Divergence vs. Convergence

I had an interesting weekend…well Saturday at least. Like many, I’ve been greatly disappointed in the ‘Pub establishment at all levels. Most of my ire is focused towards the Washington leadership, slightly less so at the state establishment.  With those sentiments in mind, I’ve been looking and searching for other conservatives who feel like me. I thought I’d found one such group.

One of the problems we conservatives have is that we’re divided. If you analyze the 2012 election results, you’ll see that more than two million “conservative” voters stayed home this year. Those missing voters had an impact at the federal and state level. The primary problem appears to have been the disbelief and rejection by those voters of the establishment ‘Pub leadership, platform and candidate. A portion of those voters dropped out due to the man-handling of opposition delegates during the Miami convention.

We all laughed when the democrat party ignored their delegates on reinstating God into the dem platform. No one laughed when the ‘Pub establishment added more constraints on grassroots organizations with the goal to minimalize the power of those delegates.

So I and others have been looking for conservative groups whose aim is to rebuild the party—to create coalitions, to unite the various splinter groups, to build a convergence of thought to strengthen the party and to reinstate, to renew and merge, our views with those of the establishment. The establishment has run rough-shod over internal opposition too long. It’s time to force change. With those thoughts in mind, I drove to Columbia to meet with some folks whom I thought may be one such group.

There were only a dozen people overall. Many had driven similar distances as did I. A couple were local drop-ins who sought more information. The group leaders had some slick flyers stating their purpose and vision and copies of the state by-laws.  I scanned the material and found nothing therein that I opposed. In fact, from the documentation, I thought my search was over.

I was mistaken.

I followed my usual methodology…I listened. The groups was clearly divided by age—the “thirty-somethings” and those in their fifties and older. I was encouraged. The age spread would provide a good mix.

Then I listed to the rhetoric and doubts began to appear. The younger and more numerous members were clearly frustrated Ron Paul supporters. Some of the older members were too. As the discussion continued it became clear that the purpose of this group, contrary to the printed documentation, was not toward convergence with other conservative groups nor with the Tea Party organizations.

Some of the older members invoked the Reagan/Goldwater rule, “Never speak ill of another republican.” The more vocal speakers agreed, reluctantly, to abide by that rule and broke it within minutes.

Instead of soliciting ideas for moving forward, the meeting was quickly devolving into complaints about ‘Pub state officials and other conservatives groups. Instead of building consensus, some attendees used the meeting to promote personal political views. Rather than allowing the meeting to continue to slide, a member asked to shelve discussion and elect members. 

I was not surprised to see the new leadership rest with the more vocal, younger members. I didn’t have issue with that. They were more plentiful and demographics ruled. Someone nominated me for Secretary and I quickly declined. I had not yet decided if this was a group that I was searching for and wanted to join.

The meeting broke up after two hours giving me plenty of time to drive home and do some research. I wanted to compare the written goals and purposes of the national group with the personal views of those attending the meeting. It was easy, most were on Facebook and I could visit their pages and see exactly what and who they supported.

My fears were confirmed. Instead of building support among other grassroots groups, a number of the members were seeding discord. No coalition building but creating more discord and divergence. They claimed to support freedom and liberty…as long as it didn’t interfere with their pet positions.

The group was not for me.  I wish them well and I hope they return to those principals and goals they supposedly followed. However, I doubt that will happen.

All-in-all, it was an interesting day. I did meet a few like-minded folks and I was able to meet some I’ve only conversed with via the internet. For now, I’ll continue my search.

Bye, bye, Gingrich

I remember when Newt Gingrich was elected Speaker of the House.  He had fire and an agenda, the Contract with America. He made significant changes in the operation of the house.  He also helped kill Obamacare ver. 1, aka Hillarycare.  But in politics as with everything, it’s “what have you done lately?”  Gingrich’s recent performance was a surprise to many and revealed the statism in Gingrich that also infests so many of the ‘Pub national elite.

His attack against the Ryan plan is a page out of the liberal playbook. He could have presented a viable alternative, how he could work with Ryan and the Tea Party to make changes to better the plan.  Instead, Gingrich violated the Reagan Rule (never speak badly about a fellow Republican) and killed any chance of conservative support that wasn’t in league with the elites.

Gingrich had so much potential.  But he blew it last Sunday and revealed his true self—a Ruling Class wannbe. Many have spoken about Gingrich’s fiasco so I won’t continue,  However, perhaps this piece from the Investor’s Business Daily will provide better perspective on the Medicare reform debate.

Editorial: Gingrich On Wrong Side In Medicare Debate

Politics: Democrats’ reckless Mediscare attack against Rep. Paul Ryan’s reform is bad enough. But for Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich to feed them ammunition is unconscionable.
Ever since the Wisconsin Republican unveiled his Medicare reform plan, Democrats from President Obama on down have tried to cast it as radical. Indeed, “Ryan’s radical plan to destroy Medicare” is practically their mantra.
So it was disheartening, to say the least, to see Gingrich dropping the R word left and right on “Meet the Press” this past Sunday. “I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate,” he said, adding that “I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.”
Ryan was absolutely right when he said on Monday: “With allies like that, who needs the left?” The true shame is that Gingrich blew a golden opportunity explain why Ryan’s plan is, in fact, the opposite of radical.
First, he could have pointed out that Ryan wouldn’t change anything in Medicare for a decade, leaving all current retirees alone, and giving today’s workers plenty of time to get ready.
Then he could have explained that the reform idea at the core of Ryan’s plan has, in one form or another, been championed by sensible Democrats for many years.
Under Ryan’s plan, rather than creaky government-run insurance, future retirees could choose from a menu of private plans, with the feds picking up the bulk of the premium tab.
This “premium support” idea was first advocated more than 15 years ago by health experts at two liberal think tanks, and by a bipartisan Medicare commission that President Clinton put together in 1998. An earlier version of Ryan’s plan was drafted with the help of Clinton budget director Alice Rivlin.
And instead of casting it as scary “right-wing social engineering,” Gingrich could have noted that Ryan’s reformed Medicare would look very much like what most workers have today — a choice of private plans, with the bulk of the premiums paid by somebody else.
Finally, he could have reminded the public that what’s really radical is what Obama and his fellow Democrats are advocating — do nothing, hope to win some votes by scaring seniors and let Medicare bankrupt the country.
Instead, Gingrich shamelessly echoed Obama’s bogus claim that there isn’t anything wrong with Medicare that can’t be fixed by wringing out “waste, fraud and abuse” — the classic dodge for politicians unwilling to make any hard choices.
On Monday, Gingrich tried to walk back his comments, with his spokesman claiming that what he really meant by “radical” was simply that “politically you can’t get to what Ryan wants from where we are. It will be demagogued to death.”
Maybe that’s true. But we’ll never know as long as Gingrich is the one doing the demagoguing.

Sorry, Newt, you won’t get my vote.  When you start supporting the left and their agenda, you’re no longer part of my Republican party.  I’m not an elitist, nor a Ruling Class wannabe. I’m just a American citizen working to restore the greatness of this nation that’s been stolen by the democrats and their Marxist core.