Good News / Bad News (Part Two)

My name is Tom, and I’m here to help.

When last we “met,” I discussed the problems faced by the Republican Party in the wake of last week’s elections.  While I noted that the fallout from the elections and the challenges the GOP faces in the next decade have been overstated to an extent by the media (mostly because they’re in the business of overstatement), I also acknowledged that these problems are all-too-real.  I concluded by threatening promising to unveil my own 2016 platform as a willing savior of the Republican Party.[1]

Before I begin, a general point: Despite popular belief, the primary obstacle to Republican success in most areas isn’t losing an ideological war of ideas.  The trouble stems more from perception of competence / intelligence (something I discussed last time) and messaging, along with a handful of “albatross” positions.[2]  I tried to address those broad concerns as I crafted some of these planks.

Let’s get started.

1. Eliminate the widespread use of the internal combustion engine by 2024.   Not wasting any time, am I?  Bear with me.  One of the big hurdles for the GOP over the next decade will be to win back right-of-center moderates who cast a suspicious eye toward Republican climate-change skepticism.  After reviewing scholarship on the subject, particularly over the last three years, my view is that there’s little doubt that climate change is real, although the most recent data may suggest some ambiguity as to whether climate change has arrested at this point.

As for whether human activity affects our climate, I believe it does, but I also believe that, short of a nuclear war, human activity likely only supplements the much more powerful natural forces and cycles at work.  This is an obvious point, but the Earth experienced dramatic warm and cool periods long before humanity sullied the planet.  Put in simpler terms—I believe human activity may be able to turn a “B” climate into a “B-plus” or a “B-minus,” but, when a “B” becomes a “D,” or a “C” becomes an “A,” there are more fundamental, natural factors at work that are out of our direct control.

Nonetheless, we should move away from the internal combustion engine for a wide variety of reasons, even if our contribution to climate change is minimal.  Other environmental concerns (e.g. air quality) cut against maintaining the old technology.  A reduced demand for gasoline will also have the side-effect of driving prices down.

This is the part where I admit that none of that is my primary motivation for this position.

In fact, I consider this to be a foreign policy issue.

One of the major goals of the Garrett Administration will be to marginalize the Middle East to the point of irrelevance.

Currently, half of our relationship with that troubled (and troubling) region is intertwined with maintaining stability in the world’s petroleum market.  I’m not someone in the “no blood for oil” camp who says this is an illegitimate concern.  Quite the opposite.

But what if we didn’t have to care?

We’ve intervened militarily in the Middle East on at least a half-dozen occasions during the last 25 years, including two wars, none of which even had anything to do with Israel.[3]  That total goes up if one includes Libya as part of the Middle East.[4]  Yes, there were and are some terrible regimes in power in that region.  But there are also some terrible regimes in power in Africa.  Yet, our willingness to intervene there has been much more sparing.

Why?  It’s a lot easier to muster moral outrage when a vital economic interest is in peril.

The facts are these: The United States is already about to become the largest producer of oil in the world in about eight years, although Saudi Arabia is projected to wrest the lead from us by 2035.  My administration would expedite this process by becoming slightly more drilling- and pipeline-friendly, again citing foreign policy as a driving force.  I would sell this to environmentalists as short-term “pain” for long-term gain.

That brings me back to the internal combustion engine.  I would propose phasing out altogether the sale and manufacture of terrestrial vehicles that use traditional gasoline engines.  In some small measure, this is already beginning to happen through MPG requirements, but I would step up the timetable considerably and add some “teeth” to the effort.  I would be willing to subsidize some of the R&D necessary to continue to improve alternative-fuel automobiles.  I would also consider building in a six- or twelve-month grace period for domestic manufacturers as a sop to the American auto industry if necessary.

Military and certain industrial uses would be exempt for the time being.  In addition, the phase-out would not apply to vehicles exported for sale in other countries, nor (obviously) would it apply to the re-sale market.[5]  The general model I would use for some of the details would be the current, ongoing phase-out of incandescent light bulbs.

As the number of petroleum-using vehicles tapered off, the domestic demand for gasoline would decline.  Our need to involve ourselves in the business of the Middle East would likewise decline.  More on that later.

