Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It’s the GOP’s Fault

I travel the blogosphere and I’m amazed at the vitriol from the right-wing bench sitters over the Republican Party.  I mean I expect vitriol from the Left (Democrats, Socialists, Progressives, Liberals, whatever) but all this crap from the right still surprises me. 

My favorite comments are about what the “GOP” did or didn’t do.  It’s as if the “GOP” was a person with a mind of its own.  While it is true that the Republican Party has a culture and it can exhibit inertia that pushes it around, it is driven by people.  When the “Country Club” Republicans (that term pre-dates “RINO”) outnumbered conservatives that inertia drove the Party toward Nelson Rockefeller.  When a conservative guerilla movement took over the Party it drifted to Barry Goldwater.  Ultimately that movement was reborn as the Reagan Revolution.  When it comes to the “GOP” - if you are not part of it – you don’t get to complain about what it does.  You see if you aren’t in the boat, you don’t get to steer.

The way this ignorant idea normally manifests itself is stuff like “The GOP picked McCain.”  There are actually people out there that think that a few guys got together at the GOP Headquarters on First Street in Washington, DC and picked John McCain.  I suppose all those elections, caucuses, and town halls were just for show?  Of the twelve major candidates who began the process, McCain was my twelfth pick.  Where were all of those guys who disapproved of McCain when Congressman Duncan Hunter needed a little cash?  Where were they when Senator Fred Thompson needed a few votes?  The answer is that people weren’t paying attention. 

In my experience people never have time to help, but they always seem to be able to find time to complain.  But politics is a participation sport.  Call the whiners before Election Day and they don’t have time to walk a neighborhood, make some phone calls, or kick in a few bucks to a candidate.  However that’s what wins elections.  For those that don’t live and breathe politics, surveys show that the most powerful inducements to vote is having someone knock on their door, hand them literature, and ask for their vote.  If you can’t walk then reaching out by phone is the next best thing.  If you really don’t have any time then write a check to enable a campaign to advertise or keep an office open. 

Believe it or not some people show up at the polls not knowing who they are going to vote for.  Take the day off and volunteer to help the get out the vote effort or hand out sample ballots at the polls.  Many folks know who the top of the ticket is, but might not have any idea who the Republicans are endorsing for School Board.  We had people show up in a gubernatorial election that weren’t aware that there were three amendments to Virginia’s constitution on the ballot. 

Of course if you get up off your ass and pitch in – you won’t be able to complain then – would you? 


  1. The sad thing is even the people who don't know Herman Cain from Herman Munster or think Rick Perry was the singer in Journey, still have the opportunity to vote and have a voice equal to those of us who pay attention and are involved in some form. Hardly seems fair that our vote can be cancelled out by some goofus using a dartboard with faces on it.
    Don't even get me started about those folks that vote for the guy with nicest hair or the cutest looks.

  2. CS,

    The press nominated McCain. The press is responsible for people not knowing about ballot issues. Granted, the people should demand better from the press, but the press is still at fault. Impartial reporting is non-existent; everyone injects their opinion into their reporting.

    Pitching in isn't an option for most people. College kids supported by their parents can (and do) campaign, and retirees can (and do) campaign. But those of us beating the bushes for the next meal can't do more than argue with the people we run into everyday.

    Its a crazy system when states primaries are so spread out. Iowa and New Hampshire don't speak for me, though Iowa comes close. By the time my primary comes around, the candidate is already picked, the only one on the ballot. The candidates don't even campaign here.

    Mike Huckabee ran on a shoestring budget, against the "party leaders" and against the media. And he ran against the circular firing squad you rail against. If Duncan Hunter needed more cash to beat the party and the press, he should have spent his money the way Huckabee spent his. The truth is the system is broke, and it needs fixing. I'll be in favor of a third party if Romney continues to have the support of the "party."

  3. Paladin,

    Knocking on doors is kind of fun in some ways and scary in others. Nearly everything bad in your life can be traced back to politics - something the government did or failed to do. Yet people generally are repelled by talking about things political.

    Parents turn over their children to the public school system for seven hours a day but don't bother to learn anything about the person running for school board. People rail about taxes but they don't bother to learn anything about the guy running for county board of supervisors.

  4. Tenth,

    You're stuck on blaming an inanimate object. If you aren't a member then how on earth is the "GOP" to divine what you want?

    I would concede that the people who do the bulk of the work for "the Party" are young, retired, self-employed, or a spouse who doesn't hold down a job. However the reason that those political calls come in at dinner time is that is the sweet spot for getting volunteers and pretty much everyone else is at home. Those volunteers left work and stopped off at the GOP headquarters on their way home.

