What difference is there between the two main political parties anyway? That’s a question that’s come up a time or two recently. Today we have the latest example as Speaker of the House John Boehner states he will support President Obama’s request for Congressional authorization of the use of force on Syria in light of recent chemical weapon attacks. Naturally, many are outraged, including myself and it led the great Matt Drudge to opine:
Why would anyone vote Republican? Please give reason. Raised taxes; marching us off to war again; approved more NSA snooping. WHO ARE THEY?!
— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) September 3, 2013
It’s a fair question, but I think we need to step back a bit and look at the big picture.
It’s time for the conservative base of the GOP to take the electorate back to school and hit them with the message that while the GOP has lost its way in many respects, it is the only political party that offers intellectually honest debate on the issues of the day. The Democrats has shown their true colors like never before in the run up to this Syrian disaster in the making. While George W. Bush was called the devil for taking us to war in Iraq, the concerns the Democrats had then are now gone. The reasons for supporting a strike on Syria are the same reasons so many “neocons” supported striking Iraq. Bottom line: it doesn’t matter what the facts on the battlefield are…it’s about who is in power at home. A Democrat is in the White House, so military action is okay.
And it’s okay with the GOP leadership in Congress. Unlike their Democrat counterparts, they aren’t so much loyal to their party as they are to the system. Boehner, Cantor, McCain, Graham and the rest see themselves as Philosopher Kings and see the Democrats more as peers than as political enemies. Boehner holds firm on the old tenants of “politics ends at the water’s edge” and all that. Despite the fact he gets stabbed in the back at every turn, he is loyal to his religion which is manifest in being a part of the ruling elite. The Democrats are loyal to their religion, manifest in their own power, no matter what the costs, intellectually or otherwise.
I welcome a 2016 GOP presidential debate that consist of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Chris Christie. All three have different views on foreign policy. The smartest thing one or all of them can do is turn to the camera during one of them disagreements and say “Look at what’s happening here. We Republicans have many different intellectual views on these important issues. You won’t see this in the Democrat debates. That’s because they are intellectually dead as a political party. We make mistakes, have inter-party squabbles, but it’s always over what is best for our country, not what’s best for the party.”
I’ll grant you the hue on this hypothetical is a bit rose-colored (I seriously question the intellectual honesty of Chris Christie, but whatever), but now is the time to make these points . It’s also a good time for the conservatives in the Congress to challenge their party leadership, not just on the issues, but for leadership post. It won’t be successful, but timing is everything when you’re trying to make an impression on the public.