But, even putting aside the environmental concern and the alteration to our relationship with the Middle East, there is another massive benefit.

I mentioned a moment ago that we’re on-track to be the world’s top producer of oil.  That means we could essentially be energy-independent by that time.  The bad news is that we are also major consumers of petroleum.  The good news is that, in a world in which we’ve gotten serious about accelerating the demise of the traditional engine, we could become a major exporter of petroleum.

And guess who the #1 importer of oil will be be in 2035, to the point that their imports will be more than triple what ours are today?

China.

And, so, we help solve two foreign policy problems at once: One military, and one economic.  We weaken our ties to the Middle East, while making ourselves a major player in a world petroleum market in which China is the biggest buyer, all the time reducing our own carbon emissions dramatically.  If China decides instead to follow our lead and reduce their own emissions, then that’s a win all the way around.  Another side-effect would be China becoming more invested in Middle Eastern stability for the same reason we’ve been so attentive to the Arab world for the past several decades.

Cleaner air, a smaller collective carbon footprint, becoming a major player in the world oil market, and severing ties with the hornet nest that is the Middle East: Sounds like a good start.

2. Begin to reduce our military spending dramatically after two years.  I’m proceeding with this hypothetical platform under the pretense that the economy in 2016 will be identical to the one we have in 2012.  This is merely a contrivance necessary to craft these planks four years in advance.

With that in mind, then, the America of 2016 also faces about 8% unemployment and 24,000,000 people who are at least underemployed.  I bring that up because it’s important to remember the reality that the modern professional military is also a jobs program.  Not only is it a jobs program, but, particularly for the enlisted, it’s often a jobs program for folks for whom college may not be a great fit.

Cutting back a jobs program that caters to people who would have a hell of a time finding new employment in a bad economy should be done with the greatest of care.

That’s why I wouldn’t dramatically ramp-up military cuts until year three of my administration.  Building a foundation of a strong economy has to be the first priority.  That way, if the cutbacks wind up necessitating a reduction in active-duty personnel, the people impacted would be able to make a transition to the more robust private sector that awaited them.

As it stands, about one-fifth of our current budget is allocated to military spending.  What’s more, the amount of funds allocated to that purpose dwarfs military spending by any other nation on earth.

We should be able to maintain our position as the top fighting force in the world and the top military spender in the world while also dramatically decreasing the budget spent on the military over the course of the next several years.  The aforementioned scaling back of our interests in the Middle East should facilitate that effort, but we likely won’t see those gains until my second term, perhaps even afterword.

As it is, certain portions of the military budget are non-negotiable: Pensions, counter-terrorism, Homeland Security, and so on, all of which total to be a small percentage of the overall expenditure.  It’s the somewhat-mysterious $700+ billion Department of Defense spending that needs scaling back.

I would avoid cutting R&D, and I would also initiate new spending targeted at increased security and safety for our nuclear stockpile.  However, slashing the overall military expenditure by 5-10% per year, beginning in year three (and not including the natural decline in spending due to withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan) would be a must for my administration.

All of this would be part of an overall scheme of adopting a less-interventionalist posture that would facilitate such cuts over a multi-year period.  I’m by no means an isolationist, and I do believe that warfare is sometimes unfortunately appropriate.

Nonetheless, cutting ties with nations whose populations resent us and whose governments  have the same loyalty to us that a drug dealer has to a junkie will go a long way toward filtering out relationships that do more harm than good.

Finally, our War on Terror would become much more focused, as it would be fought on fewer fronts.  I would also end the practice of indefinite detention without trial via a POGOP[6] provision in the NDAA that, while not affording non-citizen detainees the same rights as U. S. citizens, would at least force the government to try / convict (and, in some cases, ultimately execute) any American detainee within a reasonable amount of time.

3. Bolster the economy in the short-term, reform the tax code in the long-term, stop demonizing high earners (or, as I call them, “winners”).  Here’s a dirty secret you’ll never hear any politician with a brain[7] say during campaign season: The national debt really doesn’t matter much in the short-term.

We’re not balancing a checkbook.  We’re not a household of four.  We’re also not Greece.  Our government has a monopoly on our own currency, a distinction between our situation and the analogies often trotted out to discuss the horrors of the debt.

