributor so that is ok.

    I think this is the first time I’ve been accused of having Contributor privilege.

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    You have failed in Pollyanna post after post to prove anything different.

    I’m trying to persuade, Bryan. I don’t think either of us knows whether I’ve been successful and, if so, how successful. But I’m going to continue trying.

    And I’m going to exploit every ounce of my mighty Contributor privilege in the process.

    Power is power. We have long seen the CoC does not apply the same. See Mona.

    You have proved nothing. Your attempt at persuading has always been to tell me to shut up, now hasn’t it? You don’t want me to be negative and have clearly told me to stuff it.

    I have never told you to shut up.

    It’s certainly true that I have often suggested that your negativity and apparent eagerness to declare defeat are counterproductive. But I hope I have never told you to shut up.

    It does seem to me that defeatist voices are growing here on Ricochet of late. I could be mistaken; I hope I am. It seems counter-productive to me, self-defeating. I’m sure I’ll keep commenting on it, because I’ve got dogs in this fight and think boldness and enthusiastic engagement will serve us better than gloom and cynicism.

    Saying that isn’t telling anyone to shut up. It’s just encouraging a more vigorous and, well, manly engagement.

    You have been clear you think that those of us who are less sanguine than you are part of the problem and openly wished we would stop. You have come across as a scold.

    I am not sure what you are selling. You offer no action plan other than more of the same. You call anyone not singing on to your optimism defeatist. We see ourselves s realists, responding to the actual past history of the GOP. They make promises and do not fulfill them. JPOD openly mocked us for believing them. You can offer not one victory from the past 20 years. Instead you blither about them slowing the left down. Hell, Trump, whom I supported started the fool unemployment and shut downs so even he helped the left along. 50 years ago a Republican took us off the gold standard.

    And now you close with the idea that we are realistic that we are unmanly. Skirting the edge of name calling. Why not just say you think we are cowards? Say what you really think, Hank.

    I’d dispute your factual claims, Bryan, but you’ve pretty well captured my attitude about it.

    • #65
  6. Gary Robbins Reagan
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I googled “Pictures of Trump and Youngkin.” There were no pictures of them together. None, zip, nada, nothing. This has been very wise of Youngkin.

    Oh, whew! What a relief! I’ll bet for a moment there you were afraid you were going to have to donate to McAuliffe.

    My donations this cycle have mostly been to Trump Skeptical Republicans.  

    • #66
  7. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    I googled “Pictures of Trump and Youngkin.” There were no pictures of them together. None, zip, nada, nothing. This has been very wise of Youngkin.

    Oh, whew! What a relief! I’ll bet for a moment there you were afraid you were going to have to donate to McAuliffe.

    My donations this cycle have mostly been to Trump Skeptical Republicans.

    You should donate to humanitarian causes instead of political ones.

    • #67
  8. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    You have come across as a scold.

    Bryan,

    Your broader comment deserves a better response than the one I just gave.

    I don’t like sounding like a scold, but I’m sure you’re right that I sometimes do. I don’t like it because I want to sound like the patient, thoughtful, respectful person in the room, and I know that I sometimes (often?) don’t live up to that.

    The fact is that I find what I consider to be cynicism and defeatism offensive, and sometimes (often?) I give in to the temptation to call it out in graceless ways.

    do consider it unmanly. It makes me think of poor sportsmanship, of a kid on the soccer field who just stands there and complains about the referees or his teammates and predicts defeat, rather than engaging in the game and encouraging his losing team to try harder. One of the things that impresses me about kids playing sports is the way they keep going, even when they’re hopelessly down and haven’t got a chance of pulling it out at the end. I love to see them pressing on, talking to each other, acting as if the last two minutes of the game are worth fighting for even if they’re down five goals. (By the way, I don’t think that’s where we are as a nation.)

    I’ve tried to be clear about why I think there is no realistic alternative to working with the party we have. I’ve tried to say what I think it means to work with that party: keep it a big tent, be very slow to turn on our fellow Republicans, work at the primary level to encourage greater conservatism while voting for whatever candidate we end up with. Always, talk to normal Americans about the virtues of traditional American values, and boldly push back against the left. Not against our own party, but against our opponents.

