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Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Problem With Political Parties

“There is nothing I dread so much as a division of the Republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader and converting measures in opposition to each other.” — John Adams

In 1855 a group of anti-slavery and free soilers disenchanted with the Whig Party championed by Samuel Bowles III, publisher of the influential Springfield, Massachusetts daily newspaper, formed a new political party called the Republican Party. The first official party convention was held on July 6, 1854 in Jackson, Michigan. The Republicans' initial base was in the Northeast and the upper Midwest. With the realignment of parties and voters in the Third Party System, the strong run of John C. Fremont in the 1856 Presidential election demonstrated it dominated most northern states. Early Republican ideology was reflected in the 1856 slogan "free labor, free land, free men." "Free labor" referred to the Republican opposition to slave labor and belief in independent artisans and businessmen. "Free land" referred to Republican opposition to plantation system whereby the rich could buy up all the good farm land and work it with slaves, leaving the yeoman independent farmers the leftovers. Fremont did not beat the Democrat James Buchanan in the 1856 election, but four years later another Republican, Abraham Lincoln, became the 16th President of the United States. The rest is history

Today we have two dominant political parties, the so called left-wing, progressive, liberal Democrats and the so called constitutional conservative Republicans. We also have minor, irrelevant parties such as the Libertarians, Progressives, and the Greens. None of these minor parties has fielded a candidate that has won anything. The big dogs are the Democrats and the Republicans.

In the past several decades neither party has done much good for the American people. They have both over spent, over regulated, and over taxed the people. They both have stymied economic and personal freedom with their policies and deals. They both want power in the name of doing good. They are both run by an elite group that believes they have the right to determine who the candidates should be in any election; be it local, state or national. they both have their champions and supporters in the media, the and corporate board rooms. They both will attempt to destroy and candidate, that in their minds, is not deserving of that candidacy

The most recent example is want the establishment within the Republican Party is doing to Governor Rick Perry of Texas. People like Karl Rove, Jeb Bush, and publications like the National Standard have begun to attack Perry in his run for the presidency. This also happened the 2008 presidential election when the same Republican elite anointed John McCain as the nominee to oppose Barack Obama. The conservatives did not flock to McCain and were not at all pleased with his nomination. It was not until he selected the Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate did the conservatives began to show up at his rallies. No doubt that without Palin he would have lost by a larger margin than he did. After McCain’s miserable showing in the election the same Republican elite turned on Palin and threw her under the proverbial bus.

In the 2010 Congressional elections, much to the surprise and consternation of the same Republican elite a new movement arose to oppose the disastrous policies of the Democrats and Barack Obama. This new movement was called the Tea Party. Like the fledgling 1855 Republican Party the Tea Party was comprised of diverse groups bound together by a belief that government was too big, taxed were too high, and spending was out of control. The establishment Republicans, who some call RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) did not what the Tea Party was doing to their hand-picked candidates in the primaries. Establishment so called conservative pundits like Karl Rove, George Will, and Charles Krauthammer were not fans of the Tea Party’s efforts to unseat many of the establishment Republicans in the primary elections. They predicted a disastrous result in the 2010 Congressional elections. Of course they were proven very wrong by the final results of the elections. Once the results were in these same elites were quick to jump on the Tea Party band wagon. This lasted for about six months and then he elites began to regroup and once again attack the Tea Party and the candidates they support.

As of this writing the elites in the Republican Party and their minions in the media, such a Rove, Will, and Krauthammer have picked Mitt Romney as their favorite candidate for the 2012 election. They have pick Romney not for his principles, but rather for his perceived ability to beat Barack Obama. To this effect they have marginalized the other candidates like Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and now Rick Perry. They have also continued to deride and marginalize Sarah Palin, who manages to draw large enthusiastic crowds wherever she goes.

When considering the opinions of those elites you must look at, as example, what George Will said about the presidential race last year when he claimed that on inauguration day in 2013 there would only be there possible people taking the oath of office; Barack Obama, Mitch Daniels or Tim Pawlenty. Today both Daniels and Pawlenty are out of the race.

I was raised in a family of Democrats so I naturally drifted into voting for the Democrat candidate in local, state and national elections. I paid little attention to the principles and policies they espoused I just paid attention to the party label. I guess I believed if it was good enough for my family it was good enough for me. I was not paying attention to the facts, just the party label. This was a case of my personal cognitive dissonance.

Somewhere along my personal timeline, perhaps thirty or so years ago I began to pay attention to what was happening in our county due to the failed policies of the Democrats. As a business owner and entrepreneur I saw taxes were too high, government spending on failed programs was out of control, government and public sector unions were gaining too much power, and the political correctness and social mores of the left were not to my liking. I began voting for the more conservative candidates that espoused values more in line with my own.

I then decided to change my registration to Republican so I would have a voice in the primary elections where I could support the more conservative candidate. I also began sending financial support to Republican Party organizations like the Republican National Congressional and Senatorial Committees. Once again I became disenchanted with the results and candidates the Republicans were delivering.

Today I consider myself a Constitutional Conservative. While still registered as a Republican (because heir in no official conservative party in my state) I have stopped giving financial or other support to the Republican Party. I will only support candidates espousing and practicing conservative principles. In that sense I am more aligned with the Tea Party movement than either party.

I believe both parties are failing this Republic. If I were a progressive liberal I would be very disenchanted with the Democrat Party and its leader Barack Obama. In 2008 the Democrats and Obama pledged to get out of Iraq, close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp (GITMO), decrease the tyrannical authority of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act, create jobs, and make government more transparent. None of that happened. Instead the economy got worse, unemployment rose, GITMO is still in operation, the Patriot Act was strengthened, we are in a war in Libya, and government became more secretive.

I have already mentioned why I am disenchanted with the today’s Republican Party. I am tired of being urged to vote for a conservative only to see that once in office they revert to the “good ole boy” way of doing business in our state houses and Washington, D.C. Yes there are a few Republicans who advocate conservative principles and values and stick to them. People like Scott Walker, Allan West, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Michelle Bachmann, Jim DeMint, Marco Rubio, and Sarah Palin to name a few. There are others like John Boehner Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Fred Upton (the father of the curly-cue light bulb), and George W. Bush.

These RHINOs advocate compromise and claim they must go along with the system. What they really mean is that they don’t want to rock the boat too much so they can be reelected and keep their friends in the media and on “K” Street. The original Republican Party was not created on compromise. It was the Democrats and Whigs who wanted the compromise on slavery. It believed, as Lincoln stated, you cannot compromise on the freedom of men. To put it another way we used to believe that compromise was that it is better to have a half a loaf than no loaf at all. Now compromise means it’s better to have a half a loaf rather than a whole loaf. How can you compromise on principles?

It is time to redefine our political parties in terms of principles. I suggest that we change the labels to Liberal and Conservative. Let the politicians elect which party they believe in and want to be a part of. In this way the deceptions will end and long held party affiliations will have to change. Democrats, who believe in conservative principles, will have to make a choice to stand by their principles and give up long held party affiliations. Republicans will have to do the same. Just because your father or grandfather was a Democrat or Republican will no longer drive your voting habits. You will have to look at a candidate’s principles and values to make your choice in the voting booth, not he party label. Perhaps by doing this the mass political cognitive dissonance will come to an end

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