Friday, 21 August 2009

Get On The Donkey

This article of mine appears on The American Conservative's Post-Right blog, to which I am a regular contributor:

The Republicans are not going to win the Presidential Election in 2012 or 2016. Think of anyone realistically likely to win the nomination, and that is just as well. President Palin, anyone? President Beck? Their likelihood of taking back control of Congress is also barely worth considering.

But a party is not a country or a church. Just find another one. In the United States, that is easy to do. All you have to do is change your registration. If you live in deep red Congressional District within a state where the Republican primary is closed, then register as a Republican. It would be crazy not to. But anywhere else, why not register as a Democrat? Isn’t it just as crazy not to do that? If not, why not?

You would find, and make, yourselves part of a new coalition. But leave aside universal healthcare for the time being. Do paleocons have any problem with fair trade agreements? With the repeal of much of the USA PATRIOT Act? With a complete end to the neocon war agenda? With strict campaign finance reform? With a crackdown on corporate influence generally, and on corporate welfare in particular? With tax cuts for the poor? Even living wage laws, and the right of all workers to organize into labor unions and engage in collective bargaining, could be lived with in principle. Couldn’t they? Again, if not, why not?

Okay, so there would be abortion, and the legalization of same-sex marriage. But the Democrats are split on that anyway (increasingly so on abortion, in fact), with Obama himself in favor of traditional marriage. Are all Republicans sound these issues, either? Hardly! You could and should be in there arguing for the prioritization of tax cuts for the poor, and huge savings from the ending of wars and from the slashing of corporate welfare, over direct increases in federal welfare spending, though also for the involvement of charities and churches in welfare provision, a proposal which would appeal to many existing black and other Democrats. And wouldn’t higher taxes on the very rich (who are often social liberals), like labor rights, depend on the specific proposals and circumstances? Not for the first time I ask, if not, why not?

Many believers in measures such as these have never been happy about same-sex marriage, or about, if not all abortion (and there are of course Democrats of that mind), then at least very late abortions, or social abortions, or eugenic abortions, or the sheer number of abortions, not least in black communities, and especially against the black male, who is now the victim of a triple genocide in the womb, on the streets and on the battlefield. They would leap at the chance of an alliance, not with rich liberals who often (not always, but often) display scant regard for the poor or for those on middle incomes, and who are frequently pro-war, but with you.

You should leap at that chance, too.

As I have written in reply to a hostile comment:

“I predict the Democrats, absent ACORN voter fraud, will be trounced in 2012.”

By whom?

Why are you so attached to the Republican Party? As I said, a party is not a country or a church. And what has the GOP ever done for you, at least in anything like the recent past? Never mind what it will ever do for you in the future, now that it is as it is.

This is you chance. Line up with people in favor of fair trade agreements, repeal of much of the USA PATRIOT Act, a complete end to the neocon war agenda, strict campaign finance reform, a crackdown on corporate influence generally and on corporate welfare in particular, and tax cuts for the poor.

Tell them that you want to prioritize those tax cuts for the poor, and huge savings from the ending of wars and from the slashing of corporate welfare, over direct increases in federal welfare spending, with a further insistence on the involvement of charities and churches in welfare provision. A lot of them would go for that anyway, especially the very many with deep roots in the black church.

And make it clear that their living wage laws, their right of all workers to organize into labor unions and engage in collective bargaining, and their higher taxes on the very rich, would depend on the specific proposals and circumstances, and on your approach to welfare (tax cuts, charity and church involvement), on foreign policy realism (which they are already right behind), and on at least a good dose of moral and social conservatism (which many of them broadly, and not a few of them strongly, share).

So, no same-sex “marriage”. No federal funding of abortion. You know the sort of thing. Plenty of blacks, in addition to holding the sorts of moral beliefs preached in the black church, would strongly support tighter immigration controls and making English the only official language. Just so long as fellow-Democrats made the proposals.

Politics is about compromise, unless you want to become an irrelevant little sect. And what is the alternative? Will the GOP ever now deliver fair trade agreements, repeal of much of the USA PATRIOT Act, a complete end to the neocon war agenda, strict campaign finance reform, a crackdown on corporate influence generally and on corporate welfare in particular, or tax cuts for the poor? Has it any remaining trace of foreign policy realism, or of anything more than a purely rhetorical conservatism on moral and social issues? Perhaps because it has practically no black base, it even supports amnesties for illegal immigrants and it bows the knee to those who would make America bilingual (and then trilingual, and then…).

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