So where do we go from here?

One of my favorite songs of all time is David Essex’s “Rock On.”  Love it, and this weekend got a chance to sing it to the ladyfriend as we drove down the road.  While it predates me by a few years, you should never be too young to appreciate a damn good song.  One of the common lines in the song is “where do we go from here, which is a way that’s clear?  Still lookin’ for that blue jean baby queen, prettiest girl I’ve ever seen…”  I don’t know why, but it brought me to a thought of the Congressional Republicans.  Truly, the next question for our caucus is “where do we go from here?”

To say that a budget needed passage is an understatement.  The Congress had not passed one since the early days of the Obama Administration.  Republicans in that time won back the House, but still didn’t have a real mission statement to our activities.  Largely, we’re defined by the campaign cycle and the need to capitulate a base of primary voters that are far more “conservative” in nature than the “conservative” voters that cast a ballot in the general election.  Truly, where do Republicans go from here?  Where is the blue jean baby queen that represents a coherent and consistent message between the various factions of the party?

Erick Erickson isn’t exactly apoplectic over at RedState, but he demonstrates the very real feeling among movement conservatives that Congressional leadership is failing and (correctly) points out that House Republicans have to take ownership of the veteran benefits debacle that couldn’t get changed in the Senate.  Nearly apoplectic, Boehner launched a tirade against the movement base that (somewhat correctly) painted their efforts as recruitment tactics rather than sound policy advocacy.  It’s almost as if our blue jean baby queen is that gorgeous sorority girl to one and the rough country girl to the other.  What Republicans, who control one half of one-third of the federal government, need is some consistency.  I cannot expect that we’ll maintain a consistent voting record if we can’t even get a consistent voting paradigm.

The fact is our federal government has no legitimacy.  Clearly, that’s not something the Obama Administration is really interested in, and by extension the Democratic left in either body.  So, again…where do Republicans go from here?  We need to win the next midterm election cycle and take back the Senate to have a stronger poker hand, but the conservative voters who cast a ballot in November alone aren’t activists by nature.  They don’t think about a battle between “liberty” and “establishment” Republicans (as if there ever was one, really).  That said, Republicans need the base to have any hope of winning in November when hours of phone banking and miles of neighborhood avenues require eager volunteers.  To spend hours volunteering for cold pizza and warm beer means you believe in the cause.  Republicans have not put themselves in a very comfortable corner here.

The budget deal sucks.  Erickson and the movement right are correct in their criticisms about what it’s brought us to.  However, Boehner’s right, too.  I don’t see much in the way of real solutions coming from the movement right that we can get more moderate members, those occupying swing districts, and leadership to buy into.  Frankly, Ted Cruz speaks to a base of folks that already love him.  Getting people to say “yes” when they would otherwise say “no” is the real tricky part of governing; neither side seems to really understand that.

So where do we go from here?  Well, I think a little willingness to admit mistakes would be the first step.  Republican leadership needs to say “Alright, ya know what…we’ve really screwed up and let you down.”  Movement Republicans need to admit they’ve been kinda douchey at times, too.  That might be a good idea, at least one that gives us some ability to negotiate with our own caucus before we present a message to the American voter, especially the voter that casts a ballot in the fall instead of the spring.  From there, we can sit down and develop a consistent improvement that meets everyone’s expectations on the budget, defense, civil rights, and most importantly Obamacare.

Essex’s line finishes up with “…see her shake on the movie screen…Jimmie Dean…” and then goes into this awesome instrumental with electric guitar, violins, horns…the whole shebang!  I think the Republicans can find that same rhythm, but having it means having a band that can make good music together.  We can know where to go from here.  We can see the way that’s clear.  We can score that blue jean baby queen.  We just have to be willing to play in a band that let’s us all Rock On!

Seriously, dude? Seriously?!

Now that I’m a Georgian, I try to write about things Georgian in nature.  Tonight, I’m going Yankee…

…I moved here from a city outside Chicago called Crystal Lake.  I still own a condo there (it’s where I summer, obvi) and have a good number of friends I stay in contact with.  Today, one such friend let me know an election board removed her from the ballot in the upcoming Republican Primary.  Losing sucks, and losing before you get to jump onto the field of play sucks even more, but I think she’ll be the first to admit it that it’s probably her fault and a great learning experience for the next time around.  Admittedly, it’s not a big deal.  See, in Illinois, you run as a candidate for the “elected” position of Republican Party precinct committeeman.  Since Illinois’ qualification rules require petition signatures, you have to go through the same rigmarole as the Gubernatorial candidates do.  That includes the challenging of petitions, which means lawyers, hearings, and procedures.  Yeah, it’s fun, and that’s where my friend screwed up.  By the end of her hearing, she did not have the required number of signatures to qualify as a candidate and therefore removed.

Untitled

You’d think that would be the end of it, but it isn’t.  Enter “RegimeOver” who apparently has killed the Leviathan with the slaying of Ms. Melissa Denker as precinct committeeman.  Cal Skinner, another old acquaintance from the Illinois stomping grounds, runs his McHenry County Blog and reported the story today where this comment appeared.  Naturally, with Melissa both being a friend and sheer stupidity being an enemy, I thought I had to engage.

I don’t know to what degree stupidity is a commendable quality, but Republicans generally don’t seem to be in short supply these days.  I really, really want to believe we Republicans have more substantive stuff to talk about than a 21-year old’s citizenship.  More importantly, I wish we could have some fruitful conversations where loaded questions like that were never asked.  After all, it’s a loaded question from the start and merely asking it says “Prove my suspicion wrong…”  We wonder why Republicans in Congress cannot find the legitimacy to govern effectively or even the legitimacy to get elected to the position in which they could govern.  At a very deep level, it only builds on the fear and foreboding I have that Republicans are driving down a path of unintellectual, overly emotional reactionism on everything.  We’re better than.  We need to be.

Democrats play the unintellectual, overly emotional reactionism game much better than we do.