Being a registered Republican is a constant reminder that I’m a member of the party that evidently took the “short bus” to school. For all the accusations by the Democrats about how the GOP left a mess for the Democrats to clean up, the GOP simply doesn’t have the smarts to point out that the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress for much of that period, had the entire federal government and the majority of state houses the first half of the Obama administration, and that the CEO of Countrywide Angelo Mozilo, the leading subprime lender, ran a “Friends of Angelo” program that gave sweetheart deals to Democrats. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee received a deal estimated to be worth $1 million by Michael Moore – no friend of the GOP. Senate Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad (D-ND), Fannie Mae CEO and Democratic Party kingmaker Jim Johnson also received special deals from Mozillo. Countrywide also financed deals for other Democrats including Nancy Pelosi’s son, Senator Barbara Boxer and Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Clinton Donna Shalala and Congressman and current Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (D-SC). While Republican Alphonso Jackson made Angelo’s list, the rest of the list is skewed towards the Democratic Party not necessarily because Mozilo is a Democrat, which he may be, but that’s where the power was at the time.
Has the GOP run ads about this, carpet bombing the media to fight back against the meme that it is to blame for the financial crisis in 2008? It’s very simple. I’ve seen Barney Frank and Chris Dodd on CSPAN clips from the era protecting the subprime mortgage industry, resisting tighter regulation and denying that anything was wrong. The RNC can’t figure out how to edit the video and put these clips together? For every punch in the face by the Democrats I see the party and its leaders step back and raise their hands shouting, “See, this guy doesn’t fight fair,” and refusing to punch back. Meanwhile the Democrats mug their Republican enemies, brutalizing them with below the belt tactics like a robber kicking the crap out of an old lady on the sidewalk all the while yelling, “See? Self-defense! She started it! Ouch! She hit me! She’s just as bad and morally culpable as I am,” in the hope that the media and independent voters will buy their narrative, believing that either they are the morally superior party or at least, that the GOP is just as bad as they are. If people become jaded and don’t vote they win because Democrats will rely on union thugs to canvas cemeteries for votes on Election Day. Wait, that’s an exaggeration. They won’t use union activists to canvas cemeteries; that’s the local Democratic party’s job.
The stupidity of the GOP is endless to the point on verging on the pathological. One would think that of all industries the entertainment industry would be one of the least popular among conservatives and their libertarian allies. The former are constantly offended by negative stereotypes of white men and the military as well as the undermining of cultural values, while the latter bristles at the entertainment industry’s war against their own consumers through the DMCA and anti-piracy crusades. The DMCA was sponsored by a Republican congressman and has received strong backing by the GOP on the principal that’s what’s good for business is good for America. This thinking goes back two generations to the repeal under President Eisenhower of the 20% excise taxes on movie theater gross revenue put in place by liberal icon Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Professor Glenn Reynolds argues that the GOP should stop carrying water for their political enemies and call the Democrats’ bluff on higher taxes by re-instituting FDR’s movie tax. The entertainment industry does not back the GOP and Democrat parties evenly; support is skewed heavily towards the latter. By agreeing to the tax the GOP would show the industry that actions have consequences, something that Hollywood and the music industry have forgotten. It’s easy to support calls for higher taxes when you enjoy low ones; it’s easy to call for fair trade when you already enjoy the benefits of free trade.
The GOP must begin to fight back. It must realize that it will not win by holding back attacks or taking the moral high road while the electorate believes that it is just as vicious and amoral as the Democrats. A good start would be to conduct a seance and channel Lee Atwater’s ghost. Atwater was the brains behind the GOP wins of the last half of the Reagan era and is arguably responsible for getting Bush I elected in 1988. He was the brains behind the Willie Horton adds that painted Dukakis as an enabler of Massachusetts rapist/murderers, and makes the liberal archnemesis Karl Rove look as politically powerful as Mr. Rodgers. As long as people believe the GOP is fighting dirty and is ethically challenged, there is nothing to be gained by acting nobly. It won’t be reported by an antagonistic press, and it won’t be believed by a jaded electorate.
The GOP should call for the repeal of the DMCA on the grounds that it protects monopolies and discourages innovation. It should call for the 20% excise tax on Hollywood as well as an end to tax deductions on union dues as part of a general agreement with Democrats on a budget deal. It should also oppose offshoring subsidies and tax breaks that are enjoyed by high-tech firms such as Google, Apple and Microsoft, companies whose employees and CEOs favor Democrats. Finally, it should encourage educational innovations that weaken the stranglehold the teacher’s unions have on public education including the usage of vouchers, charter school, home-schooling support and long-distance learning initiatives. College professors are 90%+ Democrat, and colleges and universities have become more expensive and less relevant in the 21st Century. People need to be taught how to think, not indoctrinated, shown how to adapt and survive economic change instead of protesting against it. Such knowledge doesn’t require $50k in debt or institutions where administrators outnumber teachers.
It is time the GOP brought a gun to a knife fight. The Democrats claim they have, the media broadcasts the lie and people believe it. It must embrace the spirit of Lee Atwater It has nothing to lose by doing so except the election.