GOP Gtterdmmerung

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by Phil Duffy by Phil Duffy

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William L. Shirer, in his The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, describes how "Hitler, his mission as world conqueror having failed, was determined to go down, like Wotan at Valhalla, in a holocaust of blood — not only the enemy's but that of his own people." (see page 1100) Republican Party actions, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney's recent decision to "stand aside," are reminiscent of those final days of Nazi Germany — full of denial, full of bravado, and absolutely lacking in any remorse for leading a nation toward destruction. Romney's rationalization for his decision was, “If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror." So there it is for the numbies, that fateful decision between capitulation to the enemy or rallying behind a man who has publicly proclaimed that the war in Vietnam was lost simply because the American people were too weak-willed to engage in all-out war.

Romney states that his fear is that either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama might be elected, implying that would lead to US forces being removed from Iraq. How unthinkable!

Perhaps Romney need not have been concerned. Clinton voted to put those troops there in the first place, and on any given day she might again be willing to go for yet another u2018surge'. Obama seems to have taken a stronger position against the war in Iraq, at least until it came time to fund that war, at which time he was glad to give his support to this u2018worthy' cause. One need not worry that we would run out of enemies, since Clinton, Obama and McCain all agree on sanctions against Iran, and none has ruled out military action against that nation.

The media pundits have been quick to look for withdrawal reasons other than the candidate's u2018patriotism'. Howard Fineman of Newsweek proclaims that if Romney had been himself instead of somebody he felt the voters would buy, he might have been more successful. In Fineman's words, Romney "was a Republican of an old moderate school — that of his own father — and, like George W. Bush, Romney the Younger decided that he had to jettison all that he was to become something that he was not." Some of us remember u2018Republican moderates' — people like Nelson Rockefeller who turned traitor when he couldn't get his way at the Republican Convention in 1964, effectively torpedoing Barry Goldwater's chance for the presidency.

Could it be that Romney bailed out early when he realized that he and McCain were Bush-alikes and there wasn't room for two Bush-alikes in the Republican campaign, much less three (your turn next, Huckabee).

So according to the pundits, it is now a race between either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama on the Democratic side and McCain on the Republican side. As a media-moderated personality contest, this is shaping up to be one of the more revolting campaigns, reminding us of a chapter in Friedrich von Hayek's The Road to Serfdom called, "Why the Worst Get on Top." Thanks to mini-minded, self-promoting politicians, both Republican and Democratic, voters will not find it necessary to make a choice in November on the following issues according to 2008 Presidential Election Candidates on the Issues:

  • Homeland Security/Patriot Act — All agree that individual liberty should be sacrificed.
  • Immigration/ Citizen Path for Illegals — All agree that illegals should be given an easy path to citizenship.
  • Iran Sanctions — All agree.
  • Military Options against Iran — All agree.

Pro-life supporters have a dismal outlook. Even if successful in November 2008, McCain is as unlikely to truly oppose Roe v. Wade as his Republican predecessors were. His position on embryonic stem cells coincides with Clinton and Obama. He is only more likely to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices than the Democrats.

If the voter is totally confused by all of this, perhaps it is best to concentrate on universal health care. Either Democratic candidate will promote it, and McCain is opposed. But none of the three candidates has any experience in health care or in economics, so any discussion on this subject is likely to be the blind leading the blind. That will be helpful to the Democrats because a candidate who knew health care or economics could make this an interesting contest.

Today all of the attention is on the presidential candidates, but as November gets closer, the Republican Party is likely to panic over the expected presidential election outcome and what that means for Congressional seats. With the majority of the American people turned off by the extended war in Iraq, and by the Bush Administration's lies that got us into that mess, Election 2008 is not likely to be more favorable to a Republican candidate who is even more hawkish than George W. Bush. Election 2006 demonstrated pretty clearly what voter sentiments were, but the Republican faithful found ways to ignore that reality. So the most likely outcome in 2008 is that Democrats will secure both houses of Congress and the presidency. That means that universal health care could be a slam-dunk.

The only scenario standing in the way of the above doleful prediction is a miracle campaign run by Ron Paul, a campaign that lasts at least until the Republican National Convention. However, it would take an amazing amount of education to reach the ordinary voter in time, and it would be necessary for the near-conspiracy of the media to shatter before Dr. Paul's message could reach voters. Those are, frankly, very long odds.

Quo Vadis, GOP?

The Republican Party, formed on the respectable anti-slavery principle and campaigning on the slogan "Free soil, free speech and Fremont" in 1856, had by 1860, "lost the first flush of radicalism, and was beginning that evolution to the right which made it eventually the party of big business and finance." (See Samuel Eliot Morison's The Oxford History of the American People, page 602.) The party has since attempted to balance principle and practical politics, with the former gradually losing ground until principle's spectacular capitulation during the presidency of George W. Bush. How can such a party be encouraged to return to principle?

It is probably not practical to create a new image much less a new substance for the GOP. The party is not likely to vanish from the American scene in the short-run, but it has become increasingly irrelevant to voters. As weak as the Democratic program is, Democrats will overwhelm a McCain-led Republican ticket in November 2008.

For many that might sound like a call for Ron Paul to again run for the presidency on an independent ticket. That would be counter-productive for the cause of liberty and life. In 1992, Ross Perot gained 19% of the vote, a high-water mark for an independent. Embittered Republicans only remember that had those votes gone to George Bush, Senior, we never would have had the first Clinton presidency. They completely forget that Perot supporters abandoned Bush Senior only after his "No new taxes, read my lips!" slogan turned into "New taxes, read my hips!" once he was elected. It would be a huge mistake for Ron Paul and his loyal supporters to give establishment Republicans another lame excuse for leading the Republican Party, and America, toward disaster.

On the other hand, few supporters of Dr. Paul will be able to check their consciences at the door and vote for McCain, Clinton or Obama.

After the Deluge, What Then?

The educational effort, which kicked into high gear with Dr. Paul's candidacy, will continue. The disastrous policies of both of the major parties should plow the soil of the American political mind, making it more receptive to the truly conservative principles Dr. Paul has promoted. There is no point in attempting to work within the old Republican Party, which is morally bankrupt and beyond repair. Post-election 2008 is the right time to create a new party, one offering, at the same time, a fresh approach and yet a return to the principles of this nation's founding. We need to build on a new political foundation, to attract new people, both young and old, and develop our own leadership rather than have to beg for a spot at the table of the corrupt. We should remember that even Hitler's Götterdämmerung did not destroy the German nation. Its people soon were enjoying the benefits of the Economic Miracle, and both political and economic freedom.

Phil Duffy [send him mail] is a life-long student of history. He is currently a software developer in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

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