The 2016 nomination isn’t that far away. The horses are lining up at the gates, and various hopefuls are chomping at the bit.
Rand Paul, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush may be among the hopeful. Such may also be the case with Mike Huckabee; I seriously think he’s going to run again. Perhaps Rick Santorum will enter the foray, as this guy has nothing else to do. Rick Perry may make another run. And who knows who else may throw his hat into the ring?
Within this battle for the GOP nomination is a battle for the Republican Party, of course. Will the hostile takeover of the party continue, or will the GOP revert to another establishment retread at the helm? Will the social conservatives make a real effort? They’ll try, but they will fail ultimately. Will a coalition between the remnants of the Christian coalition and the establishment counter the Tea Party/libertarian trend within the party?
Fundamentally, the question is whether the GOP will become a 21st century party based on the principles of liberty, opportunity, entrepreneurship, and innovation of new ideas, or whether it will try to scrape out one last win with big government “conservatives” embodied by Jeb Bush and Chris Christie? Will the GOP ever actually be the “party of small government,” or is it destined to remain a “big government of another kind” party?
The neoconservatives and D.C. GOP establishment would prefer the latter. They are not interested in a smaller government at all. They are interested in a big government which has a different emphasis than the one the Democrats prefer. For them, “small government” is nothing but a talking point (and one which they don’t even use that much any more) to placate the rubes who, in their view, can be placated by such talk. Why should the GOP actually stand for reducing the power of the federal government? That just means reducing the power of the GOP to execute the programs it wants when it is in power.
The neocons have defined the GOP agenda both domestically and abroad for two generations now. The party which was once the “grown up party” concerned with Soviet expansion but sober in its foreign policy, the party which would have recognized programs such as No Child Left Behind as federal power grabs was no more by the 1990s. By then, the small government folks (and there were only a few left even during the Reagan presidency) had been replaced by a crew of Utopian dreamers as happy to pass Medicare Part D as they were to wage two land wars in Asia. But they weren’t “conservatives.” They weren’t for “small government.” They weren’t for reducing the power vested in Washington, D.C. They were neo-conservatives, who, generally speaking, are for big government–as big as the Dems, at least.
What “conservative” says that “deficits don’t matter”? But that’s what Dick Cheney once said.
The neocons and establishment GOP (who are not exactly one and the same) have something besides the love of big government in common with Democrats. They loathe the Tea Party. I mean, loathe the Tea Party.
Those idiots in the tri-cornered hats, reading the Constitution and making life difficult for Speaker Boehner, have crashed the big government conservative shindig. What’s worse? The Tea Party is much bigger than the neocon crew.
And in addition to being a larger faction than the neocons, the Tea Party people know how to leverage social media. The neocons are limited to emailing their wonky friends in D.C. and New York.
The establishment GOP deeply resents the current citizen revolt. Take, for instance, the time Speaker Boehner referred to small government advocates in the House as “knuckle draggers.” Or when Bush Treasury Secretary Mr. Hank Paulson lamented that the Internet and the Tea Party made things difficult for the powers that be.
The establishment wants to hand the Tea Party a defeat. It wants to put the Tea Party in its place. “Why don’t you people just go back to whatever you people do in flyover country and leave the ruling … er, I mean, governing, to us.