Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Republicans Ponder The Abyss

. . . All our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

MacBeth, Act 5 Scene 5

One could well imagine our Republican Congressmen quoting MacBeth as they ponder the fates and stare into the abyss that draws ever closer as November approaches. It is a fate that they have brought upon themselves by their choices over a period of years, straying ever farther from conservative values. The solutions are simple, their delusions phenomenal, and the leadership nonexistent. There is indeed every reason to be as pessimistic as MacBeth.

About a week ago, on the eve of the third special election in a safe Republican district, House Republicans huddled to ponder their fate. We do not know what was said in the meeting but Rep. Tom Davis, coming out of the meeting, blamed Republican troubles on Bush and things such as his opposition to SCHIP – the Democratic plan to spend billions to create nationalized health care for children. And in that one event, all was summed up.

Congressional Republicans are both deaf to their constituents and delusional about the causes of their problems. If there is a single Republican who thinks emulating the left and embracing SCHIP or some other huge new socialist program is the way forward for the Republican party, they are insane. What in God’s name is wrong with these people? Bush certainly has to take a major share of responsibility for all of the above problems, but let there be no doubt that our Congressional Republicans and the RNC all shoulder an equal share of the blame.

That said, November does not have to be the rout it portends. Victor Davis Hanson took the time to remind our misguided elected leaders about the key issues of a conservative plank. Suffice it to say, there were no surprises. But it really is even simpler than that. Republicans have two key national issues they can run on and win. The first, the pocket book issue, is the price at the pump. The second is national security. But they will only win on those issues if they accomplish two prerequisites. One, they need to embrace fiscal responsibility like it was just written on stone tablets by fingers of flame emanating out of a burning bush. Two, they need to adopt an effective communications strategy.

The engine of our economy and our modern lives is energy, whether it come from oil or some other form. The prices of everything we buy are effected by it. If it now costs three times more to get an orange from California to a market in Baltimore, that cost gets passed on to the consumer. The people hurt the most by high oil and gas prices are those who can afford it the least.

The cost of oil is determined by supply and demand, not the oil companies, not Opec (other than OPEC regulates how much oil they supply - still, OPEC has not really pinched the supply since the '70's.) It should not be hard to explain the basic concepts of supply and demand to the American people. Nor should it be hard to explain that every attempt to drill for oil in the U.S. and off our coastline has been stopped by Democrats. We have China taking oil from the sea floor 70 miles off our coast line, yet we cannot get that oil and use it to reduce our prices compliments of Democratic obstructionism. Indeed, that should be the concluding sentence to every speech given by a Republican between now and November, much like in days long past Cato ended every speech calling for the destruction of Carthage. And when Democrats such as Speaker Pelosi say all Republican's want to do is "veto and drill," there should be a line of Republicans heading towards microphones to announce that they just heard Nancy Pelosi make the first honest and accurate remark she has made during her tenure as speaker.

Over the past 30 years, Democrats have blocked drilling off the coast of Florida, drilling off of the east coast, west coast, the Alaskan coast and ANWR. Within the past month, the Democrats have voted against even allowing exploration of oil-shale formations in Colorado and Utah. Democrats are wedded to radical environmentalists who could care less about this nation’s economic development, nor for that matter, the effect of oil prices on Joe Sixpack. Indeed, the cleanest, greenest and cheapest form of energy is nuclear, yet there our Democrats have also placed roadblocks that prevent any new nuclear plants being built.

The Democrats have yet to propose a plan that will add one drop of oil to American pumps. Not one. This is utterly insane. Indeed, Democrats propose the opposite. Oil company profits get ploughed back into exploration as well as R&D. Yet the Democrats have proposed a plan to strip oil companies of their profits and to sue OPEC, two moves that could not be more suicidal. The energy argument should be a supremely easy one for conservatives to win – if they communicate it effectively.

The other key issue for Republicans is national security. Obama is fatally flawed on this issue. He has put support of the tort bar over our nation’s intelligence gathering capabilities. Moreover, he sees Iran as apparently little threat and has all but completely refuted the threat of force against Iran.

All of this speaks of a complete lack of any understanding of the nature of Iran’s theocracy, its violent and virulent history since its inception, its refusal to moderate, the amount of blood on the theocrat's hands, and the theocracy's role in insuring that there is no peace in the Middle East. It ignores the the extensive diplomatic efforts made by the U.S. and the EU over the past decades to establish relations with Iran and convince it to moderate its course - all of which have been for naught. It is also is suicidally delusional about the danger Iran pose's while they are enriching uranium and creating other by-products of the fuel cycle that can be used in terrorist acts.