    I think those are real and constructive suggestions. You say it’s “more of the same,” but I’ve been listening to gloom and doom types here for years explaining why the parties are the same, we’re going to lose, etc. One regular cynic here assured me that Kavanaugh would never get on the Supreme Court; he was just certain that we’d lost that seat. (Cue disparaging comments about Kavanaugh in 3…2…1….)

    Anyway, I’ll continue to try, sometimes (often?) unsuccessfully, to be more polite about it when I hear fellow conservatives counseling despair. And I’ll try not to describe it as unmanly or cowardly too often. But, since I consider it important, I’m not going to stop entirely — wouldn’t even if I thought I could.

    Hank

    • #68
  9. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    Henry Racette: There is no practical alternative to one of those two parties, nor will one arise in the near future. It’s important that conservatives understand this: There is no path to a successful conservative alternative to the Republican Party that does not pass through huge and sustained Democrat victories at the national level.

    Expanding on this thought, what this means is Democrats with more control for years if not decades and doing more damage the entire time, which if the Whoever Party ever managed to regain any kind of influence in the future, would be much further behind than we are now.  I think it is more likely, if the Republican Party were to die tomorrow, there would never be another effective 2nd party to replace it.  We would progress into a non-representative federal government where power is grabbed and never relinquished.  All this is framed within the current way things are done.  

    If we were to scrap the Republican Party, we effectively give up Washington and the Federal Government.  The path forward would be states, individually or collectively, fighting to get back state control of what should be state rights, funds, and programs.  Not impossible, but a lot easier to do with representation in Congress. 

    I don’t think we are anywhere near either thing I have described.  The people who make difference in elections are for the most part disengaged for one reason or another.  I also think these same people once engaged are more likely to be right of the middle.  I think they can be engaged, but not with anything that sounds like politics as usual.  It could be a political party that does the engaging, but if it is, they will have to have a message that transcends politics.  It could be the people themselves that do the engaging and this is the best option.  It could be an individual or small group that does the engaging, but this always ends badly in some sort of dictatorship in the future.   The best option is an engaged conservative population. 

    • #69
  10. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    HR: Yes, I don’t expect this one to go over very well. It’s easier to throw bombs than to invest time and energy in constructive efforts. I think we saw that writ large throughout 2020, as our cities burned.

    Well that violates the CoC in assuming bad faith. But you are a Contributor so that is ok.

    I think this is the first time I’ve been accused of having Contributor privilege.

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    You have failed in Pollyanna post after post to prove anything different.

    I’m trying to persuade, Bryan. I don’t think either of us knows whether I’ve been successful and, if so, how successful. But I’m going to continue trying.

    And I’m going to exploit every ounce of my mighty Contributor privilege in the process.

    Power is power. We have long seen the CoC does not apply the same. See Mona.

    You have proved nothing. Your attempt at persuading has always been to tell me to shut up, now hasn’t it? You don’t want me to be negative and have clearly told me to stuff it.

    I have never told you to shut up.

    It’s certainly true that I have often suggested that your negativity and apparent eagerness to declare defeat are counterproductive. But I hope I have never told you to shut up.

    It does seem to me that defeatist voices are growing here on Ricochet of late. I could be mistaken; I hope I am. It seems counter-productive to me, self-defeating. I’m sure I’ll keep commenting on it, because I’ve got dogs in this fight and think boldness and enthusiastic engagement will serve us better than gloom and cynicism.

    Saying that isn’t telling anyone to shut up. It’s just encouraging a more vigorous and, well, manly engagement.

    You have been clear you think that those of us who are less sanguine than you are part of the problem and openly wished we would stop. You have come across as a scold.

    I am not sure what you are selling. You offer no action plan other than more of the same. You call anyone not singing on to your optimism defeatist. We see ourselves s realists, responding to the actual past history of the GOP. They make promises and do not fulfill them. JPOD openly mocked us for believing them. You can offer not one victory from the past 20 years. Instead you blither about them slowing the left down. Hell, Trump, whom I supported started the fool unemployment and shut downs so even he helped the left along. 50 years ago a Republican took us off the gold standard.

    And now you close with the idea that we are realistic that we are unmanly. Skirting the edge of name calling. Why not just say you think we are cowards? Say what you really think, Hank.

    I’d dispute your factual claims, Bryan, but you’ve pretty well captured my attitude about it.

