This weekend’s events have been sad, tragic, and confounding.
But one of the most frustrating things, to me, has been the naked attempts to use this crisis for political gain. This has fallen into three categories, broadly:
1. The neo-Nazis who are attempting to gain mainstream status by glomming onto the GOP;
2. Democrats and liberals who are trying to discredit honest Americans anywhere to the right of them on the political spectrum by tarring all of us with the same brush (ie, their usual identity politics); and
3. Dishonest Republicans trying to tar political rivals within the party by tying them to a group of people they have no actual connection to.
All three of these groups are disgusting and wrong. This event was tragic enough, without these mid-level bottom feeders trying to take off of the low-level bottom feeders in Charlottesville.
Group #1, has no place in the party; they play identity politics and advocate for bigger government. Liberty is a virtue and these people don’t promote it for all. Fail. That said, the Constitution DOES protect their right to free speech, as long as it’s not violent. The price we pay to live in liberty, folks.
Group #2 are gross. These people (Ben Tribbett is guilty of this, as is the idiot mayor of Charlottesville and the DNC Chair) are trying to tar and feather anyone who disagrees with them, using guilt by association. Not our association with them, but theirs with us. This belies a fundamental principle in American jurisprudence, that only the person or persons who actually participated in a wrong are actually guilty of it. Unless you can prove that anyone, any of us (including President Trump) were actually in Charlottesville waving torches etc, we are in fact NOT guilty of that kind of hate. Sorry to insert facts in here, but you’re talking about the fringe of the fringe who were out there. Most of us are NOT that.
That is, unless you’d like us to judge you lefties by the socialist who shot Steve Scalise, or pretty much any of the AntiFa counter protesters there in Charlottesville. No? You say you aren’t them? Then you can’t judge us by a group we’ve never supported or really ever knew existed.
Group #3 is almost as insidious as #2. These ‘crusaders’ within the GOP are using this idiocy in Charlottesville to root out anyone who disagrees with them. I am disappointed to say this, but some of my fellow bloggers and consultants fall into this category. One in particular tried to say that House Freedom Caucus members Dave Brat and Tom Garrett were somehow of these groups.
This is disgusting, wrong, and intentionally dishonest. These are two good men who are more libertarian than anything else, and have the record and the scars to prove that they have walked the walk for liberty in their time on Capitol Hill. Unlike some, they actually voted to repeal Obamacare after promising to repeal it. Unlike the neo-Nazis, these men actually work for, and vote for, a smaller and less intrusive government. Consistently. The proof is in the pudding, and we have already eaten the pudding.
But this type of morally bereft political opportunism is only possible because the party itself- the GOP- lacks any kind of cohesive definition whatsoever. Seriously, how could you make the case that any party that includes the odious Charlie Dent and the virtuous Mike Lee is a party with any cohesion?
Here in Virginia, we have a Republican Creed that is virtually unknown and never enforced.
And because we lack definition, save perhaps the naked pursuit of power, or perhaps “We’re not Democrats”, we have all sorts of other problems: can’t govern, constant civil war, massive regional differences, and a huge divide between the donor class and the voting class.
And since the neo-Nazis see that all that apparently unites us is staying in power, they are trying to parachute in and give us the direction we lack.
This must not happen. But for the love of God, please no more meaningless condemnations. Instead of the latest CYA move, let’s actually do something that requires hard work, sacrifice and time- but will yield far greater rewards.
Let’s give the party a definition with meaning.
In the UK, each party puts out a manifesto that tells voters what they can expect, with clarity, if the party gains power. Here, we would call that a platform. And it’s long past time to revive that tradition.
Instead of falling prey to the Democrats’ tradition of identity politics and labeling, let’s define ourselves by what we stand for, what we will enact once in power, and why we think that is good policy. And if that makes some officeholders and candidates uncomfortable, GOOD. Those were probably the wrong people to run as Republicans anyway.
By giving the GOP an actual definition, we may lose some marginal races, but we will gain more in the long run:
1. No longer have to worry about undesirable groups identifying as us.
2. End the constant civil war.
3. Heal the rift between the donors and voters.
4. Restore direction to a party adrift.
5. Be able to govern coherently when we DO gain power.
Remember, confused minds say no. Let’s remove the confusion from the American people, including those in our own party.
Stop the meaningless gestures. Let’s put in the hard work to define the party and in doing so, let’s become a party worthy of the name again.