Now, having said that, the debt is cause for concern in the long-term.  But getting back to full employment is more important over the next 24 months.  As a matter of principle, I do not object to raising taxes on high earners in the short-term in order to create more (but much “smarter”) stimulus packages and to help save Medicare and Social Security.  The goal would be to produce a balanced budget by the end of my first term, with the understanding that the economy takes precedence during the first two years.

Two related provisos: First, and most importantly, the reason high earners would be paying more is one of pure logistics.  They have the money.  Those with less do not.  The important point, here, is that this is not a moral judgment.  I reject the notion that a top “one percent” that pays approximately 38% of federal income tax receipts isn’t paying its “fair share.”

The case for the “fair share” is based on hogwash class-warfare tactics designed to conjure imagery straight out of Sherwood Forest.  By contrast, I respect high earners tremendously, and I will make the case that anyone who lawfully becomes a high earner should be respected, not resented.  It’s also worth noting that the “one percent” is surprisingly fluid.  This should be part of an encouraging message of economic mobility that my administration will use to bring people of all classes together, rather than attempting to convince one class that another class has rigged the system against them.

This idea that everyone who succeeds in this country owes his success to everyone else and/or the government due to some imbecilic conception of but-for causation is absurd.  Making the “you didn’t build that” argument is akin to saying that LeBron James couldn’t have won a title without the janitorial staff that swept the American Airlines Arena floor every night.  In some mindlessly-broad sense, that might be true.  In a reality-based assessment, an objective person would say that the phenomenal performance of LeBron James and his teammates were responsible for the Heat’s championship, end of story.

Anyway, the goal will be a recovery after two years.  At that point, my next goal will be full-on tax reform, including reducing the number of brackets to three (ideally) and simplifying the system.  One thing that won’t change will be a difference in the capital gains rate and the ordinary income rate.  I think it’s important to promote investment, and I also believe the rates should be different in recognition of what amounts to double-taxation on the same “pile” of money.

By the end of my second term, I would intend income tax rates to be the same or lower than they were after the Bush tax cuts.  However, I’m not inflexible, nor do I believe that taxes should be cut ever-lower until they reach zero.  There are times when raising taxes is appropriate, and I believe that, in the short-term, now is such a time.

4. Emphasize states’ rights, de-emphasize “albatross” social issues.  My constitutional law studies have fostered a strong belief in the concept of American federalism (sometimes referred to as “states’ rights”).  But what folks often miss is that states’ rights are a two-way street: Just as a state might allow a very generous policy on gun purchase and ownership, another state could legalize prostitution.  The notion of laboratories of democracy is an important one to me, but it potentially includes positions at both ends of the political spectrum.

It is also the instrumentality by which my candidacy will avoid the liability of some of the issues that hurt the GOP in 2012.

As to gay marriage: I believe that family law is the province of the states, and always has been.  I would advocate modifying federal law (see tax code reform above) to allow for recognition of any domestic partnership, civil union, etc, that was recognized by the taxpayer’s jurisdiction.[8]  I would, however, defend DOMA—and any other law—so long as it is in effect.  I believe that failing to oblige the Justice Department to defend federal laws currently in force is a minor dereliction of duty for a president.

I will not make traditional marriage part of my platform.  I will not take any action to prevent states from legalizing gay marriage.  I will eat at Chick-Fil-A as often as possible (i.e. the status quo).

If asked about the topic by the media, I will say that I defer to the states, as they have power over the law of domestic relations.  I will, however, say that I believe in a society’s right to order itself how it thinks best, so long as there is no proscription of that ordering in the Constitution (and, thus far, there is none in this context).

There will be little-to-no talk of Jesus Christ in my campaign.  But there will be much talk of science.

As to abortion: I am what I would describe as moderately pro-choice, which means that both sides will be disappointed in me.  Pro-lifers may think I’m a monster, and pro-choice advocates will be slightly chagrined at best.

I believe that our society is served best by abortions being available (regardless of the method of conception) prior to viability.  Unwanted children create a host of heartbreaking problems for all of us, and those effects are felt for years.  I also have no issue per se with government funds being used to subsidize such abortions, since poor mothers are more likely to have issues raising such children.

