Conservative Says: Give Dems a Chance
I understand where Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley, Jr., is coming from when he says it's time to let the Dems fuck things up for a while. (via AmericaBlog)
I wasn't a huge fan of the Dems in the 90s, when I was just beginning my political awakening. They had been in power a very long time, seemed they'd grown fat and lazy. They obviously lost focus on what their core principles were, couldn't "message" their way out of a wet paper sack, which was proven in several recent elections. Plus I grew up in a conservative household, so "impressions" trickled down.
But I am simply more liberal at heart, and there's that whole "rebellion" thing, so I'd usually take up the Dem side in arguments.
When I'd have arguments about which party's economic policies are better, I'd sometimes end up wondering if maybe we should just let the Reps have their way and either prove they were right or wrong once and for all. After 9/11, I was somewhat grateful the Reps were in power, since I believed they were good at that covert operations stuff, which was how I knew you fight shadowy, stateless operators like terrorists. I watched too many Tom Clancy movies, I guess.
Of course, there is the argument that the Reps and true conservatives haven't really been in power, the neo-cons and extremists have. Maybe I would like Republicanism, if Reps hadn't allied themselves with the far-right religious nuts who declared cultural/religious war on the liberals, or the radical Darth Vader-like policy-makers who think they can use The Force to squeeze necks into submission. Sold their souls for power, unless power lust is what's really in their souls.
But, I'm not sure the Dems will fuck up when they're in power as badly as the Reps are doing now, at least not in the immediately tangible way BushCo did.
The Dems stand for more of what Americans really want, economically and socially, including those Great Society entitlement programs Buckley hates. Since not all Dems are liberals, I don't see a lot of those alienating "extreme liberal" issues, like gay marriage, going forward.
And as damaging as the Reps have been these last few years, at least the pull back towards "The Gilded Age" we've gotten (the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer, the middle class squeeze) with the accompanying losses of benefits such as pensions and healthcare, I think we may get even more Great Society entitlements that worked so well to create the prosperity of the 1950s. Universal healthcare gets talked about a lot. And public financing of elections might even get more steam.
But I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool Dem. I voted third party through most of the 90's (and even after 2001, when I voted Libertarian locally). If I'm a swing voter, it's from Dem to third party, and my pendulum swings pretty far before I'll switch back. So if they get too much power, use it unwisely, lose focus, I will vote third party again.
And I'm not toooo worried about that. The pendulum does swing, in that necessary tug-of-war between two opposing sides. Too much progress can be de-stabilizing, as is not enough progress (or regression, as we've got going now). The disastrous neo-cons had their turn. They're done.
If the Reps want to revitalize, they also need to slough off the religious nuts. That might be a large segment of their party, but then we might get a couple of smaller parties as foils for the larger Dem party, which would still work. The true Reps might even be able to attract more moderates and conservative Dems to their side. That won't happen, but it should.