    Here is the "I don't want to play effect." In 2010 the Democrat (Socialist, Liberal, Progressive, whatever) won the Eleventh Congressional District by 910 votes. There are 495,000 voters in that district. Let's do a little simple analysis:

    The Libertarian candidate got 1,382 votes and the Independent got 1,846 (thanks a**holes) - that's the third party candidate effect. I didn't count the "Green" votes, I just thank them all for throwing their 959 votes in the toilet. 305 people threw away their vote on a write-in (I've sat through the vote counts and idiots really do vote for Popeye and Mickey Mouse). Only 45.8% of registered voters turned out - thanks 55.4% who stayed home - I hope they love Gerry Connolly. That seat was winnable.

    Now the solution: One volunteer walking a neighborhood for 4 hours on a weekend could hit 100-150 doors or make a similar number of phone calls. Odds are that volunteer would sway at least one person to go out and vote or maybe not to waste their vote. What are the odds that in a district with nearly half a million voters, we could have gotten 1,000 4-hour volunteer days more than we got?

    One person wouldn't have made a difference, but 1,000 people who stayed at home on each and every Saturday before that election gave the election to Gerry Connolly who voted with Nancy Pelosi 97% of the time. The 3,533 people who threw their vote away could have made a difference.

    In a stunningly idiotic gesture, the TEA movement decided to have a big conference/rally in Richmond on a weekend less than 30 days before that election. What if those people had of walked their neighborhoods instead? That's the third party effect as well.

    I would also concede that this is a "system" that evolved and it is not optimal - but I categorically dispute that people are helplessly at the whim of the "GOP." If you disagree, then you are just being disagreeable. If you don't like it - do something about it.

    The "system" isn't broke - it just isn't populated by people who can fix it.

  5. Amigo,
    Good post again and good comments by all.

    I'm much like Tenth whereas I simply do not have the time to go door to door especially when those doors are miles apart. Instead I donate to the candidates that I agree with. I write my congressmen regularly (I doubt any read my comments) and I attend my County Supervisors meetings irregularly.

    A third party would be a disaster. One needs only to look at Europe. The smallest party wags the dog as the larger ones always pander to the little ones. In a national election here we might as well give zero another term now and call it quits and save the effort. We tried that once with Perot and we got BJ Clinton.

    My biggest beef with the RNC is that they pander to the media which is not their friend anyway. Ditto for the talking GOP heads (McCain & Graham come to mind) as if those assclowns actually spoke for us. They should just be honest and change party affiliation.

    The GOP has forgotten that Conservatism sells in America but they always want to claim moderate status for some reason. Independants will vote for the GOP if they field a Conservative. Reagan was proof of that as were the 2010 elections. Times have not changed.

    20% of the electorate identify themselves as liberal (communist), 40% as conservative, and 40% as independants. The independant vote is what both parties vie for just like the Euro-weenies I described earlier.

    Amigo, you are correct that by not having skin in the game you don't get to bitch.

    I think the source of frustration from conservatives that you read is that we all know the formula for success but the folks at the top of the GOP foodchain refuse to recognize it. Look at Cain, he is surging in the polls because he has the most conservative message out there but the media picks Romney for us.

    The media knows zero can beat Romney.

    Perry was polling higher that Romney but has crashed because his conservative credentials aren't what was advertised. Ditto for Bachmann, et al.

    The country is hungry for a Conservative and Romney ain't it.

  6. Your frustration, CS, is warranted IMO. Indeed, we can all do something to help elect the best people to do the job. The canvassing and phone calling are important to be sure. Bucks given to a specific candidate, etc are necessary.

    Unfortunately, we still have a base two-party system and until a third party is truly viable and able to garner electoral wins in diverse markets, we are somewhat stuck with what we have. Warts and all.

  7. Wow! I'd love to have a link to whatever brought this on! LOL!

    If you'll remember my previous comment concerning types of voters, particularly about who writes and reads conservative blogs, you'll understand when I tell you that you're not just preaching to the choir; you're yelling at the choir. LOL!

    Sometime when you're not so steamed, and I've had a chance to check the statute of limitations on campaign fraud, I'll tell you what a campaign looks like from the smoke filled backroom.

    Suffice it to say, it's a lot like seeing sausage being made. HaHaHa!

