I am not a conservative nor am I a progressive, I don’t subscribe to any particular party or affiliate myself with any particular group. Some of my ideologies sit on the conservative side and some of them sit on the progressive side, so I prefer to call myself an independent thinker.
Let’s get my preference for President out of the way first. Out of a two horse race President Obama was easily the better candidate, I would not have been someone waiting in the wings, my decision would have been made up very early in the GOP primaries, once the lone true conservative, John Huntsman was gone, so it was clearly Barack Obama for me.
Today we saw a perfect example of why the US Conservative Party – the GOP, is completely and utterly finished in its current form and why it must evolve, why it must gut the leadership and bring in a new wave of conservatives from all walks of life.
I began writing this article as the results begun filtered in, maybe I was a little cowardly in not posting this before I was confident that Barack Obama would again be President, but I feel I had good reason not to be too optimistic about his re – election and if the GOP had won, even by the slenderest of margins, none of this would have mattered.
For the GOP to lose an election with an incumbent President’s approval rating hovering around 50%, with just over a 7.8% official unemployment rate, GDP growth rates below 2%, an unstable Europe, problems in Middle East, well the GOP would have to be incompetent wouldn’t they?
Think about that, if you were the GOP and you were told that these were the figures coming into an election, you could just about put any candidate up and you would win, a good candidate and you would win in a landslide.
Mitt Romney was the wrong candidate for the wrong party. Personally I think he is an astute businessman, who has a heart bigger than portrayed by the press and would have like Obama tried to govern from the center, however, he embraced all that is wrong with the GOP and then took a rather striking turn to the center in the last weeks of the election cycle. The far right forgave him that, knowing they could cash their chips in once elected, and to me, this was worrying!
Romney tried to change his tune in the past few weeks by talking about how he can reach across the isle and compromise for the good of the country, but you only had to look at his long list of first day promises to know that there was no such plan, and in fact the effect would have seen an even more unstable electorate.
Face facts, The GOP is stuck in the 1950’s, just about every major voice in the party must go by the way of the Dodo, you can deny this all you like but statistical demographic data is moving away from the establishment voices every year and the trend will not change. The world is changing and so too is America, and the GOP leadership still refuses to accept this. A few decades ago 90% of voters were white, today, that is down to just over 70% and in another few decades that will be down around 60%.
You can no longer base your policies around fear and despair of minorities, when combined, they are in fact coming to a majority. The GOP have to get over it and embrace the statistical fact that these demographics waves are locked in. Just look at the way they have tried to stymie the minorities by making it increasingly more difficult to vote, how we saw fewer voting stations in GOP governed states, shorter voting hours etc.
Another key constituent is single women/ youth and their views on faith and women’s rights. Very few of these people under the age of 30 want women’s reproductive rights rolled back to the dark ages. Abortion is still an important issue that they can appose, as this is a very personal choice, but contraception?
This is completely against the standards of small government and one only has to read the GOP Platform released at their convention to know that they still obsess over the reproductive rights of women.
Equal pay for women is also a no brainer and why they still have voices against this is.. beyond comprehension! The youth vote is increasingly on progressive social issues and smaller government, so why not embrace both?
Gay and Lesbian Rights are also moving away from their platform at an alarming rate, so much so, that this one issue could disintegrate the party on its own and see the formation of another even more social conservative party. Simply put, obsessing over this and other social issues listed above – when the electorate is moving swiftly in the other direction, is giving yourself ‘death by a thousand cuts’.
Finally, science and education. I am sorry, but the embraced establishment of the GOP are stone cold crazy in this area, when it should be something they are good at. Clint Eastwood said it perfectly, when he said he is only for Gay and lesbian Rights, when as a conservative, what people do in the privacy of their own home – when it has no effect on others, is none of his business.
The fact I have to even mention evolution makes me shake my head in wonder. You can still believe in the word of God and embrace evolution, evolution is the most tested and verified scientific theory on the planet – even more so than gravity, in fact nothing in biology works without understanding evolution.
As for education, if you look at all western democracies that are strong, they have a robust. creativity driven education systems, they are increasingly leaving behind the tests and focusing on creativity, free inquiry and independent studies. Yes children need to understand english, math and the sciences, but the rest is open air creativity. Embrace education!
And finally then there is Climate change. Accepting the scientific models and what to do about it politically are two completely separate things, you just offer yourself up against ever increasing obvious evidence when you bet against the science of Climate change.
As there is actually science behind how the climate works and the impact of carbon in the upper atmosphere, it is open for anyone to refute the data and prove otherwise. Yet, still to this day no one can, and I assure there have been numerous privately funded open studies that all come to the same conclusion. That is not to say it will not be debunked, but every analysis so far points to a reality we are living today. The Climate has changed and we are 99% likely to be the major contributor to this.
So, whilst we sit here now and have annual record breaking droughts, floods, hurricanes etc, costing we, the tax payers hundreds of billions of dollars a year and rising, we can all live with our head in the sand and spread nonsensical arguments against the science, feed a denier based industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year to clever authors and producers. Understand this, we can live in a world where it is all happening as predicted by the scientific models and in nearly all cases worse than the models predict, costing us trillions of dollars annually or we can embrace a world of innovation where storing energy is the last piece of a jigsaw for true future energy independence. I know what I am betting on, do you?
So what is the GOP to do? My personal view is that they stick to what they should be good at but have been horrific at, since Ronald Reagan. That is smaller. less intrusive government, simplifying the tax code to something that a child could understand, staying out of peoples personal lives no matter how much any individual may disagree, ending the war on drugs, creating an immigration policy that embraces the idea that hard working people want to come here for a better life and understanding that a powerful military does not equate to nation building and expenditure, but by a knowledge that you can be smart, powerful, ideologically admired and at the same time feared. The GOP will need to understand this and in doing so will need to embrace the changes needed for a changed world.
It may not do it in the next decade, but it will be forced to sooner, rather than later! I am just thankful that this is all over and we can move onto more important things like the upcoming annual war on Thanksgiving and Christmas.