Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Saying "No" to Detroit: Will Republicans pass their first test of the Obama Era?

Kentucky's Mitch McConnell was ostensibly critical of the auto bailout deal now brewing in Washington:
“I want to support a bill that revives this industry,” he said, “but I will not support a bill that provides the patient with taxpayer dollars, yet doesn’t (include) the commitment that the patient will change its ways so that future help isn’t needed.”
That statement is disturbing. While it signals possible Republican opposition to the auto industry bailout deal, it doesn't come right out and oppose a bailout.

The biggest problem with the modern Republican Party is that it spends all of its rhetorical time playing off of the existing mindset on issues rather than articulating the principles for its positions that would serve to create a coherent understanding of its political, social, and economic stance. Is McConnell's only objection to the deal really that it doesn't do enough to force the auto industry to do what the politicians want it to do?

Leave it to the Republicans to oppose the auto bailout deal because it doesn't impose enough government control of the private sector.

If the Republican Party can't oppose the auto industry bailout because it is against government bailouts on principle, then there really isn't any difference economically between the Republican Party and the Democrat Party other that the latter is enthusiastically insipid and the former is less enthusiastic about its insipidity.

A failure to oppose the bailout on principle will prove--as if it needs further proof--that the Republicans deserved to lose last month--and deserve to continue losing until they rediscover what they are about.

1 comment:

Lee said...

Simple answer: yes, Republicans will fail.

On the campaign trail, they will feebly claim to be "conservative". But when they get into office, they do what Republicans before Reagan always did, and Republicans since Reagan mostly do: look out for the interests of established big business and their buddies at the country club.

The rest of the conservative coalition is restive for precisely this reason: once elected, Republicans would rather settle on their own terms with liberal Democrats than engage in a political fight for other causes defended by their erstwhile allies. As long as Republicans get subsidies for their buddie's failed businesses and cheap labor for their business contributors, they have no principled fear of socialism or unbridled and illegal immigration.

And they could not possibly care less about the issues of social conservatives, even though they are shameless in seeking their votes once every other November.

You only know someone when you know what are his non-negotiables. It's hard to find a non-negotiable issue with a professional Republican. But looking out for established big business is about as close as they get.

Democrats are politically smarter. They understand that coalition politics means taking care of the concerns of their constituents, and thus they have a lot of loyal constituents.