Lubbock is so overwhelmingly Republican that here, much like at the national level, we are experiencing the rise of the anti-Republicans.
These are a new breed of critic. They often spurn “the arena,” professing to be smarter than voters and officeholders alike. Where the anti-Republicans have achieved commercial or electoral viability, it is by the goodwill of their Democratic supporters.
This is not the usual style of dissent. For years Democrats and Republicans have welcomed the open debate of ideas. The lines were distinctly drawn and the differences clear.
They unite around an angry pathology, dubious credibility and uncertain stability.
The anti-Republicans, on the other hand, are a political fifth column; Democrats professing to be Republicans. They spend their time and energy expounding all that is wrong with the Republican Party. They canonize past Democratic figures and lament there are none like them today, ignoring their historical support of segregation, abortion and big government.
What spews from the anti-Republicans is the crudest form of populist politics. The message changes from one to the next because they have no guiding principles. Instead, they unite around an angry pathology, dubious credibility and uncertain stability.
They value personality over principle. In their world, it is not the job of lawmakers to work for the greater good by passing principled legislation, but to be the biggest pigs at the trough. An officeholder must bring home a disproportionate share of the pie or be damned. The anti-Republicans disdain all but the pork principle.
The anti-Republicans disdain all but the pork principle.
When confronted with rational argument the anti-Republicans react with anger and pejorative. They resort to belittling opponents because they cannot argue from the secure ground of conservative values like limited government and self reliance.
Hiding behind nostalgia, shallow slogans and cheap rhetoric, the anti-Republicans are not electable. They are sideline critics.
The underlying conviction of the anti-Republicans is that we are dependent upon government to be great. Thus, their promises to make us “great again.”
But when did we cease to be great?
What ought to identify Republicans are our ideas: we coalesce around common beliefs and principles we hold dear.
And what made us great? Was it big government? Money from Austin? Does our greatness derive from the personality of our lawmakers? Or, are we great because of the ideas and values of our citizens?
What ought to identify Republicans are our ideas: we coalesce around common beliefs and principles we hold dear. The tent is big enough that we need not agree on every issue, but we agree that our ideas are what bind us.
What do we do with the anti-Republicans?
We stop calling them Republicans. They are political anarchists; Democrats in disguise. Unlike Republicans with whom we may disagree on one principle or another, the anti-Republicans are dishonest purveyors of political and social chaos.
We promote principle and eschew the porcine politics of pragmatism.
We challenge them. If bringing home the bacon is the stuff statesmanship is made of, then we demand they prove it. Let them run for office as Democrats, whose agenda they advance.
Finally, we continue to be the party of ideas that matter. We question their presuppositions and false premises. We promote principle and eschew the porcine politics of pragmatism.
It has been a turbulent election year. To the degree we abandon our principles we cease to be the Republican Party and become a political parody.