Humpty Dumpty – A Postmortem of the Shattered GOP

 

Humpty_DumptyI love nursery rhymes; subversive as hell, each is a short, pointed, political statement masquerading as a scrap of silly, sing-song verse. And since history tends to repeat, we should not be surprised to find current events that map quite nicely to Mother Goose. For today’s example, consider the crack-up of the GOP in the context of “Humpty Dumpty.”

The GOP has, indeed, “sat on a wall.” And though some might go for the low-hanging fruit and claim that this “wall” is our southern border, I think that that’s too easy. I think of it as it was probably originally intended: The GOP was consistently faced with important decisions and consistently refused, for a variety of reasons — some cowardice, some intrigue — to take a side. And when those decisions had been made for it, the GOP shattered. And now, no one, especially not our self-proclaimed best and brightest, can reassemble it.

Let me make this point clear up front: Donald Trump did not shatter the GOP; the GOP did that themselves. As I have commented in a previous post, the shattering of the GOP is the direct result of twenty-eight years of a preference for globalism over liberty (led by the Bushes), at least thirteen years of Bush/GOPe Play-Nice-With-The-Brass-Knuckle-Marxists policy, and more than seven years of GOPe The-Base-Are-Always-Embarrassing-Reprobates-To-Be-Impugned-And-Ignored policy. Had these policies not been followed, Obama would have been impeached and members of his administration — if not Obama himself — would be in prison. Period. And despite recent protestations to the contrary, the GOP pursued neither of these actions (for the previously cited policy reasons) and now there is no longer any chance of them making it right. Through its cowardice and machinations, the GOP has irreversibly abused and lost our trust all on its own. The Trump campaign was merely the wind that blew the GOP off of its comfortable but precarious wall.

Let me also make this clear, because it is important to some: I am not “for” Trump, though I probably will (as things currently stand) vote for him. This is one of many valid positions with which people are identifying. However, the motivations for identifying with each of these positions differ, and this is where any possible reassembling of the GOP becomes difficult, if not impossible. Each motivation is a piece of shell, and each of these pieces is further divided on position.

The three main motivations, as I see them, are: Establishment, Constitutional, and Disaffected.

The three main positions, as I see them, are: #NeverTrump, Reluctant Trump, and Enthusiastic Trump. Further, the #NeverTrump position has three sub-positions: Abstaining, Voting Third Party, and Voting for Hillary.

Of the varying combinations, I will address a few in detail:

  • Reluctant Trump – Constitutional: This is the first of two major positions/motivations to be found among conservatives in general — and here on Ricochet — and it’s the one I hold. I make no claim that this is the more popular of the two positions. A good (but hyperbolic) overview of it can be found in Kurt Schlichter’s recent column.
  • #NeverTrump – Constitutional – Abstaining or Voting Third Party: This is the second of the two major positions/motivations. A good overview of it can be found in Jon Gabriel’s recent post. Although I do not (yet) belong to this group, I find no fault with their principled position.
  • #NeverTrump – Establishment – Voting Third Party or Voting for Hillary: It is with this group that I personally place the blame for the GOP’s shattering. And the closer someone of this group is with DC, the greater his culpability. If it were up to me to cobble together something new of the remaining shattered pieces of the GOP, I’d leave these pieces out.
  • Enthusiastic Trump – Disaffected: These are the legions of Americans who have not, until recently, followed politics closely. All they know is that something is deeply wrong. Just read the comment section of any political article on the Internet and consider how much more frustrated content there is as opposed to even ten years ago. These people see one party that is openly “all in” on destroying this country. They see the other party as pooh-poohing them as reprobates and rubes for thinking so. They are frightened to their bones at what they see occurring, and — being political novices who lack a political rubric to examine our present situation — they don’t necessarily grasp that they are making Ayn Rand’s false choice of taking poison for antidote after being fed poison for food. Some have gone for Trump, some have gone for Sanders, but all have gone enthusiastically because they have nowhere else to go.

