You don’t have to be a Republican to understand Republican angst. The ideas that mainstream Republicans base their allegiances on are the same ideas that dogged our country for eight years and are the same ones that have left us half drunk and reeling like a battered boxer.
Under born-again Bush, they had it their way. The Bush economy rehashed trickledown economics that didn’t work under Reagan. They pushed our military to wipe out imaginary threats in Iraq, and in doing so, they stretched our military thin while putting further stress on the economy. So imagine for a moment that the ideas that you consider most important actually wind up damaging our country, and in the process, they completely flatten your political party. You would be angry too.
So who do you turn to as your political savior? You have your actual politicians like Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Eric Cantor who recently dragged out their tired “Pledge to America” that says absolutely nothing. Feel free to jump online and comb through the greatest hits like “bring back the Bush tax cuts” and “let’s privatize more of our government.” It’s a great big piece of nothing that’s long on yawns and short on ideas. That’s why the grand revealing of this “Pledge” was held at a hardware store and nobody cared.
No, if you are a Republican searching for your anger outlet then you are probably drifting down the path of the real leaders, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. Of course they’re as empty and shortsighted as any other Republican politician, but they can fill the void where ideas should be with spicy rhetoric. Over 80,000 people came to Glenn Beck’s rally in Washington last month. Sarah Palin can’t stay out of the news. Female Tea Party candidates who are supported by Palin are known as “Mamma Grizzlies” and the hardened right wing can’t get enough of Palin. Realistically, you probably couldn’t pull a single practical political idea from either Beck or Palin. But that’s the point.
If all of your ideas have proved toxic then you scrap them and come up with new ones. If you don’t have any new ones then your focus becomes generically abstract drivel that no one on the right would bother to disagree with. The theme of Beck’s Washington rally was “Restoring Honor,” and much of his speech was devoted to bringing God back to the United States. In the words of Greg Rinehart during that rally, “the country is becoming Godless.” I haven’t noticed this. When I walk outside to go to work, I don’t see a lot of devil worshipping, murdering rapists. I just see more people going to work. Granted, there have been plenty of people laid off where I work. But that’s a specific economic issue and Beck won’t have anything to do with that.
Where are the viable Republican candidates? Where are the ideas? Political airtime has been purchased and the space is being filled, but nothing’s being said. If your only platform is that politicians are bad and you are going to change Washington, then you are officially out of ideas. Believe it or not, we need good politicians. People tell me that politics and politicians are bad all the time. So how can you possibly have good politics if you listen to people with no ideas and perpetually vote for the “anti-politician”?