In praise of Republican heresy, even if limited (the heresy AND the praise)

rand_paul_close_ap_img_0    In an interview Wednesday, GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul blamed the rise of ISIS on “the hawks in our party” who pushed for American intervention and arms shipments to the region. “They created these people,” Paul said. “Everything that they’ve talked about in foreign policy, they’ve been wrong about for 20 years, and yet they have somehow the gall to keep saying and pointing fingers otherwise.”

That accusation did not go over well, at least not in establishment Republican circles. Former Bush press secretary Dana Perino delivered the verdict succinctly on Fox News, saying that the remark shows that Paul is “completely out of touch with Republican voters.”

That’s probably true. However, it’s also part of an intriguing trend going into the 2016 primary season in which at least some GOP hopefuls have dared to challenge party dogma in a party that treats dogma very seriously.

images-3This week in Atlanta, for example, Gov. John Kasich was asked at a GOP gathering about his decision to expand Medicaid in his home state of Ohio, in defiance of his party’s absolutist position to block ObamaCare at every turn, with any means available. As he has in the past, Kasich defended the move in terms of government responsibility to help those unable to help themselves.

“My choice in that decision was to ignore some of the most vulnerable people in our population,” the likely presidential candidate told his fellow Republicans. “I’ve been criticized for this decision. Do you think it bothers me? It doesn’t.”

Lindsey-Graham-AP
Then there’s Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of those GOP hawks whom Paul lambasted, and justifiably so, for pushing an interventionist foreign policy that has made the world more dangerous. Graham too is willing to commit heresy, in his case on the topics of manmade climate change and particularly immigration reform. If the Republican Party continues on its hardline course on immigration, he warns, “We’ll lose.”

“If I were president of the United States, I would veto any bill that did not have a pathway to citizenship,” Graham said recently. “You would have a long, hard path to citizenship … but I want to create that path because I don’t like the idea of millions of people living in America for the rest of their lives being the hired help. That’s not who we are.”

images-2On economic issues, we have Mike Huckabee. The former evangelical preacher has attacked his party’s proposals to “reform” Medicare and Social Security, saying “it’s not just no, it’s you-know-what no.” Such proposals are “disastrous, not only politically but I think they would be disastrous in terms of further breaking the trust between the government and its people.”

images-1Did I mention Jeb Bush? I did not. He continues to defend Common Core, even if he has backed down a bit on how he expresses that support. (You won’t find him saying, as he did last year, that “(Education) Secretary (Arne) Duncan and President Obama deserve credit for pushing—for putting pressure on states to change . . . they’re providing carrots and sticks and I think that’s appropriate.” And Bush too argues in favor of a path to citizenship, defending his stance as an act of leadership.

“Do you want people to bend with the wind, to mirror people’s sentiment whoever is in front of you?” Bush asks. “‘Oh, yes, I used to be for that, but now, I’m for this’. Is that the way we want to elect presidents?”

That’s a damn fine question, and it’s pretty clear where Bush was aiming it. His one-time disciple Marco Rubio had once dared to venture outside the fence in championing comprehensive immigration reform, before skittering back into conformity. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin had once supported a pathway to citizenship but he too has reversed course, claiming that it didn’t amount to a flip flop since he hadn’t actually cast a vote in favor of a citizenship path.

I’m not sure how all of this is going to play out, or what it might mean. Taken collectively, can these challenges break the Republican Party out of the ideological ghetto that it has constructed for itself?  Maybe, but it’s hard to ignore the fate of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the 2012 frontrunner until he said in a GOP debate that “I don’t think you have a heart” if you deny in-state tuition to children of illegal immigrants.

Perry’s opponents pounced, all but pointing their collective fingers at him and hissing, and thus began Perry’s collapse.  You can bet that in the coming debates, moderators and opponents alike will be focusing on those who have strayed from the party line, demanding an explanation.