Having said that, here comes the science: I think one of the failures of the far left is a refusal to acknowledge the reality that, after a certain point, abortion is essentially infanticide.  The baby doesn’t suddenly and magically become a person because it crosses the plane of the goal line and tumbles into the end zone.  A baby becomes a human while still inside the mother.  I believe that it is not only permissible for states to ban abortion after a certain point of development, but I would also support such measures (except in circumstances such as the mother’s life being in danger).

If we’re going to be honest about abortion, let’s be honest: Society is better off without many of these children being born, but we also shouldn’t be murdering for the sake of convenience.  I do not believe life begins at conception.  Prior to the point of development wherein the fetus is viable, I think abortion should be legal and safe.

But all of that is largely moot.  Abortion, like gay marriage, won’t be a major part of my platform, if any part of my platform.[9]

5. Fight a more limited, smarter War on Drugs.  I’m not a libertarian.  I believe that society has a collective right to control instruments and substances that it believes to be overly-harmful to the public as a whole.  Just as we can’t legally own certain types of explosives (or, say, an elephant), I also believe the government absolutely has the right to ban the use, sale, or possession of certain substances.

Yet, two other themes I’ve brought up previously come into play here.  First, states’ rights.  While I will continue to enforce anti-drug laws at the federal level, I will also respect states like Washington and Colorado that have legalized marijuana.  To be clear, I mean by that that the DEA will not attempt to police conduct permissible under state law.  This doesn’t include things like a multi-state operation that transports drugs across state lines of other jurisdictions.

The second theme is one of allowing scientific understanding to inform governmental decision-making.  As I said, I’m not a libertarian.  And, though you may think it corny, I have always believed in the “Just Say No” and “Winners don’t use drugs” mantras from the 80s and 90s.  I still do.  I have never and will never touch drugs.  If states want to keep pot illegal, I will respect that.  I will also be most curious to see what impact (if any) such legalization efforts have on cartel activity.  I’ve been a skeptic when it comes to that aspect, since I believe the cartels will always find other illegal activities to use as revenue streams, but I’m open to the idea that I could be totally wrong about that.

However, we need to re-evaluate commitment of resources (and criminal punishments) in light of the relative dangers of different substances.  This is where science comes in.  We currently have a system in place that still has pretty stiff punishments in most jurisdictions for pot use, while struggling to find a way to punish at all the far-more-dangerous synthetic drugs currently gaining popularity.

While I don’t advocate legalizing marijuana fully, I would take a fresh look at drug enforcement and punishment, consult with chemical dependency experts, and reform federal drug law enforcement such that resources are committed to those areas that pose the greatest threat.[10]

6. Craft a better immigration policy while also securing our ports and borders.  One of the primary reasons why Republicans have been hurt by the immigration issue is that they’ve failed to distinguish adequately between immigration, on the one hand, and security.  To be fair, the left has intentionally tried to conflate the two to make the GOP seem more racist, but that must end.

We need to be discussing the security at the Port of Los Angeles a lot more than we do currently.

At the outset, we have to do a better job policing our borders and ports.  I’m not concerned about migrant workers.  I’m concerned about migrant dirty bombs.

I favor a limited amnesty for current illegal immigrants that will provide them with a path to citizenship under certain criteria.  Australia uses a “points system” for its (legal) immigration, and I’d like to adopt a similar system for amnesty.  Obviously, the criteria would be different than the one used in Australia, but the idea would be that any illegal immigrant who scores above a certain number would be eligible for amnesty up to a certain date.

Anyone who doesn’t qualify (which would certainly include anyone who committed criminal acts on either side of the border, or whose identity cannot be verified, or the able-bodied non-homemakers who had not held any kind of employment since arriving) would still be deported.  The lion’s share of illegal immigrants would be able to qualify for amnesty.  Over and above that, I would also support some form of the DREAM Act.

Immigration reform would be a priority for my administration because it would remove a major hurdle to something that is more important: Security.

7. Social security must be reformed.  When our Social Security system began in the 1930s, there were 16 workers supporting every beneficiary.  Now, thanks to changes in the workforce and the population bottleneck effect brought on by the Baby Boomers, the ratio is about 3-to-1.  Soon, it will be 2-to-1.