    Edit: Well, you said more below. Really, Hank, I respond to things as I read them. Response to the less snarky response below

    • #70
  11. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    You have come across as a scold.

    Bryan,

    Your broader comment deserves a better response than the one I just gave.

    I don’t like sounding like a scold, but I’m sure you’re right that I sometimes do. I don’t like it because I want to sound like the patient, thoughtful, respectful person in the room, and I know that I sometimes (often?) don’t live up to that.

    Oh, it is clear how you want to sound like. In fact, you come across as patronizing in your attempts to sound patient and thoughtful. Let the rest of us are the children in the room, to your wise adult. So, maybe you are getting the tone across you expect. 

    The fact is that I find what I consider to be cynicism and defeatism offensive, and sometimes (often?) I give in to the temptation to call it out in graceless ways.

    Here is the thing: Being a realist is not being a cynic. I think that is the key issue here. You see me, or anyone else, pointing to what are actual historical facts and predicting a trend as “cynicism”, and then you are offended. The GOP failed to repeal Obamacare. That is a fact, Sir, and there is no spinning that fact into anything other than a failure to meet the #1 promise of the GOP from the Obama era. There are other examples that I am not going to list here. 

    Basically, I am looking at past behavior and I am using that to predict future behavior. I don’t know how you predict behavior in others, but as an expert in human behavior, the best metric one has in such murky business is past behavior. To use past behavior as a metric is not being cynical, it is being realistic. 

    I do consider it unmanly. It makes me think of poor sportsmanship, of a kid on the soccer field who just stands there and complains about the referees or his teammates and predicts defeat, rather than engaging in the game and encouraging his losing team to try harder. One of the things that impresses me about kids playing sports is the way they keep going, even when they’re hopelessly down and haven’t got a chance of pulling it out at the end. I love to see them pressing on, talking to each other, acting as if the last two minutes of the game are worth fighting for even if they’re down five goals. (By the way, I don’t think that’s where we are as a nation.)

    This metaphor is applied wrong. We are not playing the game. We are not on the team. The team in this metaphor are the politicians. Those of us out here? We are the fans. The people like Jonah et al are the commentators. It is not unmanly for the fans of a team to boo the team, and heap ridicule upon them for losing, time and time again. In fact, if fans are so loyal they spend their money no matter what, the team has no incentive to improve. The Falcons blew the biggest Super Bowl lead in history. I stopped watching them because they don’t deserve the support. That is not unmanly, that is spending my time on other things. 

    I’ve tried to be clear about why I think there is no realistic alternative to working with the party we have. I’ve tried to say what I think it means to work with that party: keep it a big tent, be very slow to turn on our fellow Republicans, work at the primary level to encourage greater conservatism while voting for whatever candidate we end up with. Always, talk to normal Americans about the virtues of traditional American values, and boldly push back against the left. Not against our own party, but against our opponents.

    The entire Trump experience shows us that even when 90% of the GOP voters want something, the elites will work against us. Some will even side with the enemy of the Untied States of America and proudly vote for them. They very same people who demanded Trump support the nominee refused to support him when he was the nominee. To every trust any one of those people again is foolish. See my comments on predicting human behavior above. It is funny for you to mention primaries, because, Hank, those very people always fight against the grass roots going after their establishment candidates.

    It is odd you tell me to vote for whomever we end up with while telling me not to push against my own party. Hank, my own party pushed against who we ended up with. Did you somehow miss that? Did you miss the “Against Trump” issue of National Review. Our own party elites, the ones playing the game, worked against the new player the fans loved. Worked hard to thwart him. The players sided with the refs against him, and helped the other team take him down. But, I suppose you consider that “manly” and for me to be upset about that, well, that is just being “cynical”. 

    Talk to normal Americans? How do you earn your living, Hank? Almost every normal American I know who I can safely talk too is already a Trump supporter. The others are family members, and I suppose I could follow your advice and try, but the reality there is, I’ll just piss them off. Anyone else I cannot talk too, because I want to earn a living to support my family. Tell you what, though, I’ll make you a deal: You destroy your income and career, you make yourself a pariah in your own community, you go get canceled, and then I will consider doing the same thing to my life. But, please don’t call me a coward because I am not risking my life, when you are not risking yours. 

