Thursday, January 15, 2009

Not Black and white

In the lead up to the November election it was made clear, even by McCain’s campaign, that a Republican loss would devastate the party. The loss of a majority in the Senate has increased the electoral destruction with a number of incumbents willing to serve without the perks of power.

McCain failed to develop any continuing direction for the party, preferring his shoot from the hip approach. Now many remaining Republicans insist the party must cleanse itself, must champion a strong Christian America with an open economy and closed borders. Voters would flock to a party of such uncompromising principle, they argue. G&M

As it stands the party is now shunned by every part of the electorate that is growing - the young, Latinos, blacks, city dwellers, people in the New South. They obviously have no idea of what America wants:

“But we've tried moderation, say the talk-show hosts and the preachers and the guys at the institutes. We've kowtowed to the ethnics, and toned down on abortion, and supported deficits. Look where it got us.” G&M

One of the candidates for RNC leadership, Tennessee party chair Chip Saltsman, circulated a CD to committee members that contained "Barack the Magic Negro," a parody of a Peter, Paul and Mary song that only those with longer teeth even remember. I suspect if they continue down that path they might experience first hand the hardships of being an identifiable and unwanted minority.

Opposition within

It often happens that a formerly strong leadership collapses in the face of change. The danger is that regardless of how good the replacement they require a vocal opposition. All too often that opposition can only come from within, treading a fine line between support and attack.

According to key members of the Obama team there will be ample opportunity for voices beyond the lobbyists to be heard. That’s fine for the president, but he can’t really speak for those in congress. Perhaps the first push from supporters should be to convince their own reps and senators to forego lobbyist offering in favour of constituent preferences.

The hardest part is balance, there are so many issues we all want dealt with, and each one seems urgent. New governments rarely have the privilege of solving issues quickly and the focus will be very much on domestic economics, thanks to the Bush regime. Certainly moves will be signaled quickly, like closing Guantanamo Bay, but the reality is much more drawn out.

Since I was a neophyte political activist in my teens I’ve detested the concept of gradualism, but it is a sad reality of public affairs. It does not suggest we shouldn’t be


abi said...

Perhaps the first push from supporters should be to convince their own reps and senators to forego lobbyist offering in favour of constituent preferences.

Cart, we might as well ask them to stop breathing.

There's one quick and sure way to end the corrupting influence of lobbyists - and that's to ban paid lobbying.

Cart said...

Abi, Obama has already signaled that ear marks will be banned from the next round of relief funding. If Obama and Plouffe are serious about a grassroots approach then perhaps they should be providing the tools for local groups to test the veracity of local appropriations too.
It seems that Democrat incumbents will be obligated to the new president, now and into the future, and hard pressed to attack legitimate scrutiny. I also agree with modifying lobbying and making any associated gifts, including donations, illegal. Ok, so I’m ever hopeful, but it is really time to drive change at the roots.