Power as an End

Cal Thomas sums up America’s current political situation quite succinctly:

Republican National Committee Chairman Robert M. Duncan complains that conservative, pro-life, pro-gun Democrats won three special elections by stealing GOP issues.

“We can’t let the Democrats take our issues,” Duncan told the New York Times. “We can’t let them pretend to be conservatives and co-opt the middle and win these elections. We have to get the attention of our incumbents and candidates and make sure they understand this.”

Democrats didn’t steal your issues, sir. You abandoned them. Your party discarded them.

The current situation is that Democrats as a party have been enough out of power for long enough that the party is more tolerant of a wider range of viewpoints under its banner. Conversely, the Republican party has been in power for so long that being in power has become their primary goal and they have consequently abandoned their principles whenever they felt it was necessary to achieve that goal.

Having two strong parties that espouse different principles so that the people can choose which principles they believe in is not entirely a bad thing. Having two parties that use principles merely as tools to gain and retain power in the government is an entirely different story.

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.
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2 Responses to Power as an End

  1. Reach Upward says:

    The Democrats have found a winning strategy in fielding conservatives in conservative districts. But they are working to limit this number, lest it hamper their ability to pander to their strong Left base. They can win votes in conservative districts, but those voters are not giving money to the party. The true Left believers are doing that, so the party works to effetively marginalize their newly elected conservative members.

    Interestingly enough, the GOP played this same game for many years. They made a show of pursuing conservative issues, but there was little actual headway. Conservatives were in effect marginalized.

    There was a relatively brief era where conservatives actually gained control in the GOP. But they were soon co-opted by the system, much to the dismay of their supporters. None of those people are in party leadership positions any more.

    Have you ever considered, for example, how it is that Democrats have a fairly significant core of consistently liberal and quite successul long-term senators like Ted Kennedy, while Republicans really don’t have a single long-term senator that has been consistently and effectively conservative?

    This is due to a basic fact of organizational behavior. Political and bureaucratic systems, like living organisms, seek to grow and perpetuate themselves. Many people think that things would be better if only we could get the right politicians in place. Unless the people of this nation specifically have limited government as a key principle branded into their hearts, who we elect will alter matters only by a few degrees one way or the other.

    It is not the politicians that need changing. It is the system that needs changing. Behavioral scientists know that people behave mostly in accordance with the system in which they find themselves. If we had a system that had small government as its goal, the politicians would act accordingly. Since our system of government springs from the will of the people, the only way to change the system is to change the will of the people.

    If you look at history of the last 110 years, I think it’s pretty clear that the American people as a whole don’t really want limited government. How do we change their hearts and minds? I guess it takes a certain amount of small government evangelism. Either that or some kind of cataclysmic demonstration of the evils of government sprawl that creates a small government backlash.

  2. David says:


    When I wrote this post I didn’t think much of it, but as I read your comment I begin to realize that there is more to this than I have really explored. I will be looking into your assertion that the Democrats have long-term, consistently left-leaning senators while the Republicans have few if any long-term, consistently right-leaning senators. Anecdotally I believe you because we are both represented by a long-term republican senator who has proven conclusively that he is only consistently conservative on a few peripheral issues (like flag-burning).

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that our system is geared towards an expanding government and the only difference between Republicans and Democrats is where they concentrate their expansion efforts.

    I wish/hope that we can have enough small government evangelism to effect a change before we are forced to endure the crisis that would be sufficient to create a backlash (not to mention enduring a backlash movement as well).

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