    I think those are real and constructive suggestions. You say it’s “more of the same,” but I’ve been listening to gloom and doom types here for years explaining why the parties are the same, we’re going to lose, etc. One regular cynic here assured me that Kavanaugh would never get on the Supreme Court; he was just certain that we’d lost that seat. (Cue disparaging comments about Kavanaugh in 3…2…1….)

    You are responding to me, I I never made that statement about Kavanaugh. I guess you are going to pull out a broad brush and pick someone else to attack. Kavanaugh was far closer than he should have been, and there were reasons to fear he might not make it. I was surprised. I guess you were sure it would all work out and never had any fears at all. How wonderful for you. For me, it seemed a close run thing. Not to criticize Kavanaugh because this is not all him. we have what should be the most conservative court in my lifetime. I have no doubt if the left has this power on the court it would have already changed the nation. But, when our team is up to bat, they work hard not to hit home runs. It is reasonable to expect that the conservative court will never perform as radically as the leftists ones. So the damage of the left is never fully undone. 

    Anyway, I’ll continue to try, sometimes (often?) unsuccessfully, to be more polite about it when I hear fellow conservatives counseling despair. And I’ll try not to describe it as unmanly or cowardly too often. But, since I consider it important, I’m not going to stop entirely — wouldn’t even if I thought I could.

    Hank

     

    • #71
  12. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    You know what I find cowardly and defeatist? Well, we have to accept whoever the party apparatchiks choose for us because Democrats are worse.

    That may win battles but it loses wars.

    The ground has shifted. Now it’s freedom versus tyranny not Republican/Democrat. Any Republican insufficiency supportive of freedom is my enemy, and there are a lot of them. Yes, more Democrats are tyrannical, but supporting a tyrannical Republicans actually makes matters worse long-term. How some people can’t see that who are otherwise smart people astounds me.

    • #72
  13. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    @bryangstephens, @franco, I hear what you’re saying. I don’t agree with either of you, but I hear what you’re saying.

    What I don’t hear is (1) an recognition that we have no alternative to supporting Republicans if we hope to prevent sweeping and long-term Democratic victories, and (2) a willingness to productively engage based on that recognition, rather than complain and predict doom.

    Maybe you guys don’t believe that the first point is true. If that’s the case, I think you’re mistaken.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    • #73
  14. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    @ bryangstephens, @ franco, I hear what you’re saying. I don’t agree with either of you, but I hear what you’re saying.

    What I don’t hear is (1) an recognition that we have no alternative to supporting Republicans if we hope to prevent sweeping and long-term Democratic victories, and (2) a willingness to productively engage based on that recognition, rather than complain and predict doom.

    Maybe you guys don’t believe that the first point is true. If that’s the case, I think you’re mistaken.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    I don’t think we have an alternative.  Where were you when I argued not voting for Trump was a half vote for Clinton? I went hammer and tongs against people in 2016. Where were you? Did you vote Trump in 2016?

    • #74
  15. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    @ bryangstephens, @ franco, I hear what you’re saying. I don’t agree with either of you, but I hear what you’re saying.

    What I don’t hear is (1) an recognition that we have no alternative to supporting Republicans if we hope to prevent sweeping and long-term Democratic victories, and (2) a willingness to productively engage based on that recognition, rather than complain and predict doom.

    Maybe you guys don’t believe that the first point is true. If that’s the case, I think you’re mistaken.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    I don’t think we have an alternative. Where were you when I argued not voting for Trump was a half vote for Clinton? I went hammer and tongs against people in 2016. Where were you? Did you vote Trump in 2016?

    Absolutely. I objected to him throughout the primaries, thought he was a bad choice. The moment he got the nomination I went full-in for him. I praised his accomplishments and resisted criticizing him throughout his Presidency, voted for him again in 2020, and continue to speak well of him and defend him today.

    I think every Republican should.

    • #75
  16. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    @ bryangstephens, @ franco, I hear what you’re saying. I don’t agree with either of you, but I hear what you’re saying.

    What I don’t hear is (1) an recognition that we have no alternative to supporting Republicans if we hope to prevent sweeping and long-term Democratic victories, and (2) a willingness to productively engage based on that recognition, rather than complain and predict doom.

    Maybe you guys don’t believe that the first point is true. If that’s the case, I think you’re mistaken.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    I don’t think we have an alternative. Where were you when I argued not voting for Trump was a half vote for Clinton? I went hammer and tongs against people in 2016. Where were you? Did you vote Trump in 2016?

