Sunday, March 06, 2016

The Party Of Civil War

Will the Republican Party Survive the 2016 Election? - The Atlantic:

A very long but generally solid slog through some of the relatively recent history of the Republican party. I often like to read the perspective of those who are the enemy of a position -- they are more likely to be clear in their criticism! This paragraph does a good job of summarizing what has happened to being a middle class white without a college degree in America today -- I covered this here.
You can measure their pessimism in polls that ask about their expectations for their lives—and for those of their children. On both counts, whites without a college degree express the bleakest view. You can see the effects of their despair in the new statistics describing horrifying rates of suicide and substance-abuse fatality among this same group, in middle age.
Seems that the left wing Atlantic and the Republican establishment have a hard time understanding why people that are dying of substance abuse and their own hand would be willing to take a long shot on Trump. I guess I'm just not quite intellectually removed enough to be able to understand that level of dispassionate analysis.
These populists seek to defend what the French call “acquired rights”—health care, pensions, and other programs that benefit older people—against bankers and technocrats who endlessly demand austerity; against migrants who make new claims and challenge accustomed ways; against a globalized market that depresses wages and benefits. In the United States, they lean Republican because they fear the Democrats want to take from them and redistribute to Americans who are newer, poorer, and in their view less deserving—to “spread the wealth around,” in candidate Barack Obama’s words to “Joe the Plumber” back in 2008. Yet they have come to fear more and more strongly that their party does not have their best interests at heart.

I'm reading "Darwin's Cathedral", a discussion of how religion "evolved. For an evolutionist, it HAD TO, right? There is no God, so why in the world should there be anything as stupid as religion! BIG PROBLEM! One of the big items he covers is John Calvin -- "the work ethic", how it allowed each and ever worker to see their vocation as a "holy pursuit". Being hard working was a VIRTUE!

Along came FDR and sold Americans that EVERYONE has a "right" to get more out of the government than they put in via FICA. Not that FDR cared -- he knew he would be LONG gone before the payment for the Democrat votes bought with FICA came due, but he and everyone who initiated it knew it was a Ponzi scheme based on 1). Perpetual population growth 2). Perpetual economic growth 3). 2/3 of the people dying before they received any "benefits".

All three assumptions are FALSE today, but even those WITH college degrees are generally not educated well enough to grasp these basic facts. As recently as 2005, W was willing to talk about the truth and propose putting some money in ACTUAL investments rather than spending it and putting IOUs in a box, but he was soundly defeated. The Trump voters are right, NEITHER party has their best interests in mind!

The work ethic is dead, the country is broke,  over 50% of the population  receives the major part of their income from the government, and neither party is stating ANYTHING as a "plan" to recover!

Politics was becoming more central to Americans’ identities in the 21st century than it ever was in the 20th. Would you be upset if your child married a supporter of a different party from your own? In 1960, only 5 percent of Americans said yes. In 2010, a third of Democrats and half of Republicans did. Political identity has become so central because it has come to overlap with so many other aspects of identity: race, religion, lifestyle. In 1960, I wouldn’t have learned much about your politics if you told me that you hunted. Today, that hobby strongly suggests Republican loyalty. Unmarried? In 1960, that indicated little. Today, it predicts that you’re a Democrat, especially if you’re also a woman.
Politics ARE becoming more central because religion, family, work, community, friends and everything else was becoming LESS central to life -- and to the extent any of those elements are part of your life, you likely only associated with those who shared your political persuasion, especially if you were on the left. As the nation falls ever farther down the totalitarian socialist rat-hole, politics **IS** the most important thing in at least THIS life!

Basically "post Clinton", the Republican establishment has been uncertainly messing around with the following issues:

1). Reform FICA, Medicare and other government benefits so they are no longer targeted to the "most needy 100%" and hav some tiny wisp of hope of being there for the "bottom 60%".

2). "Triangulate" on SOME way to control immigration from Mexico, remove at least "some/most" illegals, WITHOUT losing 90% of the Hispanic vote for the future. Most likely impossible.

3). Maintain / extend SOME sort of tax relief for those of us that are or were in the low 5 figures and are fighting a losing battle paying the freight on the massive growth of government.

4). Struggling to have SOME sort of military capability without busting the budget. Try to prevent us from falling to the point where we were incapable of telling Mexico " Build the damn wall -- OR ELSE!"

It is easy to assert that they have done a TERRIBLE job of all of these -- however, the Democrat strategy contrast is rather amazing:

1).  Unlimited spending at increasing rates on existing programs with over $100 T in unfunded liability while adding new programs with abandon (BOcare) with no plan at all on paying for any of it or controlled the deficit spending. They continue to give drunken sailors a bad name!

2). Open borders for all -- adding Muslims to the list including terrorists if possible. "Win/Win" -- more Democrat voters, more strain on system, more violence -- increases chances for more totalitarian crackdown! Being a Democrat has to be FUN!

3). Tax the absolute crap out of anyone making over say "$75K", hammer any entrepreneur / corporation as hard as they can!  Get business to close or leave! The more people dependent on government and not working the BETTER! Class warfare is a WINNER for D -- fan the flames!