Now, whose fault was that?

(Your further examination of these combinations is welcome.)

There are 70 comments.

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  1. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    I don’t agree with your assessment of Bush. Prior to Bush, I was a card carrying very liberal Democrat all my life – the change was gradual, but I woke up and realized that I had much more in common with the “then” Republican party than what the Democratic party had morphed into. So having sat on both sides of the fence, and after 8 years of Clinton, the thought of Al Gore was terrible.  We have always had challenges, and we have to change with the rest of the world.  But the foundation, the core stays the same. That was until O. Somehow, the Republicans lost their voice, their beliefs, and everyone, including the rest of the world, were enchanted by O. I would give anything to have GWB back.

    • #1
  2. Eudaimonia Rick Inactive
    Eudaimonia Rick
    @RickPoach

    Front Seat Cat: I would give anything to have GWB back.

    I would not. It was with GWB that the Play-Nice-With-The-Brass-Knuckle-Marxists policy started and became official. This is the policy which is most responsible for emboldening the Marxist wing of the Democrat party.

    • #2
  3. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Eudaimonia Rick:

    Front Seat Cat: I would give anything to have GWB back.

    I would not. It was with GWB that the Play-Nice-With-The-Brass-Knuckle-Marxists policy started and became official. This is the policy which is most responsible for emboldening the Marxist wing of the Democrat party.

    Nor do I want him back.  He was a man of weak character who refused even to say that the Clinton human rights abuses would not occur on his watch.  And we got a more abusive government from him.

    Instead of going after the terrorist perps or disciplining those people in our intelligence agencies who were unlucky enough to have the 911 attacks occur on their watch, he took it out on the American People by establishing his Homeland Security department.

    And then, to prove that he would “do something” (whether relevant or not) he invaded Iraq, ObamaCare style.

    And I haven’t even gotten to his disastrous domestic policies by which he tried to appease the left at the expense of the American people.

    I’m glad I never voted for him.

    • #3
  4. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    You forgot to mention # fiscally conservative pragmatics who believe Trump is focused on the right stuff.

    • #4
  5. Eudaimonia Rick Inactive
    Eudaimonia Rick
    @RickPoach

    EThompson:You forgot to mention # fiscally conservative pragmatics who believe Trump is focused on the right stuff.

    I would place these people in the Enthusiastic Trump – Constitutionalist camp. And yes, there are some. A friend of mine with whom I attended a Tea Party rally in DC is one such person.

    • #5
  6. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    The Reticulator:

    Eudaimonia Rick:

    Front Seat Cat: I would give anything to have GWB back.

    I would not. It was with GWB that the Play-Nice-With-The-Brass-Knuckle-Marxists policy started and became official. This is the policy which is most responsible for emboldening the Marxist wing of the Democrat party.

    Nor do I want him back. He was a man of weak character who refused even to say that the Clinton human rights abuses would not occur on his watch. And we got a more abusive government from him.

    Instead of going after the terrorist perps or disciplining those people in our intelligence agencies who were unlucky enough to have the 911 attacks occur on their watch, he took it out on the American People by establishing his Homeland Security department.

    And then, to prove that he would “do something” (whether relevant or not) he invaded Iraq, ObamaCare style.

    And I haven’t even gotten to his disastrous domestic policies by which he tried to appease the left at the expense of the American people.

    I’m glad I never voted for him.

    So how would Gore have dealt with it? Don’t forget it was 8 years of Clinton that led up to it.

    • #6
  7. Eudaimonia Rick Inactive
    Eudaimonia Rick
    @RickPoach

    Front Seat Cat: So how would Gore have dealt with it? Don’t forget it was 8 years of Clinton that led up to it.

    I’m not saying that GWB was not a better choice than Gore, especially given the limited knowledge that we had at the time of what would be GWB’s policies. I am saying that GWB’s appeasement policies coupled with GHWB’s globalist policies and the GOPe’s bullheaded insistence on sticking to them are what has destroyed the GOP.

