We have used the great Groucho Marx line before as he related it to joining social and country clubs. It is so great we thought we would use it again.
Have you ever wondered if you are making a solid impression on other people and changing their minds to see anything 'your way'?
We have a friend in higher academe who ends her orientation each year with this admonition:
'If you don't know who the a**hole is in your class, chances are it is you!' (Honest, this is a direct quote. Blame higher education. Not us)
The recent furor over Tea Party Republicans demanding that the federal government be shut down unless Obamacare is completely defunded reminded us of this quote.
Apparently, there are people in society who think that if they call people 'stupid', 'ignorant' and 'unpatriotic', the people they attack will somehow come to their senses and say: 'Hey! You know what Mr. and Mrs. Tea Party People? I am stupid, ignorant and unpatriotic to disagree with everything you say. So I am going to change my mind and come over to your side right now. How about that? Are you happy now?'
That never happens, does it?
Here's what we don't get:
- Why do people think RINO (Republican In Name Only) is such a bad name? Are we in kindergarten or something?
- Are we even teaching the Constitution in any of our public or private schools anymore?
- It simply stuns us how many people seem to believe that just because one House of Congress wants something done (Republicans in the House don't want Obamacare to start October 1) that the other House of Congress, the US Senate now controlled by the Democrats, has to pass it. They don't. And in this case, they won't.
- When did the word 'compromise' start being written with only 4 letters? (We are pretty sure it started with Newt Gingrich in 1978 when he started a rear guard action against moderate Republicans in the House minority led by Bob Michel of Illinois)
- If we are not going to fund the CR (continuing resolution) because some part of the Republican Party hates it so much, why don't we just start holding the CR hostage for every other issue some part of Congress 'hates'?
- Hold the CR hostage if you don't like our foreign policy towards Syria or Iraq; or if you don't like our agriculture programs; welfare programs; education policies or any other discretionary program. Democrats should do the same if they think defense programs are too wasteful and expensive. Why not? It is the same principle as defunding Obamacare, right?
- Ronald Reagan once said the 11th Commandment was 'Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican'. When did that Commandment start being violated?
- Reagan also said anyone who agreed with you 75-80% of the time is your friend and ally. Who has forgotten that Commandment? (Let's call it the Twelfth Commandment for Small Government Patriots)
We have heard some interesting things lately from people who are in the political game. Here's a few of the them:
- In North Carolina today, roughly 41% of the registered voters are Democrat; 28% Republican and 27% Independent.
- In 2016, those percentages are expected to be 41% Independent; 32% Democrat and 24% Republican. Who will be the 'majority party' then?
- 35% of the Republican Party now identifies themselves as being part of the Tea Party. 65% find themselves in agreement with the Tea Party general principles of smaller government and less taxes, but they are just not as strident, energized or ardent as many of the Tea Party members.
- 'What Tea Party people don't realize is just how few people in the country agree with them' one expert told us. Uh-oh. That doesn't bode well for building a huge groundswell of support for upcoming elections, does it?
- Every time the Tea Party claims another 2-3% of the GOP, 1-2% of the GOP falls off into the self-identified Independent category. Moderate to liberal Republicans, or Libertarian Republicans who don't care too much about social issues are typically signing up or voting as Independents and Unaffiliateds. 'Lost Republicans' as some pollsters designate them.
- The same thing is happening on the Democrat side of the aisle. There used to be 91 Blue Dog, moderate to conservative fiscally responsible Democrats, mostly from the South, in the US House of Representatives in 1980. Today, there are only 5. They have been all wiped out in the primaries by more liberal, African-American or Latino Democrat challengers or they have been replaced by conservative Republicans in redrawn general election districts.
- 80% or so of the American voting population really do not care very much about politics and only really pay close attention for the last month or so of any election, presidential years usually. They have better things to do such as providing for their families; coaching their Little League son's team or attending church services.
What we are seeing is the classic ripping apart of a political party today with the internecine warfare between the fiery Tea Party members and the more traditional Republican base. We have seen it happen before in American politics where new factions erupt out of what used to be 'whole' parties; there have been Federalists and Anti-Federalists (before and during 2 unanimous elections of George Washington as President); Democratic Republicans and Federalists (after Jefferson split away from the unanimity); Democrats and National Republicans (when the Federalists died); Whigs and Democrats (over the split in the National Republican Party over slavery) and then for the most part of the last 163 years, Democrats and Republicans.
The main question that has to be asked today is this: 'Do you want to be part of an official political party with others who seem to hate you more than they want to defeat the other side?' That is the question facing traditional Republicans today in the face of the take-no-prisoners approach on the part of many of today's Tea Party.
And the question for the Tea Party is exactly the same as the one posed by Groucho Marx long ago: 'Do you really want to be part of a party that would have you as a member, ill-temper and all?'
You may win this battle for the Republican Party but you will not stop Obamacare from being implemented through the CR process.
You will have run off everyone who doesn't agree with you 100%. Then you will have control of a party that represents less than 25% of the American voting public.
And then what? What will you control then? It is darned hard to win any election with only 25% of the vote no matter what universe you are from.