    Absolutely. I objected to him throughout the primaries, thought he was a bad choice. The moment he got the nomination I went full-in for him. I praised his accomplishments and resisted criticizing him throughout his Presidency, voted for him again in 2020, and continue to speak well of him and defend him today.

    I think every Republican should.

    Then stop saying people like me aren’t doing our jobs. 

    • #76
  17. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    What is my job? : (

     

    • #77
  18. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    What is my job? : (

     

    My point is that I do vote for the Republican candidate just like Hank requires us to so that we are manly.

    • #78
  19. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    What is my job? : (

    My point is that I do vote for the Republican candidate just like Hank requires us to so that we are manly.

    But . . . what is my job?! : (

    I really have one job. Take care of my family. Politics is incidental to that. Although politics makes it increasingly difficult to take care of my family.

    • #79
  20. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    @henryracette, I admire and aspire to your level-headed kindness.  I hasten to add that the aspiration is barely above lip service — O Lord, make me like Henry, but not any time soon.

    I read this post and thought about commenting when it came up days ere — it just made it to the Main Feed shortly ago, and now there are four pages of comments.  I may read through — not sure.  I am pretty sure that, just as you acknowledge, there is nothing new under the sun, neither in your post, not in the comments for or against.  It is not only the story of our party for the last twenty years, but a version of the story of all “faction” in the history of participatory government.  Magna Carta was a sop to the squishy nobility, to the horror of the rock-ribbed royalists.  Yet that analogy is at least 45 degrees out of whack — that’s more a vertical distinction than horizontal.

    I find myself of being one of the angriest, most black-pilled SOBs you could hope to meet, yet volunteering as a poll watcher and serving as an Election Official in the very much in-play State (or bqhateverw) of Virginia.  I am armed (and equipped and trained) to the teeth and prepared to bug in for SHTF/WROL.  Doesn’t mean I won’t buy groceries — I just know that when the emergency hits, the shelves will be bare.  I won’t develop the analogy further for the time being.  I’ll just gently point out that I have actually stayed on topic.

    Well, it’s never easy.

    • #80
  21. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    BDB (View Comment):

    @ henryracette, I admire and aspire to your level-headed kindness. I hasten to add that the aspiration is barely above lip service — O Lord, make me like Henry, but not any time soon.

    I read this post and thought about commenting when it came up days ere — it just made it to the Main Feed shortly ago, and now there are four pages of comments. I may read through — not sure. I am pretty sure that, just as you acknowledge, there is nothing new under the sun, neither in your post, not in the comments for or against. It is not only the story of our party for the last twenty years, but a version of the story of all “faction” in the history of participatory government. Magna Carta was a sop to the squishy nobility, to the horror of the rock-ribbed royalists. Yet that analogy is at least 45 degrees out of whack — that’s more a vertical distinction than horizontal.

    I find myself of being one of the angriest, most black-pilled SOBs you could hope to meet, yet volunteering as a poll watcher and serving as an Election Official in the very much in-play State (or bqhateverw) of Virginia. I am armed (and equipped and trained) to the teeth and prepared to bug in for SHTF/WROL. Doesn’t mean I won’t buy groceries — I just know that when the emergency hits, the shelves will be bare. I won’t develop the analogy further for the time being. I’ll just gently point out that I have actually stayed on topic.

    Well, it’s never easy.

    Yeah

    • #81
  22. HeavyWater Inactive
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    Buckpasser (View Comment):
    democrats move more and more left because they’re crazy and eventually go too far and are voted out. Then republicans promise to do things or undo things and then don’t.

    True. On every issue that matters, Republicans are not so much an alternative to the Democrats as a speed bump.

    It’s not by accident that nothing ng Democrats pass is ever repealed. It’s not by accident that borders are wide open, Obamacare is still in effect, Black Rock is vacuuming up houses, and Federal spending never goes down. If Republicans really wanted to change any of that, they could. Their behavior under Trump shows they really don’t.

    60 votes are required to end debate on legislation in the US Senate.  So, enacting legislation on a party line vote is impossible unless either 60 Republicans or 60 Democrats are elected to the US Senate (as was sort of the case in 2009-2010 from the time Arlen Specter switched parties until Ted Kennedy died and got replaced by Scott Brown) or the Senate decides to reduce the 60 vote cloture (end debate) requirement on legislation to 50 votes (as it has already done for budget reconciliation and presidential nominees (both executive and judicial).  

