January 7th, 2010

The Redemption of the Republicans

photo credit: DiscoWeasel

Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican party, admits that his party has “screwed up”, while selectively pointing to some (of the many) errors made in the past couple of decades. While only a little surprising (after all, he didn’t make these statements while his own party was still in charge), this is a welcome first step in the process of redemption—a recognition of fault.

As recovering alcoholics, children who have stolen candy from a store, and repenting Christians all know, recognition is only the first step. What follows is (or, well, should be) a change in one’s behavior, bringing it in line with the standard being sought after. Only then will the recognition be seen as somewhat valid, rather than a feigned attempt to show contrition while lacking sincerity or any commitment to improve.

Republicans by and large have shown no such sincerity, and until they do they will continue to see their base jump ship while further losing the public’s confidence. To regain said confidence, Chairman Steele “says the GOP should, among other things, expose the ‘reign of error’ inherent in liberal policies, contrast conservative and liberal principles, and highlight the damage caused by Obama’s policies while explaining conservative solutions.”

This is not a change in behavior. It is, rather, like a child justifying his own malfeasance by ratting out his sibling who likewise broke the rules. Yes, the other child behaved improperly as well, but this does not show a sincere desire to improve, nor does it endear the parent to the child. Pointing a finger at someone else is disingenuous at best, and deceitful at worst, when the proper action is to point the finger at one’s own self.

The Republican party has failed to do this, apparently not realizing that it is the fastest way to regain strength and attract supporters. Disenfranchised Republicans of all levels of party faithfulness are slowly and steadily distancing themselves from the tainted batch of elected officials who have sullied the once-respected label. A course correction is needed if the party is to survive and stand on any principle at all, but a simple verbal confession will not suffice. Few are convinced by the contrition being shown by some, including Steele, who naturally become comfortable supporters of principle—if only in word, not in deed—as the so-called “loyal opposition”.

The redemption of the Republicans will be most effective and genuine if and when the party regains control of the government and can demonstrate a commitment to the principles to which it claims to adhere while having the power and opportunity to continue to ignore them. Until that occurs, Republican leaders should look inward and sincerely admit their faults while either stepping aside to let others correct their mistakes and adhere to the core principles of the party, or by being forthcoming about these mistakes and detailing exactly what will be done to fix them.

Forgiveness is always “an option on the table” and Republicans can (perhaps only by some miracle) re-dedicate themselves to the principles they profess. However the change occurs, though, occur it must if the redemption is to be made complete and the Republicans are to regain any legitimacy in national politics.

11 Responses to “The Redemption of the Republicans”

  1. Clumpy
    January 7, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Steele’s comments on Republican “blunders” focus almost entirely on the typical right-wing assertions that the party hasn’t marketed itself well enough (among other very safe criticisms that require no real change other than never taking the Dem’s side on anything). Until we see a comprehensive plan to stop celebrating war crimes within the next five years and respect human rights they’ll remain the lesser of two evils.

  2. Clumpy
    January 7, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    Those aren’t the only things they’ll have to do, of course – the main problem right now on the Right is an unearned sense of their moral superiority and an absolute abandonment of anything approaching a principle, something that doesn’t plague the Left since they never claim to be doing anything other than pragmatically seeking solutions. I agree basically with your comments though I have no faith that the sentiments Steele expresses reflect any penitence or desire to be the party of the good example.

    EDIT: And I should have said “greater of two evils” in the previous post.

  3. Kelly W.
    January 7, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Clumpy, the key to your statement is that the right and the left are BOTH evil, and one is a lesser evil and the other the greater evil. (I do, however, also believe the Republicans to be the greater evil.)

    I believe both left AND right are evil and corrupt. The democratic and republican parties (the left-right paradigm) are truly a tactic imposed upon us by the Secret Combinations that control both parties.

    Because of this, I have a hard time understanding Connor’s thinking that the Republican Party can redeem itself. I don’t think there are any redeeming qualities in either party.

  4. David
    January 7, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    Well said. The hollow verbal assent to principle by those who have a public record of betraying those very same principles is nothing close to a change of ways. The best thing that could happen to the Republican party is a massive infusion of new leaders who are willing to point out the historic betrayal of principle by the party and commit to change the party.

    Those who support incumbent party officials based on arguments of seniority fail to realize that seniority by those who betrayed the principles they claim to believe in will not lead to those principles being followed in the future.

  5. Connor
    January 7, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    …I have a hard time understanding Connor’s thinking that the Republican Party can redeem itself. I don’t think there are any redeeming qualities in either party.

    I am a member of the Republican party, but do not affiliate myself at all with most who share the title. The redemption I speak of will only be made by those who truly live the anti-war, small-government, low-taxes, non-intervention creed.

    Whether or not this will ever happen is another issue. (Hence the reference to needing a miracle.) But those who, like myself, are working within the party to remove the corrupt elements believe that bit by bit, and by joining forces, we can reform this party.

  6. rmwarnick
    January 8, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    Republican rule brought us what’s now being called “The Decade From Hell.”

    President Bush failed to stop the worst terrorist attack in history, took the nation into two unwinnable wars, shredded the Constitution, and crashed the economy– sending us into the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

    Republicans lost jobs (first time since Herbert Hoover), and left us with a negative GDP (minus 3.5 percent). Bush came in with a budget surplus, then doubled the National Debt to $11 trillion and saddled the next administration with a record deficit. He even left part of the country in ruins (e.g. lower Manhattan, New Orleans, the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis).

    Frankly, even the blatant corporatist agenda of the Democrats looks good compared to that record. Republicans are going to have to work hard to restore their reputation. Voting NO on everything won’t do it.

  7. Tim Carter
    January 8, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    Yeah, and this isn’t helping either:

    Moderator: Finally, learning a new language doesn’t have to be hard. You can be fluent in conversational tea bag in just a few short minutes. Lesson one: Don’t get distracted by the confusing words of other languages.

    ” Character: I think the public option and the competition it would foster would really — socialist, socialist.

    Moderator: Good, very good. Lesson two: If you’re having trouble understanding the words of others or being understood yourself, use teabag’s stronger, more descriptive words.

    Character: “Nazi, Nazi, Nazi.”

    From here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120344047

  8. Clumpy
    January 8, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    I agree Tim, the teabaggers are awful and uncreative. That’s what you’re saying, right?

  9. Tim Carter
    January 10, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    It dumbs down the conversation/ debate for sure. Way harder to get to middle ground after expending so much energy wading through that stuff.

  10. Marc
    January 10, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    To illustrate how lost the Repubs are, a news story just came out that Harry Reid made some supposed racial remarks against Obama a couple of years ago. Now the repubs are calling for Reid to step down. While what he said was stupid and perhaps offensive, it in no way compares to the outright treachery of people like Hatch and Bennet who voted for the TARP bailout, or the outright treason of Obama, Reid and Pelosi and others who are fully sovietizing the nation. Why not call for these traitors to step down over their crimes? What Reid said about Obama pales in comparison to some of these criminal activities.

    Both parties are just pathetic!

  11. Marc
    January 10, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

    Connor, love the Fascism photo at the top there. So totally appropriate!

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