What is going on with the Republicans? There’s grumbling on the national scene, and we see the same things happening in Utah that have created the ire. Val Hale’s comments in the October 24 Daily Herald column, 2Sense, are eye-opening. He quotes sages at the Dallas Morning News who describe two factions in the Republican Party: the Business Republicans—“limited-government” types who “believe government must do core functions right” and who “uphold principle but will compromise for the larger good”, and Tea Party “radicals”. What a surprise! If you don’t go with the (big) business (as usual) crowd, you are a radical?
The Daily Herald column says Utah state party leaders blame the membership woes of the Republican Party on Tea Party “extremists” who alienate business owners. They also blame the party’s financial woes on Tea Party radicals who won’t contribute funds to the party. A remedy is suggested for both problems: silence the Tea Party; get rid of the caucus system and put one more level of politicians between the people and self-government.
Amazing! Right here in Utah………
Have these people read the US Constitution and the Utah State Constitution, both of which put The People in charge of government? You know, those of us who lead ordinary lives and aren’t part of big business; whose names don’t regularly appear in the paper or on TV; those for whom the two constitutions were written? Do the Business Republicans think they can govern better than normal citizens, so they want to silence a chunk of ordinary folk by labeling them radicals and extremists? Shades of elitism! They do have a point—if they turn the volume off and lock the doors, they can throw their own party.
Just an idea, but has anybody among the Business Republicans asked why discontented people are leaving the party? People rarely look for something new when they are content. Could it be that Joe and Jane Utah feel they aren’t being listened to? Because a good share of them do feel that way. They say thought-provoking things like ”I want the Republicans to follow the Constitution.”, or, “I elected you to bring back limited government and I don’t see you doing that.” One of their prickly lines is, “Why do the leaders in the state and national Republican party attack their own for trying to defund the hated Obamacare?” Another: “I’m not happy with the Republican party because it ignores small business owners and no longer represents what I believe in.” And, the oft-repeated clincher, “I’m not going to give the party another dime until they start acting like Republicans, instead of like Democrats and the Establishment.” People get touchy with their money. They have to really trust you before you get their greenbacks.
If it was the “undereducated voters”, or even the distracted, too-busy-to-be-involved crowd fomenting discontent it would be one thing, but it’s not—its the patriotic group; the ones who study the issues, who try to make a difference; the ones who don’t sip at the font of the elite. More directly, many of those who wax eloquent on their dissatisfaction previously invested time and effort in the Republican cause—state officers, Republican state central planning committee members, county and precinct leaders, and state delegates by the droves. If your own believe the party has deserted the people, you have serious dissatisfaction afoot.
As for the Tea Party, the “extremists” rarely designate it as their new political home. They have not embraced the Tea Party as much as they have abandoned the Republican Party. They seem mainly to be normal Utahns who want to feel welcome and safe back in the Republican Party but can’t find a foothold of belief to welcome them. Maybe they tried the Tea Party, but they don’t seem to be drinking much tea.
So, (big) Business (as usual) Republicans, blame yourselves for the membership drop and the funding crisis. There are a lot of Utahns that think the hen has come home to roost.