Metaphorically visualize political parties as winged insects: each with a body and two wings – wings for power and direction and a body serving as the intellectual compass. These party insects fly in an environment composed of partisans swinging selective swatters and independents wanting a closer look with the hopes of not getting stung.
The Republican insect body contains the traditional Republicans embracing concepts as lower taxes, smaller government, less regulations on business, and strong national defense. These Republicans use their ideals to reject some Democratic proposals, but also attempt to integrate their ideals into the political center. Groups rallying around as trade and immigration also exist.
One wing supporting the body is the staunch right. They passionately embrace the body’s principles, but without the element of comprise. They welcome others to join them, but will not move toward the center. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter are the talk show celebrity headliners for the staunch right whose ideological theme when they are out of power focuses on political descent.
The other wing attached to the Republican body is the religious right – those with a social agenda based on religion with hopes of changing America into a conservative Christian nation. This is the portion of the party embracing Roman Catholics and Mormons for their political money to finance their social agenda while distaining the theological aspects of both Rome and Salt Lake City. This is the portion of the party embracing Israel as a political entity based on religious convictions while distancing itself from Judaism. This is the divisive portion of the party whose social agenda is paramount to a government philosophy.
The two Republican wings became allies to each other. The religious wing needed a political identity and the conservative wing embraced the dollars the religious right could provide – and together they would fly into power.
The religious right embraced Ronald Reagan’s election; but in the end, they weren’t happy because he didn’t legislatively or judicially deliver their social agenda – nor did Bush-41; so they found an advocate in George W Bush.
One must remember that moderate independents control the swinging political pendulum. Because it was too far left, independent moderates pulled in the opposite direction when electing Ronald Reagan and Bush 41. Since politics swung too far to the right, independent moderates started their pulled toward the center in 2006.
In 2008 independent moderates wanted a change from Bush administration policies, but also saw Senator Obama as too liberal. Independents want fiscal restraint, but anticipate too much spending in a Democratic-controlled Washington. So independents were still ripe for the picking.
Independents have a moral compass. Independents go to church and are not Godless. Independents understand diverse nature of this country, yet struggle with religion’s tenants of diversity, inclusivity, and a selective understanding. Independents struggle with the society issues embraced by the religious wing, but do not believe morality can be mandated through legislative or judicial action.
Ironically, independents embrace many traditional Republican ideals embedded as lower taxes, fiscal restraint, strong national defense, and limiting government intervention. As the Republican Party brought forth Governor Palin to appease both wings, it pushed away independents. As the party described the opposition as socialists, communists, Marxist, and even totalitarian, it pushed away independents. As the party used the politics of fear, it pushed away independents. The party supporting George W Bush had candidate that either wouldn’t or couldn’t distance himself from the president, thus pushed away independents. As the party continuing to promote a Supreme Court dominated by a homogenous ideology, it pushed away independents.
Senator McCain, principled in the insect’s body, was the nominee of party that its wings did not support. After all, this is the same group that trashed him during the 2000 primary. Many held their nose while voted for McCain, and yes, some stayed home as a pouting protest of his candidacy.
In spite of the uphill battle Senator McCain faced, the election was within his reach. Senator McCain made his share of mistakes, and is honorable enough to acknowledge such. He didn’t lose because of money. He didn’t lose because of the media. He didn’t lose because the economy became the central issue over national security. He didn’t lose because personal attacks to the ticket by the leftist bloggers.
The Republican Party lost Election 2008. The Republican Party was out-campaigned. The Republican Party was out promoted. The Republican Party nominated someone that the party wings couldn’t support because he came from the body, not from the wings. The Republican Party lost because the wings didn’t forget the way they trashed Senator McCain during the 2000 primary. The Republican Party lost because many partisans either held their nose while voting for McCain, while others stayed home as a pouting protest of his candidacy. The Republican Party lost because the single-minded nature of the Republican wings doesn’t and didn’t reach out those who actually decided the election – the independent voters. Since only inviting them to join is not enough, independents rejected the divisive side that the Republican Party has become.
The Republican Party is split into the party of less intervention in our life and the party of how we should live our life while being dominated by the special-interest dollars of the latter. This is what voters soundly rejected on Election Day. Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the right-leaning think tank the Cato Institute, confirms the divide when by saying, “It’s going to be very ugly on the Republican side. The Republicans are split into clear factions who will blame each other for the second defeat in two years and try to seize dominance of the party.”
Although it is time for Republican rebranding, the wings continue to drive further to the right for a 2012 thumping. Maybe now is the time for a schism with one side joining forces with the Libertarian Party because room exists of a viable third party in our political landscape. If so, which wing moves and whose money moves?
It’s time for the insect’s body to release the developing party’s reformers whose job will be to lead the metamorphosis of a new and inclusive coalition of traditional Republican ideals grounded in running government without running lives: a party powered by the principles and intellect within the body, not the divisive nature of the wings; a party with dominated by a government agenda, not a social one.
Republicans will return to power, but the independent moderates will decide when the brand is acceptable.