Honest Abe hasn’t been resting in peace.
Abe’s institution of emancipation has devolved into a rancorous mess, with its members divided into three factions. Unlike their competitor party, which is 90% aligned on policy, the GOP has become an indoor shooting range. I have long said Republicans are marksmen because it takes this much skill to repeatedly shoot yourself in the foot.
The elephant’s carcass is carved-up into three hefty chunks. There is the Lincoln Legacy faction – the original progressives if you will – who have libertarian leanings. Marginalized for decades, they have recently been rejuvenated by the relative popularity of retiring Congressman Ron Paul and the “government shall obey” boost from the Tea Party (and to my left leaning Democrat friends here in San Francisco, do keep in mind that the Tea Party is non-partisan and has taken GOP scalps). This resurgence has caught the attention of the other two factions – the traditional (e.g. social) conservatives and the Neo Conservatives (right-leaning big government advocates).
The latter two factions are now running scared.
The Lincoln Legacy clan has not only made some electoral strides, it has openly resisted the current leadership. Semi-famous are recent GOP bloodlettings whereby John “Bonehead” Boehner kicked certain congressmen from committees in retaliation for their open defiance of his dirty deficit dealings with Barack Obama. Seems that Republican Party leadership is more interested in power than traditional GOP principle.
Now the recently emasculated Karl Rove wants to help pummel Lincoln back into his grave. Not content to merely embarrass himself on election night by defying mathematical reality, Karl concludes he must wage war against the Abe’s Brigades. Thus Rove and other Super Pac players are banding to block outsider influence. Like his buddy Boehner, control is more important than preservation of the Republic or the Republican Party.
The Tea Party is squarely outside the control of the GOP’s hierarchy. While peddling books at a political gathering (the bane of us book writers) I had a chance to hear Tea Party Patriots co-founder Mark Meckler talk about his encounter with Boehner. Once the Tea Party had traction, Meckler went to Boehner’s office to inform him of what the Tea Party intended to do. According to Meckler, Boehner grinned, took another drag from a cigarette (which he likely bummed from Obama) and asked “What do you want?” It was a nearly naked suggestion of a quid prop quo, a favor for a favor. Meckler said “Nothing,” a reply the likes of which Boehner had never before heard. Thus the relationship was cemented.
Now Boehner and Rove want to put the Tea Party in cement overshoes.
In the long run they will fail, and sadly the GOP will be unable to muster a meaningful response to newly invigorated socialists for some time. Just as the traditional media has lost its power to citizen’s media, so has the GOP leadership lost outreach to a younger generation of people willing to practice principle above all else (do remember that Paulineistas tend to be young, well organized, digitally savvy and overly energetic). Reason magazine, the bastion of libertarian logic, interviewed several new and reform-minded congress critters (March 2013 edition), one of whom was booted from his committee assignment by Boehner the Bogus. The common threads of their several interviews are of interest. First is that these representatives are consumed by constitutional fidelity and small government policy, even if it means upsetting the boss. Secondly, they have and maintain deep connections with their constituents, with one fellow – Justin Amash – dutifully explaining every vote he makes on Facebook to keep their constituents fully informed.
Yet the most interesting aspect is that the GOP’s wrath against principled players has been to make them local folk heroes. Instead of hindering the Tea Party or even non-tea Republicans, Boehner’s actions have guaranteed their reelection for years to come. Instead of removing opposition, Boehner has given Lincoln Legacy pachyderms nearly permanent status.
Not even Karl Rove and his contributors can overcome that.
Lincoln wisely noted that “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Division on policy points is a mere family squabble. Midnight hatchet jobs against family members speaking their minds is division from within. Orchestrating their removal from the house is to create a broken home. If the GOP wishes to survive, grow and have a direction, then they must allow principles to win and that begins with avoiding exclusion.