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Must Dr. Jekyll Eliminate Mr. Hyde in the GOP?

The Jekyll and Hyde GOP beast cannot endure except as a perpetually weak, ineffective runner-up.

by
Paula Bolyard

Bio

October 19, 2013 - 7:00 am

GOP

This week, there are pats on the head for Ted Cruz and Mike Lee as the pundits and their GOP establishment colleagues give them condescending “attaboys” for their courageous (but misguided) attempt to make the government listen to the American people. They’re not all that bright after all, the pundits imply. Not experienced in the entrenched ways of Washington. They need to learn their place — to stay in the shadows until they’ve been in Washington for a dozen or so years and have been inculcated with the proper D.C. values. Observe the masters like John McCain and Mitch McConnell and, in time, perhaps they too can be like the Great Bipartisan Sages of the Senate. The strategists all warn that the Republicans must have a unified message. “Can’t we all just get along?” they ask.

The problem is that you can’t have a unified message when you have two creatures living in one body — either Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde must ultimately prevail. At the end of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jekyll, who can no longer stop himself from turning into the evil Hyde, writes in a letter, ”I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end.” Is it also time to bring the unhappy life of the Democrat-lite GOP to an end?

Michael Gerson, in his post-mortem of the shutdown debacle, made it clear that he thinks one side of the GOP is sane and reasonable and the other is completely off the rails. The establishment wing of the party, according to Gerson, “believes in building a legislative majority and electing a president to overturn it.” It’s all very civil and collegial. And it involves a lot of waiting around “for the next election” as the consultants and lobbyists line their pockets and the left continues its long, steady march across the Constitution and our individual liberties.

On the dark side, we have the conservatives. Gerson says,

 [T]ea party leaders inhabit an alternative political reality — sheltered in safe districts or states, applauded by conservative media, incited (or threatened) by advocacy groups, carried along by a deep current of anger and frustration among activists — they have no incentive to view defeat as defeat. In fact, turning against tactical radicalism would involve serious political risk. So every setback is interpreted as a need for greater purity and commitment.

This is the same old “clinging to their God, guns and religion” tripe we heard from Obama, only cloaked in a stuffy D.C. political analysis, but it shows the divide between the Washington ruling elites and those who believe that not everything can be solved in Washington — that the entrenched ways of Washington are actually the problem.

Michael Bauman recalled this week a pivotal moment in John McCain’s presidential campaign, when he was ahead in the polls and left the campaign trial to rush back to Washington to deal with a financial crisis. Bauman writes:

But just like his Democratic opponents, when things got bad, McCain turned to government and returned to Washington.  He could never convince the American voters that Washington is the problem because he didn’t believe it himself.  He believed Washington is the solution.  He still does.  So does the Republican leadership in the Senate and the RNC.  Do not expect him or them to beat the Democrats.  They share the Democrats’ ideology and solutions.  The difference between them and the Democrats is one of degree, not of kind.

TeaPartyByFreedomFan

Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee and a handful of others propose nothing less than a grassroots revolution to overturn the way business is conducted in Washington. Cruz told CNN’s Candy Crowley:

I’m convinced there’s a new paradigm in politics that actually has Washington very uncomfortable. It has politicians in both parties very uncomfortable. And that new paradigm is the rise of the grassroots, the ability of grassroots activists to demand of their elected officials they do the right thing. And I believe if we see a grassroots tsunami, that is going to cause Republicans and Democrats to listen to the people.

Cruz, like Tea Party supporters and libertarians and many others across the country who are tired of the government meddling in every aspect of their lives, wants to restore the authority of the people and decentralize the power of the federal government. The central planners and statists will necessarily be the losers in this grassroots revolution.

The differences between the two wings of the party could not be more stark —  and they’re seemingly irreconcilable. The Jekyll and Hyde beast the GOP has become cannot endure except as a perpetually weak, ineffective runner-up.

There is a reason millions of Americans supported the Cruz/Lee effort — and it’s not because we were “incited (or threatened) by advocacy groups.” I believe, as Cruz said, that there is a grassroots tsunami rumbling beneath the surface of this country. I feel it. I hear it from people every day. Just like the elephants who warned of the impending tsunami in Sri Lanka, so we are warning the political class that a liberty revolution, empowered by We the People, is coming. As we’ve grown weary of the weight of the soft tyranny of the last several decades, a soft revolution of liberty has grown. What will the GOP establishment do with this grassroots revolution?

Bauman says that those in the establishment wing “have alienated their only means to victory by failing to fight for their conservative base and its ideas. They fight against them and do to them what the Democrats themselves would love to do: marginalize the Tea Party.”

Jekyll is trying to kill Hyde (or is it the other way around?). Millions of disheartened conservatives may bolt from the Republican Party if it continues.

