The Modern Republican Party is a Special Kind of Suck (Part 2 of 3)

Part 1

Confusing Economic Policy of Suck
I’m sure there are many other areas where Romney went wrong but I think most of the rest of this special kind of suck is courtesy of other Republicans. During the Republican primary, the “anyone but Romney” crowd was so desperate to eliminate Romney that they resorted to a line of attack one would expect to come from Democrats. Many Republicans seem to forget that the attacks against Romney concerning Bain Capital were first leveled by Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry at campaign rallies, in the primary debates, in their campaign ads, and in anti-Romney super PAC ads. Perry called Romney a “vulture capitalist.” The Obama campaign picked up this line of attack where Gingrich and Perry left off. In swing states like Ohio, this message had basically been pounded since before the state’s primary and never let up for the rest of the campaign.

Once charges like these are made by Republicans who are supposed to be proponents of free market capitalism, it’s kind of difficult for people who actually understand how the free market works to explain why business practices employed by Bain Capital are not only legitimate, but also necessary. In this Occupy Wall Street era we live in, there seems to be an attitude that no one is ever supposed to lose his or her job and that every job is not only necessary but equally valuable.

Companies like Bain invest in businesses in trouble and try to make them profitable. In making a business profitable, sometimes this means that some people are going to lose their jobs. Like a doctor who is trying to save the patient’s life, sometimes a limb needs to be amputated. No one wants to lose an arm or a leg in such a scenario but most who face such a dilemma would rather lose an arm or leg than lose his or her life. If the amputation is done soon enough and correctly, the patient lives. Other times, however; even despite taking such drastic measures, the patient still dies. The same is true for some of the companies Bain tried to rescue. Of course no one wants to think of themselves as a limb that needs to be amputated in order to save their company*.

Immigration Policy of Suck
In addition to the mixed messages concerning Capitalism, the Republican Primary debates took on a very harsh tone concerning immigration. Any candidate who suggested that the idea of rounding up each and every illegal immigrant was impractical and that perhaps deporting individuals who were otherwise productive members of our society, said candidate would be accused of advocating “amnesty” – a four letter word among conservative Republicans.

Such harsh anti-illegal immigration rhetoric carried over into the general campaign when President Obama (rightly, in my view) made an executive order to allow individuals who were brought here illegally as children under the age of 16 to stay and have temporary work permits. This was an outrage among Republicans because, you know, the law is the law.

As Gary Johnson pointed out on several occasions during the campaign, while it’s true that we live in a nation based on the rule of law, too many Republicans fail to understand that the laws are changeable. And as I pointed out at the time, when there are more than 27,000 pages of federal law on the books with over 4,500 criminal laws, this necessarily means that any president would have to prioritize and choose which laws he will enforce and which he will not. When the number of laws is this numerous, it’s the same as having no rule of law at all.

Immigration is an issue the GOP needs to figure out and figure out quick as the Hispanic population will become an increasingly major factor in future elections (even GOP strongholds like Texas might eventually turn blue due to this demographic reality). Should we be surprised that the Hispanic population overwhelmingly supported Obama over Romney given the rhetoric?

It’s time to reexamine the notion that the border should be secure first before any comprehensive reforms are made. I think this is exactly backwards. If the legal immigration process wasn’t such a bureaucratic nightmare to begin with, I doubt seriously that illegal immigration would remain an issue.

This much needed debate** is not going to be very productive if every time someone proposes something other than building a 20’ tall fence along the Southern border, checking ID’s of everyone with brown skin, and rounding up every illegal immigrant regardless of circumstances, s/he is accused of promoting amnesty. Even more importantly, whatever the GOP decides immigration policy should be, they need to soften their tone and be mindful that we are talking about human beings here. I think it’s safe to assume that just about every legal immigrant (especially from Mexico) has at least a few family members who are here illegally. They do not like to think of their relatives as “invaders” who need to be rounded up. These people vote too.

*And I’m writing as someone who has been the limb being amputated. Just a couple of years ago, it was my department that needed downsized to save the company…at Christmas time no less. I’m happy to say that the downsizing measure did in fact save the department and six months later, they called me back and have been working there ever since.

**Doug and Kevin have each offered up some ideas for immigration reform that I think warrant consideration.

Part 3

  • TerryP

    I agree with you on most of your points. The republicans, media, and Obama defined Romney in regards to Bain Capital, the 47% comment, and the auto bailout. These should have been slam dunk issues where he could have described how the free market works better then gov’t control. He could have used them as a way to differentiate himself in a positive way. Instead he said nothing or apologized and let these issues become a negative for him and other republicans.