  8. H-Nox,

    My frustration deals with the inability of people who throw rocks to understand that they are a material part of the problem. If I was watching you cut hay and kept telling you that you were doing it wrong - you would hop off the tractor and tell me to put up or shut up. That is the concept.

    All of these people who are running or in office started someplace. Our good governor started out as a part-time legislator. People of his district sustained him and returned him to office until it was time for him to take a crack at the Attorney General slot. After a successful tour there he ran for governor and won. This takes time, it isn't instant gratification.

    But all those people starting in a Viginia delegate district and then moving Commonwealth wide are the vaunted and much maligned "GOP." If they all pat themselves on the butt and aren't working now on the next guy, and the next guy, and the next guy - then the Democrats (Socialists, Progressives, Liberals, whatever) will sneak in some scumbag like Tim Kaine again.

    My point - perhaps in-artfully expressed is that it shouldn't take a disaster like Barack Hussein Obama to wake everyone the hell up and get them on the playing field.

    McCain and his partner in stupidity Graham aren't the "GOP" - Reince Priebus isn't necessarily the "GOP" - you are the "GOP."

  9. Mrs. AL,

    Dear lady, one must hope and pray that the more mercurial among us don't head off and start a third Party. It would be a disaster of the highest order. That is of course the biggest danger with some of the hotheads in the TEA movement. They aren't a "party" in that sense but rather a special interest group. They have proven to be a wonderful ally at times (their support of Republican Marco Rubio is an example). However they have also been a dangerous distraction at times (Sharon Angle and Christine O'Donnell come to mind).

  10. Relic,

    I am not quite a country bumpkin as campaigns go though I haven't seen the inside of a National level campaign's smoke filled room. This post and subsequent discussion was what sent me into the ozone level:


    My target set probably is at the rock throwers and the TEA folks who diminish our strength and focus of effort with useless carping from the cheap seats.

    When someone says "the GOP picked McCain" it triggers in my mind the question - "And what did you do to prevent it?" I think that Florida's move to bring forward their primary might be a reaction to that. I know I was pissed that McCain had a statistical lock when I went to vote in our primary - but I still voted for Huckabee.

    A friend in the "GOP" has taken the bull by the horns in supporting Herman Cain. He's taking around a petition and shows up with literature and the like at meetings. If there are enough of him - they might make a difference. I might have to jump on the Herman wagon as my favorite anti-Romney (Rick Perry) doesn't seem to be able to rise to the occasion.

  11. Amigo,
    "McCain and his partner in stupidity Graham aren't the "GOP" - Reince Priebus isn't necessarily the "GOP" - you are the "GOP."

    Maybe so but when I contact my local, state, of national GOP office I never get an answer to my correspondence but I do get a donation request.

    I kind of get the feeling no one is listening but that all things get fixed with the right amount of cash.

  12. H-Nox,

    Cash is king as they say. I had to laugh when I saw that.

    I have found that once they see you around a bit, those letters that used to get form letter responses tend to get more personal attention. Our good congressman's office responded with a phone call when I launched my latest tirade over the Navy staining a ship with Cesar Chavez's name.

    At a dinner the other day our Congressman came up and called me by my first name. That means he either has really good powers of recall, or he's seen me a few times.

    I don't think that any of us are going to walk into one meeting and change the whole direction of the party - I mean, who do you think you are? Barack F***ing Obama?

    I wore out a lot of shoes to get to where I am. If I had more money it would have been easier and I would have been fast-tracked.

  13. CS you noted, "... one must hope and pray that the more mercurial among us don't head off and start a third Party. It would be a disaster of the highest order."

    Why would it be a disaster? Help me understand how things could be any worse, aside from losing a boat load of elections. As it is now, the GOP is infested with liberal-lites and it's hard to keep the players straight without a score card. No clear lines of distinctions between the parties any longer. If that weren't the case, then why isn't everyone hopping on the Romney train like Christie? Why the resistance? Given Romney is as close to being like Obama as a GOPer can get, why aren't we all backing him? Maybe he would draw in a good hunk of the independent vote and the Resident would be defeated.

    Not trying to be difficult ... just trying to understand the mindset.

  14. CS,

    I am not the GOP - I'm a registered independent. I am opposed to political parties on principal. The only "gang" I ever joined is the Marine Corps, and I intend to keep it that way.

    If the Republican Party (whoever they are) puts up a polished turd like Romney, I will not vote. Does that mean I wasted my vote? No, it means I told the Republican Party to F&*$ off. Romney or Obama, I still lose.

    Last time out, I spent money on signs and t-shirts, and I donated to a candidate. This time around, I have ZERO spare change to play the game with. The only help I can provide is to shout at people that Romney is no different than Obama.

