There is a great deal about traditional conservatism that fits comfortably into my worldview. I was raised in a traditional household by married parents (still going strong after 38 years mind you). I was educated in the Catholic tradition, attended church regularly, served as an altar boy, and was read to from the Bible by my father. The last 15 years of my life have been spent as both manager and student of the world of business, and I am certainly a capitalist. My greatest heroes growing up were soldiers and airmen (there are few children who would list their idols at age ten to be Generals George Patton, Claire Chenault, and Vinegar Joe Stillwell).
That my parents are liberal Democrats who did not force religion on their children or believe in mixing their strong patriotism with xenophobia, remains a powerful force pulling me firmly to the center-left of our often silly political structure. I do believe that a liberal interpretation of the commerce clause of our Constitution is the one reading most responsible for the economic power of our nation. The uniformity of our laws, levels of education, capacity for law enforcement (civil and criminal), and infrastructure have provided the platform for local businesses to grow into world-beaters over the last century-plus. This uniformity ONLY exists with a strong federal system, which by the way, we all have a voting stake in.
So I could be a Republican, if only the party would spend more time working on solving problems, and less time making asses out of itself trying to creatively criticize the President. I will highlight a few examples this week, and attempt to revisit the topic once a month. I will also, of course, pen a similar column about those lovable losers, the Democrats with similar frequency. The Republicans first, though.
Item #1: Terrorist trial misfire
When the Obama administration announced that five terrorists would be tried in federal court in New York, according to our laws and traditions, most of the right went into spasm. While Republicans could have, had they asked questions before they shot, focused on the victims families, most focused on something less noble. The predominant argument, repeated early and often by commentators, was that we should not try these idiots according to our laws and traditions, because the trials might make us targets. The Republican talking point was that America should give up its tradition because we are afraid. Speak for yourselves cowards!
Item #2: GM quarterly earnings report
Michael Steele, the less than stellar “leader” of the Republican Party, came out swinging against the Obama administration on news that GM is still losing money “even after $50 billion worth of taxpayer’s money”. What? This kind of “analysis” would be comical if it didn’t hurt so many people. The pro-business party and its presumably pro-business chair too often demonstrate a complete and comprehensive ignorance concerning how business works. We invested cash to keep them going, and to finance the restructuring while the firm was in bankruptcy. Businesses that size don’t turn on a dime, and the federal government (contrary to the tantrums of the Tea Baggers) was not “in control of” that firm. General Motors was and remains a colossal mess wrought by decades of abysmal management, cultural protectionism, and short-sighted union partners. The move by Steele is the kind of purely political fiction that the rational middle dislikes from both sides.
Item #3: The Bow!
With apologies to the family of the brainless Steve Ducey of Fox and Friends, there is not a 200 year precedent of Presidents not bowing to foreign leaders. Conservative commentators and the GOP politicians that have taken to repeating what the commentators say are either hypocritical, dishonest, or stupid. The FLAG must not be lowered below the level of another flag…if President Obama orders our flag to submit at the Olympics, than I will jump in line to scream at him. In the meantime, the same commentators who rightly criticized the left for laughing at George W. Bush (who held hands with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and kissed him) are now criticizing Obama? It is DIPLOMACY…and I wonder how many of these people were critical of Nixon, who bowed to the Emperor that attacked Pearl Harbor?
Come on people…keep your eye on the ball and stop looking for an excuse to attack the President every day. If you are patient, you will capitalize on real opportunity (it always happens), and when you do, the public won’t dismiss it as another BS line from the “Party of No”.
The rational middle is listening…