According to The Daily Beast op-ed columnist Lloyd Green, Republicans have only one way to win in 2016: silence the strict fiscal conservatives in the party and openly exalt long-time socialist policies.
After all, those hard-core fiscal budget hawks are all in the South, and we all know what happens—a la Jefferson Davis—when the South “goes it alone,” right?
In other words, Green is saying the Republican Party needs to stick to its martial-law-bred, heavy-handed, cram-it-down-your-throats, big-government Reconstructionist roots. Bind down those southern Senators with the chains of the Northeast-Midwest socialist alliance.
As Green reasons,
After the Civil War, from 1868 to 1928—in total of 16 elections, Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson were the only Democrats to win a ticket to the White House. Now, the same persistent electoral rejection awaits the Republican Party if it blindly opposes the sorts of programs that Northerners like, including post–Hurricane Sandy disaster relief, Social Security, and veterans’ benefits.
Much as libertarian purists may wish to believe that welfare and Social Security are the same, they are not. One is viewed by voters a benefit earned after a lifetime of labor, while the other is a matter of the taxpayers’ grace. The bottom line is that the GOP can no longer afford to scorn all spending, or to treat all checks issued by Treasury alike.
To that end, the GOP must make common cause with more than just the wealthy or the worshipful, and if it is unable to tell friend and foe apart, it will be consigned to the role of the not-so-loyal opposition for a long time. AARP doesn’t have to be an enemy. If Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan could talk to the Teamsters, then the Republicans can surely speak to seniors.
Who cares if we have to capitulate on a few policies? And who cares if those policies are all vestiges of Wilsonian and New Deal leftism? This is not about principle. This is about something way more important: winning. And if conservatives have to act like liberals in order to beat liberals, then how stupid would it be not to do so?!
Let me just take a minute to show how brilliantly Mr. Green has reasoned with us. First, the phrase “libertarian purists” is a recent classic. It suggests up front that the people he’s describing belong to a fringe group and may be dismissed readily without hearing. A nice tactic if you’re into fallacies. But one problem is that I’ve been seeing this phrase with great frequency in the past year or two. Someone paying attention may begin to think this principled and courageous group of fiscal hawks is quite less fringe and quite more influential than the Northeast Establishment would like you to believe. Else, they wouldn’t be squawking about them so much.
Second, note the shift in premises: “Much as libertarian purists may wish to believe that welfare and Social Security are the same, they are not. One is viewed by voters a benefit earned after a lifetime of labor, while the other is a matter of the taxpayers’ grace.”
Compare: “they are not” the same, versus “voters” do not view them as the same. The first is an objective valuation about the programs themselves, the second is a subjective evaluation allegedly made by voters about these programs. There is a vast sea of difference between these two propositions.
What Mr. Green should have said is this:
Much as fiscal conservatives rightly recognize that welfare and Social Security are the same, the constituencies they have to convince do not yet recognize that fact. Instead, the voters have been led to believe that the programs are starkly different. As such, these voters still support Social Security while not giving as much support to other welfare programs.
This creates a problem in the present reality for these fiscal conservatives. They must either continue to compromise on the Social Security question, or find a way to educate the constituencies of the Northeastern Establishment as to the reality, and then propose a viable solution to transition out of socialistic policies into a free market alternative.
As you can imagine, the latter option seems fraught with many more difficulties, not the least of which is the fury that burns within the breasts of socialistic politicians when you try to undeceive their constituents. Education can be a costly thing for some politicians. And so you have the Chris Christies and Pete Kings of this political world blasting the fiscal conservatives.
And so also you have their apologists arguing that the fiscal conservatives can’t win unless they sell-out to the socialists.
When are these socialist purists going to have the guts to tell the truth: they want us all to be socialists now.