  15. Mrs. AL,

    I my humble opinion, all this demonizing of the Republican Party plays right into the bad guy's hands. I see the party as a container - fill it up with knuckleheads then it's stupid, fill it up with conservatives and we win elections and do great things.

    The Republican Party is a coalition of a variety of factions and we all have to get along. There are the Evangelicals, Fiscal Conservatives, Social Conservatives, Libertarians, and yes . . . . the dreaded RINOs. Conservatives can't by themselves win elections. If the New England Country Club Republicans alienate the Southern Evangelicals then we diminish our chances of success.

    We don't need a new party - we need to run the one we have correctly.

    People want to crow that their "Independents" - well ain't that something? What does that mean? You hate structure? You don't believe strongly in anything? You aren't a joiner? You don't want to pay the dues? Hell - I don't know what that means. If those Independents think that by trading their vote to the Democrats (Socialists, Progressives, Liberals, whatever) that they will make America stronger - their smoking something illegal. They don't want to belong to the Party of Abraham Lincoln? Ronald Reagan? Pu-u-u-u-u-ulease.

    We have a lady in our local Party who is originally from Maine - she's a Snow/Collins RINO. I call her a RINO. She's old enough to be my mother. But she put in two days a week over the last two election cycles working the phones. She called for Governor Bob McDonnell - and he ain't no RINO. She's a team player, we need her and her kind.

    Then we have conservatives who got pissed off and went running around with Gadsen flags at TEA events. Many of them have come back - we need them all back. Candidates win elections not tantrums.

    But a lot of this language runs hot and it's over the top. Romney isn't Obama or Obama-lite. He isn't my choice, but my guy is stumbling. We aren't voting for him to be King, but rather the quarterback of the team. If we support him with the right kind of people in Congress, he'll do okay. This particular editorial gave me pause:

    BLANKLEY: Praising Romney’s flip-flopping ways:


    How can it get worse? Obama gets four more years while Conservatives quibble about finding the next Virgin Mary. We are running out of time friends - Romney, Perry, Cain, or . . . . . ?

  16. Excellent. Now I am understanding your POV, CS. Really appreciate it. I will keep the "container" vision in my head. Fortunately for me, those who represent my interests at the State level tend to be more conservative than RHINO. Guess we moved to the right part of Ol' Virginy. And yes, I am registered Repub do my two bits (excluding shave and a hair cut - attempt at humor alert).

  17. Tenth,

    I feel your pain but fail to see your point. You might note that in these various straw polls that are being taken of the "Party Faithful" Romney isn't winning any of them (except Michigan). The "Republican Party" isn't conducting a coronation, rather the process is being played out.

    Note that Herman Cain may have pulled into the lead as of this evening:


  18. Mrs. AL,

    Thank you for your kind comment. Yes, we are fortunate to be Virginians.

  19. CS,

    I will gladly vote for Herman Cain, but because my state's primary is so late, we may not have a choice of candidates. Not being a Republican, I can't vote in the primary anyway.

    By the way, George Washington agreed with me that he wouldn't join a political party. And Hardnox is right. All contact between me and the candidates or party involves them begging for money. Disgusting.

  20. I'm afraid we don't see eye to eye on this.

    In the interests of full disclosure let me say that I am a member of the Republican Party. Further, I have supported the Tea Party Movement from day one and done my share of flag waving. I am also a charter member of the SCDS.(That's a TH thing)

    Most importantly, I am a conservative first, last, and always.

    We are in the primary season. IMO, this is the time for rock throwing.

    The Republican Party, sometimes referred to as the GOP for the sake of brevity, is an organized entity with tremendous power to influence the candidate process.

    Lately, that entity has been drifting to the left. Some of us having been trying to fix that. That's the noise you're hearing.

    William Buckley Jr, largely recognized as the founder of the modern conservative movement, told us to vote from the most conservative candidate we could find.

    Well, that's good advise, but only if there is actually a conservative candidate in the race.

    I got the sense that this piece was a call for unity but I don't see how you can achieve that by being dismissive of people who essential share your right of center philosophy.


  21. Relic,

    We probably aren't as far apart as you might think.

    Buckley is frequently under fire as he qualified that statement by saying " . . . the most conservative candidate who could win." There in lies the problem with the Sharon Angles and Christine O'Donnells.

    The denigration of the Republican Party is the part that offends me. I hold the opinion expressed by the pundit who said, "There are two Parties, the evil one and the stupid one."

