One of the media and their Democratic allies’ favorite narratives is the ubiquitous GOP civil war. Every election, every intra-party disagreement, every primary, it’s all they can talk about.
Republicans are in chaos because there isn’t a consensus House Speaker choice. They’re in chaos because there isn’t a consensus presidential nominee. They’re in chaos because there are significant policy disagreements within the ranks. (So weird that “liberals” expect conformity and unanimity…) You’d think the leftist media’s ideological (and, really, partisan) survival would depend on painting the other side as dysfunctional. There are even entire sections devoted to it at Politico, Salon, and Huffington Post. But every year of the “GOP civil war”, Republicans control more state legislatures and pickup more House and Senate seats. And have you seen the Democrats lately?
On Monday everyone’s favorite Communist-wasting former Senator from Virginia, Jim Webb, announced an announcement that he’s leaving the Democratic presidential primary…to run as an Independent. Webb doesn’t have much support, so it won’t matter for the other Democrats trying to get the nomination, but he could pick up enough support as a third party candidate to affect the final outcome next November.
Webb’s defection is noteworthy in a vacuum. But when taken with the rest of the current Democratic field, it’s part of a strangely compelling dynamic that suggests Democrats are in more chaos than Republicans have ever been.
Bernie Sanders, the current grassroots favorite for the Democratic nomination, isn’t even a declared Democrat in his Senate office. He ran and won in Vermont as an Independent, though he almost always votes with Democrats anyway.
Lincoln Chafee, former governor of Rhode Island and, like Webb, an asterisk in the primary polling, was a Republican as recently as 2007. He turned Independent that year (the party left him, of course) and has only been a Democrat officially for three years.
Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard professor who is also running as a Democrat, has been excluded from the debates and is subsequently also considering switching to Independent instead.
And in non-presidential defector news, Republican loser turned Independent loser turned Democrat, Charlie Crist is now running for Congress.
There are currently six nationally known people campaining for the Democratic nomination. Four of them are either considering leaving the party or have only recently joined it. If Republicans are in chaos, they’re only trying to catch up with their Democratic friends.
And if you want real chaos, wait until Vice President Biden jumps in. Panic!
But that’s the thing about chaos. One side sees it as a bug, the other side a feature. Chaos is just negative spin on individual autonomy, a hallmark of the classical liberal philosophy that now finds itself most at home on the conservative and libertarian right. Chaos means we’re not in lockstep. Chaos means we debate, dissent, and disagree. Chaos destroys, but it also creates. Chaos, for lack of a better word, is good.