In fact, you can divide the GOP field into two groups. You’ve got those listed above, who either out of personal commitment or strategic choice are willing to challenge the party orthodoxy in at least a limited fashion. Then you’ve got those such as Rubio, Walker and in the more extreme cases Ted Cruz and Ben Carson, who are competing on the basis of how eloquently and passionately they can defend that orthodoxy against all challengers, both inside and outside the party.

In the end, I suspect the latter approach will prove more effective in winning the nomination. The GOP premium on loyalty and the ability of conservative media to enforce strict message discipline are tough hurdles to overcome, especially in such a large field. But it’s critical, not just for the party but for the nation, to have people within the GOP trying to broaden the range of acceptable conversation, and by doing so create room for the party to adapt.  It suggests an ideological ferment within the Republican Party that both insiders and outsiders are loath to acknowledge, if for very different reasons.

 

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575 comments
Wascatlady
Wascatlady

What is striking is that Perino equates someone telling their version of the truth with "not listening to Republican voters," as though that is what determines the truth!

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Have to give Bernie Sanders credit where credit's due. He recently told an audience...

This campaign is not about Jeb. It's not about Hillary. It's about YOU!

Dayuummm!

There's ^^^ that Bernie, and then there's this Bernie:

Although Sanders may have once been a socialist back in the 80s when he was Mayor of Burlington, today, a socialist he is not.  Rather he behaves more like a technofascist disguised as a liberal, who backs all of President Obama’s nasty little wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.  Since he always “supports the troops,” Sanders never opposes any defense spending bill.  He stands behind all military contractors who bring much-needed jobs to Vermont.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/30/the-myth-of-bernie-sanders/



FIGMO2
FIGMO2

And Paul's been consistent in his opposition to the Iraq war. Hillary, not so much.

A slogan for our liberals...Hillary's got to go! It's Rand Paul who's in the know.

Why not cover your own candidates, jay? You'd have a lot less to write about.

schnirt 

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

No worry about Obama making any foreign policy mistakes, he don't not have a foreign policy to make a mistake with. I am guessing Bookman has changed his panties now that Hillary has picked up her checks and left Atlanta to fly to the next fundraiser with her band of useful idiots. Great that the Democrats have the " Anointed " One as their candidate, she is a whiz on foreign policy with her " What difference does it make anyway " statements.

KUTGF
KUTGF

@Infraredguy  Can you work in a "we didn't build that" comment into that nonsense. 

straker
straker

Brosephus - "direct and deliberate things being done to help the lower and middle classes"


Considering our current state of political affairs, looks like the both of us can only dream.

straker
straker

Brosephus - "giving them what they want"


What most people really want, I believe, is for their elected representatives to actually represent THEM and not their corporate sponsors.


Also, it would be nice if our elected representatives were models of honesty and fairness.


Well, I can dream, can't I?

Brosephus
Brosephus

@straker
"What most people really want, I believe, is for their elected representatives to actually represent THEM and not their corporate sponsors."

And the elected representatives give them what they want in their actions of representing THEM.  If I want my representative to help the lower and middle classes, he wouldn't focus on policies like Quantative Easing or tax cuts.  There would be direct and deliberate things being done to help the lower and middle classes.  Ergo, giving me what I want.

kitty72
kitty72

@Brosephus @straker 


What you just said tells me they could care less what the voters want. It really is their big money people they are pleasing. We are just tools to get to Congress.

Brosephus
Brosephus

Interesting on how you can look back decades and see the same things that are going on now...

http://www.scribd.com/doc/12926608/William-Kristol-s-1993-Memo-Defeating-President-Clinton-s-Health-Care-Proposal#scribd

"The long-term political effects of a successful Clinton health care bill will be even worse — much worse.  It will relegitimize middle-class dependence for "security" on government spending and regulation.  It will revive the reputation of the party that spend and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests. And it will at the same time strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government."--William Kristol 1993

And to this day, Hillary Clinton is the only First Lady to ever be subpoenaed and has remained a GOP target ever since.  Instead of being the party of the people and giving them what they want, Republicans are intent on giving the people what they want the people to have.  Then, some will get upset when Democrats attempt to act on the behalf of what people really want.

alexander2
alexander2

@Brosephus Party of the people that can afford 2700/plate of food.....same as "republican" people in your book...

