T Nation

Heart and Soul of the GOP


There was an interesting political discussion that I viewed recently.

The essence of it was that the "more" interesting question to be answered during this Political cycle will not so much be the Presidency; those Political lines are clearly drawn, and have been even before the President took office.

The more interesting question is what will come out of the GOP Primary as the "real" or "Heart and Soul" of the GOP, as we move further into the second decade of the Century.

Will it be the Tea Party/Evangelical/unyielding/non-compromising very ideological driven wing of the GOP represented now by who appears to be Rick Perry?

Or will it be the "less" (albeit still conservative)/mainstream/more compromising (again, still conservative)/"more mainstream"/Boehner-McConnell wing of the GOP, represented by Romney?

The discussion went on to point out something that I also believe; that even though both "wings" like to evoke the memory of Ronald Reagan; Reagan would have been too "liberal" to make it through even a Primary today; and that even if he did, much of his legislation (that included tax increases); or compromises with Tip O'Neal; would have never seen the light of day.

What this all does is make it extremely unclear who will win the GOP Primary (and that's among some pretty experienced political pundits); but that whomever wins (Perry or Romney) will help in further defining the GOP for some time to come.




Interesting topic Mufasa, but you've got Reagan all wrong. Reagan was the most conservative man ever to get elected to the Presidency. And I dare say would have fit in quite well with the current Tea party. From holding the line with the then Soviet Union to lowering personal income tax rates to the lowest in our country'r history, Reagan was a small government conservative all the way. Yes, spending did increase but unlike Obama Reagan did not have both houses of congress republican and the democrats had charge of the purse strings.

As for anyone thinking that the Tea Party is too conservative think again. What they actually stand for is a return to a time when we didn't spend more than we brought in. As for social issues they are for family values, something that Ronald Reagan preached about regularly.

What YOU and others should be asking is how did we ever elect such a far left President as Obama? (Not to mention his incredible lack of experience.) Certainly he is the most liberal democrat to ever hold such a high office. How we did that was basically three fold:

1- He ran a great campaign and was a spectacular candidate. Here's a clue to those who still don't get it. With the average voter it's not about philosophy, it's about personality. You can berate him for that, you can ignore that, you can do whatever you want with it, but it is most certainly true,

2- People were sick of GW Bush and 8 years of republican rule (by the way part of the reason people were sick of Bush was the continuous media pounding that he had to endure). The pendulum always swings in the opposite direction when people get tired of one party.

3- The media (and yes here I go again) helped Obama like I have never seen the media assist a candidate for President in my entire life. And I have seen many elections some very close up.

Now if Obama was elected by (mostly) the above three conditions what exactly will change forward?

-Obama is still a great candidate and will enter this election with no less than One Billion dollars to spend. (BILLION)

-The media is still going to offer him all the help that he needs.

The only thing that has changed is that Obama now has a record to run on. And that record is exceptionally poor. And there has not been 8 years of republican rule. If the republicans are ever going to unseat this guy they're going to have stick with republican values which are traditionally conservative. And stay on topic, which is the economy! They are also going to have to nominate a candidate who has some charisma of his own, Romney or Perry. And most importantly whomever the candidate is will have to run a near flawless campaign to even come close to winning. As the media will highlight every one of the republicans gaffes and hide every one of Obama's slip ups. And there will be (once again) about a 2 to 1 positive story count for Obama over the republican (as was the case with McCain Vs Obama).

Anyway my friend, Reagan would have been the poster boy for the Tea Party. As the Tea Party is not nearly as right wing fanatical as the mainstream liberal media would have you believe. And in fact they more closely represent the typical American voters views far, far more accurately than someone like Obama.


i'm not sure it will be widely perceived like that when the elections will come.

Too much people have told too early that the US economy would apocalyptically collapse.
If it doesn't (and it won't), Obama will not only be the hero that killed OBL and helped arabs to get rid of their dictators and liberate themselves. He will be the man who managed to prevent the promised economic disaster.

In order to explain how an why it's not the case, the republicans will have to make the debate a bit more technical than what the average voter is able to handle.


I certainly can't arugue with the historical perspective you have, Zeb...

But I simply think that Reagan really WAS "the great communicator, and courted the conservative voter well. But I just think that if placed in today's political climate, he would be "right-of-center" at best.

I also am basing my comments about the Tea Party Wing of the GOP based on what I've seen and heard thus far; and there is an ideological battle for the GOP going on that is real and palpable.

The nomination of Perry or Romney will tell us a lot about the direction the GOP will take (or will continue to take) over the next few years.



By the way, my friend...

There is NO way I'm predicting a Presidential winner this far out!



(Except that it WON'T be Ron Paul!)



Mufasa, I raised this point about Reagan earlier and got a similar response out of Zeb. What I am wondering about is where Reagan was willing to compromise the far right of which you speak is not willing to, and I think that is what you and I are wondering about. Would his willingness to compromise be seen as too soft for the far right.

