Evil Party, Stupid Party, Cont’d
“We have two parties here, and only two. One is the evil party, and the other is the stupid party. I’m very proud to be a member of the stupid party. — M. Stanton Evans
LET THIS SERVE as my roundup of the legislative session: The more Republicans, the more Democrat policies.
That’s according to the news service State Affairs which reported this week that the Indiana GOP supermajority allowed twice as many Democrat measures to advance in the first half of this session as the last two sessions combined. OK, it was only 27 bills, but where in the democracy handbook does it say there has to be any at all?
A former legislator, a “somewhat” conservative (to be explained later), tells why in an interview with the news service: “Speaker (Todd) Huston and President Pro Tem (Rodric) Bray have got their sea legs, so to speak, and got more comfortable as leaders of these two supermajorities. Their caucus members have tremendous confidence in them, which gives them the ability to be a little more magnanimous when dealing with the minority party’s ideas.”
Magnanimity? Who voted for that?
We Republicans, that’s who. The GOP rank-and-file is proving itself only marginally conservative, its leadership indistinguishable from that of the Democrats. In majority, it holds no core beliefs that would justify a political party — or a nation, for that matter. It is soft on issues that matter, loud on issues that don’t.
Consider private property. You either own something or you don’t. As such, it is an absolute, in fact the sole issue that distinguishes the developed nations from the undeveloped. When property rights are compromised, misery follows. We have centuries of evidence to that effect. Have you visited Venezuela, South Africa or California lately?
That is not to say you can’t honestly argue, however inanely, that respect for private property and the accompanying prosperity must be sacrificed on the promise of social justice. Indeed, that in a nutshell is the modern Democrat Party. By any logic, though, you would expect the Republican position to differ.
You would expect wrong.
IndianaScorecard.org is a site to which some of us refer regularly. It ranks Indiana senators and representatives on their votes pertaining to private property, high scores reflecting a respect for protecting it and low votes the opposite.
Legislators hate it because there is no room to wiggle. Again, private property is an absolute. You don’t really own your house if the Legislature decides to raise taxes so high that you can’t pay the mortgage. And it is no consolation waiting on the curb for the moving van to know those taxes were spent for what a majority of your neighbors considered good causes. Nor is it reassuring that the money in your savings account isn’t really yours if it can be devalued by someone in government turning a dial or sliding a scale.
But according to ratings on IndianaScorecard that all is philosophically acceptable to the GOP leadership. Look up the scores. To pick just one example, albeit a critical one, the affable Speaker of the House ranks a pathetic 73rd with a rating of only 43 percent (down from 50 percent), the worst on the Republican side. He is the guy, not so incidentally, who ultimately decides whether Democrat measures advance.
Will Republican voters in his suburban Indianapolis district throw him out. Not likely. Political polls show that his constituency is at least in tacit agreement. And the lobbyists and donor class are not only in agreement but giddily so if campaign contributions are the measure. Don’t even ask about the GOP House Caucus, a pen of sheep.
This is not news. Almost 10 years ago political analyst Henry Olsen famously observed that Republican primary voters consist of four “remarkably stable” groups. And in the current issue of the Claremont Review of Books, Jeffrey Anderson updates them:
- Moderates or liberals (many of whom aren’t even Republicans but vote in open primaries).
- Somewhat conservatives.
- Very conservative Evangelicals (plus members of other religious groups who focus on social issues).
- Very conservative limited-government voters (the remnant of a former GOP).
“The latter two groups make up the movement conservatives,” Anderson says, “but even combined they constitute only about a third of all voters in Republican primaries. In comparison, nearly half of the Republican electorate is made up of the ‘somewhat’ conservatives — who, Olsen writes, ‘always back the winner.’”
None of this is meant to judge, it is merely to describe our democracy at work. And yes, the courts could enforce the principles of our nation’s founding but they function these days as micro legislatures themselves. And who knows what the governor is doing.
This is just to say that when you identify as a “Republican,” you might want to clarify . . . and apologize. —tcl