4). Make the military a social project -- more women, more gays, get busy on transgender in the military. Lose as ignominiously as possible in as many theaters as possible! Use the military to de-stabilize stable countries like Libya and hand them over to terrorists. Pull the military out of Iraq and hand that over to the terrorists. Screw up Syria and let that become a terrorist stronghold. Capitulate to Iran, Russia, China and ISIS -- make certain America is viewed as completely powerless! Today N Korea said they were going to nuke both the US and S Korea.  Everyone loves the scent of BO (at least BO burning).

The new strategy soon proved a total and utter failure. George W. Bush’s tax cuts for high earners expired in 2013, and Republicans could not renew them. The drive to cut the deficit ended in budget sequestration, whose harshest effect fell on the military. The Gang of Eight deal never came to a vote in the House. All the while, Republicans’ approval ratings slipped and slid. Instead of holding on to their base and adding Hispanics, Republicans alienated their base in return for no gains at all. By mid-2015, a majority of self-identified Republicans disapproved of their party’s congressional leadership—an intensity of disapproval never seen by the Republican majority of the 1990s nor by Democrats during their time in the majority after the 2006 midterm elections.
I think there is plenty to be angry about relative to the Republican establishment -- however, we are to some degree complaining about the few people at least ATTEMPTING to do some bailing while the Titanic of the US goes under with Democrats drinking, smoking weed, whooping it up and using the lifeboats for campfires on the tilting deck.

When Trump first erupted into the Republican race in June, he did so with a message of grim pessimism. “We got $18 trillion in debt. We got nothing but problems … We’re dying. We’re dying. We need money … We have losers. We have people that don’t have it. We have people that are morally corrupt. We have people that are selling this country down the drain … The American dream is dead.”

That message did not resonate with those who’d ridden the S&P 500 from less than 900 in 2009 to more than 2,000 in 2015.
Remember, this is a lefty magazine -- printing a bunch of money and having the stock market go up and calling it "BO success" makes sense to these guys. It really isn't too surprising it does NOT make sense to over half of the Republican party, and at least SHOULD NOT indicate success to even more of the Democrat party.  If Trump becomes the nominee, the BIG QUESTION is if he is going to be able to get at least the white Democrats to look at the "are you better off?" question like Reagan did.

**IF** he was able to pull that off -- and it SHOULD be possible, since it is CLEARLY true that the "bottom 80%" of the US population has done terribly under BO, he could win. If that is a "good thing" and if he can accomplish anything to keep the US Titanic from the long fast trip to the bottom is highly questionable -- Can anyone???

Trump promised to protect these voters’ pensions from their own party’s austerity. “We’ve got Social Security that’s going to be destroyed if somebody like me doesn’t bring money into the country. All these other people want to cut the hell out of it. I’m not going to cut it at all; I’m going to bring money in, and we’re going to save it.”
 The two biggest holes in the side of our ship are unfunded liabilities and the inability of the economy to grow. Can one be fixed without fixing the other? My personal belief is that W gave us our best chance to stay afloat in '05 and we blew it. We are going to go under -- the question now is "how far".

BUT, I do tend to be something of a pessimist -- the BEST thing going for Trump is OPTIMISM, and his ability to engender that in millions of people who are actually workers that WANT TO WORK! It is similar to Reagan, but Trump is no Reagan and our situation is MUCH more dire than it was in 1980.   To have any hope of rebirth now we likely have to go through some cross between the '82 recession, the sick 70's, the Great Recession and the Great Depression!

Triple digit inflation? Years of deflation? Stock market "2,000"? No FICA payments to anyone with an income over "$15K"? I don't know how bad it is likely to get, but any of those would be better than "total collapse".

The linked article ends with a bunch of bogus "options" for Republicans to remain "viable" in the way they were before Reagan -- a perpetual minority party that provided the fiction that America was not ruled by a single party. The Atlantic finds that a great option -- but then, they still think we have an operational country, while the bottom 50% knows that what we have is a rapidly sinking ship with a lot of booze, weed and people shooting themselves in their cabins.

Remember, the Republican Party presided over the Civil War that was ANYTHING but "civil" -- 600,000 dead in a country with about 1/10th of the population we have today! In 1964, the Republicans lost the presidential election by over 20%, the Democrats had 68 Senators and a wide margin in the House.

If there is a small hope for saving America, most likely SOMEBODY has to take MAJOR, costly and risky action! Reading through articles like this shows that the "establishment" on neither left or right has nary a clue of the situation.

For all they are maligned, I find the Trump voters to have a lot more sense than the establishments of either party. They at LEAST understand there is a CRITICAL problem -- they may have the wrong approach to dealing with it, but SOME approach other than "business as usual" is certainly required!

Again, I think Cruz recognizes the problem as well and has a FAR better chance of fixing it, but I think the R establishment hates him worse than Trump! Just possibly, this is the time for a "really futile and stupid gesture"!

It isn't a political party we ought be worried about, it is AMERICA!

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