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Many are making  compelling cases that we need to win elections and the only way to do that is for the Republican Party to have a unified message. Nothing will change until we have an electoral majority, they say. They are correct, technically, but winning elections won’t solve the core problem of two creatures living in one GOP body. Demands for unity may be premature if the core values of the creatures are irreconcilable. In other words, it’s not just a strategy problem.

Margaret Thatcher used to say, ”First, you win the argument, then you win the vote.” Conservatives must win the argument with both the Republican establishment and the general electorate, and not for the sake of winning, but because our ideas and policy proposals are the best.

American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks, speaking about free enterprise at a Georgia Public Policy Foundation event in 2011, described the necessary steps for a policy revolution — for winning the argument:

  • Making the moral case for change — not the “money” case for change, but the moral case.
  • Demolishing the things in the way of the policy revolution — that the bad ideas of the status quo are morally degenerate and have to go.
  • Proposing real solutions that real Americans can understand.
  • Providing leadership to induce people to make sacrifices for the policy change.

Brooks said that both Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt went through these four steps and we will need to go through them again if we are to solve the current crisis. Brooks said that out of the four, “the hardest point is making the moral case.” He explained: “We talk about the money case for free enterprise. I’m telling you, I’m looking at the data all day long. It’s losing. It is a losing argument to say that the problem with Obamacare is to say that it could permanently cut a quarter of a percentage point off the long-term economic growth rate.”

He said that stark economic arguments will not succeed. Americans have been given the choice between the “left-wing moral case for a false kind of fairness” and “right-wing materialism that says it’s all about economic growth. If you think either one of those things is going to get Grandma to let go of part of her Medicare, you’ve got another thing coming, because she’s not going to,” says Brooks. “We need to have the real moral case. We need to have the rejoinder to the left that speaks to the heart and if we don’t, we’re going to fail.”

The October Stand by Cruz and Co. was a step in the right direction of a policy revolution — “to have the rejoinder to the left that speaks to the heart.” Cruz and Mike Lee and several other courageous conservative Republican House and Senate members garnered hours of TV face time — worth millions in ad buys — to make the moral case to the American people that Obamacare is fundamentally unfair and people will be harmed by it. In doing so, they began demolishing the morally repugnant ideas standing in the way of the conservative revolution. If the GOP establishment is unable or unwilling to make the effort — sometimes at great risk — to win the argument, then the party cannot be saved from extinction.

Perhaps I’m naïve and our country will never be able to dig out of the morass of debt and political corruption that has taken a century to accumulate — a system the Republican establishment has aided and abetted. Maybe we are too far gone, too dependent on our Washington overlords to ever recover. But perhaps Ted Cruz’s October Stand was a sign that we are beginning to emerge from the American Dark Ages — that our dumbed-down, mind-numbed society is beginning to once again value the Constitution and the things that made our country great. Perhaps we have taken meaningful steps in the direction of winning the argument. If we continue to do so, we will eventually win the elections.

I’m optimistic that, as Mike Lee has said, “the American people will have the last word.” We the People – not the politicians or the pundits –  must have the last word or we will betray and dishonor the gift of the Constitution that our Founders bestowed upon us and we will spit in the face of the liberty with which God has blessed our nation.

Recently "retired" from homeschooling, Paula is an unapologetic Christian and Constitutional conservative. Though she aligns politically with the Tea Party, she is a member of the Wayne County Republican Executive Committee. She is also a contributor at Ohio Conservative Review. Paula lives in N.E. Ohio with her husband, three dogs, and two parrots.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
No real need for Inside Baseball analysis, it ain't that fancy.
In politics nothing is forever.
Of course the GOP can't survive as is.
Who would want it? And why is this still a question?

The effect of epic incompetence is self-evident. Today's GOP will never win another election. The doddery old-guard responsible are old, slow, dopey, badly busted and all-around pathetic; worse, many are nasty and seen as corrupt and ineffective, all for good reason.

The entitled old farts who've helped run the country into the ground over decades are now mercifully well on the road to The Great Croaking, which makes life somewhat easier, but the rest will have to be removed one way or another, and hollowing-out the shell won't be dainty. Alternatively, the rest of us may form a third party. That conversation is now underway from coast-to-coast, though it'll never reach the media drones of party central until after the fact. Be clear, though: the crap-filled GOP old-guard will never hold power again. The only real issue is how much more harm they can do before they're gone. So brace yourself, Emily, the world is about to get downright uncouth.

Bring it on.
Who cares about the GOP?
Care about your country, your neighbors and your grandchildren instead.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Pay special attention to 2001: "We can't reduce government because we only have the White House, The House, and half the Senate with a tie-breaking VP. Because we only have half the Senate we have to be nice." These progressive republicans are, and have always been, opponents of our freedom and our Republic.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the Democrats win the elections, they get what they want. If the Republicans win elections, the Democrats get what they want. The Institutional Republicans believe in pre-emptive surrender and collaboration above all.