    You and I are members of the stupid one and it won't get any smarter if conservatives sit outside and throw rocks.

    Romney is the new McCain who will keep driving while the Conservatives remain in a circular firing squad blasting away at each other.

    All this GOP trashing is just so much rubbish.

    My wife and I were at the very first TEA movement event in our county and more after that. However I have limited free time and treasure - I have to vector it where it will do the most good so I support the Republican Party and those candidates. If I went to every event, club, association, and church meeting that vies for my time I wouldn't have any impact at all in the end.

    I don't disagree with anything that the TEA movement has to say - it's their tactics to separate and diffuse the conservative effort that made me walk away from them. Further when the leader in Richmond talked of "assassinating RINOs" it got my attention - he didn't have the best interests of my country, my party, or my government in mind. I know he wasn't going to kill anyone - it's the tone and the utter stupidity of that statement that turned me off.

    I'm not a RINO - but we can't denigrate moderate Republicans because we need them. Besides, if they hang around with us enough, conservatism will rub off on them.

  22. Or RINOism will rub off on us. My mama used to say you are known by the company you keep. I've kept some pretty bad company over the years, but by God, I've never associated with a liberal turd.

  23. It is certain that we agree about the Stupid Party! LOL!

    In fact, we may be just debating a matter of interpretation.

    You mention Angles and O'Donnell. I didn't follow the Angles campaign closely but I did the O'Donnell campaign since I cut my political teeth working on the Russell Peterson Gubernatorial reelection campaign in Delaware.

    Delaware has a closed primary system. O'Donnell won that primary to become the Republican candidate. Nobody voted in that primary that was not registered as a Republican.

    Yet, most of the criticism aimed at her, including the pronouncements that she "couldn't" win, came from Republicans such as the head of the RPD, and none other than Karl Rove, Mr. Republican himself.

    You can't have it both ways. If the RNC, the state parties, and the local parties want loyalty to the party name, then they need to remember Reagan's 11th commandment whenever the voters, particularly in a closed primary, decide they don't want the steering committee pick.

    I think that the RP missed a golden opportunity to capitalize on the TPM, let's be honest, the TPM is just the conservative movement, and some Reagan democrats, who have abandoned the conservative title since it was trashed by the likes of John McCain.

    As you correctly observed, this is not a new battle. It's the Goldwater/Rockefeller battle that was going on when I first registered as a Republican in '67. It's nothing new.

    Personally, this old grunt likes to keep his enemies OUTSIDE the wire but I recognize that the RINOs will always be with us. It's reality but that doesn't mean I have to like it!

    IMO, both of the races were winnable

  24. Relic,

    You may be right on O’Donnell, but I remember the aftermath. TEA hotty Dana Loesch was on FOX News. I don’t remember her exact words, but she essentially said “Now we [the TEA movement] own her” or words to that effect. She knew. The NRSC did damage control rushing in with the maximum donation, but I think it was too late. All the talk shows and FOX News carried water for O’Donnell, but she never really got going. Bob Castle would have no doubt let us down from time-to-time – but as long as he didn’t do a Benedict Specter – Castle would count for control of the Senate. On election night 2012 I hope that we don’t miss that seat. It might be a hollow victory if we end up with 58 seats in the Senate.

    I agree that we can’t have it both ways. That’s what disturbs me most with this talk about Romney. He has a constituency that has to be respected. When we were doing our County Fair back in August a guy from the Romney team showed up to help with the Republican booth – of course he had his petition to put Romney on the ballot with him. I didn’t see another petition until someone showed up with a Cain petition two weeks ago. All this screaming about the “GOP brass” and the “Establishment Republicans” denies the fact that Romney does have support on the ground.

    It might be something in the water in Delaware, but I don’t think that in your lifetime and mine we are going to see an authentic Conservative in any State-wide office. You might think this is tortured logic, but that’s why the same one-size fits all approach is wrong for conservatives too. Of course that’s where our debate began with a discussion of a measure that appears right for Texas but wouldn’t pass here in Virginia. Likewise O’Donnell was attractive to a national movement, but was unpopular with her potential constituents.

    You know we have the same thing brewing here – Jamie Radtke. I haven’t run into anyone who thinks she’s a serious candidate – but it would be wasteful to pit her against Allen in a drawn out primary battle.

    I don’t know where we went wrong with the TEA movement (or where the TEA movement went wrong). I know I got swept up in the euphoria at the beginning. I even bought a full-sized Gasden flag. That’s a topic for another day.