    I agree about immigration but I don’t agree that Obama was right in signing an executive order. His ruling took it further then just saying we will not be going after you, but instead said you will now be legal. This is a change in law that needs to be made at the legislative level. This sets a bad precedent where if a President doesn’t get a law passed he just signs an executive order to do the same thing. This sounds like a dictatorship to me.

    One thing that I thought you missed is that he rarely took Obama on over leadership, or lack thereof. Obama did not lead at all on most every issue. Tax reform, no leadership. Social Security reform, no leadership. Medicare reform, no leadership. Benghazi, no leadership. Spending cuts, no leadership. Romney could have led on all these issues and called out Obama for his lack of leadership. Instead Romney failed to lead on them as well. For example, in regards to Benghazi he could have focused on Obamas complete lack of leadership and competence and rather focused in on if he used the word “terrorism”. What a joke. Whenever Romney had a chance to show leadership he failed, which is sad because I believe that may have been the biggest issue that Obama could have been beaten on. Voters want a leader, but neither Romney or Obama showed it, so voters decided to stay with the person they know more and away from the one that was defined as a rich, out of touch republican who is going to get rid of all the goodies so the rich can get richer at the expense of the middle class.

    Where was Romney in telling the people that the middle classes median income has gone down every year since Obama has been President. This should have been front and center in his reaching out to the middle class. Instead you never heard about it. Obama has done nothing for the middle class, yet Romney allowed Obama to look like he really cared about them and Romney only cared about the rich.

    Romney failed to lead and lost.

  • Stephen Littau

    TerryP, you made some excellent points here. I touched on Romney’s failure to go after Obama in Part 1 concerning Benghazi but I didn’t get into as much detail as you did here, specifically concerning the president’s failure to lead or take any responsibility on the issues you mentioned (and I’m sure this is an abbreviated list as well). I think Romney handled Obama with kid gloves and didn’t explain his own policies very well. I felt like Obama won the foreign policy debate at least to those who isn’t very informed of the Obama foreign policy. How many times did Romney accuse Obama of being “weak” only to agree with Obama’s policy when it got down to some of the details? His performance was pathetic.

    As far as the executive order issue on illegal immigration goes, I agree with you in principle but as a practical matter, I don’t think it’s possible to enforce every federal law on the books. If we really want to end this phenomenon of the president choosing which laws to enforce and which he is not I think the solution is theoretically quite simple: repeal the federal criminal code and start over. We only need a handful of federal criminal laws (immigration policy being one of them), the states can do the rest. I would love to see a presidential candidate run on this and say something like: “If I am elected, I will ask congress to repeal the entire federal criminal code and restore only the criminal laws the states do not have the ability nor authority to enforce and I will happily sign that bill.” That would (theoretically at least) tie the hands of the president and he would have no choice but to enforce any federal criminal law (unless the president legitimately felt that enforcing the law violated the constitution).

  • TerryP

    Stephen, my problem is that he changed the law by executive order. If he can do it with this law why not with any other law on the books. Using your example, why would the President even have to ask Congress to repeal the entire Federal Crminal code, when he could just issue an executive order doing so. By allowing a President to make changes to laws or making new laws by Executive order we are setting ourselves up for a dictatorship. You may have agreed with this one, but what recourse will you have when you don’t agree with the next time it is done. Laws and changes to them are to be made in the Legislative branch of government. The Executive branch is supposed to execute those laws. I agree that there are way to many laws and we should eliminate the majority of them, but using Executive orders is not the way to do it.

    As far as the rest goes I think Romney lost mainly due to the fact that he let Obama, the media, and in some cases even other republicans define him and because he didn’t make a case that Obama has shown very little leadership, while he would. He needed to specifically call Obama out on his lack of leadership and then follow up on how he would lead. He should have differentiated himself by saying that he would take responsibility for his time in office good or bad and not blame others for the things that don’t go well and take credit for things that he had nothing to do with. In otherwords, Lead.

    While I believe that Gary Johnson was by far the best candidate, this election should have been a slam dunk for just about any republican candidate. The republican party needs to find itself in smaller government and individual liberty. Right now it is just Democrat-lite on economic issues and increasingly out of touch on foreign policy and social issues. They need some true leaders to step up that can communicate well on the issues of smaller government and individual liberty. Gary Johnson is one of those, but the big government republicans that control the party just are unwilling to embrace them, to the possible demise of the party.

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