The Politics of Gipper

8 May

I have just finished catching up on the news from the first Republican ’08 presidential nominee debate (yeah, I have been that busy – and you thought blogging was about instant reactions to the breaking news. Shows how wrong you can be, doesn’t it?). The debate was held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.

All ten GOP hopefuls pretty much broke their neck to pay homage to Old Gipper and his politics, and this got me thinking about the dangers and reasons for the Republican Party’s almost religious veneration of The 40th President of The United States of America.

I suppose the first place to start would be the ruinous presidency of the current White House incumbent, George W. Bush. It must be hard to run on a Republican ticket right now. With Bush’s approval ratings similar to those of a prison snitch, it’s nigh on impossible to build on his legacy.

Of course John McCain has it hardest, being so identified as a supporter of the War in Iraq and a defender of the President’s recent surge strategy. Yet, over the last year or so, even McCain has tried to put clear blue water between him and Bush, going on record to describe Donald Rumsfeld as one of the worst Secretaries of Defense in history and himself as a Reaganite Republican.

What Bush has achieved is pretty spectacular. When he took office, Bush ’43 enjoyed GOP control of both Houses of Congress, and was supported by a loyal party base with deep pockets. Now, over halfway through his second term, the Dems control both Houses, he is defined by a failed war, and his domestic reputation is in tatters. For a Republican hopeful, it’s probably politically safer to be caught having full-sex with a chicken, than to be caught praising the President.

Such disillusionment with its own sitting President has forced the Republican Party to look back to better times. During Reagan’s presidency the GOP was defined by economic confidence, low taxes, and an inflexible foreign policy. The Soviet Union represented a unifying threat and a tangible enemy. Compare and contrast this to America’s current nemesis: the nebulous and constantly morphing menace of Islamic-fascism.

A rose-tinted lurching back to the past is also further evidence of the intellectual vacuum that has followed the collapse of Neoconservatism. With violence in Iraq still escalating and the Neocon dream of nation building in disarray, conservatives are without a clear political ideology to pin their hopes to. By hankering back to a more lucid geopolitical landscape, the GOP is proving that it doesn’t have the answers for the problems America faces today.

Ronald Reagan has been raised to a saint-like position in modern Republican folklore. His administration is considered the vanguard of the glory-days of conservatism, a time when being described as a Liberal was considered a slur, and anyone who argued against conservative values was dismissed as godless or un-American. Only a couple of years ago, Bush won his second term as President, and Republican rule seemed dynastical.

Now with The Democratic Party again in the ascendancy, Republican hopefuls are thrashing around for something solid on which to lay their new foundations on. The fact they are looking back to the nineteen eighties, tells you everything you need to know about the House of Bush and the current state of Conservative Politics in America.

Conservatism will have its day in the sun again, but now it is up to a generation of Liberal politicians to provide leadership to a rudderless America. With Conservative politics offering no solutions to the major threats to the US (globalisation, perilous levels of consumer borrowings and terrorism), the Democrats have the opportunity to seize control of The White House and steer America to more prosperous waters.

Carpe Diem, Mr. Obama, Carpe Diem.

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10 Responses to “The Politics of Gipper”

  1. jacoblurch@gmail.com May 8, 2007 at 7:04 pm #

    I know I’m stating teh blindingly obvious (as ever) tyger but with Dubya losing in the popularity stakes to ebole it’s no surprise that republican candidates would look to teh past. If they don’t attach to a more popular time for the GOP, the Dubya effect will sink them all, even the likes of Giuliani

  2. jacoblurch@gmail.com May 8, 2007 at 7:04 pm #

    I know I’m stating teh blindingly obvious (as ever) tyger but with Dubya losing in the popularity stakes to ebole it’s no surprise that republican candidates would look to teh past. If they don’t attach to a more popular time for the GOP, the Dubya effect will sink them all, even the likes of Giuliani

  3. aaronsheath@gmail.com May 9, 2007 at 7:32 am #

    Hey Jams,I know what you mean. But we’re talking about America, here. That’s what? 300m people? And all they have is Reagan Rehashed? New problems, new solutions. Nations (especially Empires) that look back, are destined for failure.

  4. aaronsheath@gmail.com May 9, 2007 at 7:32 am #

    Hey Jams,I know what you mean. But we’re talking about America, here. That’s what? 300m people? And all they have is Reagan Rehashed? New problems, new solutions. Nations (especially Empires) that look back, are destined for failure.

  5. elvie@hotmail.co.uk May 9, 2007 at 12:39 pm #

    Great post tyger. These kind of posts are your more like your traditional style. Lord help us if we see America revive the Reagan years. That era reminds me of Margaret (shiver) Thatcher. Lol.

  6. elvie@hotmail.co.uk May 9, 2007 at 12:39 pm #

    Great post tyger. These kind of posts are your more like your traditional style. Lord help us if we see America revive the Reagan years. That era reminds me of Margaret (shiver) Thatcher. Lol.

  7. aaronsheath@gmail.com May 9, 2007 at 1:00 pm #

    Hi Elvie,Thanks. Many Tories refuse to give up the old cow too. Mind you, it absolutely delights me to see them evoking The Thatch. Thatcher is after all an electoral albatross.

  8. aaronsheath@gmail.com May 9, 2007 at 1:00 pm #

    Hi Elvie,Thanks. Many Tories refuse to give up the old cow too. Mind you, it absolutely delights me to see them evoking The Thatch. Thatcher is after all an electoral albatross.

  9. jacoblurch@gmail.com May 9, 2007 at 7:03 pm #

    Agreed Tyger but in the absence of good ideas, past glories are all that’s left for them by looks of it!

  10. jacoblurch@gmail.com May 9, 2007 at 7:03 pm #

    Agreed Tyger but in the absence of good ideas, past glories are all that’s left for them by looks of it!

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