    • #7
  8. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    EThompson:You forgot to mention # fiscally conservative pragmatics who believe Trump is focused on the right stuff.

    You are a great person,  but why use plural?

    • #8
  9. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Good column Rick.

    • #9
  10. Eudaimonia Rick Inactive
    Eudaimonia Rick
    @RickPoach

    BrentB67:Good column Rick.

    Thank you, Brent.

    • #10
  11. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Front Seat Cat:

    The Reticulator:

    Nor do I want him back. He was a man of weak character who refused even to say that the Clinton human rights abuses would not occur on his watch. And we got a more abusive government from him.

    Instead of going after the terrorist perps or disciplining those people in our intelligence agencies who were unlucky enough to have the 911 attacks occur on their watch, he took it out on the American People by establishing his Homeland Security department.

    And then, to prove that he would “do something” (whether relevant or not) he invaded Iraq, ObamaCare style.

    And I haven’t even gotten to his disastrous domestic policies by which he tried to appease the left at the expense of the American people.

    I’m glad I never voted for him.

    So how would Gore have dealt with it? Don’t forget it was 8 years of Clinton that led up to it.

    Gore would have been as bad or worse.  He also would have been opposed by some of the Republicans in Congress, and would not have been succeeded by Obama, and probably not by Gore, either.

    I don’t vote for the lesser of two evils when it means I have to put my endorsement on evil.  I had to listen to a lot of the same nonsense from Republicans back then as we do now.  I’m pretty much immune by now.

    • #11
  12. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Absolutely Rick! More thoughts on the struggle of conservative v Trump later.

    • #12
  13. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    Bush was way better than Gore would have been, but that’s not saying much.

    Another example of how Bush was anaemic against his domestic political enemies was after Katrina.  Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco were far more responsible for the disaster than Bush.  But although you can make a case that the blame-games the Democrats were playing to cover their own behinds weren’t particularly dignified, they were playing them incredibly well and thus made Bush look like a complete fool.

    In order to “preserve the dignity of the office,” Bush just took it.  After that he became a complete lame duck, and whatever “dignity” may have been preserved by Bush was soiled when Obama took over after him.

    • #13
  14. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Martel:Bush was way better than Gore would have been, but that’s not saying much.

    Another example of how Bush was anaemic against his domestic political enemies was after Katrina. Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco were far more responsible for the disaster than Bush. But although you can make a case that the blame-games the Democrats were playing to cover their own behinds weren’t particularly dignified, they were playing them incredibly well and thus made Bush look like a complete fool.

    In order to “preserve the dignity of the office,” Bush just took it. After that he became a complete lame duck, and whatever “dignity” may have been preserved by Bush was soiled when Obama took over after him.

    Nagin and Blanco!!!??? Let’s see – Nagin and Blanco took federal funds for years to “fix” the pumping problems they knew would not work in a disaster and blew it, while the poorest continued to live in squalor – Nagin went to jail. Crime is still awful there.  They would not accept immediate federal funds after Katrina, so that was the delay.

    This “globalist” label makes it sound like wealth is the enemy – when in fact greed is. Bush faced a terrorist situation that took shape for 5 years on Clinton’s watch before fruition, as well as Clinton’s elimination of financial checks and balances that were in place. If you can’t afford 7 mortgages, don’t take them on. Easy to point fingers.

    • #14
  15. Eudaimonia Rick Inactive
    Eudaimonia Rick
    @RickPoach

    Front Seat Cat: This “globalist” label makes it sound like wealth is the enemy – when in fact greed is.

    I do not use “globalist” to impugn either wealth or greed. As one who trends Objectivist, I respect wealth as value and I suspect accusations of “greed.” Instead, I mean “globalist” to be an irrational allegiance to a utopian vision which casts one’s own country’s tax payers as backward and the rest of the world as enlightened.

