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25 November 2011

Where Did All the Real Republicans Go?

For the past several years I've been increasingly concerned about the change in course of the GOP. They have a different ideology than myself, and that's fine. In fact I think it's necessary for a healthy political process, but it seems like they're making up their own reality. All the while I've been worried that the change was not in fact with the GOP but perhaps my own biases... maybe? So what to do/think.

Historically when I think of Republicans this is what I think of:
I believe in free markets, low taxes, reasonable regulation, and limited government. -David Frum
And although I don't entirely agree, I find it to be a reasonable position. It does one no good to only read things that they agree with - it's intellectual incestuousness. So for a while I've been searching for a voice on the right that I could actually listen to. Someone who held a different viewpoint than myself, but who actually lived in reality. It seems that person is David Frum - a former Bush speech writer, prominent blogger and writer, and Harvard Law Grad. Here are two of his pieces that I've found very helpful.

The first piece of his I read was this one: Were Our Enemies Right? which if you have to read only one thing this month please read this - it's short and dead on. First he brings up an example from Susan Sontag:
Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Reader’s Digest between 1950 and 1970, and someone in the same period who read only The Nation or The New Statesman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of Communism? The answer, I think, should give us pause. Can it be that our enemies were right?
The point is of course that liberals were entirely wrong about the realities of communism. It was corrupt, people starved, and once great nations were reduced to ineffectual countries that hurt generations of its citizens. Argue all you want about the idea of communism but it just didn't work. As Frum says, "You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts." So he puts a new spin on this for our modern day economic situation:
Imagine, if you will, someone who read only the Wall Street Journal editorial page between 2000 and 2011, and someone in the same period who read only the collected columns of Paul Krugman. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of the current economic crisis? The answer, I think, should give us pause. Can it be that our enemies were right?
Frum has more or less been shunned by his conservative peers for saying such things just as Sontag was booed loudly by her liberal crowd. Krugman is reviled by the right and he can often be a little shrill to my own ears, but the guy just keeps being right... it's actually kind of shocking.

Anyways, Frum has a new article about the direction of the GOP entitled When Did the GOP Lose Touch with Reality? It's a bit long but it's entirely worth it. I'm interested to hear what people think. He says a lot of things I've been thinking for years but had no credibility in saying as I'm not associated with that ideology.

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