This below is not mine. It comes from a HerbN. And it is accurate.

>>>GOP Excuses:

1981-1986: We can't reduce government because we only have the White House and the Senate but the Dems have the House.
1987-1992: We can't reduce government because we only have the White House but the Dems have Congress.
1993-1994: We can't reduce government because we control nothing.
1995-2000: We can't reduce government because we only have Congress but the Dems have the White House.
2001: We can't reduce government because we only have the White House, The House, and half the Senate with a tie-breaking VP. Because we only have half the Senate we have to be nice.
2001-2002: We can't reduce government because we only have the White House and the House but the Dems have the Senate.
2003-2006: We can't reduce government because we only have the White House, the House, and Senate while the Dems have nothing.
2007-2008: We can't reduce government because we only have the White House but the Dems have Congress.
2009-2010: We can't reduce government because we control nothing.
2011-Now: We can't reduce government because we only have the House but the Dems have the Senate and the White House.

There are eight combinations possible with two parties and three institutions. The only one we haven't tried is a GOP Senate with Democratic House and White House.

None of the seven combinations tried have reduced government.

Why should I believe winning elections, at least the GOP winning elections, will change anything?<<<

Constitutionalists splitting from the Institutional Republicans does not guarantee victory over them and their Statist allies by any means. The odds are horrible. Staying with the Institutionals completely guarantees defeat.

Subotai Bahadur
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (82)
All Comments   (82)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
" Demands for unity may be premature if the core values of the creatures are irreconcilable."

Perfectly succinct analysis of the core issue within the party - and the country. One side must win this thing and demolish the other. I'm voting for the conservative side. The war is still on.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jekyll and Hyde? Please...

More like Bruce Banner and the Incredible Hulk!

This is not necessarily a negative comparison for the Tea Partiers.

Banner is the mild mannered go along to get along type - same as the establishment republicans who have been busy losing election contests with the democrats for years while saving their real political combativeness for fighting those right of center types they despise so much.

In the Incredible Hulk story lines, the Tea Partiers being the inelegant brute in this analysis, generally the Hulk is the one who saves the day and smashes the bad guys.....
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The establishment wing of the party, according to Gerson, “believes in building a legislative majority and electing a president to overturn it.”

Yeah? How's that strategy working out for them? The 2012 elections had the wind at their backs. Fresh off a crushing victory in the mid-terms, with an ideal Establishment Republican candidate, and they still lost.

Oh, right. Wait 'til next year!

The Establishment Republicans are never, ever, ever going to have the requisite majorities to repeal Obamacare, not as they are now constituted. If nothing changes, nothing changes. We have to try something different, because this strategy is never going to work. Never.

This talk of the usual approach is nothing more than a ploy to keep themselves in power.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The Establishment Republicans are never, ever, ever going to have the requisite majorities to repeal Obamacare, not as they are now constituted."

That's not true...the minute they have 101 Senators and 436 House members they'll repeal it in a day.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
End with holding from paychecks and make everyone write a monthly check to fund the government, and watch the country instantly become more conservative.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you Paula for your wonderful articulation of the real problem. Unlike Rick Moran - who in his article is throwing up his hands and asking (in a Rodney King whine) "can't we all just get along"?

No more excuses - no more whining - and NO MORE VOTING FOR RINO'S!!!


25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the Tea Party, or the modified Republican Party wants to expand its appeal and attract voters, they have to stop the mantra that the government is evil, Washington is the problem etc..

The majority of the people believe in a civilized society, the role of taxes/government in law/order/infrastructure/regulation/enforcement etc. The argument has to be calibrated into what roles the federal govt should be in, what the state govt roles should be, and the local towns. The efficiency in the govt processes is important too - but what is efficient in a generic and private sector sense cannot be implemented in the government because of archaic privacy/sharing etc rules - that the SBA cannot use IRS database, etc

At the root is our rigged electoral system. In the name of local control, the local politicians are coming with archaic rules as to who can vote, who can contest etc. I believe a California type primary system makes all the sense; where voters select a person than a party.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
What kind of a country lets its capital get fat off the suffering of its own populace? It certainly isn't one where the government really believes it exists to support the people like ours is supposed to, and yet if you look around at the country, about the only place that never suffered the slowdown or the crash was ... DC. And now, it's a fat little boomtown growing rich off the suffering of the country.

