In Vanity Fair last month, Christopher Hitchens made the case that the United States has become not a frightening idelogical state as some have said, but a banana republic of the sort we usually associate with Latin America and Africa. One paragraph was the most striking:
Think about it! Four years ago, the Republican Party held the White House and both houses of Congress. Now, the Democrats have won the Presidency by a sizable margin, gained additional seats in the majority Democratic House, and could possibly hold a sixty-vote majority in the Senate—large enough to end any Republican initiated filibuster.
First of all, consider the magnitude of the Republican loss. What support shifted from four years ago?
The other night I was perusing the national exit poll results. One statistic scared me more than anything. 51% of voters participating in the exit poll answered that the government “should do more” than it is doing today. Wow.
The current Grand Old Party is in despair and acknowledging some need for change. Since the end of the Reagan Administration it has slowly become the “Grumpy Old-White-Man’s Party” with little appeal to individuals outside of its traditional coalition, and even within that coalition there is little enthusiasm. So, most acknowledge there are problems; But what are they? How can they be fixed? These are the questions party insiders and loyalists are already attempting to answer.
What are the Problems?
While the mistakes made by George Bush’s Republican Party are so numerous one could probably never compile a completely conclusive book on the matter, most can be traced to fundamental root causes that desperately need to be identified and purged- below are a few of the broad policy mistakes committed by the Party.
One of my duties as Music Associate at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Birmingham, AL, is to play the organ for the annual Veterans Day service. The first of these for me was one year ago. The one part of the service that really struck me was the reading of the names of all U.S. military personnel who had died in all wars during the past year. A staggering 336 names were printed in the program and read, amidst the background of a snare drum roll, with the ominous boom of a bass drum after each name. With each boom of that drum, a penetrating, sinking feeling came over me as I thought of how the loss of that one life impacted so many loved ones. It was the longest part of the service, and it went on and on, for some 45 or 50 minutes.
Libertarians constantly face the preeminent struggle to form and implement strategies to gain political relevance. The party has never achieved a result better than 1% on a Presidential Election. Adding to our frustration is the failure of the Libertarian Party to capitalize on the opportunity Ron Paul’s groundbreaking Republican Primary campaign, which gained new ground for the libertarian philosophy in terms of visibility. Bob Barr’s campaign failed to crack 500,000 votes in an election cycle in which Ron Paul earned more than 1 million votes in Republican primaries and caucuses.
By all accounts, I should be glad that John McCain lost. I didn’t vote for him, and I found his ticket to be comprised of the wrong people for the job at the wrong time. However, there is something really saddening about what happened with McCain this election.
I have years of respect for John McCain. From his inspirational behavior as a POW in Vietnam, to his courageous defiance to President Bush on torture, to his deriding of the military industrial complex in the documentary film Why We Fight, McCain is one of the truly great Americans. What happened to him and what he did in 2008 is really sad and not a suitable bookend to the career of a great American hero.
Over the past few months, I have been highly critical of the agenda and prospects of an Obama presidency. In the despair of the post-election depression among conservatives, I had hopes that maybe, just maybe, the Obama Presidency will not move quickly toward a socialistic state. Here’s looking for a few signs that the Obama Administration may result in some positives.
Barack Obama’s election as President didn’t come as a surprise to any of us. There was only one path to victory for the Republican ticket and it hinged on Pennsylvania turning red, a task not done since 1988. Despite the smiling faces and forced optimism conveyed by the McCain campaign, we all knew what was going to happen Tuesday night. However, Tuesday’s results are not as bad as they might seem, the era of Obama will not have the long term effect that many have predict it will, and the liberty movement will not suffer a dramatic setback as a result of this new wave of Democratic leadership.
In 1971, The Who released Who’s Next featuring one of the greatest songs of all time. It couldn’t be more fitting this week as we usher in our new boss here in the United States thirty-seven years later.
Pete Townshend tells us the story of a rebellious uprising against the ruling class. The opening verse states that there is “fighting in the streets” and that “the men who spurred us on sit in judgment of all wrong.” I can’t help but think of the parallels we have been seeing from the media-tainment industry for months driving home the displeasure that the American people have with the Bush administration and serving as pundits (or should I say puppets) by dishing out the propaganda of who is right and who is wrong.