    The Hard Left is furious at Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema for being unwilling to reduce the 60 vote cloture (end debate) requirement to 50 because as long as 60 votes are required the bulk of the Left’s legislative agenda isn’t going anywhere in the US Senate.  

    Similar obstacles exist for conservative legislation when the GOP controls the US House, US Senate and the White House.  

    Maybe eventually one of the two parties will reduce the cloture requirement from 60 to 50 for legislation (other than budget reconciliation).  But that could be 5 to 10 years away and it seems like the Democrats are more likely to “nuke the filibuster” than the GOP is.  

    • #82
  23. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    Buckpasser (View Comment):
    democrats move more and more left because they’re crazy and eventually go too far and are voted out. Then republicans promise to do things or undo things and then don’t.

    True. On every issue that matters, Republicans are not so much an alternative to the Democrats as a speed bump.

    It’s not by accident that nothing ng Democrats pass is ever repealed. It’s not by accident that borders are wide open, Obamacare is still in effect, Black Rock is vacuuming up houses, and Federal spending never goes down. If Republicans really wanted to change any of that, they could. Their behavior under Trump shows they really don’t.

    60 votes are required to end debate on legislation in the US Senate. So, enacting legislation on a party line vote is impossible unless either 60 Republicans or 60 Democrats are elected to the US Senate (as was sort of the case in 2009-2010 from the time Arlen Specter switched parties until Ted Kennedy died and got replaced by Scott Brown) or the Senate decides to reduce the 60 vote cloture (end debate) requirement on legislation to 50 votes (as it has already done for budget reconciliation and presidential nominees (both executive and judicial).

    The Hard Left is furious at Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema for being unwilling to reduce the 60 vote cloture (end debate) requirement to 50 because as long as 60 votes are required the bulk of the Left’s legislative agenda isn’t going anywhere in the US Senate.

    Similar obstacles exist for conservative legislation when the GOP controls the US House, US Senate and the White House.

    Maybe eventually one of the two parties will reduce the cloture requirement from 60 to 50 for legislation (other than budget reconciliation). But that could be 5 to 10 years away and it seems like the Democrats are more likely to “nuke the filibuster” than the GOP is.

    Obamacare was passed with reconciliation. Could have been ended that way.

    GOP has no balls.

    • #83
  24. HeavyWater Inactive
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    HR, 

    Great post. 

    As we look at the GOP’s track record in upholding the cause of center-right issues, are there any political parties in other countries that have been more successful than the GOP?  

    Take the Tories (conservatives) in the United Kingdom or the Conservatives in Canada or similar parties in Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia.  

    How does the GOP measure up to those right of center political parties?  

    • #84
  25. HeavyWater Inactive
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    Buckpasser (View Comment):
    democrats move more and more left because they’re crazy and eventually go too far and are voted out. Then republicans promise to do things or undo things and then don’t.

    True. On every issue that matters, Republicans are not so much an alternative to the Democrats as a speed bump.

    It’s not by accident that nothing ng Democrats pass is ever repealed. It’s not by accident that borders are wide open, Obamacare is still in effect, Black Rock is vacuuming up houses, and Federal spending never goes down. If Republicans really wanted to change any of that, they could. Their behavior under Trump shows they really don’t.

    60 votes are required to end debate on legislation in the US Senate. So, enacting legislation on a party line vote is impossible unless either 60 Republicans or 60 Democrats are elected to the US Senate (as was sort of the case in 2009-2010 from the time Arlen Specter switched parties until Ted Kennedy died and got replaced by Scott Brown) or the Senate decides to reduce the 60 vote cloture (end debate) requirement on legislation to 50 votes (as it has already done for budget reconciliation and presidential nominees (both executive and judicial).

    The Hard Left is furious at Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema for being unwilling to reduce the 60 vote cloture (end debate) requirement to 50 because as long as 60 votes are required the bulk of the Left’s legislative agenda isn’t going anywhere in the US Senate.

    Similar obstacles exist for conservative legislation when the GOP controls the US House, US Senate and the White House.

