The Politics of False Unity

So They Say...

An idea I’ve begun to hear and read with greater frequency is that conservatives must abandon the divide between they and the GOP establishment, in the name of “saving the country from Barack Obama.”  It’s no secret that this is being pushed by the Romney camp, and by the establishment media, but I reject it outright.  The divide between conservatives and the party establishment is real, and it’s not going to be patched-over by a lot of happy talk about unity.  The problem is that while the establishment denies its own existence, those who comprise it are continuing a campaign aimed at convincing conservatives they’re merely being stubborn at the expense of victory.  What conservatives know is that you can’t build a victory on the foundation of a false unity that paints over meaningful divisions in the party, and while it is true that the conservatives could surrender for the sake of expedience, they don’t seem inclined to do so in this election cycle.

If we are to accept the argument of the establishment, nothing is more important than to defeat Barack Obama, but the problem is that the tool they’ve selected for this chore isn’t up to the job.  Their strategy has been simple: Divide the conservative base among a number of somewhat more conservative candidates, and then knock them off one at a time, always leaving just enough of a residual support to ensure the division among conservatives.  The strategy seems to be working, and what it has revealed is that the party establishment merely used Tea Party support in 2010 to make gains for the Republicans they really hadn’t deserved.  With the absence of Palin from the field, the Tea Party is either divided or at least uncommitted.

This false unity being proposed by the establishment is the siren’s song they offer as consolation: “Come join with Mitt Romney, and together we’ll defeat Obama in November.”  Poppycock.  This sort of vacuous sloganeering is what has produced such thorough losers as John McCain and Bob Dole.   The very notion that Mitt Romney can fire up a conservative base and Tea Party support in any way at all is preposterous.  Obama won’t be beaten by merely running against him.  The opponent who faces Obama will need to present a clear alternative, and Romney simply is merely a less virulent form of statist.   There’s not much to differentiate, in truth, because what Romney has done is no better than Obama in terms of policy.  Tallying the scorecard, the differences are so few and so superficial that I can already see the race-card play from here:  “Admit it,” they’ll say, “the only reason you oppose Obama is that’s he’s a black man.”  You’ve already seen this card played once before, by Glenn Beck (of all people) against Newt Gingrich, but if Beck will use such a rationale against Gingrich, you can bet the Democrats will use it against Mitt Romney, and frankly, they wouldn’t need to embellish much on Romney’s record to make the policy-based end of the argument.

The main reason they will use this false idea of party unity is the same reason they’re scrambling even now to undo the mess they’ve made in Virginia:  The danger is that given the only choices of Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, you might pick Ron Paul if your contempt for the establishment is as great as they fear.  While I’m not a fan of Ron Paul, I find it almost comical that after putting the Virginia GOP in this position, first they responded with a requirement for loyalty oaths, and then when that was scorned almost universally, they trotted out their AG to propose changes that would permit others on the ballot.  The problem had been, of course, that they didn’t see Ron Paul as a real threat, so they were happy when only he and Romney made it onto the ballot.  They thought it guaranteed a Romney win, until they thought about it, or were reminded of the other possibilities in a two candidate race in which Democrats would be unencumbered by their own primary and thus free to participate, and dare I say “meddle” in the GOP primary.  Up until that moment, “rules were rules,” but when they realized what might happen, the “rules” were no longer so  important.

The real problem for the Republican Party lies in the fact that they have so thoroughly compartmentalized their base that they have made it difficult for them to really unify around a moderate-to-liberal establishment candidate.  The pro-life voters won’t go with Romney very easily, despite his latter-day renunciation of his earlier and long-held pro-abortion position.  Fiscal conservatives will not easily go along with him because he’s a big-spender and he is of the Northeastern blue-blood crowd which likes its inflationary monetary policy and its deficit spending.  He won’t do well with those who dislike the welfare state or the encroachments on individual liberty, because they see in him all of those things in the form of Romneycare to which they are fervently opposed.  Cultural conservatives won’t support him easily because of his actions as Governor of Massachusetts on gay marriage.  Tea Party types will look at him as just another all-around part of the larger problem, and those who are generally suspicious of big government will not have failed to note how indecisive he’s been, or how much he’s been in favor of secrecy and concealing his official records.  His past claim to be a social moderate and a fiscal conservative is a contradiction in terms.  One can’t be both, simultaneously.

