Huffpost Politics
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Paul Abrams Headshot

Republicans' Inability to Understand Their Basic Flaws

Posted: Updated:

Scratch a Republican and one will find that they truly believe that they embody the real America and thus are entitled to govern. Election losses are, therefore, the result of poor candidates, non-existent organizations such as ACORN, mistakes in campaign strategy and/or execution, misperceptions by the American people and, now, inability to identify with changing demographics.

There is nothing wrong with a little delusional optimism to empower a movement or organization. Without it, most discovery and most of the progress in human affairs would never have occurred.

Most of the above-mentioned factors can, and have, played important roles in Republican losses. Indeed, given their more fundamental problems, the wonder is that Republicans have done as well as they have.

Republicans have two basic problems. The first is substantive. I have addressed that in an earlier article. Republican/Conservative principles and policies are incompatible with governance.

The intellectual father of modern Republicanism, the late and great William F Buckley, Jr., said straightforwardly that the role of conservatism is to "stand athwart history." It is, thus, well-suited for loyal opposition, but "athwarting" does not solve real problems, and solving problems is what governance is about.

Their other problem is psychological, preventing them from honest (and admittedly searing) self-analysis. Consider, for example, an ungulped moment of Senator Marco Rubio's (R-FL) response to the President's State of the Union message:

But any time anyone opposes the President's agenda, he and his allies usually respond by falsely attacking their motives.

One should not doubt that Senator Rubio is speaking sincerely. He, and many other Republicans, are probably good husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, children, and do not want to see homeless elderly. To Republicons, their portrayal by Democrats on these matters just does not ring true with their vision of themselves.

But, here is what they do not get: when it comes to making choices between all those they hold dear and corporate priorities, they always choose the side of corporations, and, more generally, private property over people.

Consider, for example, paycheck equity. It is a rather simple concept that women should not be paid differently than men who do the same jobs. Indeed, the notion that anyone should not be paid what others, in the same job and with the same experience, are paid seems ridiculous on its face.

And, Republicans will say, as Mitt Romney did, that they believe women should be paid equally. But, they will not do anything to ensure it happens. A corporation can pay for at least part of executive bonuses by paying their female employees 70-cents to the dollar of their male employees.

So, when it comes actually to choosing between simple fairness for women in the workplace and their corporate paymasters who would prefer not to have pay fair wages if they can get away with it, they choose their corporate paymasters, and private property over people.

Do Republicans care? I would give most of them the benefit of the doubt, they probably do care in a cosmic sense. Will they do anything about it? No.

What good is "caring," or, as Ann Romney said, "we love you women," if they do nothing about it?

Caring is not what you say, but what you do.

It matters. A woman has to work 12 years longer at the same job to have the same lifetime income as a man. It really matters.

That is what Republicans fail to understand. It is not about being good in your thoughts or soul, it is about doing the right thing. Every time the Republicans have a choice to make, they always choose corporations and the wealthy.

I know of no law Republicans have ever championed that was specifically and directly for the benefit of workers. One cannot say that about the Democrats and business, large or small.

Why would any woman who believes she ought to be treated fairly in the workplace, and can get that guaranteed by law by electing Democrats vote for a Republican? [Hint: Dems, take note.]

The press is often bemused by Republican hypocrisy when they decry, for example, violence against women, but have themselves voted against the Violence Against Women's Act. In the Republican self-delusional world, it is not hypocrisy at all. They oppose violence against women. But, their political masters do not think they should do anything about it.

This is nothing new. Republicans opposed the Family Medical Leave Act claiming that that was going to destroy American business. Same with the Lily Ledbetter Act.

As the Dow climbs to record highs, one might suggest that that analysis was, shall we say, overstated.

The pattern repeats itself over-and-over-and-over again. There is a problem that most people agree should be fixed. Republicans may agree too.

But, when it comes to doing something about it, out trots the Chamber of Commerce and the Club for Growth, and all manner of Koch-istas, claiming with utter certainty that the apocalypse will befall us: translation, do not do anything that may make a corporation accountable, financially or otherwise.

It does not matter was the "it" is; the impact is always claimed to be apocalyptic. But, the apocalypse never happens. Nonetheless, they repeat the same thing on the next "issue", real or ginned up, without any embarrassment. Remember what Ronald Reagan said that Medicare would do to America? Any of that happen??

Republicans have two problems. Their policies do not address the needs of the American people, so they are, at best, a loyal opposition. And, until Republicans recognize that what they believe -- or have convinced themselves they believe -- about the purity of their intentions is of no value when the choices they make demonstrate otherwise.

As Republicans make vain attempts to improve their electoral appeal, they are unable to address the basic question: what would they do to help the American people? Their philosophy eschews a positive answer, and their actions demonstrate they will never make the choices required.

Or, is their real question, "what are the elements of a 'stealth' campaign we can run to fool enough people?"