Thursday, November 6, 2008

Politics and Ideology....

In America, one of the interesting aspects of politics is how divorced from ideology it so often is.

Throughout most of the country, political affiliation, like religion is inherited. It often takes on the aspects of team sports, sort of athletics for non-athletes - the Red team versus the Blue team.

On Staten Island, where I grew up, politics is largely ethnic. The two major groups are Irish and Italian – the Irish are largely Democrats and the Italians mostly Republicans.

With an Italian mother and an Irish father, the ethnic team sports aspects of Staten Island politics has always been a little dicey for me.

Moreover, for any number of reasons, ideology has always been more vital to me than politics.

At an early age I was inculcated with an almost Catechismal adherence to individual liberty, private property rights and the ONLY economic system those things are most respected in – the market-based economy.

That has been the basis for my voting my entire life. I tend to oppose both fiscal and social Liberals and support Conservatives on most issues.

When polled most Americans tend to support most of the same positions that I do, four of five Americans want a smaller, less intrusive government and lower taxes, almost 2/3s (64%) support the NSA surveillance program, I’m even with the majority of Americans on the abortion issue – I’m WITH the 65% who support first trimester abortion and I’m also with the 65% of Americans who oppose late term abortion.

In a sense, I’m the quintessential “Center-Right American.”

It is that kind of electorate that had the Gingrich Congress assume control of Congress in January of 1995, with a very clear mandate from the American people. That mandate was outlined in Gingrich’s Contract With America.

That Congress shut down the federal government back in 1995 to force Bill Clinton to accept massive federal budget cuts and a Cap Gains rate cut...those things are what brought about some of the lowest Misery Indexes in history AND those significant budget surpluses of the late 1990s. The DeLay and Hastert Congresses abandoned Gingrich's principles and sullied the GOP in the process. They became just another set of pigs at the trough. As a result the neutered, pro-government GOP ceded Congress to the Democrats in the elections of 2006 , allowing the nation to lurch back onto a Keynesian course.

Since 2007 the economy has only gotten worse, which opened the door in 2008 for a Democratic take-back of the White House.

Interestingly enough, Barack Obama won election on November 4th, 2008 by running in favor of gun rights (the script of one famous Obama commercial went, “Barack Obama supports gun rights, our right to defend ourselves, the Second Amendment," the narrator says. "That's the truth."), tax cuts, the NSA surveillance program, pay-go to restore balanced budgets and a military surge in Afghanistan...on many issues, he was able to not only run to the Right of McCain, he made a better case for those things than McCain did.

In fact, Joe "the plumber" Wurzelbach made McCain's economic arguments better than McCain did...and THAT is the sorry state of affairs facing the Moderate (northeaster) wing of the Republican Party. They have the money, but few ideas and they resent the Conservative (Gingrich) wing that Party and have consistently and all too often, successfully been able to silence that wing.
How the relatively blank slate Obama will govern is anyone's guess, but his pick of a former Israeli Army member and Conservative Democrat, Rahm Emmanuel as Chief of Staff is interesting, to say the least. I'm willing to hope that President-elect Barack Obama will govern as he ran, as a Center-Right candidate and I'll let both our national security and the Misery Index tell the tale on that score.


right said fred said...

nice post, JMK. How he'll run the country is certainly anyones guess. I'm willing to bet that he wants to run as far to the left as he can. After all, he seems to have a mandate now, right? The problem as you've pointed out is that his mandate is not as far left as he is. Additionally, the Democrats have all but admitted in recent weeks that raising taxes now will prolong the stagnant economy - as if there's ever a good time to stifle prosperity.

Roadhouse said...

I think he's a stealth commie that is goint to push the red envelope as far as he can without being noticed by the lemming masses.

I'd like your opinion on my latest article if you time to check it out.

JMK said...

I think some of the fears of a "far-Left Obama" come from (1) his relatively blank legislative slate and (2) his dubious, to say the least, past associations.

At least that's my view, RsF.

Moreover, some of the ballot initiatives on Tuesday were shockingly Conservative in their outcome, including California's banning gay marriage by 52.5% to 47.5% Race/gender prefrences went down to defeat in two states, while CO has yet to declare it.

Beyond that, Obama's first pick, Rahm Emanuel, as Chief-of-Staff, is NOT a very Liberal choice.

Emanuel, a former IDF soldier is hawkish on foreign policy, pro-Israel, supports the NSA surveillance program and helped engineer the 2006 Democratic takeover of Congress by recruiting scores of Conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats to run for office.

What the Democrats face right now is a HUGE National Debt.

Increasing social spending, even if military spending is reduced, will still hike that debt and would almost certainly ultimately result in our inflating the money supply to "pay off that debt in cheaper dollars," as is government's natural want.

Such an inflationary spiral, coupled, as it would be, with rising unemployment would, without question, Carterize an Obama Presidency.

I don't think the Dems have as much "wiggle room" as some believe and they definitely don't want to tank the economy and doom liberalism for another generation or two.

JMK said...

I don't know where Obama stands Roady.

On many issues, he ran to the Right of John McCain! He ran on tax cuts, supported the NSA surveillance program and gun rights.

Conservative anger should be directed at the hapless Moderate-wing of the GOP.

Gingrich came to power with a clear mandate and he delivered smaller government by shutting dow D.C. to get massive federal spending cuts and a Cap Gains rate cut from Clinton in 1995....we had some of the lowest Misery Indexes in decades after that AND some significant budget surpluses.

Since that time, the DeLay and the Hastert Congresses abandoned the Gingrich principles and sullied the GOP brand.

Today, many Blue Dog Democrats are MORE Conservative than most Moderate Republicans.

The GOP has failed to deliver Conservatism.

* They had the opportunity to eradicate the AMT and they didn't.

* They had the opportunity to really FIGHT for reform and oversight for Fannie and Freddie and failed to bring their case to the American people.

* They had the opportunity to embrace Ward Connerly's fight against race/gender preferences and yet, for the most part, they've conveniently avoided it in seeking to "avoid controversy."

* They had the opportunity to overhaul our tax system and move to either that Fair Tax or the Flat Tax and failed.

After failing to take advantage of all thos opportunities and MORE< the GOP doesn't deserve to be lamented. They are a Party thyat has used a "Conservative veneer" to deliver a socially Liberal, "wishy-washy, middle-of-the-road" agenda.

America NEEDS this wake up's gonna hurt, but it's not only been the GOP that's been asleep at the switch. We all have!

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