This is why they must create this false idea of unity.  Mitt Romney has nothing else to offer, except the claim that “he can beat Obama.”  It is for all the reasons above that I know he is not likely to win, but I also don’t mind saying that if he does manage to win, he’ll have done so without my support.  People don’t want a leader who follows, but that’s all Mitt ever really does.  He’s simply not a conservative, and that’s not good enough for me. I don’t buy into contrived unity, because I know where it inevitably leads:  Betrayal, defeat, and disaster.  In truth, but without respect to calls for a false sense of unity, these are all that Mitt Romney has to offer, and I’m not interested.

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18 Responses to The Politics of False Unity

  1. gymrat3560 says:

    I strongly agree with this and am going to email it.

  2. Gail says:

    Good thoughts

  3. Our game of national stratego continues to play out. I laugh at Virginia. They are right to be concerned their "boy" wouldn't win if only two were on the ballot. I believe that Ron Paul would win. I have twitted, emailed and told all I know from there to vote for Ron Paul. Though he will not win the nomination (at this point) it will be delegates not given to Romney. They did recognize the fallacy of their determination to force the elections. Not everyone blindly follows the main stream media.

  4. Replace Virginia with Iowa. (smile)

  5. RebinTexas says:

    Mark,

    You coulldn't be any more right in your assessment – and I totally concur. I must say I find none of the current candidates satisfactory – and my prayers remain that somehow God guides us – and Sarah – toward the future I believe is necessary to really renew, restore and revive my beloved country.

    Thanks for all your writings – it has been a privielege following you and I pray we will have something yet to work for in this New Year.

    Bob

  6. Thomas Dixon says:

    Well defined stream of logic, Mark. I, too, will distribute your synopsis to friends around the country. Perhaps the Beltway crowd will catch wind of how the little people really regard their manipulative gyrations ~ obviously they don't listen to Levin or Beck.

  7. joe says:

    I think Mark is so stuck on Sarah Palin he can only protest she isn't running.

    He makes excellent point against Romney. But I wish he would direct his focus to some solutions and inspirations to "fix" the current GOP position. We know what is wrong. What we are seeking is to fix it before all is lost through in-fighting.

    • MarkAmerica says:

      Joe, that's not so. I wouldn't be inclined to support anybody in this field even if there were no Sarah Palin. I can think of others who I would also be inclined to support, but they're not in this race either.

      The solution to this is to simply support a positive message from a non-establishment candidate, which is admittedly difficult to do. The problem is that we need to build a back bench in which to develop additional Tea Party types in order to avoid the situation in the future. In the short run, it looks pretty bleak, as the number of those now occupying federal offices is small. Another part of the problem is that the entire DC establishment co-opts many once they make it to office. The best thing I believe we could do is some serious term limits, and the turnover would help keep fresher blood in office.

      I have no problem with in-fighting. I think we need to hammer these things out, and yes, it's messy. Yes, it's ugly. Still, if you want the best candidates, it will require accepting some rough-and-tumble to help sort them out. Unfortunately, it always seems to go directly to the gutter, but I see no way to prohibit that, in largest measure, because it works. The best answer for that may be simply to find candidates with less baggage.

      Thanks for reading!

      • joe says:

        Mark, we are on the same page…just reading different paragraphs.

        You seem to be talking long term goals. I'm talking immediate survival.

        The other side has the 900 pound gorilla and we have to pick a chimp and do the best we can….or else concede now and leave.

        It's far too late to go find a 900 pound contender. The hopefuls vacated this year.

        Again, we are on the same page… now reading the same paragraph… our real problem to be immediately solved is bypass the current GOP blockage.

        Unfortunately, I don't know how to do that.
        -joe

        • MarkAmerica says:

          Joe, I guess my point is that none of these prospective presidential candidates will have the sort of down-ballot coattails we'd like to see, so my point is that we are better off concentrating on the down-ballot candidates because while we're unlikely to gain much if anything from a Romney presidency, strengthening the republicans with real Tea Party members in the House and the Senate is still possible. The Senate is the only thing protecting Obama. Besides, I want to take away Boehner's excuse of "we're only one-half of one-third…" I want them to be the full one-third.

          That may be an imperfect solution, but that's as well as we may be able to do, and if we concentrate entirely on the presidential campaign, we may miss this.

  8. Joshua Thuma says:

    Another great blog post!I loved it thank you! I can only support Sarah for 2012….I cant find another candidate with the record, the passion or the ability to draw the masses to win!