Social Security is an even bigger portion of our budget than military spending, and any long-term plan to reign in deficits and the national debt will have to include dealing with the realities of the Social Security demographic problem.

Briefly, I would raise the benefit age trigger by one year (in recognition of the increase in average lifespan).  I would also advocate using a measure of career average earnings to reduce benefits, as opposed to true “means-testing,” which I fear would disincentivize financial prudence and thrift.

With those two changes in place, and taking into account the reduction in the military budget as described above, I acknowledge that a slight across-the-board cut may still be necessary to preserve the system in its current form.  I would be open to the idea of partial privatization of the system if the privatizing is done in the form of a voluntary election rather than a compulsory mechanism.

8. Medicare really must be reformed.  As worrisome as Social Security is, it’s a walk in the park compared to the Medicare problem.  Social Security has at least 20 years of solvency left.  Medicare is slated to run out in 2024, which would be at the end of my hypothetical first term.

This is a complex issue with a lot of technical knowledge required to make a fully-informed proposal about what must be done.  In broad strokes, and at a minimum, I would propose three reforms to try to close the funding gap.

First, as with Social Security, I would raise the trigger age for Medicare.  Here, I would bump it two years (to 67 from 65).  Anyone currently within 36 months of coverage vesting would be grandfathered (probably literally) into the 65 trigger.

Secondly, I would eliminate the IPAB through new health-care legislation (see below).  I’ve never been comfortable with the IPAB conceptually, particularly in terms of accountability.  Its elimination should produce a net savings for the program thanks to the rather odd rules governing how the IPAB works.

Finally, I would bump the patient premium responsibility from 25% to 30%.  This is a difficult choice, and I understand that this will be a financial hardship for some, but hard choices have to be made in order to save the system.  This measure and the age increase alone should save well over $200 billion.

Even that might not be enough, but it’s a good start that will be supplemented by the aforementioned short-term tax increases, as well as other reasonable cuts.

9. Modify, but do not repeal, Obamacare, and do not adopt socialized medicine.  Taking office in 2021 will provide me with the distinct advantage of seeing what works and what doesn’t once the Affordable Care Act is implemented fully.  While I believe that some of the reforms were good and necessary, I also believe that some of the bureaucratic architecture will need to be streamlined or removed at the federal level.  By that same token, I think further ideas for reform will become more apparent as we see what life is like under the fully-realized law.

The biggest change I would advocate to keep costs down would be malpractice reform.  Malpractice insurance is a huge driver of healthcare costs, and the driver-behind-the-driver are huge lawsuits and the potential liability that attaches to any person who dispenses medical advice, especially if they wield a scalpel.

The other major reform I advocate would be to create a market that crosses state lines (a good summary of the arguments for and against this may be found here).  I believe this would reduce costs, and, as a result of those lower prices for consumers due to expanded competition, would make private healthcare more affordable, thereby also increasing coverage.

But let’s tackle the larger point.  I think most people fear/hope that the ACA is an incremental step toward a single-payer healthcare system.  If it is, that will not happen on my watch.

While I agree that it’s important to continue to be vigilant in reforming access to health care, I do not believe that the government should run the health care industry.

I’ve seen some on the left say that health care is “too important” to be left to the devices of capitalism.  The fact that I agree on its importance is precisely why I want a for-profit system in place in perpetuity.

I want doctors to get rich, I want insurance companies to get rich, I want medical supply and pharma companies to get rich.

That may sound infuriating to you if you’re on the liberal side of this issue, but consider that another way I might phrase “get rich” here is “be rewarded if providing competent, successful service / products.”

If you attempt to look up background information development costs of medical devices and pharmaceuticals, you’ll quickly discover two parallel narratives.  One, from outlets more sympathetic to progressive politics, scoffs at the notion that private medical companies commit huge resources to innovation.  Although this is often not stated explicitly, this skepticism toward, e.g., “Big Pharma” is used as a way to undermine one of the primary arguments against socialized medicine: Namely, that profit-seeking behavior allows companies to sink huge sums into research, testing, and development.

