Sunday, July 6, 2014


In her recent book, Doris Kearns Goodwin seemed to reveal a truth about conservatives’ view of government, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. What she reveals was one of those things about political power in the United States that we all seem intuitively to understand about conservative party power. It isn’t just good enough to have a majority; you must have total control. Historian, Kearns Goodwin, pointed out that Presidents Roosevelt and Taft, both conservatives, considered all thing government good but only if one or other branch of the Republican Party was in control. Even though Roosevelt considered his political proposals to be progressive and Taft considered the legislative positions he supported to be conservative, they could not believe the people could elect a Democrat; to them such an eventuality was not even reasonable. To them the concerns of liberals did not matter; the old Ayn Rand philosophy. In their minds, the only conceivable form of government was for conservative to be in complete control; no matter what the position or issue to be decided, one of their own had to decide—that made it a right decision. For example, Roosevelt was concerned about workers rights but only if the employer determined those rights without interference from workers.  

In recent times, the news media has put in the issue in everyday form by daily reports of the failure of the Republican controlled House of Representatives to compromise. Fox News talking heads brags about how the Republicans have stopped the government from working while the liberal media complain about Congress not passing required laws—a clear divide. Poll after poll demonstrates that the American People do not like the way congress is acting. Poll after poll show the people wants Congress to act myriad issues such as immigration. The strange thing is that Republicans used what they call the Hastert Rule; they will only pass legislation that has a Republican majority. For example, the current immigration issue would be easily resolved is both Democrats and Republican voted; there is a clear majority of Congress but not a clear majority of Republicans.    

As a young man working in a university, I was shocked to realize that when a political conservative was in charge of a committee, no matter how small and insignificant the committee, every decision made from the day that person took control was that of the chair. The significant thing about rules of conduct in small committees, those free from public scrutiny, is that the chair does not have to be followed the wishes of the majority; this is simply done by the chair deciding the issue and not calling for a vote on contentious issues. This is supposed to be impossible in the Congress of the United States—at least in theory. It was not easy to corrupt our democracy as evidenced by the fact it took conservatives two hundred thirty eight years to do it.

Such things as the Hastert Rule, the filibuster rules that congress invariable follows, the committee structure, and myriad other things make corruption of the Constitution possible. In addition, as headlines are telling us, the Supreme Court is corrupted and is now a political organization. A cursory review of legislative body history makes it clear it the corruption is the result of Republican maneuvering. That statement will cause Republicans to cry foul. It is their nature to blame Democrats for everything bad but when it is so obvious Republicans are at fault, as this blog points out, and then they claim it is both parties or all politicians, never just Republicans. I would ask you to consider the recent Republican controlled ethics committee ruling that congress does not need to disclose travel expenditures. This is an open invitation for lobbyists to bribe Congressional members. Consider the Citizens United Decision by the Supreme Court. This is an open invitation for the rich to buy media for Republicans; the majority of the rich are conservatives. Consider the Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court. This is clearly saying that employers can delve into the private lives of their employees.  Count the number of times Congress has filibustered by presidential party affiliation. Of course, you have to filter out party affiliation of the presented and Democratic controlled congress verses Republican controlled congresses.

After all of that soul suggested searching, ask yourself; what would happen if we had a Republican president and a filibuster proof congress? If a conservative, would you expect Democrat congressional representatives to compromise with Republicans? Of course, you would, if you are a reasonable person. However, my point is that you as a conservatives are innately not reasonable, you would be unhappy knowing you could have done it better—no matter what it was. You do not know why you are the way you are; you just have to be in complete charge, the absolute leader, the supreme boss—the top dog. Once in that position you might be compassionate, if you chose to be but you are a conservative first. 

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