GOP Swan Song?

Bill Neinast

The last performance of an organization is its swan song.  This centuries old saying originated in a misunderstanding.  Way back then, it was erroneously believed that one species of swan made no sound until its dying day.  Then, with its last breaths, what served as vocal cords produced beautiful sounds.

Although the words’ foundation is shaky, they are appropriate now.   On election day last week, the world heard the swan song of the GOP--the Grand Old Party--the Republican Party.

Even if Mitt Romney had won the election, the swan song would have been loud and clear.   Independents who voted for Romney only to vote against Obama would have provided the winning edge.

Conversely, some independents who voted for Obama did so because they were not comfortable with the far right corner into which Romney had been pushed by the Republican “base.”

This scenario is reminiscent of the so called death knell sounded for the Republican Party in the 1980s.  Back then, the GOP was regarded as the party of rich old white men.  Fortunately, the late William F. Buckley was still around and came to the rescue.

Buckley effectively presented the Republicans as true conservatives.  In his mind and presentations, however, conservative meant being fiscally conservative with small governments and balanced budgets.

Shortly after this rescue, a totally different type of conservative began to take over.  These are moral conservatives who believe that the sole purpose of government, regardless of size, is to enforce their ideas of morality.

Remember the Republican primaries and campaigns for President earlier this year?  The over riding question or litmus test was which of the candidates was the most conservative.  The real meaning or test was which of the candidates was most firm in his or her opposition to abortion under any circumstances, to gay marriage, and to amnesty in any form for undocumented aliens.

Without question, this firm “conservative” stand prevented the Republicans from gaining control of the U.S. Senate.  Not only did they fail to become the majority party in that chamber, they permitted the class warriors to increase their voting dominance.

In so doing, the social conservatives shot themselves in the feet.  Now Senate Majority Leader Harry Ried will be able to change the voting rules so that a 60 vote majority will no longer be required to pass most legislation.

Even more damaging to the social conservative cause is the reelection of President Obama and the new Senate majority assures the appointment of at least two more liberal jurists to the Supreme Court.  So bye-bye to any hope of having the conservatives’ hated Roe vs. Wade overturned or modified in the next quarter century.

The current Republican Party’s unremitting commitment to social conservatives instead of to sane fiscal conservatism will continue to make it less and less relevant to the real problems of today’s world.

Unless there is an unlikely sea change, this will open the door for an effective third party. 

The foundation for another organization to carry the conservative banner is already laid.  The much maligned TEA Party is already present and primed to show Americans what true conservatism means.  If the TEA Party and Libertarians were to merge, the Republican Party, as it is known today, would quickly be relegated to a weak third place.

Currently, the count of voters who consider themselves independents is higher than that of either the Republicans or class warriors. Their ability to sway the election this year, even without a formal organization, indicates they are a force to be reckoned with.

Conversely, a party that sponsors candidates who publicly proclaim that pregnancies will not result from “legitimate” rape, when a pregnancy does result from rape, it is a gift from God that should be welcomed, and that evolution should not be taught in public schools cannot hope to be successful anywhere except deep in the Bible Belt.  That is too small a block to have any influence on the national scene.

So here’s the perspective.

The hard line social conservatives seem to be in such firm control of the Republican Party that not even a reincarnation of William Buckley could reshape it into an effective political force. 

The result is that voters interested in a governance of sound fiscal policies that do not pit social class against social class, recognition of individual liberties, and rule making at the lowest possible level will not find shelter in either the Republican or class warrior tent.

Thus the legacy of the 2012 presidential election might be the establishment of a bona fide three party country. 

Independents and Libertarians sure hope so.  There has to be an alternative to the tax and spend Greek style government of the class warriors.


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