Steve A. Stone
Dear Friends and Patriots,
I’m a dues-paying member of the Republican Party. I’ve been a Republican by inclination all my life, but it was only in relatively recent years that I officially and financially joined the party. Since that time I’ve been involved in the party’s inner workings – to a minor extent. I learned relatively early on that the fringes of the party were where one can learn of internal intrigues but avoid becoming involved in them.
Having been in several large organizations before – the US Navy, a Navy Systems Command (NAVSEA), and a major shore command, not to mention a one-time government contractor of some significance – I understood internal organizational politics and was not surprised to discover such goings-on in the Republican Party. What did surprise me was how pervasive and personal the games are. The party could teach even the Navy a few things about internal power games.
In pondering on why the party’s internal strife is so powerful and long-lived I had to conclude there are three major factors. 1. There are party members with enough money to ensure they get their way for a long, long time. 2. Some members have business and family connections that allow them to get their way for an equally long time. 3. A lot of people spend their entire lives as members of the party, and they play the party’s games during the entire duration of their tenure. They either become masters of manipulation or reliably willing tools.
I’ve never experienced the Democratic Party, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to find almost exactly the same games and same factors at play there. I make that point for a specific reason. My own sense of things informs me that what I observe of the Republican is true of virtually all groups with the same organizational model. To test that theory I visited my local volunteer fire department during a meeting of its Board of Directors. What I observed there was nothing less than an unsophisticated version of the exact same behaviors I’d seen among senior local Republicans. It was power politics writ small. One big difference was immediately obvious to me. The “fringe” area of a small organization like a volunteer fire department is one person deep. It’s extremely difficult to remain apart from any game in play. In a large organization one can exist for years at a time as an observer; in a small organization that’s often impossible. You play or you’ll always be ignored.
Every point I’ve made about the Republican Party and organizational intrigues are things I believe are true. I also believe they have little to do with the problems of the party in national politics. It’s nothing organizational that causes the vast difference between Democratic Party successes and Republican Party failures. Organizationally there are great similarities. The factors that characterize them as organizations are universal. No, the real differences, though they are fundamental also, have nothing to do with any organizational factor
I’ve always admired Republican Party Platforms. Republicans seem to have a talent when it comes to devising lofty and inspirational platform statements. The platforms, when taken in their entirety, speak of an organization that has a strong moral foundation. It’s a party with an obvious streak of religious fundamentalism in it. At least, the platforms indicate it is. Most members believe in the platform as expressions of what it means to be a Republican. That, in itself, is where the problems start.
Before taking on this topic I took the trouble to do informal polling. I wanted to determine how many party members actually read the platform. What I discovered depressed me a bit. Hardly any party member I discussed the platform with had actually read it. They may have read a party platform 20 years ago, during one of the previous Presidential elections, but not since. Not really. Most seem to be of the opinion the platform is some kind of eternal statement, as if it’s akin to an ancient religious text. They all seem to understand that the platform is revisited at each party convention, but don’t perceive any real need to understand its current tenets. It strikes me as an odd behavior. Those same people probably sat in their church on Sunday and re-read Bible verses they’d read many times since childhood, yet they don’t seem to believe there’s a need to stay current and informed on one of the most important documents that supposedly exemplifies their political philosophy. There’s always a danger in being a member of any organization populated by those with an imperfect understanding of their organization’s mission statement. It leads to serious mistakes.
I’ve read the current Republican Party Platform. I like it. I adhere to it. I believe in it. I even believe it’s a good roadmap to use when our legislators pursue their own jobs. That seems to be where the Republican Party falls seriously short. Hardly any of our elected representatives, at the state or national level, seem to be more than vaguely aware of what’s stated in the party platform – what the platform states a Republican should believe in and the objectives they should pursue in governing our nation.
In any well-run commercial corporation you’ll find enforcement mechanisms. The performance of individual employees (non-union employees, that is) is judged by standards set for them by their managers. Those standards are required to be consistent with whatever exists in the form of corporate objectives and ethics. Employees who fall short in demonstrating their adherence to those objectives and ethics do not fare well. Those who chronically underperform are not promoted and eventually may be fired. I’ve managed contracts with some of the biggest corporations in America, including IBM, GE, Northrup-Grumman, AT&T, and Raytheon, and have seen how their employees are guided by such standards and objectives. The prevailing corporate philosophy seemed to be “buy-in or go away.” That kind of enforcement works for corporations. It also leads to a question today – if it works for them, why doesn’t the Republican Party do the same? Why doesn’t the party create enforcement mechanisms to ensure party members truly represent the ethics and standards illustrated by the party’s platform?