So yeah, I think it's very appropriate to say we hate this phase of big government. It's become a parasite sucking up our prosperity and offering us nothing in return. I won't like it again until is returns to its proper place in the world - my servant.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The majority of the people believe in a civilized society, the role of taxes/government in law/order/infrastructure/regulation/enforcement etc"

You know what is worse than liberals telling me the Tea Party's dream country is Somali? People who claim to be fellow conservatives telling me that.

Ah, but the problem is the Tea Party calling people names.

" The argument has to be calibrated into what roles the federal govt should be in, what the state govt roles should be, and the local towns. "

I can put that in one sentence which I bet 99% of Tea Party people would agree with:

I wish we could back to the phrase "don't make a federal case out of it" having some meaning.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Government isn't inherently evil and I'm not reading that opinion from any of the Tea Party activists. BIG government is big bureaucracy and big bureaucracy likes rules and regulations that aren't necessary to govern the country. They create rules and regulations that are detrimental to individuals and businesses. If you don't believe that just study some of the evil regulations coming from the current EPA bureaucrats.

And FYI Washington IS the problem currently.

25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
De-elect McCain's wing of Democrat-Lite Republicans even if we have to become a smaller minority party. The Democrat-Lites only want to entrench themselves in power, and they are not much different than Obama's party. Let them go. Our s.o.b.s are worse than theirs because ours are stupider. You don't need to elect a Tea Partier, just bury the old guards and start over.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
How do we go about 'de-elect(ing) - let(ing) them go - start(ing) over? Even if they all fell over dead tomorrow State Governors would just appoint someone from the local party machine. Primarying them with truly conservative candidates is the only fix.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
I concur except I think our S.O.Bs are worse because they're bigger liars, not stupider.

Also, the Dems don't insult me in the morning and then email me a fund raising letter that evening.

No GOP Congress in 2014.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
"No GOP Congress in 2014."
Oh, that will turn out well. But at least 'they' won't insult YOU again.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Please exam what happened in Canada, both in general and conservatives in particular, after the 1993 debacle of their nominal conservative party being reduced to 2 seats.

The only way to get the GOP to actually act on what they campaign on is to make it clear that go along to get along while stringing conservative voters along is not viable to election even in the majority. To date we've let them act "Democrat light" even when the majority in both Houses and in possession of the White House. Compromise is one thing. Lying every election about being for small government and governing big government regardless of how much or how little power they have is another.

When will all you "this couldn't have worked, what's your problem" get it? The GOP flushed all, and I mean all, credibility that what is needed is compromise because we lack majorities so just bear with us in the years 2003-2007. That only works if you haven't recently had control of all elected branches because what you're selling is you will change the nature of the feds when you do.

So, as far as that turning out "well" what are the Democrats going to do without a GOP "check" on them? Expand Medicare for the first time in 40 years? Further Federalize education policy? Offer blanket amnesty to illegals while leaving legal immigrants under the rules they obeyed?

Because, you know, that's what GOP majorities do too, at least as the GOP is currently constituted?
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, yeah, the Republicans are worse than the Democrats. Don't elect any Republicans to Congress. Yup, that's a plan. So clever I cannot catch my breath. The DNC will love it.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
In 2016 when the GOP runs on fixing Obamacare against the Dem's Single Payer plan enjoy your results.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
No real need for Inside Baseball analysis, it ain't that fancy.
In politics nothing is forever.
Of course the GOP can't survive as is.
Who would want it? And why is this still a question?

The effect of epic incompetence is self-evident. Today's GOP will never win another election. The doddery old-guard responsible are old, slow, dopey, badly busted and all-around pathetic; worse, many are nasty and seen as corrupt and ineffective, all for good reason.

The entitled old farts who've helped run the country into the ground over decades are now mercifully well on the road to The Great Croaking, which makes life somewhat easier, but the rest will have to be removed one way or another, and hollowing-out the shell won't be dainty. Alternatively, the rest of us may form a third party. That conversation is now underway from coast-to-coast, though it'll never reach the media drones of party central until after the fact. Be clear, though: the crap-filled GOP old-guard will never hold power again. The only real issue is how much more harm they can do before they're gone. So brace yourself, Emily, the world is about to get downright uncouth.

Bring it on.
Who cares about the GOP?
Care about your country, your neighbors and your grandchildren instead.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think the Republican Party as we know it will disappear after the 2020 Presidential election, having seen two more Democrat-lite candidates handily defeated by the real Democrats. I'm not sure what happens after that. The Democrats will doubtless take advantage of their one-party status to ban opposition political activities, which may make formation of an effective new party impossible. But eventually economic collapse will come.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not an apt comparison. Mr. Hyde was a scary dude. The GOP Establishment is anything but. A better analogy would be President Lincoln and General McClellan. And, yes, *our* McClellan needs to retire and deliver the troops to the command of General Grant (i.e., Republicans who fight, and fight to win).
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
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