Two recent editorials on the state of the Republican Party attempted to rationalize the GOP’s plight. Both recognized that if the Republicans cannot beat a very liberal Democrat in a weak economy, then something is wrong. Both were clueless about the root of the Republican dilemma.
The central problem of the Republican Party is that the leadership is committed to an ideology that no longer works because the world has changed. The election of 2012 marked the point where that ideology, neoliberalism, has actively harmed a large segment of the electorate.
One of the institutional innovations of the Declaration of Independence was that we have the “right” to the pursuit of happiness. This right is meaningless if you cannot find a job at which you can prosper. The establishment of individual economic prosperity, e.g. the American dream, thus became the central objective of the American political system. In a nation-state economic system capitalism fulfilled this political objective. In a globalized economic system capitalism has failed.
Mark and Ric exhibited the orthogonal-to-reality mentality of the Republican leadership: Capitalism is holy and cannot fail. The problem simply must be that rotten 47 percent. Mark quoted Churchill to express that view of the rotten 47 percent. But Mark used the wrong Churchill quote to describe the 2012 reality. The relevant Churchill quote is, “Facts are stubborn things.”
Americans understand the fact that Republican tax cuts never “pay for themselves” and pile debt onto young Americans. Americans understand the fact that Republican deregulation creates the bubble-bust economic cycle. Americans understand the fact that Republican free trade shuts down factories and drives down middle class living standards. Americans understand capitalism just fine — and that is why they re-elected Barack H. Obama.
The disconnect of the Republican leadership from reality is a symptom that ideologues like Paul Ryan have taken over the party. The same kooks seized control of the tea party leadership. If you think they offer the road to political success, just ask Indiana Sen.-elect Richard Mourdock.
How many warnings and pleadings will it take until America as a nation and we as individuals get on ours knees to ask God for his forgiveness and turn from our sinful ways?
Richard W. Burridge