Saturday, October 25, 2008

Goodbye, GOP

I listened to a lot of talk radio yesterday. Both Rush Limbaugh and Hugh Hewitt emphasized Obama's pro-choice in abortion stand in hopes of motivating the religious right to vote. Hewitt spent his entire show taking calls only from Catholics in battleground states, hoping to use Cardinal Rigali's message to Pennsylvia Catholics to get out the vote on the religious right. Limbaugh even expressed the wish that those who support abortion leave the party.

There was nothing from them about the creeping fascism that economic interventionism is bringing us. Clearly, both men see the Republican Party as a party of religious values first. Economic liberty, which they would both say they support (Limbaugh especially, as Hewitt views free market "extremism" as an electoral loser), is a secondary consideration.

It was a depressing experience. Here we are, nearing election day, and the Republican propagandists are getting serious. Time to motivate the troops! And so, both Hewitt and Limbaugh end up talking about how Obama wants to "kill children in the womb." Yes, we should never vote for Democrats because they want to kill children.

As a farcical ending to a disgusting day, I listened to as much of Michael Savage as I could take. The man is a conspiracy theorist. When you step back and analyze what Michael Savage says, he sounds remarkably stupid. He brought up the militia movement of the '90s, which he thinks was a good thing, and told his listeners in ominous tones that the movement was destroyed by the government. He thinks the bailout came because of a secret agreement between the politicians and their friends on Wall Street to give them hundreds of billions of dollars stolen from Main Street.

Savage also is hot on the foolish story about Obama's birth certificate. Because the certificate is not the original, but a copy, Savage thinks it is fake and that Obama was actually born in Kenya and is thus not eligible to be President of the USA.

So what if Obama's birth certificate is a copy? That's all I have. I had to pay money to the county in Kansas where I was born to get the copy. It's good enough to get me a drivers license, passport and social security card.

So here are three of the most influential propagandists of the right, with two of them telling their listeners Obama is "against life" and the lunatic third one screaming that Obama was born in Africa. Is it any wonder this country is going down the drain?

I intend to respect Rush Limbaugh's desire and leave the Republican Party. I will reregister as an Independent. It's not the party I joined 20 years ago. As Reagan once said about the Democrats, I didn't leave the party, the party left me.


Justincredible said...

Amen(ha). I listen to conservative talk radio occasionally. It gives me fascinating insight into what drives the minds of conservatives. I have friends who toe the line preached by these talk show hosts. When I point out the anti-freedom contradictions stemming from their advocacy of religion in government, they hustle and scurry to remind me, "Hey, come on, at least we're the lesser of two evils; we're not socialists like Obama!" Really? It seems to me that, if my head is going on the chopping block, it doesn't matter if it's in the name of 'God' or 'The Good of Society.'

It's becoming apparent to me that it's important to acknowledge the difference between, and the definition of, the two things we call "The Repulican Party" and "Conservatives." The Republican Party is just a political party. Their sole goal is to get votes by selling themselves as advocates of a certain set of values. They'll twist themselves into verbal pretzels and sell their souls to get a vote (and they have, to get the religious nutter vote). Conservatives are a group of people who share some values. Broadly, I see them coming in two flavors, and of course conservative individuals come in various concentrations of the two. The two broad types of conservatives I see are the social conservatives (the bible bangers) and fiscal conservatives (free marketers, however flawed their justification for it may be).

I'm seeing a big schism developing between fiscal conservatives and the Republican party. The GOP has found it more politically expedient to appeal to social conservatives; it gets them more votes. Meanwhile, they're hanging the fiscal conservatives out to dry in order to appeal to the broad section of the populace that believes our political leaders should "save us" through market manipulation and freedom retraction.

I sincerely hope that the fiscal conservatives retaliate, hard, in this election against the GOP, and that they lose this election because of it. McCain's numbers plunged after he flew to Washington to "save us from economic disaster" with a $700B check of our own money. Every news article I read which discussed what voters were saying to their representatives about the bailout described them as pretty damn steamed. I think the first party to realize what these fiscal conservatives want will be a big winner. But that sure isn't going to be the Democrats, and it doesn't look like it's going to be the Republicans anytime in the near future.

I'm with you: the GOP has to be punished for leaving us. And I hope there are a lot of people who agree with us.

- Justin

madmax said...

The Conservative movement has become the movement of religion. In 'Conservatism: An Obituary' (written in 1960), Ayn Rand outlined the three fundamental premises of the Conservative movement: 1) religion & faith, 2) the limited nature of reason and thus the importance of tradition, 3) Original Sin and the innate depravity of man (sometimes its only a "tendency toward depravity"). From following a number of Conservative blogs over the last year - something I had never done - I see that she was right.

Conservatism emanates from and orients around religion. It is not a pro-liberty (the original "liberalism") movement and it never was. In many ways, after reading commentators like Buchanan, Salier and Auster, I have become more disgusted with the Conservatives than with the Left. Well, almost as disgusted.

I would like to see the free market oriented conservatives rise in strength and influence. But they are unpopular with many social/cultural Conservatives* and with the NeoConservatives (David Brook, Jonah Goldberg, etc). And with Greenspan throwing Capitalism and Ayn Rand under a bus, I see free market Conservatives becoming even more culturally impotent. I hate to sound negative, but things don't look good for the future.