    Maybe eventually one of the two parties will reduce the cloture requirement from 60 to 50 for legislation (other than budget reconciliation). But that could be 5 to 10 years away and it seems like the Democrats are more likely to “nuke the filibuster” than the GOP is.

    Obamacare was passed with reconciliation. Could have been ended that way.

    GOP has no balls.

    Obamacare was passed during that window of time when Arlen Specter switched parties to become a Democrat and before Kennedy’s Senate seat was filled by Republican Scott Brown.  

    That’s why Obamacare didn’t have to rely on a budget reconciliation bill but received 60 votes in the US Senate.  

    John McCain and Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted against the Obamacare repeal legislation which meant they didn’t even have 50 votes to repeal the budgetary items in Obamacare.  

    • #85
  26. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    Buckpasser (View Comment):
    democrats move more and more left because they’re crazy and eventually go too far and are voted out. Then republicans promise to do things or undo things and then don’t.

    True. On every issue that matters, Republicans are not so much an alternative to the Democrats as a speed bump.

    It’s not by accident that nothing ng Democrats pass is ever repealed. It’s not by accident that borders are wide open, Obamacare is still in effect, Black Rock is vacuuming up houses, and Federal spending never goes down. If Republicans really wanted to change any of that, they could. Their behavior under Trump shows they really don’t.

    60 votes are required to end debate on legislation in the US Senate. So, enacting legislation on a party line vote is impossible unless either 60 Republicans or 60 Democrats are elected to the US Senate (as was sort of the case in 2009-2010 from the time Arlen Specter switched parties until Ted Kennedy died and got replaced by Scott Brown) or the Senate decides to reduce the 60 vote cloture (end debate) requirement on legislation to 50 votes (as it has already done for budget reconciliation and presidential nominees (both executive and judicial).

    The Hard Left is furious at Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema for being unwilling to reduce the 60 vote cloture (end debate) requirement to 50 because as long as 60 votes are required the bulk of the Left’s legislative agenda isn’t going anywhere in the US Senate.

    Similar obstacles exist for conservative legislation when the GOP controls the US House, US Senate and the White House.

    Maybe eventually one of the two parties will reduce the cloture requirement from 60 to 50 for legislation (other than budget reconciliation). But that could be 5 to 10 years away and it seems like the Democrats are more likely to “nuke the filibuster” than the GOP is.

    Obamacare was passed with reconciliation. Could have been ended that way.

    GOP has no balls.

    Obamacare was passed during that window of time when Arlen Specter switched parties to become a Democrat and before Kennedy’s Senate seat was filled by Republican Scott Brown.

    That’s why Obamacare didn’t have to rely on a budget reconciliation bill but received 60 votes in the US Senate.

    John McCain and Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted against the Obamacare repeal legislation which meant they didn’t even have 50 votes to repeal the budgetary items in Obamacare.

    It should have been replaced.

    Nothing less mattered. And nothing you can say will change my mind.

    The GOP lied. 

    • #86
  27. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    HeavyWater (View Comment):
    As we look at the GOP’s track record in upholding the cause of center-right issues, are there any political parties in other countries that have been more successful than the GOP?  

    Define “success.” I recall you saying that the withdrawal from Afghanistan was a success.

    • #87
  28. HeavyWater Inactive
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    On December 23, 2009 the US Senate voted to end debate on the so-called “Affordable Care Act.”

    The vote was 60 votes in favor and 39 votes against.  

    All 60 votes were from Democrat US Senators or “Independent” US Senators like Bernie Sanders (Vermont) and Agnus King (Maine).  

    So, there are those rare occasions when one party has 60 votes in the US Senate and can end debate on a party line vote.  But the GOP has peaked at 55 US Senate Seats in the last 60 years.  

    • #88
  29. HeavyWater Inactive
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    Buckpasser (View Comment):
    democrats move more and more left because they’re crazy and eventually go too far and are voted out. Then republicans promise to do things or undo things and then don’t.

    True. On every issue that matters, Republicans are not so much an alternative to the Democrats as a speed bump.

    It’s not by accident that nothing ng Democrats pass is ever repealed. It’s not by accident that borders are wide open, Obamacare is still in effect, Black Rock is vacuuming up houses, and Federal spending never goes down. If Republicans really wanted to change any of that, they could. Their behavior under Trump shows they really don’t.