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@Brosephus "Then, some will get upset when Democrats attempt to act on the behalf of what people really want."

And claim there's no difference between the parties

Brosephus
Brosephus

@alexander2 

Nope, not the same.  Both parties have members who can afford a $2700 plate of food and those who cannot afford such a plate.  The difference between the two parties, IMHO, is how each one listens and responds to those who can't afford that plate.  There are rich Dems and Repubs, and there are poor Dems and Repubs.  Which party actually pays lip service to the poor segment of their group?  They both grovel to the rich members.

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

@Brosephus 

"And to this day, Hillary Clinton is the only First Lady to ever be subpoenaed and has remained a GOP target ever since."

Awwwww, poor baby.  Mean old GOP picking on a girl.

Brosephus
Brosephus

@_GodlessHeathen_ 

My feelings aren't hurt.  I'm not a Clinton supporter.  Some of your fellow conservatives, on the other hand, will be humping her carcass long after she's taken her last breath.  THAT is a sign of hurt feelings.  You know, not being able to let go of things...

alexander2
alexander2

@Brosephus Disagree, the repub party listens to it's poor segment which is widely criticized in this blog( ex.poor gun-supporting white males) and other groups. You just don't like the message that the GOP uses to reflect these less affluent grps . That is reasonable but sure doesn't support your bias that the dems are the party of the people..they are the party of YOUR people! ( whomever they might be)

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

@Brosephus @_GodlessHeathen_ I didn't think your feelings were hurt.  She can't run with the big dogs and hide behind her skirts at the same time.  She's the first First Lady to call herself co-president.  Her husband was the 2nd president to be impeached.  She was the first First Lady to be subpoenaed.

They bring it on themselves.

alexander2
alexander2

@Brosephus Relecting on previous blog: "humping her carcass" ...sounds like an excellent way to have a DEBATE.........fire up those pyrimidal cells....

Brosephus
Brosephus

@alexander2 

"With her new health care coverage under Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act, Tammy Clark was sitting in the waiting area on a recent Friday afternoon at Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center in Kentucky’s coal country, enthusiastically listing all of the benefits she gets now, like heart screenings and other tests she couldn’t get before because she didn’t have insurance. It was her third trip to see her doctor since Jan 1., when Clark’s new insurance started.

“Before, I had to go to the free clinic and get services,” she said, smiling. “Now, I can go to a real doctor. It’s a lot better.”

But when asked about President Obama, Clark’s smile disappeared. Clark, who is a Republican but says she would consider supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016, said she understands her new insurance comes from the health law Obama advocated. But Clark says still remains a strong opponent of Obama."

http://thegrio.com/2014/02/10/in-kentucky-voters-complain-about-obama-but-take-his-care/ 

This is a Republican enthusiastic about her new health care coverage that she got in spite of her party's effort to keep her from getting it.  Even after getting her coverage, she still is an opponent of Obama.  If the Republicans do as they want to do, they will strip her of her insurance coverage in a year's time.

Yeah, they really listen to their poor segment.  I'm very convinced of that.  There's stories like this all over the place, even like the one Jay wrote about last week or so involving the guy from North Carolina.

Brosephus
Brosephus

@alexander2 

Actions speak louder than words, brother.  You guys keep on humping her, and I'll keep calling it for what it is.  To use your words from above, you just don't like the message that I bring here. 

alexander2
alexander2

@Brosephus Seriously you can find stories of people that vote GOP but are not supported by all the planks of the gop on the Internet, absolutely.In general, again the GOP supports the majority ideas of these less affluent people, not all and that is to be expected by most people. Same with both parties. You just don't like the GOP message and allow the bias to cloud your objectivity. Your convinced of anything anti gop and not able to see otherwise . Go drag some poor , homelss anti-abortion Christian off the street and you'll find something anti GOP about what they do and this poor person's needs/wants--....

alexander2
alexander2

@Brosephus Actions and DEBATE as you have claimed in the past, your not convincing to an objective person...You visualize the humping, that is your problem of perception..

