Siegel: The not so civil political war between good and evil
When President Obama, for instance, calls for bi-partisanship, he means the Republicans should do things exactly his way. In his mind, their function is to get first refusal for policies that he is likely to sign into law anyway with an executive order.
In this same vein, be weary of terms like “extreme right” or “moderate.” They are made-up phrases that change constantly as time goes on. And many who coin the the titles have difficulty admitting that there is any such a thing as the “extreme left.” That’s sad, inasmuch as it is the left which keeps advancing toward its desired direction.
You see, as the left moves further left, our real genuine center by comparison looks “further right.”
Twenty years ago, most liberals, regardless of their view of same-sex marriage, would have laughed at the idea of calling people hateful simply because they had the audacity to believe marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman.
Old-fashioned? Sure, that title might have been used, but not hateful.
Many who initially accepted abortion would not have imagined such a thing as partial birth abortion.
The right has not been moving. The left has.
But other battle lines are also being drawn, rifts that should not be happening. They come from the Republican corner, where (generally speaking) people more or less espouse the same values but fight over the best ways to implement them. Often the talk about tact, strategy and “electability” come across as mere masks for elitists who like the power of Washington and may be less concerned about four years of Hillary than they are about maintaining their own smug positions which might hopefully weather the storm.
Not that there isn’t some sincerity within the establishment. Well-intentioned individuals may honestly loathe Cruz and Trump. They may be genuinely worried that either of those candidates would drown the Republican party, if not by losing the general election, by having a horrible presidency. To protect the “Republican brand” they are willing to let the tree be pruned for better branches on another day.
That may sound like a legitimate strategy. What they fail to calculate is whether an opposing party would even exist four years from now.
We must be very careful. Regulation of free speech is in the winds. Conservatives get shouted down at our universities. Ideas of broadening such censorship into everyday American law under the guise of “hate speech regulation” are being seriously kicked around. Such laws are already pervasive in many European countries.
Mix that in with socialist redistribution policies, liberal executive orders and a potentially left-leaning Supreme Court that can canonize a liberal agenda for some 20 years, if not longer.
Four more years may not be enough time to “save the Republican Party.”
Better to try a little harder to save America. Otherwise we will wake up one morning in a country that does not even remotely resemble the Constitution written by our forefathers.
Enter John Kasich, the moderate! Remember him? He’s (supposedly) the less scary candidate, He’s still in the race even though he has no chance of getting enough delegates in the remaining primaries. His only hope is a contested convention. And why not? Kasich was “the nice guy” in the debates, the civil one, the guy who stayed out of the mud and refrained from insults. How do we know for sure that Kasich is the friendliest? He keeps telling us! That’s how! And then he reminds us again. We’ve heard Kasich’s description of his own civility about as many times as we learned that John Kerry served in Vietnam during the 2004 election.
No, Kasich doesn’t fight dirty! Not at all! Instead he reminds us how bad for the country Trump would be and shamelessly admits his plans to hang on until the convention which might hand the election to somebody who didn’t get a majority of the votes.
If this seems unfair, remember, when Kasich says it, he says it with a great big smile and an amiable sounding voice.
Never mind the actual goal: ripping the nomination away from the two candidates who got the most votes from actual American citizens who took the time to watch the 85,000 debates on TV and who got up early in the morning to stand in line at the polls only to discover that their votes may not be worth the ballot they punched.
Yes, we know that come June neither Cruz nor Trump alone may have the majority of the delegates. But together they would! If at least one of them isn’t the nominee, the Republican split will widen in ways that make the San Andreas Fault look like a ceiling crack covered by stucco.
What happens at such a potential convention may be legal, but it still smells like pickled herring on a hot, humid day! The GOP would be wise not to go there.
Never mind handing us the “electable more moderate, more presidential sounding candidate.” The last two electable moderates failed to win against Obama. And the term “presidential” is a worthless word which essentially means nothing.
People are tired of “presidential” politicians who don’t fight.
They are also tired of elitist senators who smear Ted Cruz, one of the few men who actually tried to keep a few campaign promises.
And they are tired of smiley mealy-mouths who worry themselves into anemia over one of Trump’s offensive comments while Democrats seem to have no problem lying about Republicans and painting them as “anti-woman,” “anti-clean water,” “anti- health care,” you name it.
I’m reminded of a line from “Mississippi Burning”:
“These people crawled out of the sewer! Maybe the gutter is where we should be!”
A word to the wise for Cruz and Trump: Your people are very loyal and you deserve their loyalty. You have both worked hard and you are both the frontrunners. But the loyalty is getting blown out of proportion.
Trump fans swear they will never vote for Cruz.
Cruz fans swear they will never vote for Trump.
And yet, for all the fighting, there are two things you have in common:
Many of your positions, values and policies are similar. Putting aside turbulent campaign strategy for a moment and instead examining actual issues, the two of you together hold a sizable majority during a time in American politics where conservatives are tired of a Republican establishment who has let them down and the population at large is getting an unpalatable taste of “compassionate liberal values” put in action.
This might be the right time for change if your egos could be only be placed on the back shelf for a while.
People can debate till the cows come home about who is sincere or lying or who has changed positions before. At the end of the day, anyone who follows politics is cynical enough and wise enough to know that they are not getting a perfect candidate. Neither can we read minds or predict the future. We can only roll the dice and vote for the person who is at least promising to do the things we want.
Most of us don’t care about your idiosyncrasies. Most of us don’t care what your wives look like or whether one of them once posed for a magazine. Larger issues are at stake.
The civil war with the left needs to be won. To a lesser degree, it can be argued that the conservative civil war with the GOP establishment needs to be won first. But now we also have a civil war among the conservatives. The hemorrhaging must stop!
A genuine civil war with the left waged as a verbal battle of ideas for the soul of America is necessary.
But a circling firing squad within the GOP, fueled more potently by quarreling conservatives? That is a road toward extinction that would make the both GOP moderates and conservatives about as relevant as the dodo bird.
I started with an analogy from “Fellowship of the Ring” and continued with a line from “Mississippi Burning.” Perhaps it’s fitting to close with one final movie, “Frozen.”
Mr. Trump and Sen. Cruz: If you really love your country as much as you say you do, it’s time to let it go! Let it go by putting away the childishness and joining forces.
Kasich, if you love your country, you can also let it go. Get out of the race and ward off a contested convention.
This is Bob Siegel, making the obvious obvious.
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and a columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net