Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why do people vote Republican?

There's a lot of soul searching going on amongst Republicans at the moment, as evidenced by the reaction to my post about Jack Roberts' op-ed piece. Today, I had a lot of time to think about the party's recent hammering, as I spent the day organizing all the leaves in my yard.

It seems to me that people vote Republicans in office when they grow dissatisfied with the way our government institutions are serving the people. The Republican party is the party that reforms government; the Democrat party is the party OF government.

It is the human nature that any institution, over time, evolves to exist primarily to serve the elites in charge of the institution. We've seen this time and again.

Our public school system exists to serve the unions that control it. The public employee pension system grew into an obscene orgy of feather-nesting excess. The land use system serves the vision and desires of extreme environmental groups, at the cost of property rights of landowners.

It's the Republican party that seeks to reform government when these excesses occur, and Republicans win when the party can articulate the need for reform.

But here's our problem: more often than not, when elected and empowered to run government institutions, we forget about reforming them and instead just use the institutions to serve the ends desired by the folks who got elected. Pork, earmarks, and corruption - and the voters throw us out.

That is one reason for our current situation. Republicans in Oregon and nationally became the party of government rather than the party of reforming government. There's already a party for that - and if the voters are in the mood for government, that is who they will elect.

In short, we got booted by voters because we didn't do what voters want when they put Republicans in charge.

This has a big impact on the debate about what Republicans must do to win some elections. We have to be reformers. If voters don't want reform, we won't win. But that's OK. Our current mess isn't because voters don't want reform - it's because we didn't reform anything while we were in office!


Anonymous said...

I think it's a fair analysis to say that Republican majority control of the Congress after Bush was elected did not accomplish a single thing of importance. Bush ran as "A Reformer with a Record" and then never reformed anything, just expanded the size and reach of government.

The Congress, for its part, got rid of the "PayGo" rules that balanced the budget during the Clinton Administration, and then increased total spending by 50 percent in 8 years.

On the positive side, we did get a couple of good Supreme Court justices, but had Bush and the Congress stuck to Republican principles on spending from 2000-06, a Republican would still be nominating judges from 2009-2012.

RINO WATCH said...

You're absolutely right about the lack of reformation, especially here in Oregon when the R's controlled the legislature.
The Speaker's of the House were atrocious, RINO's, beginning with Lundquist, Snodgrass, Simmons, and Minnis.

I don't have to be reminded about all of the Kitzhaber vetos and I still chafe over having to refer the "largest tax increase in Oregon history" which was passed by the RINO house in '03.

Anonymous said...

What does "RINO" stand for, as in "The Speaker's of the House were atrocious, RINO's, beginning with Lundquist, Snodgrass, Simmons, and Minnis?"

RINO WATCH said...

What exactly have Lundquist, Snodgrass, Simmons, & Minnis done to further the Conservative Republican cause in Oregon? Not a g-damned thing!

Lundquist and Simmons became Lobbyists, neither benefiting R's and Snodgrass and Minnis, well I'll just be nice and say they've done squat.

These folks aren't solid Republicans and I just don't understand why in the hell they've never changed parties.

Carla said...


Your posts on this topic over the last couple of weeks are very interesting. While I doubt we have much in common politically, I am heartened by the chatter by Republicans such as yourself. You may remember that it was just a few years ago when progressives and Democrats had to have a similar discussion among themselves.

Though this may be a very bitter pill, may I humbly suggest that you read Frank Rich today:

While there may be much there for you to disagree with, the underlying premise of Mr. Rich's piece is solid: The change for the GOP can't just be window-dressing. A fundamental, structural change is needed.

I'm not a Republican and as far as I know, I never will be. But our nation is in very serious trouble. We NEED the opposition Republicans to be tough and strong and offering new/better solutions.

2 cents and all that.

Bill Sizemore said...

First of all, I agree with the analysis you offer, Rob. Republicans asked to be tossed out on their ears and to a large degree deserved it. Unfortunately, what the voters got in exchange is going to be much worse.

There is our problem. Democrats are seriously dangerous. Republicans on the other hand are for the most part worthless. Personally, I would go for worthless over dangerous, but obviously we should not be limited to those two choices.

I really wanted to make a different point, however. Republicans did not do nearly as poorly this year as they might have. A large part of the problem lies in the simple fact that we nominated a loser candidate whom the base despised.

McCain was a lot like Bob Dole, only worse. Dole was as boring as milktoast, but at least had not rubbed this thumb in our eyes as often as McCain has.