Brosephus
Brosephus

@_GodlessHeathen_ 

She's proven that she can run or she wouldn't be receiving the onslaught of negative attacks.  People don't attack things they're not afraid of.  People attack things they're scared of, and at this point, the GOP is afraid of Clinton, whether they choose to admit it or not.

Personally, I am hoping and praying that we don't end up with a Bush/Clinton match up.  I'm tired of both families, and I sincerely hope that someone new or with new approaches gets the nomination from both parties.  I know I'm going to do what i can to try to keep them from getting the nomination and/or office.

straker
straker

Lenin - "will be extremely ugly indeed"


Yes. Sooner or later, probably sooner, our motto will be "welcome to hard times".

josef
josef

Whee...the grandboys have gone swimming with Unmentionable and I'm going to go enjoy the peace and quiet!  Back later...

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

Crowdfund an Independent General Primary.

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

Out of all the women in this country only two are actively seeking the Presidency.

Enough of this two party crap.

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

Heresy is refreshing after all the hisesy....

straker
straker

Lenin


America is ruled by the Power Elite in Congress, the Military and Big Business.


Liberal democracy is just an illusion fostered on us by those in power.

honested
honested

@straker 

Most 'mericans have come to accept liberal democracy as being defined by cheap cable teevee and even cheaper beer.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@straker 

At the present time, the fabric holding it together is more delicate than ever. But it's still there, however tattered. But should that fabric disintegrate entirely, what we'll see in full view will be extremely ugly indeed. 

Something along the lines of European fascism of the 1930s might be in store.

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

So, Hillary snuck into town today for a fundraiser in Buckhead.  Gee, I would have thought she would have spent her time in Bankhead instead of Buckhead considering how she loathes those disgusting rich people who live there, send their kids to Westminister, and don't pay their "fair share".  


Don't miss the op to get that tingle up your legs as she dives by, oh I mean is driven by, in her limo, libs.  After all, she's just like you, right?  LOL

LeninTime
LeninTime

@fiftythreepercenter 

considering how she loathes those disgusting rich people who live there

**

Huh? How Hillary Cinton loathes the wealthy class?

Is that some kind of lame attempt at sarcasm? 

LeninTime
LeninTime

@Nick_Danger 

That would be a bad thing. 

***
I would tend to agree. 

As capitalist profit margins continue to grow ever tighter, that will mean increasingly explosive class tensions, which will have ominous implications for the ability to maintain any semblance of 'liberal democracy' going forward.

alexander2
alexander2

@LeninTime Currently companies are flush with cash, that is one of the questions of this recovery (if it is one) why don't they start spending and create jobs? Where can one read about profit margins and class tensions??!! 

kitty72
kitty72

@alexander2 @LeninTime 


It is not about creating jobs. It is about making the shareholder happy. American citizens only count as to how they can increase the corporate stock price. There is nothing else. Short term vs long term. Short term thinking is destroying this country.

straker
straker

Lenin - "what if capitalism just isn't capable of reviving growth any more"


American Big Business will have no trouble keeping their large profits coming in.


However, average American salary and benefits growth will remain quite anemic. 

honested
honested

@straker 

Think of the 'Human Driven Vehicles' in some of the Mad Max iterations.

josef
josef

On TOPIC


Looks like they're having a reality check...

Paul42
Paul42

@josef

Limited to some candidates, not the Party base.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@LeninTime Well, it's up to China, India, South America, and Africa to drive future growth.  North America and Europe are plateauing or shrinking.