By now you should understand this dialog as something of a formal grievance.
I’ve long wondered why the Republican Party tolerates members who so obviously don’t adhere to the tenets of the party’s platform. Instead of not tolerating, the party too often finds itself promoting the causes of those very same people. I’ll point a finger directly at a specific case in point who should starkly illustrate what I’m saying.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine is a staunch abortion advocate. She’s never voted for anything that would restrict any woman’s ability to obtain an abortion on demand. She’s up front about it, referring to it in the radical feminist terms as “a woman’s right to choose.” She ignores the truth that her more conservative party compatriots have arrived at – it’s always a woman’s right to choose. Choosing life is exercising that right to choose, too. The Republican Party Platform articulates a very strong pro-life vision. It argues for the elimination of all taxpayer funding of abortion, for the repeal of Roe v. Wade, and for state laws that would make abortion a rare event in America. Yet, Senator Collins persists in her position. If the Republican Party in Maine stringently adhered to the principles of the party’s platform they would have never let Senator Collins run as a Republican in the first place, or should have supported an alternative candidate in her first primary after she cast a pro-abortion vote. What I’m stating is – the Republican Party at all levels should judge each candidate by their adherence to the party’s ethos, as stated by its platform. Those candidates who don’t measure up should at least not be supported. I propose they be expelled from the party’s ranks.
America is a nation in dire trouble. We are in danger of a dissolution so rapid it would make Rome’s period of decline seem like an eternity. The answer to that problem is stated by the Republican Party Platform. It lays out a philosophic approach to governance that could ensure the success of the nation in perpetuity – if our elected representatives would understand and adhere to it. But, the pure truth of the matter is – they don’t, and they won’t. If you ask them about it directly you might receive a response much like, “You just don’t understand. Congress doesn’t work that way,” or “You can’t get anything done in the State House if you’re hamstrung by having to stick to the party’s platform.” Most of our politicians are fully invested in the philosophic fiction of compromise. They believe horse-trading is the best, tried-and-true method of moving the country forward. Perhaps that was true at one time, or perhaps it was never true. I’m not certain. What I am certain of is – it’s not true at all today. Today’s Republicans aren’t dealing with yesterday’s Democrats. In previous decades there were just as many patriots and Constitutionalists among Democrats as there were among Republicans. The two parties differed in priorities, but not in methodology and in faith in our nation. But, that was then, and this is now.
Today there are no patriots among Democrats. I may be willing to make exceptions for Senators Joe Manchin and Christine Senima. Those two seem to still have some residue of an American heart and soul. The rest are totally lost somewhere along the progressive spectrum. The Democratic Party as a whole has abandoned its past and has fully embraced a cynical vision of the future that’s more representative of a utopian communist state than one based on the American ideals of individual freedom and liberty. They’re now fully committed to the furtherance of a totalitarian structure where the federal government holds all the power in the land and states are mere administrative bureaucracies of convenience. Their biggest legislative pushes are meant to undermine our capitalist-based system and replace it with a social democracy much like the one last seen in the old Soviet Union. From their mouths we hear about the “failings” of capitalism and its inherent racism, the “truth and dangers” of white privilege, the “myth” of America’s greatness, and how this nation was built on the backs of black slaves – who are slaves even now! The Democratic Party of today is as radically anti-American as the Black Panther Party was in 1970.
Does the last statement strike you as hyperbole? Think about it. The Democrats do not condemn the violence brought to American cities by Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and the dozens of other violent extremist groups that have been burning down cities for the past three years. They rarely voice any dismay over the rise in violent crime in the major cities of the nation. They attack any opposing group with extreme language in attempts to smear, if not to permanently eliminate them. Today’s Democratic Party behaves and speaks in ways that are almost identical to the old Black Panther Party and The Weather Underground. They are completely tolerant of the most profane anti-American speech and actions possible.