* Larry Auster recently posted a blog entry that the recession might not be that bad because it will keep non-white immigrants out of the country and discourage and discredit the "free traders" that are ruining the country with their open immigration "laissez faire" economics. Michelle Malkin, Diana West, and Pat Buchanan would all probably agree in part if not in whole.

Paul Hsieh said...

Thank you. I've sent a very similar message to all of my local and state Republican Party officials explaining why I can no longer support their party:

"Why The Republicans Have Lost My Vote"

I believe that the Republicans are going to lose big time, both in my own state of Colorado as well as around the country.

Hence, it's important that they hear this particular message *now* (before the election) and later (after the election) -- specifically, that they lost because they were *too religious*.

In particular, I don't want the only message they receive coming from the evangelical Christians telling them that they lost because they were *not religious enough*.

If they hear both messages, then it may prompt some serious internal debate and some of the better non-religious Republicans might have a chance at regaining standing within the Party.

On the other hand, if they only hear the second message (that they lost because they weren't religious enough), then we'll only see more Huckabee-clones in the future, and we will look back on today's choice of 2008 as *good* in comparison to the even worse choices we'll be faced with in 2012 and 2016...

jhbowden said...

Myrhaf, I was thinking the same thoughts yesterday. Conservatives struggled for decades to make the GOP the party of Hayek and Von Mises. During the 90s, we even had representatives with Ph.D.'s in economics, like Dick Armey and Phil Gramm.

Now the GOP doesn't want anyone in their party with book learn'n. Limbaugh & others seem juiced up for a Pol Pot style purge. Their sole concern is turning the country into Jesus-stan. They don't even pretend to be for the separation of powers either, as the bizarre Terri Schiavo fiasco demonstrated.

I want to abstain, but part of me wants to vote for the Obammunist, just to send the GOP a loud message that Sarah Palin should not become the leader of the party.

Bezzle said...

Myraf, the entire world is rapidly being drawn into a Singularity of Suck. Virtually everything is getting suckier, everywhere, at an exponentially accelerating rate. Stocks, music, TV shows, movies, politics, literacy -- everything

"Stupid People Overload".

Anonymous said...

Never having been one for group and/or Party affiliations, I'm happy to say that I've been a registered Independent from day one.

Mike said...

Welcome to "I"-land, Myrhaf.

If I had registered to vote when I was 16, had that been legal, I'd have been a Republican. As it happened, I turned 18 the year of the Bush-Clinton-Perot election, and I liked the cut of Perot's jib. (This was before he went crazy.) I registered independent, voted Perot, and never had any compelling reason to switch my voting card to "R." I'm glad now that I did not, because as I learned libertarianism and then Objectivism, I found that the Republicans weren't all they were cracked up to be. It wasn't the Reagan way that I grew up enjoying -- it was something new and foul, where the party pushed a moral agenda and left itself wide open to some of the most basic logical attacks.

The Democrats, meanwhile, were busy doing their best to pretend that socialism really works, so there was no likelihood of moving THAT way.

Myrhaf said...

Thanks for all the thoughtful comments, as always. Mike, you are right, things are getting worse. I would say that's the power of philosophy.

A few things are getting better. The internet, computers, digital technology, cell phones -- what can be summed up as the internet revolution. Early in Atlas Shrugged there's a scene in which an old guy grumbles that they don't make typewriters like they used to. That scene is ironic now because they don't make typewriters much at all; they have been replaced by computers.

Myrhaf said...

Excuse me, I meant information revolution, not internet revolution.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Your comment about the "information revolution" just collided in my head with an observation that my Objectivist cousin made to me last year, that fits with my observations: things have gone downhill in the last decade or so, noticeably faster than before, fast enough almost to see it in real-time.

Do you suppose that the "information revolution" -- like any technology, a double-edged sword that can work for good or evil -- is *why* that's happening?

Justincredible said...

That's an interesting thought Jim! I bet the internet is part of it. It's just accelerating the effect of whatever ideas are dominant.

When I look at the comment sections on op-eds and news articles, it makes me think that most people regard the internet as, "That wonderful place where I get to join the collective spewing of stupid, in comfortably candid anonymity."


Myrhaf said...

Jim, I don't see why it can't work both ways. If modern communications can make good ideas can spread faster, the same can happen to evil ones. Your comment is the first time I've heard of the possibility of evil spreading faster. I've always thought in terms of Ayn Rand's ideas spreading, but what about environmentalism, religion, multiculturalism, and so on?

To take just one bad idea never before seen in America, this year we have seen the first presidential candidate of a major party who has a cult of personality -- the kind of thing we used to think only happened in totalitarian dictatorships and banana republics. 20 years ago the idea of an American presidential candidate worshipped as "the one," with videos of children singing paeans to him and reports of people fainting at his rallies, would have generated only laughter. Now it's a reality.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you: the GOP has to be punished for leaving us. And I hope there are a lot of people who agree with us.

There are. the problem is that these are the places they are going:

Enlightenment liberalism is about to get booted out of its putative adopted household on the Right, just as it was booted bout of its own household by the Left over 100 years ago.

But this time there is no place left for it to go.