The Platform of Republican Failure
Commentary by Aslan, 9.11.2008
“George W. Bush is an outstanding president.”
Try dropping that line in mixed political company and watch the facial expressions. Be on the alert for strange, tortured noises that escape vocal chords paralyzed by a flash of cognitive dissonance. One is reminded of HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey when the computer is being shut down by Dave Bowman: “I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a...fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992.”
All manner of statements can short circuit left-leaning folks who have grown to hate the current Republican administration.
“The Iraq War has been a tremendous success.”
“Dick Cheney is an impeccably honest man.”
“Manmade global warming is a myth.”
“George W. Bush is highly intelligent.”
“Oil companies are not responsible for high gas prices.”
It is not just because they don’t believe you, it’s because they think you are unhinged from reality.
“George W. Bush is a horrible president,” “Dick Cheney is corrupt,” and “Bush lied, people died” represent fundamental truths to liberals, and to suggest otherwise is akin to declaring “Hitler was a humanitarian.” The ridiculousness of it all simply paralyzes them.
These are not just ingrained opinions of the hard left. Yes, we are seeing liberal conventional wisdom, but it is something far more: we are seeing the new Democrat platform.
Call this the Platform of Republican Failure. It represents the entire Democrat resume in an election season, and its effects are staggering.
It is first important to distinguish between the hardcore liberal elite and your son’s teacher or your left-leaning neighbor with whom you have pleasant conversations about football and golf. The former we will call the Liberal Elite – Democrats in power, the media, the ACLU, the Daily Kos, NARAL, moveon.org, etc. – and they think and function idealistically. They range from socialist to Marxist in their economic policies, reject God and absolute morality, despise American hegemony, and every move they make in the public eye is an exercise in deception to convince normal citizens to grant them power.
The latter group of left-leaning folks we will call Citizen Liberals, and they are the vast majority of voters who call themselves “Democrats” and “Independents.” These folks actually want good things to happen in the public square. They are decent people.
Once upon a time the Liberal Elite invited these decent Citizen Liberals to a game of Three Card Monte, and, with a little sleight of hand, replaced a platform comprised of unpopular ideas with the Platform of Republican Failure. This is demonstrated by Citizen Liberals’ complete ignorance of what the Liberal Elite might actually do with power. In other words, you can’t ask a Citizen Liberal what they want their candidate – currently Barack Obama – to do. They have no idea. But this doesn’t strike them as strange because the Platform of Republican Failure is so compelling one doesn’t need to know what the Liberal Elite will do, it is enough that they will not do what failed Republicans have been doing.
Enter liberal conventional wisdom transformed into policy: the breathtaking disaster that is Republican government – George W. Bush, the Iraq War, Katrina, Halliburton, Global Warming, Immigration, Gas Prices, Deteriorating World Opinion – is so obvious and so serious that to be against Republicans in an election does not require ideas. It is simply self evident.
This is a subtle, but enormously powerful, transformation of politics. The Liberal Elite know well that a platform comprised of Marxism, godlessness and globalism is a recipe for catastrophic defeat. They have cleverly replaced the principle that an election consists of competing public policy ideas with a newly-minted fact: Republicans in government are such failures that it does not matter what the alternative might be, it has to be better. The alternative is irrelevant.
What marvelous camouflage for unpopular public policy.
Such a divorce from ideas in political discourse results in bizarre contradictions of logic, and indeed, such contradictions are themselves a proof of the theory. Devout Christians will vote for a candidate who has espoused infanticide. Common sense people who despise taxes support a candidate who will use every conceivable tax to fund new education, social and health care programs. Regular folks who curse when filling their gas tank support a candidate who hates the very idea of oil exploration. Citizens aghast at the insane pace of spending in Washington will vote for a man who has, at last count, proposed more than one trillion dollars of additional spending. The fact is that the Liberal Elite could run Satan on the Platform of Republican Failure and be competitive in 2008.
These Liberal Elitists, wise in the ways of political power, understand that to make Republican Failure an effective weapon, it is not enough that this be a strongly-held belief. Republican Failure had to be forged into a diamond-hard fact in the minds of Citizen Liberals everywhere, a reality so indisputable that to challenge it would be to merit “kook” status along the lines of “We faked the moon landing in a Hollywood Studio!” To this end, the media has, over the entirety of the Bush presidency, effectively deployed all its assets.
Once Republican Failure has been established as a scientific reality, a powerful political Platform emerges. “Change”…“Business as usual”…“The failed policies of George W. Bush”…“the worst economy in the last 50 years” are all examples of slogans designed to remind Citizen Liberals of Republican Failure and keep them focused on job number one: removing Republicans from power. Consider the words of Obama in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention (emphasis added on the elements that comprise the Platform of Republican Failure):
We meet at one of those defining moments - a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.
Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.
These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.
America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.
This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.
This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.
We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.
This Platform of Republican Failure not only absolves the Liberal Elite from having to disclose policy details, but it exempts Citizen Liberals from having to discern truth...from having to do much of anything except pull the lever for a Democrat. For if you have clearly established the fact of Republican Failure, then any criticism of Democrats by Republicans has as much merit as a convicted criminal protesting the law. Conversely, any criticism of Failed Republicans by Democrats has to be, by definition, accurate.
Consider that an election is an often messy, inflammatory process whereby citizens focus their attention on candidates seeking enormous power by virtue of their ideas. These ideas are presented to the public in the form of biased information. The primary responsibility of the electorate is to strip away these biases and make rational decisions. By embracing the Platform of Republican Failure, Citizen Liberals reject, a priori, any information presented by one group and accept all information presented by the other.
George W. Bush has not been an outstanding president, but he has been a damn good one in key areas: pursuing Islamic terrorists and preventing more 9/11s, appointing John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, passing tax cuts and honoring our nation’s highest office. The reality of Washington politics is that it is dominated by a bloated bureaucratic entity that, like Audrey in the Little Shop of Horrors, has overwhelmed its master with its insatiable desire to feed and grow. In this liberal environment, any conservative party or president is vulnerable to having its battle with this creature demonized into a platform of failure.
If one party is no longer required to define a governing philosophy, then a curtain is drawn around that party, obscuring its true nature from view. What then prevents the ultimate Manchurian Candidate?
Copyright © 2008 Dan Hallagan. All Rights Reserved.