It should be clear there are fundamental differences between the Democrats and Republicans. You should all understand that, but for those few who don’t, allow me to give an opinion. The Republicans are playing according to rules that have been in place since the 19th Century. The Democrats abandoned those rules over 40 years ago. Politicians still use “compromise” as their advertised means of creating law, but Republicans have yet to catch on to the truth that Democrats re-defined that term decades ago – according to an old progressive tactic that promotes re-definition of terms to allow for false claims of social betterment. To a Republican the word “compromise” means giving up a little of one’s demands in order to gain the bulk of what is desired, while expecting the adversary to do the same. The compromise is designed to ensure both sides get something, while all issues both sides agree upon are made part of the deal. That was a standard definition for at least 150 years, but no more. Today the word has been unilaterally re-defined by progressive Democrats to mean “We get at least part of what we want, and Republicans get what we allow them to have.” Along the way, it’s true that even in dealing with individual issues the Democrats speak from a different dictionary. In negotiations Republicans use standardized English to define their positions, assuming Democrats are doing the same. But the Democrats are using their progressive English dictionary instead. In many cases both sides use the very same terms to describe polar opposite positions. Republicans often think they and their Democrat counterparts are articulating the very same position, when in fact they are diametrically opposed. How do I know this? I watch how the Democrats and their Deep State minions translate legislation into the rules, regulations, and legal code the federal bureaucracy uses to implement legislation. That’s when we are allowed to understand how the words in legislation are actually defined. Those definitions are found within the regulations that implement our law.
Another important difference is in how the two parties view legislation. Republican seem to take each bill and consider it in isolation. They don’t seem to acknowledge or work to any semblance of a master plan, not even the party’s platform. The Democrats adopted their progressive agenda over 90 years ago and consider all new legislation according to whether or not it will further that agenda. To Democrats a good compromise means another agenda item can be at least partially ticked off. They never retreat on their agenda. They never have and they never intend to.
Okay, so I’ve described a mess! Yes! Our government is a terrible mess. It needs to be fixed, but does it need to be scrapped to do that? I personally think not, but I do believe fixing it will be extremely difficult unless the Republican Party at all levels cleans up its act. The answers we need are already there – in the Republican Party Platform. But, to get that platform put into full action will require two things. One is for us to elect a fully-Republican government for at least eight full years. The other is for the party itself to learn how to self-regulate and purge itself of those people we call RINOs – Republicans In Name Only. For the party to work right, and to be the salvation of the American Dream, it needs to systematically purge itself of members who fail to adhere to the party’s ethos – as articulated in the platform. The Republican Party must learn to police itself without favor and without mercy. Elected officials should rightfully be required to prove their faith to the party, or the party must abandon them and work against them. That goes for any who cannot demonstrate their faith.
Reformation of the Republican Party is something most currently elected Republican politicians are not capable of. As a whole, they tend to be happy losers. Want proof of that? Just look a short while back in time and recall how people like Paul Ryan logrolled President Trump’s agenda in every way they could. Instead of getting behind a President intent on making the government heed the wishes and needs of the people, Ryan and his ilk fought for the “old way.” They weren’t comfortable with the leadership seats. It was much easier to be the “loyal opposition” than to be in charge. Since the Democrats have taken over again it’s easy to see how relaxed the Republican members of Congress have become. They’ve pretty much slinked back into their hidey-holes and only come out when specifically invited, and then they tell us how hard everything is and how they’d create this miracle or that for us “if only” they had the power to do it. Don’t be fooled, my friends and patriots – it’s an act. Those Republicans are trying to con us. Very few of them ever tell us the truth that they like things the way they are. They like not being blamed when things go wrong.
I’m like Bill O’Reilly says he is in one respect; I’m a simple man. Unlike Bill, I really am a simple man, not a poseur. I see most things in black and white. I don’t have much use for infinite shades of gray. I see a logical path forward for Republicans to save our nation, just by living up to an ethos they’re already pledged to.
The true shame of it all is – it’ll never happen. The RINOs and country-club Republican elite will never allow the party to be what it could be. It just doesn’t serve their interests.
Steve© Steve A. Stone
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.