Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Trust but Verify at the GOP Establishment

One fallout of the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had to announce, right away, that the Senate would not be considering Supreme Court nominees this year.

This is a pity, according to Mark Kirkorian. Politically, it would have been nice to duck and weave a bit and so avoid antagonizing moderate voters.
The problem is that such an approach would presuppose a certain level of trust between conservative voters and the Republican leadership. Such trust does not exist. After serial sell-outs and surrenders, you can excuse a conservative voter for assuming that the Senate GOP would supinely hand the Court – and the republic’s very future – over to Obama.
Why is it that, according to polls, that only about 40 percent of the GOP party base view the party leadership favorably?  Something like 40 percent of Republicans don't trust the party leadership, whereas only about 10 percent of Democrats don't trust their leadership.

It's easy to say that the reason is simple. Democrats do what the base wants, while Republicans keep betraying their base. OK, but if you are a Democrat you ought to be mad as hell right now because the Obama economy has done nothing for its minority and female base. The Democratic base ought to be mad as hell and not going to take it any more. But it isn't.

So what's the GOP problem? Is it the donors, that keep the GOP doing free immigration and export of jobs despite the wishes of the voter base? If only it were that simple. There are other, more intractable, reasons that makes the GOP establishment betray its base, time after time.

Strange New Respect. That's a term invented twenty years ago by the American Spectator writer Tom Bethell to describe the fate of good kick-ass conservatives after they go to Washington. The problem is that they are human; they want to be liked. They want to be invited to Georgetown dinner parties. And so they succumb to the liberal ruling class culture, and one day the Washington Post or the New York Times writes a piece about the "strange new respect" that Joe Redneck now enjoys.

Politics is Downstream from Culture. The fact is that the ruling culture in the United States these days is liberal. As we conservative diehards like to say, the media, the schools, the arts, Hollywood, TV, the universities, they are all full-on liberal and they all take up the latest liberal fad without even thinking. Yesterday it was gay marriage; today it is transgender rights; tomorrow who knows. The GOP establishment does not have the power to push against the liberal national culture. The whole point of political correctness is to make it very dangerous to push back against the liberal agenda. If we want to reverse the numbers, and make 40 percent of Democrats mistrust their leaders, then we have to change the culture first, and frankly, I don't see that happening in half a century. On my Three Peoples theory it would require the People of the Creative Self to change their spots or the People of the Responsible Self to stage a full-on cultural rebellion, and I don't see that happening, not while the current ruling class is turning out a generation where 40 percent like capitalism and 40 percent like socialism and a large majority supports gay marriage.

Obama and the race issue. It's hard to oppose President Obama without being suspected of racism. So President Obama has had a pretty easy time of it. There are always second tier media types ready to roll out the race issue when anyone opposes the president, and all the media big shots need to do is vaguely refer to the groundswell of "concern."

Memory of government "shutdowns." Back in 1995 the newly elected GOP Congress went up against President Bill Clinton in a showdown over budget cuts. And the GOP lost the propaganda war. Speaker Newt Gingrich was seen as a beast kicking kids out into the cold.

Memory of the Clinton Impeachment. In 1998 the GOP thought it had a winning issue in the Monica Lewinsky issue and the Clinton impeachment. Instead, the Democrats managed to turn the whole thing around and characterize special prosecutor Ken Starr as a sex-crazed fiend. And the American people just didn't want to kick out a president. The result was that Democrats gained seats in the 1998 mid-terms. Ever since, the GOP establishment has feared that they will inevitably lose any propaganda war.

So here we are in 2016 and we have a candidate who has, so far, successfully challenged the conventional wisdom about how to deal with the ruling culture: Donald Trump. He has successfully trumped the culture of political correctness with the culture of insult. Who knew?

On my Three Peoples theory, Trump has energized a section of the People of the Subordinate Self, frustrated white working class folk that are looking for a leader, no questions asked.

Can Donald Trump roll back the dominant liberal culture all on his own and lead a new Republican coalition of the Responsible people with a rump of the Subordinate people?

One thing is for sure. After a century or more of the present liberal educated ruling class there ought to be a growing group of people that experience the rule of the liberals as injustice, straight up. That's on my theory that all government is injustice and all opposition to government is a fight against injustice.

But nobody should underestimate the power of the liberal ruling class to reassert its cultural power, and make Republican men into mice, and thus continue the frustration of the GOP base that keeps voting conservatives into office only to find that nothing changes.

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