Reagan-Interruptus: Republicans are, once again, The Stupid Party

by | Mar 9, 2011

The bad news I feared is here. Republicans are wobbling, and Republicans are disappointing. This isn’t true everywhere (such as New Jersey), but it’s true in most places. The House leadership has put forth a bill cutting about $60 billion in federal spending. The liberals reply that $4 billion in claimed “cuts”will do. Excuse me? […]

The bad news I feared is here. Republicans are wobbling, and Republicans are disappointing. This isn’t true everywhere (such as New Jersey), but it’s true in most places.

The House leadership has put forth a bill cutting about $60 billion in federal spending. The liberals reply that $4 billion in claimed “cuts”will do.

Excuse me? I expected denial from the Democrats. After all, they’re socialist.

Their entire morality and political program are based on the theft of other people’s money, either literally or in the form of “borrowed” theoretical money from future generations. But Republicans have claimed, rather eloquently at times, to stand for exactly the opposite. Is $60 billion in cuts the best they can propose? No doubt the answer will be, “Well, the liberals control the White House and the Senate. We can’t ask for too much.” Oh, really? They’re going to say you’re asking for too much no matter what you ask. If you asked for only $5 billion in cuts, they’d say you’re demanding too much.

On top of this, the House Republican leadership has reportedly let a $100 billion measure funding ObamaCare pass through their own budget, undisputed. Excuse me? While it’s true that Obama and his Senate will never repeal ObamaCare, Republicans made it clear, as recently as a month ago, that they have the power to at least withdraw funding from the law’s implementation programs. So what happened? OK, the budget is complicated and people sometimes make mistakes. But how do you justify evading and ignoring that mistake, once exposed by the Tea Party elements of the Republican party? Reports are also emerging that the Obama Administration cooked the numbers to make it look like ObamaCare saves the federal government money, while in fact ObamaCare actually takes money from Medicare, mandates rationing of all health care and still bloats the federal budget. Surprise, surprise. Will the House Republican leadership say anything about this? It’s not clear. After all, the 2012 election is coming and we can’t make anyone mad, can we?

On top of this, Republican leaders in the House have made it clear there will be no government shutdown. So what’s their bargaining position?

They have none. Democrats are in a position of simply saying, “OK. We don’t like your cuts. We propose few or no cuts.” Republicans are, once again, The Stupid Party.

It gets worse. The governor of Wisconsin is reportedly going to wobble.

If reports are true, he’s going to compromise with public union officials on the right to collectively bargain, the whole point of dispute over these many weeks. He’s going to call it something other than moral compromise, but this is what it is. He’s going to give those union leaders some or even most of what they want. True to form, these leaders, led by the likes of socialist filmmaker Michael Moore, are holding firm until they get what even a Democratic governor would probably be reluctant to give them. This poor governor thought he was going to be Ronald Reagan. Three decades ago, airline traffic controllers (federal employees) went on strike. Reagan told them, you can’t go on strike because it’s against the law. They replied: Yes, we can. Reagan said no, and if they didn’t return to work, he’d fire them.

They didn’t return to work and he fired them. Governor Walker engaged in Reagan-interruptus. He started out firm, but then he blinked. The reason is reportedly the fall in his poll numbers. Unfortunately, Reagan aside, blinking is what Republicans usually do.

Now what do politicians such as Walker seek to gain by compromising with their enemy? The Tea Party movement won’t back him for compromising. He won’t win over a single liberal. Moderate Republicans will be annoyed that Walker put them through all this hell only to back down in the end.

The public unions, living off the productive work of the private sector, are stronger, more entitled and militant than ever. Lack of courage and course reversals betray a fundamental lack of integrity, and that’s the most disgusting thing to any human being … friend or foe. Walker will lose across the board by wobbling.

All those years ago, philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand got it so right. She said that there was no end to the welfare-regulatory state until or unless people reject the morality of altruism, defined as the morality that we are all our brothers’ keepers. In practice, the code of altruism means that the more I produce, achieve and earn, the more I owe to others. The same applies to you. Republicans (usually religious) tend to eschew this attitude applied to government, preferring that self-sacrifice be practiced outside politics rather than within it. The Democrats, who tend not to be religious, say that’s silly, that if we all are our brothers’ keepers, then of course government should uphold this principle under the law. In the end, Republicans, even if they put up a fight, concede that well, shucks, “I guess those Democrats do have a point.”

The contradiction between what Republicans hold up as political ideals and their underlying (erroneous) ideology of ethics has reached tragic proportions. This is because government and the economy as we’ve known it are imperiled. No society can survive the kind of bankruptcy to be upheld by the Democratic policies of the last several years, or the Republican policies of “caving in” going forward. By unsustainable borrowing, monetary manipulation and deficit spending, they’re sacrificing the stability of our currency, and with the collapse of the currency will go the entire economy as we know it.

The only hope left is to challenge the idea that we are all our brothers’ keepers. That attitude is a philosophy, or a religion. While people are entitled to believe in this idea, they are not entitled to impose it on others. You’re entitled to tell me that it’s your opinion that fifty percent of my bank account belongs to the public; but you’re not entitled to take that money by force. Until or unless the Republicans advance candidates who express this idea, and mean it, we’re going to continue to see the wobblers and the disappointers who are dominating the scene even after the Tea Party movement’s short-lived triumph of 2010. That movement is doomed to failure without a coherent and true ethical foundation.

All is not lost. In a sense, it never is. The right ideas are there.

They’re real, they’re possible and they’re achievable. It doesn’t require a Ph.D. in rocket science to grasp them. In practice, people with the right ideas will have to keep rooting out the losers in the Republican Party and replace them with those who, win or lose, stand on principle (in action, not only in words). A third party is out of the question because it means permanent victory for the Democrats, and the Democrats are hopelessly socialist and therefore unreformable. The Tea Party must continue its struggle to change the Republican Party, and make sure that it stands on a different ethical premise than the one it still does. The Tea Party has to understand that it’s failing, and why it’s failing.

When you stand on the right principle, you’re always winning and your principle will always win in the end. It has to, because your principle is by definition rational, which means: on the side of reality. Scott Walker, John Boehner and others like them really don’t grasp or care about the right principles of the policies they claim to uphold. The failure is theirs, because they’re attaching the right policies to the wrong principles.

As things continue to worsen economically, more people are going to be searching for new and radically different ideas. It’s up to those of us with the right ones to teach and persuade them, before it’s too late.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at:

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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