The other narrative presents a starkly-different set of facts.  The “evil” folks at Big Pharma spend an unbelievable amount on research.  So unbelievable, in fact, that I can hardly blame some of my lefty friends for refusing to accept it.  But the evidence paints a picture that I not only accept, but that I consider to be of vital importance.

Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Bristol-Myers alone spent over $300,000,000,000 in research and development over a 15-year period between 1997 and 2011.  The number spent by only the 12 largest companies solely on drug research is larger than the amount spent on all science and medical research by the U. S. government over the same period.

If you want to think these companies are evil, that’s fine.  I don’t see it that way.  But, even if they are evil, they’re a necessary evil.

We have a choice to make as a country in terms of our overall philosophy on health care.  I want to make it perfectly clear that I believe that all of us want to see everyone get medical treatment and have insurance, and all of us also want to promote medical innovation, cures, and new technologies.

However, there are always trade-offs for every decision we make.  Some believe that it is more important to make sure that every person has top-flight healthcare (run by the government), even if it means that profits and private involvement in that sector of the economy disappear.  My view is that it is more important to maintain the involvement of the companies driving research and development of new products.

I don’t care that they’re hungry for money.  I stand corrected—I’m glad these companies are driven by profit.  Why?  Because I would rather have people die today (yes, I said it) if it means a cure in five years than have people get treatment today if it means it postpones a cure for decades.

I’m a big-picture, long-term person.  And, though it breaks my heart that a for-profit system might indirectly lead to certain people not getting the best treatment, that is a sacrifice that I’m willing to have them make for the greater good of humanity over the long haul.[11]

10. The vision thing.  Everything I say above is all well and good, but there are some key cultural issues that I’ll also try to tackle while in office, even if they’re difficult to address at the federal level.  I’ll mention three here:

One, our approach to education is incorrect.  We put too much emphasis on feelings, and not enough on specific and marketable knowledge.  Also, leaving some kids behind is not only ok, but it’s sometimes necessary to prevent the compromising of the rest of the class’ learning experience.  Furthermore, too many people go to college.  I want to de-stigmatize trade and specialty schools.  I understand why a traditional college education was glamorized to the point of being the “norm” in society, but the pendulum has swung too far in that direction culturally.  There’s a reason we have a million out-of-work philosophy majors: Half of them never realized that they were meant to be plumbers or welders.  And humanities-based graduate schools (especially law schools) may be even worse.  We need to figure out how to stop every pre-med kid who gets a “C” in organic chemistry from attending law school.

Two, this is well-trod ground, but continuing to impress upon people that working hard and having a job is crucial to our core values and the long-term health of the country.  I’ve witnessed first-hand people my own age (early 30s) reacting to being temporarily laid off with a shrug and a comment about plans to go to the unemployment office the next day.  These aren’t some caricatures of inner-city welfare queens or other political boogeymen.  These are college-educated, able-bodied professionals whose first response after being told they would be sent home for a week until work picked back up was to go get money from the government.  This should be scary to all of us.  Increasingly, it isn’t.  My hope is that certain kinds of judgmentalism will make a comeback during my administration, cutting through the narcissistic, shameless fugue state in which many people find themselves in twenty-first-century America.

Three, of all of the things I’ve discussed, there is no domestic issue more important than the crisis of single-parent families.  I was very impressed that Mitt Romney at least addressed that topic in passing during one of the debates.  You can slice up our nation’s problems however you like, but breakdowns in education, crime, unemployment, excessive entitlement spending, abuse, and poverty all flow largely from single-parent households (usually single mothers).  As Romney said, this is not to say that a single-parent household can’t successfully raise a child.  But, on the whole, it’s an uphill battle.  We need to find ways to encourage stable, two-parent families.[12]  If I could snap my fingers and “fix” just one thing about the domestic issues the United States faces, it would be this epidemic.

11. A word about branding and messaging.  Before I wrap up this 5,000-word monster, allow me one more general note.  I’ve talked a lot about my own beliefs and strategies for making the Republican message more agreeable to a lot of Americans.  These include tying environmental policy to foreign policy, untying immigration policy from homeland security, and de-emphasizing control of social issues at the federal level as part of a commitment to states’ rights while also embracing science on controversial topics like climate change and abortion.

