Navel-gazing and beating the dead horse
Lately my thoughts have been of the Republicans' tenuous hold on the Senate, House, and White House. The debates over at Redstate and my posts here have focused my thoughts on the necessity of retaining this control at pretty much any cost, even if the only reason is "so the Dems don't get control".
This has led to some degree of soul-searching, as well as dodging sticks and stones hurled at me for being a "liberal Republican" (and throwing a few back as well). It is interesting to look back on my past views, as an arrogant kid voting Libertarian for 10 years because both major parties were so phony, as a newly-focused conservative facing reality in 2000, a more stengthened and practical observer following 9/11 and the 2002/2004 elections, and more recently as a pragmatic observer and commentator of the body politic.
It is difficult to accept that one's ideals have to be so grossly set aside in favor of the larger picture. Perhaps it is part of the maturation process, one that I had already accepted in other areas of my life with respect to pursuing a musical career weighed against the practicalities of making a living to a standard above poverty. My political ideals have been sharpened and subsequently tempered, mostly by opening my eyes and imagining the alternative futures that result from application and abbrogation of those ideals.
For Dune fans, think of it as Muad'dib and his prescience versus the Golden Path.
The nest of vipers in Congress, especially the Senate, are a collective disgrace. Conservative voters have every reason to feel betrayed and ignored by our elected officials. The vehicle for conservative agenda-realization has historically been the Republican Party, and it continues to be today. The leadership of the Republicans, unfortunately, has proven to be weak, ineffective, unprepared/unwilling to govern, and ultimately more liberal in many ways than the opposition party of our fathers and grandfathers.
The dismay on the right has led many to consider sitting out the 2006 election, or to vote 3rd party, or to protest-vote for the Dems. This line of thought seeks to "punish" the Republicans by removing them from power and to give them a time-out to regroup for 2008 with a more conservative agenda push. Many proponents of this approach are perfectly fine with letting the Dems regain control; in their view the Republicans aren't doing our bidding, so we'll take away their toys for awhile.
The fundamental problem with this attitude is that the Dems are currently not a valid opposition party that can be trusted to run things while we conservatives regroup and refocus. SOMEONE is going to win the election and take over the seat, possibly the legislative body. If we had a viable alternative, a party that we could trust not to steer us directly at the icebergs, then I can see this as a way to beat some sense into the Republicans. Sadly, the Dems are no better for our country than their Commie forebears would have been, and are thus not qualified to have the power that the hardcore conservatives would abrogate to them.
I have written exhaustively on this at http://www.redstate.com/story/2006/5/8/115618/6929. The main thrust is that although the Republicans are currently an imperfect ally, they are far better suited to advancing the conservative worldview than the Dems are. The Dems are pretty much an outright enemy to my views and values, and my pragmatism has led me to agree that supporting the imperfect ally is FAR better than allowing the outright enemy to have legislative and executive control over any legal attachments to my life.
The appalling short-sightedness of giving control of the Senate/House/White House to the Dems, in order to make a point, to me is nothing short of lunacy. Once the Dems are back in power, the incumbent-protection program, strengthened by McCain-Feingold, will ensure that the Republicans will be back out in the wilderness for a very long time. The events rushing toward the American people over the next 10 years WILL REQUIRE careful and sober legislative attention.
* Judges. Lose the Senate, and you can forget about any more Alito or Roberts nominations. The 2008/2012 president will have 2 to possibly 6 (my guess is 4) seats to fill.
* Taxes. Forget any permanent cuts. Prepare for hikes and a more aggressive "progressive" system. Spend your money now because your kids won't get any of it.
* National Security/War. Do I really have to address this?
* Illegals. It'll be instant amnesty for everyone, very sweeping and practically limitless. At least the House currently wants a wall; it won't after the Speaker Pelosi runs the show.
* Oil/Gas. The baby steps we are getting now on ANWR and increased refining capacity will be reversed. And the always-favorite Windfall Profit tax will be paid. By You. At the Pump. $4-5/gallon by 2010.
* Economy. Capital Gains taxes will certainly be raised. Ready to see your dividends disappear down the maw? You can also assume that Wal-mart and other big corporations will be targeted.
* SocSec/Medicare/Healthcare. Your new Soviet masters will take care of you, cradle to grave.
I share the frustrations of fellow conservatives. We have some major issues in this conservative movement to address with the political vehicle of choice -- the Party. But as bad as our guys are now, they ARE NOT and WILL NOT be worse for this nation than the Dems will be once they get power back.
To deliver control of the scheduling of votes and command of committees to the Marxists is simply not an option for me.
We have to change the leadership and membership at the primary level. Knock the RINOs off at that point, where it is easiest and least damaging. But we MUST continue to vote R in the general election, even if it puts a RINO back in his seat. The alternative is far, far worse.