While we are working on reforming the party from the ground up, we had better make sure we figure out how to insure that candidates like McCain and Dole do not win the nomination again.

I think history will show that Bush was not as bad a president as he appears today. His biggest problem was his dismal communcation skills. In today's TV world, it is amazing that someone with Bush's lack of eloquence could ever win two presidental elections. I doubt it will happen again.

We had better figure out how to nominate solid conservative candidates with good communication skills or accept the reality that we will be losers.

Jack said...

I agree with Bill Sizemore about John McCain, Bob Dole, only one difference(and please don't kick your computer screen when I say this) THEY WERE BOTH TO ***** OLD.
I'm sorry for saying the obvious but the Torch was passed to Baby Boomers back in 1992. Republicans didn't Learn that Lesson in 1996 but did in 2000 with President George W. Bush, and then forgot this in 2008. McCain was to old and he was elected in the Primaries by Independants, Democrats and Rino Republicans in OPEN PRIMARIES-----STUPID CAUCUS'S SAME DAY REGISTRATION ETC. McCain scolded the Base as much as he reached out to it. The only thing he got right was Sara Palin.

PS: To you folks that are of my late Parents age's mid 80's 90's and are in charge of a Republican county party's, GIVE IT UP, STEP BACK, Let us Baby boomers lead, stay active but let us baby boomers lead. We are grown ups and we know whats going on. Democrats learned this lesson decades ago. The TRUTH HURTS I KNOW IT. But You Great folks need to let loose of the reins. Plus I agree with Rob Kramer
Reforming Government is what Republicans should stand for, since it is Government Regulation that has caused the Mortgage Crisis "Community Reinvestment Act" fannie Mae freddie Mac. There's so much Needless Government that needs to be Reformed. Fix these open Primary problems and in 2012 don't give us another Bob Dole John McCain. There's a good Crop of Governors out there right now.

PPS: Gordon Smith -- Well
to be continued

RINO WATCH said...

Re: Gordon Smith
I know you don't want to engage with me on this or any other political topic since I'm like Steve, "unrefined", but IMO, which is supported by many R's, Gordo is through politically in Oregon.
Yes, this is a strong statement and it's tragic that such a fine young man blew it rather early in his career.

As a fledgling Senior citizen I find it especially disappointing that we've had to take out so many in the party to make our point that we want a Conservative Republican party. Not Far Right and not Democrat lite, IOW: Loons & RINO's.

Anonymous said...

Hey Carla, you said "The change for the GOP can't just be window-dressing. A fundamental, structural change is needed."

This may surprise you but the Demoncrats need the same. Without it they will use AL Gore's crazy pseudo-science to utterly destroy our economy, both state and national.

Anyone who thinks we can cut Oregon's CO2 emissions by 44% in just 12 years is, simply, a dangerous, deluded idiot. Unfortunately they are running the Oregon government now.

I predict a massive swing to the Rs, in Oregon if the K man is stupid enough to let Al Gore's idiots have their way.

Jack said...

RINO WATCH: As a fledgling Senior citizen, you made my point. Sir if YOU HAVE AN ELECTED POSITION AS A PCP, CHAIRMAN, VICE CHAIR,what ever, Give it to some one younger. Elderly people of my parents age 80's 90's should step aside. The Truth hurts but young people stay away from the Party in droves because they Know there Parents are in Charge. Like I said the torch was passed in 1992 to baby boomers only that the Republican Party forgot that in 1996 - and especially in 2008 for Prez. No more Doles No More McCains some one Younger Like G.W. Bush was. Oh and Rino Watch there's nothing wrong with Far Right conservatives especially if they are young, and I'm not talkin bout Ron Paul loons either.

PS: Anonymous said: I predict a massive swing to the Rs

Jack said: Anonymous I hope your right and I hope its young Conservative faces
that storm Salem. Its about time!

Anonymous said...

I doubt the Republican party will ever come back -- at least not in the next few decades. Not with the media, unions, public schools, almost all minorities and half of all whites against them.

Like it or not, this nation and especially this state will become that of an European socialist country over the next 25 years. Only then will the truly knowledgeable start changing their minds about socialism. But we're in for an extended period of mass poverty, stagflation and expanding government.

TheDuncan said...

As a conservative, I have been disappointed with the Republican Party for several decades. Rob, can we change the Republican Party back to the conservative party, with the well entrenched Rinos that have taken over the party? Your analysis here is spot on. Now what do we do?