And it seems Obama does not care that Iran is in the midst of a proxy war against both the U.S. and the Iraqi government. I have outlined the threat posed by Iran on several occasions, including here and here. Add to this that Obama wants to pull defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq – a move that really would strengthen Iran – and that he believes both Hamas and Hezbollah, both proxies of Iran, have "legitimate grievances." What you have is a Presidential candidate who is so fundamentally flawed and weak on national security as to be dangerous.

Those two issues, more than any other, are winners for the Republican Party on the national level. That said, it all matters for naught unless Republicans in Congress embrace fiscal discipline – including renunciation of earmarks and out of control spending. That requires both leadership and discipline which our Congressional Republicans do not have. Mitch McConnell has done all he could to scuttle earmark reform, and John Boehner in the House has not led on this issue at all. And just a few days ago, Republicans joined with Democrats to pass a bloated, veto-proof Farm Bill that is an utter atrocity. Fiscal discipline is one of the three long poles in the conservative tent – which means it's non-negotiable with the base. Republicans lost in 2006 because of their lack of any fiscal discipline. And it is doubtful that the base will listen to any arguments until this gets fixed on a national level.

And then there is the final issue, lack of an effective communications strategy. The silence from our elected Republicans on every issue is deafening. Democrats under Clinton perfected the art of immediately responding to any and every Republican attack with multiple speakers responding through multiple outlets. And it’s a practice they have continued through this day. A shining example is the President’s speech the other day in Irsrael, wherein he spoke of the dangers of appeasement. Within hours of that speech, you had Obama and at least six other Democrats in the news responding to the President. Some of their responses were outrageous. Obama himself relied wholly on nothing but rhetorical devices to preclude any debate. Rahm Emanuel, for his part, attacked the President by saying that "politics stops at the water’s edge." The hypocrisy of that statement was jarring, given the historical roots of that phrase. Yet with only one exception, not a single elected Republican pointed out either the hypocrisy or the artifice of the Democrats, nor discussed whether Obama's proposed meeting with Iran was suicidally naive. Indeed, over the past several days, the only Republican in the news responding to this tsunami from the left is McCain.

This is one incident out of thousands over the past decade where Democrats have won the battle of communications by issuing unanswered attacks which they then repeat ad infinitum. They have, by sheer repetition regularly managed to turn non-sequiters into accepted fact. For instance, how many people now believe Bush lied about WMD in Iraq or that he twisted intelligence in his "sixteen words" speech. Neither of these claims have substance, but they have been repeated so often and so loudly by the left, and with so little response and no outrage on the right, that they have become accepted as fact by many, if not the majority of Americans.

I realize the MSM is in the left’s pocket, but to concede the echo chamber is simply ludicrous. Indeed, Republicans need to be responding with twice the energy and number precisely because of the incredible MSM bias. Moreover, to allow the Democrats to repeat untruths or half truths without responding with cold outrage shows a party that lacks any leadership - let alone confidence in their message. Indeed, I firmly believe that if the RNC or the Republican leadership in Congress took a much more proactive stance in responding in at least equal number to each and every attack, the party would not be fighting a rearguard action for its very existence today.

Unfortunately, I do not believe the current Republican leadership cable of meeting the prerequisites of either embracing fiscal discipline or challenging in the communications battle. To the contrary, for this iteration of Republicans, I think the words of MacBeth to be right on target. "All our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death." We are in for a long ride on the right, compliments of electing fiscally irresponsible and incompetent Republicans over the past decade.

Update: One hundred and three Republicans House members just joined with Democrats to pass an "energy bill" that gives no energy but attacks oil companies and asks the Justice Dept. to sue OPEC. Both the bill and Republicans voting for it are utterly suicidal. Those Republicans voting for this bill are trying to emulate the left to save their skins. They are cowards and fools moving in precisely the wrong direction. Let the massacre commence.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Our dependence on foreign oil is a major national security concern. I agree the Republicans should place this issue high on the agenda.

It’s outrageous to see our President begging for Saudi oil while the House and the Senate grill the meanies who run the “obscenely profitable” oil companies.

Earlier in the week, the House overwhelmingly approved legislation allowing the Justice Department to sue OPEC members for limiting oil supplies and working together to set crude prices! Figures, the lawyers in Washington want to “sue” our way out of this problem.

Washington is indeed broke and we will be too if our policy makers can’t figure out what “supply and demand” means.