Originally posted at Ace of Spades HQ by DrewM
Team GOP keeps talking about how conservative insurgents don’t understand tactics and how we all want to get to the same place but disagree on tactics. “Tactics” is the new “electability” (which itself is really a tactical concept) and we all know how well that worked out.
Tactics exist to advance a strategy which in turn is the plan to achieve a goal. This focus on tactics is masking a major flaw in the Republican party…it has no overreaching goal let alone a strategy for achieving it. Republicans lack a reason for being beyond winning elections and enriching the various donor and political structures that exists in its orbit. There is simply no Republican vision for the country, no coherent ideological vision that it presents to the country as a viable alternative to the Democrats.
The Democrats can broadly be said to have a vision for America that is based on an ever growing and more powerful public sector (especially at that the federal level). From that basic vision all other things flow. What is the corresponding vision from the GOP? It’s clearly not the opposite. No one seriously suggests that the overreaching vision of the Republican Party is to shrink the government at every level and to minimize its impact on the lives of Americans. At best one could argue that the GOP wants to present a somewhat less grand vision of the role of government in people’s lives. And they certainly want to be the ones running that slightly smaller beast. But actively shrink it? There’s no evidence of that. On the other hand, there is quite a bit of evidence that the GOP is quite comfortable with increased spending and the scope of the federal government as it exists.
I’m not saying there are no differences between the parties but they aren’t as great as some pretend or as they should be in a healthy democracy. Don’t believe me? Think of the areas where the GOP-Democrat divide is supposedly the greatest…social issues. And then look at how many Republicans want to de-emphasize abortion and surrender entirely on gay marriage. At one point national security/defense was a significant point of distinction between the two parties. But as many onetime hawks sour on the notion of a robust program of intervention, which is a distinction that has narrowed greatly. With the rise of Rand Paul within the GOP, that’s an area that will continue to lose its ability to differentiate the parties.
Only on spending is the gap still large and when it comes to elected officials that gap is mostly rhetorical.
It’s this lack of a stark competing vision from the Democrats that forces the GOP to constantly focus on “tactics”.