It’s difficult to be a Republican right now
Erick Erickson stole most of my thunder with his post here but I’m going to post this anyway, because I worked hard on it. So there.
What a frustrating time to be a Republican.
As I understand it (and I could be wrong here) there used to be two distinct flavors of “Republicans” – there was the “social conservative,” who was primarily concerned with social issues like church, crime, immigration and the like. There was also the “fiscal conservative” who was primarily concerned that the government (usually the Federal government) was getting too big and taking too much of our money. Ronald Regan brought them together in the banner year of 1980, forming the modern Republican coalition.
Now, there’s another fracture developing – at least according to Politico’s article “GOP Hawks: This will not stand, Rand”
The fracture seems to be between “libertarian Republicans” who want the government to get out of our lives, to the greatest practical extent, and the “establishment Republicans” who don’t see anything wrong with big government as long as they’re running it (and getting a cut of the proceeds.)
Rand Paul is clearly the most visible member of the “libertarian” wing. I would put forth senator John McCain forward as a visible member of the “establishment” group. McCain has recently come out in favor of the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill, favors sending arms to Al-Quaeda rebels in Syria (because that worked so well thirty years ago in Afghanistan), and only responded to the NSA’s outrageous phone snooping by saying that there needed to be “congressional hearings.” (On what? How far into our panties the government can reach?)
Where do we go from here? I would line up solidly behind the Rand Paul libertarians, so would most Tea Party Republicans, and I think a few conservative Democrats and/or libertarian Democrats (if there are such creatures) might as well. Is it possible that we might form a large enough “chunk” of the Republican party to simply tell the entrenched “establishment” Republican wing to change their ways or find something else to do with their lives? I don’t know if we have the numbers to do that, but as Bill Murray said in Ghostbusters: “The usual stuff isn’t working.”