That said, Obama's far left stances has in every case I have read/heard about was not the final outcome of the legislation. A there at least seems Obama is willing to compromise (I think that was abundantly clear in the debt ceiling brouhaha and in some legislation earlier, and even in the new jobs bill where tax cuts are predominate in it) so a far left stance makes sense. When you are negotiating you ask for more than you expect and work from there. In this since a comparison to Reagan, where the presidents are on far edge of the political spectrum, speaks to the change of practice in the legislature. Where Reagan was able to work with O'Neil to get some of his goals attained, it seems that "the "less" (albeit still conservative)/mainstream/more compromising (again, still conservative)/"more mainstream"/Boehner-McConnell wing of the GOP, represented by Romney" would also be willing to compromise except for the Tea Party/Far Right's power in the GOP. So I think you are correct in saying that the direction of the Republican party does hinge on who is nominated. I think though it also foreshadows how well the government will function in at least the near term.


Politics is about compromise and finding common ground. NORMAL, REASONABLE people realize this. The current stance of the Tea Party and the GOP (who were willing to hold the country's CREDIT hostage to get what they want AND SAID SO IN INTERVIEWS!!! WTF?!) is simply ridiculous. Without flexibility and the willingness to bend a little, they WILL break. That is their fatal flaw. They come across as a bunch of uncompromising assholes with tunnel vision. It's not attractive.

I cant stand the Liberal bullshit direction that the country has taken, but I'm not sure I'd swing the pendulum 180* the other way either... We need COMPROMISE. The Dems, like it or not, have shown that they will compromise (a fundamental part of negotiation) while the Tea Party and the GOP are seen as rigid and unyielding.

That's not strength, that's bull-headedness, and it's NOT what our country needs. They forget that we are ALL Americans and that it is impossible for us ALL to agree. Compromise, as unpalatable as it may be, is a VITAL part of any representative democracy. Without compromise it just doesn't work (as we are seeing right now).

Reasonable people communicate, find common ground and compromise. These aren't reasonable people.

(Don't worry, I'm still NEVER going to vote for Obama, but if the republicans put up a whack job, I very well may abstain - I am THAT disgusted with our politics right now)



One glaring example; raising taxes in order to increase revenue.

Reagan did this. The GOP candidates today are on record as saying, by raise of hands and oath, that they would not raise taxes even with a 10-to-1 (debt cut to tax increase) ratio.

(LET ME SAY IT AGAIN; cutting spending is NOT the same as reducing our National Debt. Debt reduction requires an increase in revenues. But this is another thread).



I'm nothing if not consistent. :slight_smile:

One really important thing that you don't seem to understand, that is, Presidents can compromise, movements NEVER compromise.


Different times call for different measures. I would not trust any of the politicians with one more dollar of my money. They've proven themselves to be incapable of paying down debt. What they do is spend what they have rack up debt and then ask for more.


Regardless as to whomever "claims" Reagan; the Presidential Nominee of the GOP will tell us a lot about the direction the Party is headed, at least for the foreseeable future.



Just a minor point in this, Mufasa, but you must realize now that when politicians speak of raising revenues, they are no longer speaking of an increased GDP, they are talking about raising taxes.

We are no longer constituents. We are the source of revenue.

There have been some sneaky little plays on words that have popped up the past few years like "Creating new revenues" and "expanding our revenue base" or "we can't cut revenues at this point" which requires some scrutiny of what the hell they actually mean by that.

The thing is, they are looking at their budgets, which are based on our tax dollars, and by increasing "revenues" what they really mean IS raising taxes, creating new ones, and broadening existing regulations to require more and higher permit fees to do business and maintain requisite licenceure.


There is no place with greater expertise in "Creative Financing" and "funny numbers" than Washington.



Though it was touched on already, the Media has a much more prominent role in elections. They can simply pick winners with selected coverage, out of context quotes and downright falsification. Theyre reveling in this, with the armchair quarterback commentators discussing the X's and O's as if it were an NFL game.

I do not think Reagen had the support/opponent that the modern day media is. Granted, he had the looks and charisma that are favorable to the media, but today its a whole different ball game. Couple that with the decrease in any sort of journalistic standards and you have Jersey Shore Presidential Elections.

Many of these debate questions are erroneous to any sort of national concern, and primarily used to make a circus out of the candidates, which they gleefully fall into.

I do agree that this GOP nomination will show exactly where the party is heading towards, as it is far from united.

And for Skyzyk, there is an article by George Orwell regarding Political language and its purposeful use of confusing and senseless jargon. Not that that jargon is any suprise to PWI, but look at how heated and emotional the everyday constituents become over these issues without even understanding the context. "Oh we SHOULD raise revenues! Great idea! And we're gonna have jobs created by gubbiment! AND SOCIAL SECURITY"...


Reagan was not a conservative. He spoke in conservative libertarian rhetoric but he was a statist just like all the rest -- except for Ron Paul of course.

A true conservative would not have built up the military industrial complex and grown the national debt like Regan did.

If that is all you got your beloved GOP is dead.


This is what a conservative looks like.


You're confused Lifty, Paul is a libertarian, and an odd one at that. Reagan was a conservative in the same mold as the father of the modern conservative movement Barry Goldwater. Goldwater coined the term "peach through strength" and was a very prominent military hawk.

You should really read up on conservatism before you drag out poor old Ron Paul as the epitome of such.



Words don't mean anything. Only actions. Regan grew government and the debt just like a silly democrat would (heck, by those standards Clinton was a better conservative than Reagan).

Ron Paul is both a conservative and a libertarian (the ideas are not mutually exclusive). And a very principled man, at that.


As I said Barry Goldwater was the modern day leader of conservatism. And he would not have looked at Ron Paul as a conservative. Read up on Goldwater, let some real conservative light into that libertarian brain of yours.