    I should also make clear that I am not neccessarily an anti-globalist – I hold to the truism often attributed to Bastiat, “Where goods do not cross borders, soldiers will.” I understand and agree with the globalist tenet that the best gambit at peace is trade. However, where I think that the Bush globalists have it all wrong is that they do not understand or believe that this trade must develop organically and be freely chosen by both sides. “Developed organically” and “freely chosen by both sides” is absolutely not the case with the GHWB Globalism-Over-Liberty policies.

    • #15
  16. Eudaimonia Rick Inactive
    Eudaimonia Rick
    @RickPoach

    Front Seat Cat: Bush faced a terrorist situation that took shape for 5 years on Clinton’s watch before fruition

    FSC, I don’t think anyone here is casting aspersions on GWB the man. I know that I certainly am not. I think GWB was actually a good man, but he let that good man get in the way of being an effective president against the internal treachery of the Democrats. I was furious (and still am, and it sounds like you are too) at how the Democrats and the Media cast him. But the truth is that they could only do so because he refused to fight back.

    And that refusal to fight back became policy. And that policy emboldened the Marxist wing of the Democrats. And those rabid Marxists are now who we have to deal with today. And with no effective strategy from the now shattered GOP.

    If you are interested, a few years back I wrote a short satire on how GWB was treated and how he reacted. You can read it here. I meant it to show how insane the accusations of blame against him were and that if he were to blame for anything it was his belief that he could actually expect good faith from Marxists in the first place.

    • #16
  17. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    And since we’re promoting our own past writings on the subject (I like the poem), here’s my take on how the GOP has failed to take on Democrats sufficiently:

    High Road to Hell

    • #17
  18. Eudaimonia Rick Inactive
    Eudaimonia Rick
    @RickPoach

    Martel:here’s my take on how the GOP has failed to take on Democrats sufficiently:

    High Road to Hell

    Agreed.

    • #18
  19. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    E Rick – thanks for your explanation – I understand what you are saying. I don’t think anyone in GWB’s shoes could have done better. I also think he learned quickly that the media was not his ally and so while he campaigned on transparency, when it became obvious that there were intentional leaks that put our mission and soldiers in harm’s way, he stopped.

    I don’t think he had time to care how he was “portrayed”. I believe no matter who was in the GOP seat, we would still be here – that is the globalist part of your message that I get.  It is a concerted effort, as we can see throughout the world, that the demise of faith, family, and patriotism is concentrated and lethal.  Those were the words of the people in a town in Greece the other night watching Anthony Bordain. The leadership pulled a Blanco and Nagin – keep the money – and fail to lead.  The vacuum left has been filled with socialism, communism etc. once again – only this time it will be worse.

    I don’t care to defend the past – I’m trying to figure out where to go from here, along with my fellow Americans – you are right – we let it happen and here we are.

    • #19
  20. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Some of our folks are projecting conservative attitudes onto Trump for which there is no evidence just like moderate Democrats projected their views onto Obama.  But he will go away, can be controlled a little,  the administrative neo marxist totalitarian state Hillary will continue to build won’t go away.  The choice is easy, but I think our position, even of those who will never vote for him should be “Trump only if”,  The if are pre announced  nominations to replace Scalia, and adults at Treasury and State.  In the voting booth folks can vote their frustrations, but the “never Trump” position doesn’t exercise any influence on Trump or his political advisors, it’s sort of a typical Republican position, no leverage, no strategy all posture.  We need to see a short, very short, list of his nominees prior to the election.  They must be his picks not extractions or concessions or he’ll just change his mind.  His name has to be stamped on their foreheads like his buildings so they’re attached to each other.    Changes in policy positions are irrelevant and anything extracted from him is useless, but adults in key positions matter greatly.  At this point it is the only thing that matters.

    • #20
  21. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior
    @BastiatJunior

    Eudaimonia Rick: I should also make clear that I am not neccessarily an anti-globalist – I hold to the truism often attributed to Bastiat, “Where goods do not cross borders, soldiers will.” I understand and agree with the globalist tenet that the best gambit at peace is trade.