  9. Bruce O'H. says:

    The Progressives have infiltrated every institution over the past 100 years. They didn't forget the Republican Party. We know the moderate leadership are big government, inside the beltway, corrupt enemies of Conservative principles.
    I'll not vote for Romney in the Primaries. To my way of thinking, I've got three choices…Bachmann, Perry or Santorum. Not necessarily in that order. One of these will get my Primary vote.
    But whoever the nominee is will get my vote against Obama.
    I'll vote my principles, to the greatest extent possible, in the Primary, and I will vote pragmatically in the General.
    The main goal for 2012 should be the removal of Obama.

  10. dnr says:

    There's not a dime's worth of difference between Romney and Obama. If he was capable of being honest, Romney would put a (D) after his name. But because he has the opportunity to be the "it's his turn" GOP candidate, he won't do this. The GOP hears the call that "anyone can beat Obama", so that's what they do – put up anyone, not the conservative this country desperately needs. Romney will NEVER get my vote. I refuse to participate in the herding of lemmings going over the cliff. Those who embrace conservatism must rise to the heights it aspires them to, and reclaim this country for the betterment of all citizens. If they cower in the corner, they will watch the country go down in flames. It is happening right before our eyes.

  11. Quite Frankly, I am tired of being used as a pawn in the establishment game. I too, pine for Sarah but absent her running I will pick my own candidate to support. I can't sit passively by and let others make my choice. I understand that ultimately I may have no choice, but for now I choose to choose and try to find something/one worth fighting for. My perfect candidate is not running so I must find the imperfect candidate that I can stomach.

  12. Robert Arvay says:

    This fact should warn us about Mitt: The last presidential candidate to appeal for "Party Unity" was Barak Obama. The counterpunch to this was the "PUMA" movement by Hillary supporters, but that movement fizzled out.
    .
    Hopefully, the TEA Party will stay strong and not fizzle out. The signs are that it won't. But isn't it ironic that Ron Paul might be the one to(unintentionally) "save" the Virginia Republican Party?
    .
    Mark, I greatly admire your ability to compose commentaries that are better than anything I have read from the stalwarts such as George Will and Charles Krauthammer. Please keep this up.

    • dnr says:

      I also find it ironic that Virginia, the state which gave us great Presidents in the past, is now trying to force upon us the miserable hoax of a candidate, Romney. How far they (and we) have fallen.

  13. mimsborne says:

    I like this article, Mark. It feels right, the idea that the GOP Establishment manipulated things in Virginia to limit entry to non-Romney's. However, I read an article from Richard Winger (of Ballot Access News), a person I've met and trusted for decades, that blames the newly strict counting scheme in Virginia on a November lawsuit against the Virginia GOP by one Michael Osborne, who complained the GOP wasn't checking the petition signatures for validity. Osborne was an Independent candidate for the legislature, running against a Republican whose signatures were not check (though Osborne's were). Unless it is shown that he was part of the GOP Establishment (or working for Romney), the suggestion that the system was rigged for Romney is weak.

    Also, I challenge your declaration that Romney cannot be both a social moderate and a fiscal conservative because it would be a contradiction in terms — "One can’t be both, simultaneously." I think all libertarians (like myself) are fiscal conservatives and either social liberals or social moderates. I don't see the apparent contradiction, though I do not think Romney is a libertarian. From my point of view, Mitt is a statist from a conservative background. The extent to which his views track to the conservative side doesn't seem originating from inner principles, but from the momentum of his personal history. The ease with which he crosses over to big-government solutions is the scary part of his candidacy.

    • MarkAmerica says:

      Mims, here's the problem: Osborne indeed caused the change, but he did not select the change. The change was made by the party trying to comply, but the changes made at the time could well be interpreted as still being an attempt by the establishment there to foil others. I doubt whether Mr. Osborne himself had anything to do with the way the establishment there availed themselves of the opportunity his suit effectively enabled. It's called 'opportunism,' and you betcha, they pounced.

      As for your challenge, if you read the linked article, you'd understand better what I mean. "Social moderates" believe in various "compassionate" measures that are tantamount to handouts, and these result in a fiscal problem. This is why I say the two cannot be separated.

      You're right, however, about Romney's ability to shift from one end to the other without missing a beat. It's stunning. Really is.

      Thanks!