Political Hay

The Big Tent in the Wilderness

The Dems achieved majority status by mau-mauing Republicans into "moderation."

By 3.5.09

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Would parents wish success for a math teacher who taught their children that two plus two equals five? No, they would hope for the teacher's failure and firing. A president who proposes policies based on falsehoods deserves no less.

The willful misinterpretation of Rush Limbaugh's remark is just one more attempt by the Democrats to mau-mau Republicans into the "moderation" of endorsing errors. The "unity" which the Democrats seek through this hectoring propaganda is the unity of a ramshackle one-party state.

They detest Rush Limbaugh because he poses an insuperable obstacle to this goal. As the Archimedes of the American media who can use the lever of talk radio to pull any given issue away from a two-party collusion in error, he simply has to be destroyed.

The now-almost weekly referendums that the Democrats and their media annex hold on him serve no other purpose than that.

Did the Democrats achieve majority status by pitching a "Big Tent," by thinking happy thoughts about their opponents' policies, by turning over their rostrums to pro-lifers and tax-cutters? No, they achieved it by keeping their tent tight while maliciously counseling Republicans to erect a circus tent of willy-nilly inclusion and ideological irregularity.

Democratic leaders would send pro-life Bob Casey Sr. home from their conventions without a turn at the podium, then pop up a few weeks later on CNN to urge Republicans to keep the welcome mat out for gestating defectors like Jim Jeffords.

That tattered Big Tent now flaps pathetically in the wilderness of political defeat and out of it crawls its wounded confederacy of country-club dunces. Have they learned anything? Not much. Wowed by Obama's popularity, they reflexively resume the me-too PC platitudes of "compassionate conservatism" and engage in what amounts to a big-government bidding war for the affection of the American people. Bad federal program A versus bad federal program B -- that's the debate between the parties at this point.

If victory is the Big Tent Republicans' goal, why don't they join the Democrats in calling for a one-party state? That way they could win every time.

The purpose of politics in a civilization is not simply to win but to win on sound principles. Otherwise, what's the point? A party that seeks to win by discarding sound principles will have no wisdom left with which to govern once it does. And that's how the Republicans got into this mess.

The Democrats win on their unsound principles, but at least they grasp the concept of winning as more than mere victory. They win office and implement their platform unapologetically; Republicans win office and timidly nibble theirs apart.

Do the Democrats have any hesitancy about rooting for the failure of Republican polices? Never. They will even root for failure in Republican-led military campaigns, as with Reagan and Bush, if victory threatens the perceived good of their party and the transcendent "parity" they think should prevail in the world.

Meanwhile, Republicans, suffering from a deep, largely media-induced inferiority complex, find "attractive" candidates like Arnold Schwarzenegger who end up advancing Democratic policies better than the Democrats themselves. The pointlessness of the California Recall cannot be overstated. That "Republican victory" sealed California as a de facto one-party state -- a microcosm of what could happen to the GOP nationally if it maintains the Big Tent model.

Republican leaders should either pull the Big Tent down and start taking their platform seriously, not just on one issue or two issues but on every issue, or they should just get out of politics and stop wasting people's time and money. At this moment in American history, "bipartisanship" is just another complacent name for tyranny.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author, with Phyllis Schlafly, of the new book, No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.