Free Markets, Free People

A pox on both parties

Gallup’s latest poll shows that at least in the universe of those polled, neither the GOP or the Democratic party are held in very high esteem.  It’s something that I and Billy Hollis have been trying to get across for some time. 

What you’re seeing out there among the teeming masses isn’t necessarily a movement (I’m talking the Tea Party, etc) that wants to put the GOP in power.  It is a movement that is sick and tired of the way the country has been run and at the moment Republicans are considered to be slightly better because of their fiscal principles.

But, as Lisa Murkowski can tell you, not even all of them are acceptable.

I’m not speaking for the Tea Party, I’m not sure anyone can, but it appears to me to be mostly driven by a desire for fiscal conservatism and a return to Constitutional/limited government.  I don’t think it is much more complex than that, although with any mass movement you’ll see other minor movements with different causes try to attach themselves and claim to be mainstream in that movement.

But for the most part fiscal conservatism and limited government best characterize the Tea Party in my eyes.  And I’ve spoken frequently about how the “wrong track” poll – i.e. the fact that a huge majority of Americans, in the 60 percentile range, think the country is on the wrong track and have thought so for at least the last two administrations – speaks to the fact that they’re not happy with either party.

Gallup’s poll simply validates that point:

Americans’ frustration with Congress is directed at both sides of the aisle — with job approval ratings of 33% for the Democrats in Congress and 32% for the Republicans in Congress.

Interestingly those ratings are considerably higher than Congress’s approval rating (somewhere down around 11%) which I attribute to this specific Congress.   Americans don’t like the way Congress as a whole this session has done business and blame the Democrats for that, since they’re the majority party.  But in general, and for some time, they’ve not at all happy with the two parties (in fact, the cited poll numbers probably reflect approval by mostly partisan members of each party).

So here we are on the eve of  a mid-term with the GOP poised to make a return to power, at least in the House, and it is clear that they are nothing more than a “lesser of two evils” pick because, unfortunately, there are only two viable parties.

That is part of the frustration Americans are going through right now.  Movements like the Tea Party are trying to shape that a bit with its support of candidates that are much closer to the ideal they prefer.  And they’re having some success.

Of course the point is that the GOP shouldn’t think that there’s been a sudden mass acceptance of their brand or that they suddenly have some sort of mandate (the mistake the Democrats made and the result of that will be seen this November).  Instead they should understand that they’re grudgingly being given another chance to prove themselves, that the people that are supporting them have been very clear what they want, and if they don’t perform, they now have a movement that can find  – and back – someone who will. 

That’s quite a change from previous years, and who knows, if the Tea Party survives in some manner or form, it might be something that can indeed help us back along the road to fiscal conservancy and limited government.



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16 Responses to A pox on both parties

  • I don’t have very high expectations. The Reagan revolution took 15 years to percolate. Wave Elections sound good as TV sound bites. They don’t amount to much in the modern era. This might be the U Turn on the Road to Serfdom. Watch what happens at the local and state level. These are the levels of government where the Tea Party ethos can have the greatest impact. Given the size and scope of the federal government, the most we can hope for at present is a holding action, maybe a minor rollback. When you see the states asserting their powers, opposing federal encroachment and streamlining; then you will know that things are starting to change.

  • What you’re seeing out there among the teeming masses isn’t necessarily a movement (I’m talking the Tea Party, etc) that wants to put the GOP in power.

    Right, depending on which iteration of the GOP you are talking about…there are several, both literally and figuratively.
    For most of the people I know, and certainly for myself, my connection with the GOP is as tenuous and gauzy as it has ever been.  I would bolt from it as it now stands  in a second if there was a bolting place.
    This election cycle and the new (hopefully) Congress will be the acid test to determine if the GOP survives into the future, I really believe.  If the GOP pols go back to BAU (bidness as usual), they are DOOMED.
    When you have opinion leaders like Limbaugh, Levin, and even Hewitt saying very clearly they are not so much Republicans as they are conservatives, there is a reason for the disaffection and the distinction.

  • The real test for Republicans is whether they can avoid any of those “stupid” pieces of legislation.
    Watching Sen. Murkowski grope about for a party, any party, to run just one more time, shows just how pathetic the political junkies in DC have become.