    Glad you cleared that up.

    Eudaimonia Rick: However, where I think that the globalist have it all wrong is that they do not understand or believe that this trade must develop organically and be freely chosen by both sides.

    Now I’m confused.  Free trade is the default state when governments don’t imposed protectionism.

    • #21
  22. Eudaimonia Rick Inactive
    Eudaimonia Rick
    @RickPoach

    BastiatJunior:

    Eudaimonia Rick: However, where I think that the globalist have it all wrong is that they do not understand or believe that this trade must develop organically and be freely chosen by both sides.

    Now I’m confused. Free trade is the default state when governments don’t imposed protectionism.

    However, where I think that the Bush “globalists” have it all wrong…

    • #22
  23. BThompson Inactive
    BThompson
    @BThompson

    I find it extremely ironic that you fault the republicans who took half loaf solutions and often took compromise positions but now you are ready to make a compromise and vote for the most unfit, abject scoundrel of a candidate and demagogue the country has ever seen. You espouse purity from thee but not for me.

    What silliness.

    • #23
  24. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    BThompson:I find it extremely ironic that you fault the republicans who took half loaf solutions and often took compromise positions but now you are ready to make a compromise and vote for the most unfit, abject scoundrel of a candidate and demagogue the country has ever seen. You espouse purity from thee but not for me.

    What silliness.

    Our choices are Hillary and the Democrat machine who will continue to build their totalitarian administrative state, appoint anti constitutional jurists, or Trump an empty suit narcissist with no ideology but who might be guided and controlled if we had a strategy to do so, and at worst can be controlled weakly by congress, might make good appointments, and will go away.  The administrative state doesn’t go away, it grows, it is the default position of ineptitude and corruption as well as ideology.  Maybe in the quiet of the voting booth we pull for a libertarian or write in a conservative,  but now the position should be “Trump only if”.  The “if” being Scalia replacement and maybe Treasury and State.  “never Trump” public position works in the wrong direction.     Voting Hillary is typical establishment Republican empty posturing, it does nothing good and lots that is bad.

    • #24
  25. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    I am in two categories simultaneously. Or the new category would be Reluctant Constitutional Disaffected Cautiously Optimistic.

    Disaffected. Everything in the OP and in Martel’s great synopsis, I say ditto! The Republican Party has been denuded. They have been rejected and they deserve to be rejected and embarrassed. The Republican Party has been exposed as a shell for certain donors and certain agendas. The party is full of pretenders and ambitious opportunists and it needs correct itself (it won’t) or step aside and let someone who’s willing to fight take over.

    I am reluctant because, Trump. Yet, he can actually win, and depending upon how many Democrats and minorities vote for him, he will rearrange the political landscape for the better. Democrats will have to make their case and so will Republicans. For once these debates won’t be easily pigeonholed by partisanship.

    And the winning part is huge. Would my preferred candidates have won? Probably not. Then what? Ideally I liked Rand Paul, but he didn’t have the charisma needed. I then went with Cruz, could have gone with Jindal too.

    The Old Guard Republicans are getting behind Trump and  he will have to be loyal to them. I see this as both good and bad. He could easily be co-opted by the establishment, but then I think they can only make so many inroads. The Bushes and Kristols et al are out forever. The neo-cons are gone. Hurray for that!

    • #25
  26. Eudaimonia Rick Inactive
    Eudaimonia Rick
    @RickPoach

    BThompson:I find it extremely ironic that you fault the republicans who took half loaf solutions and often took compromise positions but now you are ready to make a compromise and vote for the most unfit, abject scoundrel of a candidate and demagogue the country has ever seen. You espouse purity from thee but not for me.

    What silliness.

    I do not hold power over policy. As such, I can only play the hand that I’ve been dealt. So, yes, I hold blame on those who could have affected the game early on but chose not to.