    60 votes are required to end debate on legislation in the US Senate. So, enacting legislation on a party line vote is impossible unless either 60 Republicans or 60 Democrats are elected to the US Senate (as was sort of the case in 2009-2010 from the time Arlen Specter switched parties until Ted Kennedy died and got replaced by Scott Brown) or the Senate decides to reduce the 60 vote cloture (end debate) requirement on legislation to 50 votes (as it has already done for budget reconciliation and presidential nominees (both executive and judicial).

    The Hard Left is furious at Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema for being unwilling to reduce the 60 vote cloture (end debate) requirement to 50 because as long as 60 votes are required the bulk of the Left’s legislative agenda isn’t going anywhere in the US Senate.

    Similar obstacles exist for conservative legislation when the GOP controls the US House, US Senate and the White House.

    Maybe eventually one of the two parties will reduce the cloture requirement from 60 to 50 for legislation (other than budget reconciliation). But that could be 5 to 10 years away and it seems like the Democrats are more likely to “nuke the filibuster” than the GOP is.

    Obamacare was passed with reconciliation. Could have been ended that way.

    GOP has no balls.

    Obamacare was passed during that window of time when Arlen Specter switched parties to become a Democrat and before Kennedy’s Senate seat was filled by Republican Scott Brown.

    That’s why Obamacare didn’t have to rely on a budget reconciliation bill but received 60 votes in the US Senate.

    John McCain and Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted against the Obamacare repeal legislation which meant they didn’t even have 50 votes to repeal the budgetary items in Obamacare.

    It should have been replaced.

    Nothing less mattered. And nothing you can say will change my mind.

    The GOP lied.

    In order to repeal the Regulatory components of Obama-care (not just the budgetary elements like the individual mandate (tax)) you need 60 votes.  

    • #89
  30. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    HeavyWater (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    Buckpasser (View Comment):
    democrats move more and more left because they’re crazy and eventually go too far and are voted out. Then republicans promise to do things or undo things and then don’t.

    True. On every issue that matters, Republicans are not so much an alternative to the Democrats as a speed bump.

    It’s not by accident that nothing ng Democrats pass is ever repealed. It’s not by accident that borders are wide open, Obamacare is still in effect, Black Rock is vacuuming up houses, and Federal spending never goes down. If Republicans really wanted to change any of that, they could. Their behavior under Trump shows they really don’t.

    60 votes are required to end debate on legislation in the US Senate. So, enacting legislation on a party line vote is impossible unless either 60 Republicans or 60 Democrats are elected to the US Senate (as was sort of the case in 2009-2010 from the time Arlen Specter switched parties until Ted Kennedy died and got replaced by Scott Brown) or the Senate decides to reduce the 60 vote cloture (end debate) requirement on legislation to 50 votes (as it has already done for budget reconciliation and presidential nominees (both executive and judicial).

    The Hard Left is furious at Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema for being unwilling to reduce the 60 vote cloture (end debate) requirement to 50 because as long as 60 votes are required the bulk of the Left’s legislative agenda isn’t going anywhere in the US Senate.

    Similar obstacles exist for conservative legislation when the GOP controls the US House, US Senate and the White House.

    Maybe eventually one of the two parties will reduce the cloture requirement from 60 to 50 for legislation (other than budget reconciliation). But that could be 5 to 10 years away and it seems like the Democrats are more likely to “nuke the filibuster” than the GOP is.

    Obamacare was passed with reconciliation. Could have been ended that way.

    GOP has no balls.

    Obamacare was passed during that window of time when Arlen Specter switched parties to become a Democrat and before Kennedy’s Senate seat was filled by Republican Scott Brown.

    That’s why Obamacare didn’t have to rely on a budget reconciliation bill but received 60 votes in the US Senate.

    John McCain and Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted against the Obamacare repeal legislation which meant they didn’t even have 50 votes to repeal the budgetary items in Obamacare.

    It should have been replaced.

    Nothing less mattered. And nothing you can say will change my mind.

    The GOP lied.

    In order to repeal the Regulatory components of Obama-care (not just the budgetary elements like the individual mandate (tax)) you need 60 votes.

    Nope. 

    The Democrats can cheat, so can the GOP.

    The GOP is not seriy about winning. The Democrats are. 

    They win and win and win. Name me one thing the GOP had rolled back. One. 

    • #90
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