In Politico, Tim Alberta posits an interesting question about what the GOP stands for. Minus the usual liberal elitism of “I don’t get it” and then going to other elites (Frank Luntz) and acting like Luntz isn’t an elite the answer essentially becomes they don’t and the only thing that could unite them is shared grievances. Seems to work fine for some Democratic coalitions.
The article is a strange mix of contradictions, the author answering his own questions, and an expected pining for the good old GOP the author never liked but could live with. I mean, how could one base an entire article around a party “giving up on ideas” while then stating the ideas they have are centered around faith and traditional values. I truly am perplexed this actually made it out of editing.
Indeed, contradicting the idea the party has no ideas is this statement. “Is the cupboard totally bare? Of course not. Members of Congress employ legislative personnel for a purpose; there will always be paper packets gathering dust in subcommittee offices to ward off accusations of intellectual complacency. Some of these efforts are more earnest than others. These days, GOP lawmakers would point to bills touching on areas such as military readiness and intellectual property, which they consider pieces of a coherent and forward-looking national security policy. They would also admit, however, that these measures, which tend to attract bipartisan interest, are hardly the stuff of TV commercials and five-point campaign plans.
Nope. What is the stuff of five point campaigns and TVs are soundbytes like “Make America Great Again” or “Keep America Great Again.” Seems Republicans and Trump have that in spades.
What, in truth, the author is getting at is a GOP which is at war with itself. But the party is at war with itself primarily because it is changing, not just because of Trump. Old party elites like Kasich, the Bushes, Fiorina, may or may not vote for Trump, but they respresent a passing breed of Republican. Indeed, it would be hard to envision Biden winning his party’s nod if not for the elitist wing of the party so wanting Trump’s head and willing to go with a “tried and true” candidate to get the job done.
The rest of the article is “pathetic” and I am being charitable in my interpretation. From “If there is one principle driving Republican politicians today, it is that traditional American values—faith, patriotism, modesty, the nuclear family—are under siege.” That does kinda make for a base for a party to base itself on, to “Oh, there will be touting of tax cuts, celebrating of conservative judges, boasting of border security. But accomplishment will not be the sole undertone of the proceedings. The party of rugged individualism will spend as much time whining as reveling.” I missed the part where Democrats didn’t whine about the state of America.
Lest we also not forget, the author disregards the more reputable establishment figures speaking at the convention – Senator Tim Scott, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, former SC Governor Nikki Haley – to him these are sideshows. They don’t represent anything to the author.
Herein lies the rub. Once again, the same thing we saw in 2016 is happening again. A media class cannot understand what unites or makes the average Republican tick but they sure do and it actually is pretty understandable to the average Joe and Jane. Faith, family values, protection from an angry mob, those might not sound like governing strategies from the towers of NYC but to the small business owner, the single mom, the unemployed construction worker, those are good enough to earn their vote.