Monday, November 30, 2009

If it walks like a Republican, talks like a Republican, and votes for mass deportations like a Republican...

With most of Bush’s national security policy and foreign policy co-opted by Obama, and a blizzard of domestic crises that seem to cry out for big government solutions, Republicans have been struggling to define themselves lately. They have attracted the “Party of No” label of late by opposing nearly all of Obama’s proposals without offering much in the way of alternatives. And with the growing tension between the party’s fading neoconservative wing and its rejuvenated Glenn Beck populist wing, many people – or at least, me and my friend Scott – have been asking, “What do the Republicans actually stand for?”

We may soon officially find out. At the upcoming Republican National Committee meeting this winter, Congressman James Bopp of Indiana will present a resolution containing ten principles he believes Republicans should be united on. If his resolution passes, Republican national candidates will need to publicly state their support for at least eight of the principles to get support or funding from the RNC.

I’m pretty psyched about this for two reasons: 1) I think our political system benefits when a party is more closely attached to specific policy ideas, 2), I’ve been debating lately about whether or not to call myself a Republican anymore. Now Rep. Bopp has given me a way to decide.

Here is Bopp’s list

(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill;
(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare;
(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation;
(4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check;
(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants;
(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges;
(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat;
(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act;
(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion; and
(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership.

Ok, let’s take this one thing at a time.

I’m pretty sure I'm down with 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 (even though 7 is pretty vague, and regarding #6, the troop surge in Iraq is well-past over.)

Number one poses some problems. Do I support smaller government? Not necessarily. Smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes? Definitely. Do I oppose bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill? What the heck does that even mean? What kind of bills are “like” the stimulus? Does any bill that tries to jumpstart the economy through government spending when we’re teetering on the edge of a new depression count?

Number two: I do support market-based healthcare reform. I also support most of Obama’s health plan (which I deny introduces “government-run” healthcare). This “support/oppose” thing is starting to get tricky.

Number five: This is madness, but typical Republican madness. Sorry, RNC – I cannot support the deportation of twelve million people from the United States, so I guess I’m an “amnesty” supporter. (Also – did Rep. Bopp write this himself? What atrocious sentence structure. “We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society.” Legal immigration and assimilation of whom into American society? This sentence is practically screaming for a prepositional phrase there. Perhaps it’s Freudian.)

Number ten: Again with the false “support/oppose” linkages! This is killing me. “We support the right to keep and bear arms...” So far, so good. “ opposing government restrictions on gun ownership.” Arrgh! The only way to support the right to keep and bear arms to oppose government restrictions on gun ownership? All restrictions? Children, ex-cons, and mental cases should be able to own guns? Any kind of guns? No Republican supports that. This list needs to be rewritten. What does this Bopp guy have against prepositional phrases and qualifiers?

Six out of ten. It’s official. If the RNC passes this resolution, I can no longer call myself a Republican.

The mismatched dogmatism and ambiguity of Bopp’s Top Ten list reminds me of the “9 principles” of Glenn Beck’s 9/12 movement (“If you believe in at least seven of them, then we have something in common.” Yes, Glenn. Seven things in common, to be precise):

1. America Is Good. [Ugh. Better definition of terms, please!]
2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life. [Yep.]
3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday. [Okay.]
4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government. [Ultimate authority on what? Education? The proper care of children? Child sacrifice rituals?]
5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it. [All right.]
6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results. [All right.]
7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable. [No tax-funded welfare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education or disaster relief then?]
8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion. [What if my personal opinion is that America sucks? Not actually my opinion, for the record.]
9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me. [Except on financial, legal, judicial and educational matters.]

Four out of nine. Glenn, we have nothing in common.

I might have to come up with a top ten list of my own. Then I’ll just have to start my own movement. I’ll look into that.

In the meantime, peace be upon you all.


  1. I want to hear your ten!

    (But don't feel constrained. If Beck can do nine, Bopp can do ten, then certainly Veldkamp can do eleven.)

  2. I really want to hear your list. I think yours would turn out better than Bopp's and Beck's, but as you have shown in this post, that wouldn't really be saying much.

    If you do make a list, don't just make it better than theirs, go ahead and make it specific, grammatically correct, and thoughtful.

    I miss you Joel!

  3. Thanks, guys. I'll work on it. :)

    I miss you too, CJ. When do you leave for the Equator?