OPINION PIECE: The Invisible Establishment Republicans
November 28, 2012 — Now that masochist Republicans have once again managed to find a way to go down to defeat - against a failed, collectivist president who received 10 percent fewer votes than in 2008 - conservatives and libertarians are blaming "establishment Republicans." Even most of the supposed conservatives roaming the halls of Congress talk disdainfully about them.
Which raises the question, who, exactly, are these "establishment Republicans?" Isn't it odd that you never hear any conservative admit that he is an establishment Republican?
An overriding theme in my first book, To Be or Not to Be Intimidated? was that most attorneys take great pride in their ability to kill deals. It is in that book that I came up with the nickname "Legalman" to refer to all attorneys collectively.
The book is a sort of autobiography of my days as a real estate broker, and Legalman was the villain who delighted in coming in at the last minute and blowing up my closings. Considering how I depicted Legalman in my book, one would assume that every attorney with whom I've come in contact since the book became a bestseller vehemently challenged my views.
But, guess what - none of them ever have. In fact, I have never received a single letter or e-mail from an attorney who disagreed with my description of Legalman as a deal-killing predator.
On the contrary, over the years I have probably received hundreds of letters and e-mails from attorneys who not only agreed with my assessment of Legalman as a master deal-killer, but, in almost every case, went to great lengths to let me know that they were "not one of those deal-killing attorneys" I had written about.
The reason I injected this little anecdote is because it's a perfect analogy to the question of why no one seems to own up to being an establishment Republican. Establishment Republicans are generally considered to be the GOP's main problem when it comes to elections, but to listen to Republicans talk, it's hard to figure out who the establishment Republicans are.
In that vein, I believe the first step is to define them. While there is no official definition, I think of an establishment Republican as any Republican whose words and actions are "mainstream." Or, put another way, a Republican who is firmly anchored in the status quo.
And since the status quo for politicians is to continually increase the size, scope, and intrusiveness of government, establishment Republicans are anti-freedom and anti-individualistic. These are the folks who have given us such mainstream guys as Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Bush I, Bob Dole, Bush II, and Mitt Romney. Which means that, indirectly, they also gave us Barack Obama.
So, contrary to what many Republicans believe, Barack Obama is not the problem. He is but a symptom of the problem. Over the past hundred years or so, the United States government has been infiltrated by lots of communists. That's nothing new. But in the days of yore, Republicans and Democrats worked to track down the commies, root them out, and, in the case of the Rosenbergs, even execute them.
Let's face it, on a level playing field, a communist is no match for a true patriot who is passionate about liberty. But therein lies the problem. Today, not only do virtually all Democrats not believe in individual liberty, neither do a majority of Republicans. Sadly, most politicians in both parties are now statists, meaning that they believe the state should have the power to violate the sovereignty of individual citizens at will.
Nevertheless, I've come to believe that establishment Republicans are like the attorneys who tell me they aren't part of the deal-killing legal establishment. In other words, most establishment Republicans really don't think of themselves as part of the establishment. Through some sort of perverse, subconscious rationalization, they really believe they are in favor smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation, and more individual liberty.
That's why you hear status-quo Republicans like Bill Kristol, Newt Gingrich, and Bill Bennett often refer to the Republican establishment with disdain. Perhaps I'm naive, but I do know human nature, and I believe such people have the same mind-set as Legalman. In their heart of hearts, they really don't see themselves as part of the Republican establishment.
That's how status-quo guys like John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and Eric Cantor manage to remain in leadership roles in the Republican Party, even after the Republicans get clobbered by the Dirty Dems. These are the folks who cavalierly talk about the need to compromise with socialists and raise taxes on "the rich."
It's not out of malice they say such things. It's simply that they do not passionately believe in liberty. Who in the hell gave politicians the right to tax people more just because they're rich - or even the right to decide who qualifies as "rich" in the first place?
That said, here we go again down the same road, the one leading to higher taxes and no serious spending cuts. Trust me, John Boehner doesn't stay awake at night thinking about how to reduce the size of government, lower people's taxes, or get rid of as many regulations as possible. What he thinks about is the great photo ops that come from playing golf with the Duplicitous Despot and the need to "compromise" in order to preserve that little perk.
If there is a presidential election in 2016 - which is by no means a certainty - Republicans, by renewing John Boehner's contract to act as their speaker, have already made it clear that the establishment will continue to run things. The Republican Party is rotted from within, and Republicans who do not favor the status quo have only two options for changing things: (1) start a new party or (2) cleanse the Republican Party of establishment Republicans.
And since the latter is not going to happen, I still believe that the former is the only (long-term) hope for true conservatives and libertarians.