    You are free to consider that as silly as you chose.

    • #26
  27. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    So, we have been playing nice with the Marxists, have we?  As opposed to… what?  Rounding them up and putting them in camps?  Disbanding the Supreme Court?  Declaring martial law and suspending the First Amendment?  When the country voted for Marxist-in-Chief Obama, twice, that was because they were angry that our side didn’t stand up to the Marxists?  Was Bush supposed to have ordered the military to surround the White House to keep Obama out?

    Oh, I know.  I’m an establishment shill, a RINO, a defeatist.  I’m the problem not the solution.  How dare I ask what it would mean to stop “playing nice.”  Obviously, all that would have been necessary would have been to just speak up about the problem.  And no Republican has done that for the last 30 years.  At least, if you haven’t been paying attention to the thousands of Republican officials, candidates, and writers, who have spoken strongly and eloquently against the Marxists’ philosophy and tactics on a daily basis, every day for the last 30 years.

    Rick, you are describing a lovely and popular fantasy.  Lots of people believe it, and the echo-chamber makes belief in the fantasy self-fulfilling.  Just like the fantasy that people fortunate enough to be living in the richest and freest country in the history of the world are justifiably outraged at their horrible lot in life, and should demand that government give them free college, a job, and whatever else.

    • #27
  28. jerseyguy Inactive
    jerseyguy
    @jerseyguy

    Ignoring the issue of whether there is any constitutional or political mechanism to jail members of the administration up to and including President Obama, your basic issue with Republicans being too weak is that American government would be better if we looked more like Brazil or third-world banana republics, where politicians are routinely jailed by political rivals?  What’s even more amazing about that wish is that American government has *never* looked like the brass knuckle place you suggest.  Most people in the world look at that rather admiringly I should think.  But maybe I’m out of touch and really we just need more retaliatory politician jailing to finally fix things.

    • #28
  29. starnescl Inactive
    starnescl
    @starnescl

    Eudaimonia Rick: Had these policies not been followed, Obama would have been impeached and members of his administration — if not Obama himself — would be in prison. Period.

    I don’t think this was ever in the cards, but is a significant factor in Trump’s support.

    I doubt you’d agree, ER – and no problem here with that.  For my point of view, however, if someone believes this I think it leads to drastically over-estimating the power of their faction.

    If you believe you are stronger than you are, you adopt tactics that seek to defeat and not persuade.  If I’m right, your faction can never be majoritarian.  A kingmaker faction?  Sure.  But always a clear minority.

    Circling back, the line from your post I quoted entails explicitly not seeing yourself as part of a minority.

    Of course, you know who else are minorities?  Movement (intellectual) conservatives, libertarians, Hillary supporters and Bernie supporters.

    • #29
  30. Martel Inactive
    Martel
    @Martel

    Front Seat Cat:E Rick – thanks for your explanation – I understand what you are saying. I don’t think anyone in GWB’s shoes could have done better. I also think he learned quickly that the media was not his ally and so while he campaigned on transparency, when it became obvious that there were intentional leaks that put our mission and soldiers in harm’s way, he stopped.

    I don’t think he had time to care how he was “portrayed”.

    It was part of his job to “care how he was ‘portrayed’,” so if he didn’t have time to think about it, he should have found some competent people who did.

    Perhaps Bush thought that the insults he was getting were just personal insults, that his own dignity wasn’t an issue.  Problem was that as leader of the GOP and our armed forces, his public image was intrinsicly intertwined with both the GOP’s and that of our military.

    Maybe “Bush lied, people died” was patently untrue, but as the meme gained steam with virtually no effective mainstream opposition, the war in Iraq became less popular.  As public opinion turned against the war, our enemies got more inspired because of the legitimate belief that we might well turn tail and come home.

    Thus Bush’s failure in the PR war led directly to soldiers and marines dying on the battlefield, and Obama being elected, lead in turn to the mess we’ve got there today.

    • #30

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