There is also the issue of perception, however.  I would love to think that we all aspire (as I do) to live in a colorblind society based around ideas rather than identity.  While that may be true for many of us, large numbers of people feel differently, especially when it comes to the Republican Party.

We don’t need people to be Republicans, we just need them to be willing to listen to Republican ideas with an open mind and vote for Republicans on election day.  My hope is that some of the suggestions I make above will help people of all creeds and colors find voting for Republicans to be something they can not only stomach, but can also embrace.

A few commentators in recent years, and especially since last week, have tossed out / fantasized over the idea that the Republican Party will (or should) go away, possibly to be reborn, possibly to be replaced.  I don’t buy that, but I do think some reinvention of image might be wise.

Keep the “Republican” name.  Maybe even keep the elephant (although an eagle—or a tiger—might be fun).  You might want to get rid of the “Old” in “Grand Old Party,” though.  “Grand New Party” has a nice ring to it.[13]  It sounds like “Brand New Party,” and the acronym GNP calls to mind prosperity.  But I’m just brainstorming.

Whatever we do, and wherever we go from here, the next election really is an important one.  I always roll my eyes when the media goes into “best/worst/most/least” mode, but 2016 is going to be telling.  Whether you like him or not—and I find him quite appealing on a personal level, if not an ideological one—Barack Obama is a strong candidate.  A 70-year-old Hillary Clinton, or someone like Andrew Cuomo, likely won’t inspire the same fervor.  Moreover, it is very difficult for a party to win three straight presidential elections.  The only time it’s happened since World War II was George Bush in 1988.

So, if the GOP GNP fails to capture the White House in 2016, it might be time to panic after all.

But don’t worry—I’ll win.

Duh.

See you in three-and-a-half years, America.

_________________

[1] I should note that I am well-aware of my own unelectability on a number of fronts.  First and foremost, I am a borderline-recluse who is a virtual unknown to anyone outside my immediate family.  Secondly, I have no money.  Thirdly, even if I somehow gained notoriety and wealth (most likely through a Press Your Luck revival), my debilitating lack of charisma would doom any political aspirations ab initio.
[2] For example, as soon as “gay marriage” was rebranded as the more palatable “marriage equality,” the tide began to turn in that battle
[3] I know Israel is a divisive issue, so I’ll be concise and direct as far as my feelings on the subject: Israel is an oasis of sanity in a desert of batsh*t.
[4] A stretch geographically, but Libya is also included due to being in relative proximity to the region, being similar in terms of ethnicity, and being an oil-producing nation.
[5] In other words, it wouldn’t suddenly become illegal to sell your vintage Mustang to a collector or to trade in your 2009 Camry.  Existing vehicles would remain legal, but would naturally begin to disappear and be replaced as they age.
[6] Poop or Get Off the Pot.
[7] I may or may not be disqualified on the basis of this criteria.
[8] The idea would be to replace marriage distinctions in the federal tax code with something broader that could encompass any two-party, dependent relationship.  That could be marriage, a civil union, a domestic partnership (including relatives who are in a caretaker relationship).
 [9] There is the complication of the fact that, although I’m pro-choice, I absolutely believe Roe v. Wade is wrongly-decided.  Whether you like the outcome or not, it’s horrible (and I mean horrible) jurisprudence.  So, if someone asks me whether I believe there’s an immutable “right” to abortion in the Constitution, I will be obliged to say no.
[10] Crystal meth, heroin, and synthetics would probably be at the top of that list.
[11] See what I mean about electability?  What anti-bullying-activist mommy is going to vote for someone like me?
[12] This is one of the reasons why I’m pro-choice.  Terminating a pregnancy can often prevent the sad scenario in which a mother is left to raise a child alone, much of the time in poverty.
[13] And, as I discovered when I googled “Grand New Party” after I thought of it while writing this, that name was apparently the title of a book from 2008 that tried (and failed—see last week) to do much the same as I’m doing here (although the book was probably shorter).
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2 Responses to Good News / Bad News (Part Two)

  1. Pingback: Best of 2012 | The Axis of Ego

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