    • Crist….Specter….Murkowski

      All disgusting careerist pols.  If they’re not suckling at the public teat, they’d dry up and die.  And it’s not just the GOP.  There’s been a few pathetic Dems who also switched parties lately ahead of the wave as well.

      The problem isn’t the Dems or the GOP  (well the leftist mindset actually is a problem) but the real problem is just the nature and low quality of our political class

    • avoid any of those “stupid” pieces of legislation

      Haley Barbour is the latest potential Republican presidential candidate to suggest that social issues like abortion should be taken off the table while making the economy the main focus. Despite the fact that polls show Americans strongly oppose the pro-abortion health care law, Barbour says fiscal issues should take priority.

  • The GOP thinks its 1994 all over again.  Unpopular activity by the Democrat President will sweep them in as a check.  Then non-accomplishment of campaign promises can be blamed on gridlock.  And anything that does go through, will go through will deals.  Deals meaning funding pet projects.  Pet projects meaning funding cronies of all shapes and sizes. 

    I don”t think the GOP has any other image in their minds or if they do its getting crowded out with that  golden era of 1994-2000 of no accountability and lots of back room dealing. 

    • jpm, I think it is a cardinal error to say stuff like, “The GOP thinks…”.  Not unless you can support the notion that the GOP is of one mind (which you absolutely cannot).  Plus, the thinking of people…and ESPECIALLY their actions…is subject to influence.  That is OUR job, going into the future.  Pols have an instinct for survival, and they don’t buck clear, forceful trends.

      • They seriously don’t have any plans.  They are running on a platform of gridlock.  Which obviously does have appeal over the current situation.  But beyond the party of gridlock from this point forward, where are broad promises of repealing HRC, ending stimulus, tax cuts? 

        They plan to exist entirely on gridlock and dealmaking.  I don’t see what else they are offering that’s a concrete plan and not some pledge to some abstract dogma. 

          • I’m not seeing that as inconsistent with my statements.
            #1 is gridlock on future stimulus with loopholes.   “Exceptions should be made for programs affecting seniors, veterans, and national security”
            #2 is leave taxes as is.   (where’s the cuts?)
            #3 A call to repeal a tiny portion of Obamacare that burdens businesses with paperwork.  (<- kidding me right?  as ridiculous as the paperwork requirement is, I think there’s more in Obamacare that needs a call for repeal.  Like all of it.)
            #4 Call to cut spending.  OK.  Who hasn’t called to reduce spending?  Name names of what you want cut and I’ll believe you’re serious
            #5 Call for Obama’s advisers to resign.  As much as I’d like the entire Obama administration to resign, Obama included, this is just theatre and makes we question the seriousness of the other 4 points.

  • So far, there is a movement for stopping the stupidity of the Democrats, and for gridlock.

    The Republicans could change that into a movement for smaller government if they actually came together as a party and ran on that. Provided there are enough new faces in the party that people believe them.

    Because I sure as hell ain’t gonna believe the same old dinosaurs who have been there for the last 20+ years.

    • A quick look shows that Republicans have done their best to avoid making this a national party event (I’m sure this will change after the election), preferring to let the Democrats dig the hole deeper.
      The real problems come after the election.  The House sounds like it will have a decent, but not huge, Republican majority.  Throw in a few remaining “BlueDog” Democrats and it will do fine.  The real problem is that the Senate will be very close, putting the RINOs of the NorthEast back in the driver’s seat, as the Republicans try to scrap together a majority on various contentious votes.
      I used to think that a close, almost even, split in the Senate was the worst possible outcome, as Senators use the leverage of their single votes to “squeeze out goodies,” but the last 18 months have shown me wrong.  The real trick will be trying to make an ADD electorate understand that even approaching repeal of ObamaCare probably won’t fly in the Senate.  Even though, the NorthEast RINOs voted against Obama Care in the end, doesn’t mean they want to repeal it.  They will want to “modify” it to “make it better”; sort of like trying to change your spouse.
      Ultimately, the RINOs may give the conservative Republicans (and Democrats) cover till the 2012 election, if they look obstructive enough.

      • Republicans have done their best to avoid making this a national party event

        Looks like I wrote that just a few minutes too soon.
        John Boehner appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America and says that Republicans should “roll back federal spending to FY2008 levels”
        On the bright side, this should make the Tea Partiers smile.  … and he beats Obama to the punch.