It’s A Shame Mitt Romney’s A Republican, Because He’s Not (It Could Have Been Great)

Here’s a bit of a puzzle. Who does this describe?

“Once, when winters were cold and the world seemed large, creatures roamed the earth who were permissive on social issues and at ease with big government, yet remained ever faithful to the gods of business and finance. Their principles were abstract but broad-minded: tolerance, free trade, and a belief in something called the American Way. Their personal tastes were conventional. They were surprisingly allergic to indecorum, and disinclined to question the status quo.”

It so happens to “not small-town or provincial…”:

…they were Wall Streeters, not Main Streeters. Their vista was international. They were private-sector types who answered the call to public service. They were liberal Republicans. Nelson Rockefeller was such a creature. So were Prescott Bush, William Scranton, Charles Percy, John Lindsay, Mark Hatfield, Elliot Richardson, and George Romney.

Then, one year, a powerful meteor struck the planet, and, virtually overnight, the entire species was wiped out. The meteor’s name was Ronald Reagan. Political paleontologists, looking back at the fossil record, can detect signs pointing to the organism’s imminent extinction that predate the Reagan era. Richard Nixon, for example, showed that a pro-business, big-government Republican, by appealing to suburban anti-Communism and white working-class resentment, could take a populist road to the White House. Men like Rockefeller and Romney despised Nixon; but they could never beat him. Liberal Republicans did not like to get into the political mud.”

Writing about this piece from the NYer, Andrew Gelman, professor of statistics and political science at Columbia wrote:

Such creatures still exist. One of them is named Barack Obama. Actually, the above description describes much of the modern Democratic Party. “Permissive on social issues and at ease with big government, yet ever faithful to the gods of business and finance,” indeed.

Menand (sic) laments the decline of the Republican version of such politicians . . . but, really, that wouldn’t make so much sense given that the Democratic Party is so hospitable to them. The Republicans might as well have their own party, no?

I love the piece because this is how I understood Republicans to be before Nixon and Reagan.

In a way, this is why I have so much ANTIPATHY toward modern day Republicans. We can have SUCH good times with a Democratic Party and Republican Party competition if we still had any Prescott Bush-type Republicans left out there calling themselves Republican (there are some but they’ve been banished from the party). This shit that calls itself Republican, conservative, Libertarian is the opposite of conservatism at its finest, and it’s a damn shame.

When I started getting interested in politics, I had no idea what I was getting into. I started looking and getting to know the national Republican Party for what it was and the whiplash turned me far away from the party. I call modern day “conservatives” the party of pre-WW2 Germany, a bunch of fascists, because that is the pill they have swallowed.

And it’s depressing that they’re lined up to continue having so much power in this otherwise great country.

Since most won’t read the first link (Americans don’t like to read much), I’ll quote a juicy bit:

[Mitt Romney’s book “No Apology”] lays out a set of views that place the candidate at some distance from Tea Party and other conservative anti-government groups—the kind of people most likely to vote in a Republican primary. “I believe some people in my party are overly fond of bashing regulation as the constant enemy of growth and competition,” Romney writes. He says that he supports antitrust laws, occupational health and safety regulations, equal-opportunity-employment requirements, and mandatory unemployment insurance. He places some of the blame for the meltdown in the credit markets on a failure of government oversight. He thinks the stimulus money was misapplied, but he doesn’t say that the stimulus was the wrong policy, and he thinks that the Supreme Court should revisit its campaign-finance decision, because it gives too much power to wealthy donors.

And it’s a shame that this isn’t what Romney will be as a Republican candidate for presidency nor after he wins the election, if it so happens.

Still, despite the multiple incongruities surrounding his candidacy, Romney’s campaign pitch will, in the end, almost certainly be the Republican pitch no matter who the nominee turns out to be. The pitch is that Obama and the Democrats believe that we’ve entered a “post-American” world, a world in which the United States is no longer the preëminent power on the planet but just one nation among many; and the Administration’s policies are designed to manage this decline in our status, not reverse it. Democrats have abandoned “greatness” talk; Republicans want to bring it back. “I believe in American exceptionalism,” as Romney says. This is the belief for which he offers “no apology.”

The fact is that the Republican Party itself, the establishment, will force anyone who wants to buy into government to conform to that label’s codified (however fickle and in flux that code is) ideological laws is a shame because despite the many flaws Mitt Romney has, he could be a much better candidate than the United States is going to get (or justifiably deserves).


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