Monday, October 13, 2008

The GOP Going the Way of the Whig Party?

What happened to America's favorite right-of-center political party? The party of moderately conservative social policies has picked an extremely conservative Plan B candidate (VP pick Sarah Palin) to continue the past eight years of extreme right pseudo-patriotism (in actuality, nationalism). The party of moderate fiscal conservatism (outright libertarianism would be more free market gung-ho) has given into the dreaded big government for the past eight years. One of the final acts of George W. Bush was to "rescue" Wall Street by injecting some socialism, but ironically to the initial benefit of the ownership class.

Ron Paul could have saved the Party of Lincoln and that Reagan ideal of which they often speak. Hell, if John McCain had taken just a piece from the Ron Paul play book, if he had taken a stand against the bailout plan, and especially if he had picked an economic conservative as his VP, not a social conservative, he'd still be The Maverick, and not The Puppet. A paradigm shift to more libertarian policies would have given the GOP more seats in Congress and a legitimate chance at the White House. Don't get me wrong, McCain could very well be elected in November, but when I write "legitimate," I actually mean "won't leave a bad taste in the mouths of Americans."

However, it is likely that the GOP will not have a third term in the White House, and the economic conservatives will finally break from the fundamentalist Christian(-ist) social conservatives. The Republican Party, like the Whigs and the Federalists before it, will be no more. Now, I don't advocate a single-party golden age reminiscent of the 19th Century Era of Good Feelings, as single-party totalitarian regimes scare the crap out of me. I hope the vacuum created by the possible implosion of the GOP will be filled by another main party - as Americans tend to love their false dichotomies - or hopefully several major parties to actually let our great democratic experiment evolve.

To many, on the other hand, the line of the Party of Jefferson remains unbroken (right, Aragorn?). While a quick fact check can easily disprove this notion, the Democratic party name has virtually been a mainstay of the dichotomy for this nation's history of party politics. Of course, this party has survived in name because of its various paradigm shifts (I'm glossing over history, again): From agrarian to urban, from slavery to civil rights, and from states' rights to Federalism (in the original sense, not the Sarah Palin "I'm a Federalist" misnomer). Yes, it is ironic that the surviving nominal descendant of Thomas Jefferson's anti-Federalist, Democratic-Republican Party has become known for its Federalist, big government tendencies. Anyhow, for the most part, these paradigm shifts have helped the name succeed throughout the years, as the party of Andrew Jackson bears little resemblance to the party of FDR, which in turn would not have been an appropriate ideology during Clinton's surplus years.

I don't think the GOP will survive its 20-plus year paradigm shift from Reagan's pro-military, fiscal conservative, moderately socially conservative policies to George W. Bush's pro-police state, fiscally irresponsible, extremely socially conservative policies, especially if they lose this election. Even if they did win the White House...skipping John McCain for the sake of argument...Sarah Palin's fiscally ignorant, theocratic United States of America would finally divide the GOP, not to mention the United States of America itself.

May the Grand Old Party's Elephant safely travel to the final resting place of its ideological ancestors.

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