Home » Nooze » Dear Republican Friends:

Dear Republican Friends:

How ya doin’?  I know this is a tough time and the last person you want to hear from is a Democrat, but many of you are friends of mine.  Some of the kindest and most decent people I know are Republicans, and I care about you.  Much of my family were and are Republicans, too.  You have to know I write this from the bottom of my heart.

I’m really worried about you – as a party.  I think that this nation works best when there are two engaged, committed, fearless, and honest parties mixin’ it up – but also gettin’ ‘er done.  And …. well, rather than just get mad and blame you all for the very public way your party is ripping apart I thought I’d offer my support and encouragement for you to get better soon.  Really, anything I can do to help.  But let me tell you why this is so important to me.

The finale of the Met Opera's production of Götterdämmerung.  Do we all have to be Wagnerian?

The finale of the Met Opera’s production of Götterdämmerung. Do we really have to get all Wagnerian?

You all have to know that what your party in Congress is doing is not only suicidal but dangerous.  We Democrats have had our own blow-ups, most notably around 1980, but we never threatened to set Heaven and earth ablaze with our own funeral pyre.  There really isn’t anything you can win with the stalemate – you can only destroy this fitful recovery and, without a debt limit increase, the whole financial world.  And you won’t even delay Obamacare because you can’t.

You got kinda used to getting your way on things, so it’s somewhat understandable.  But this is madness. The last election saw a majority of Americans voting Democrat for President, Senate, and yes, even the House.  You’re in a minority here.  What you can do is join in and make changes around the edges to prevent what you see is the worst in us, and that is a very important role.

See, we Democrats are always proposing things to help people out in some way.  We’re not socialists, at least not most of us, but we like to have a smooth social order that is fair.  So do most of you, I know that.  But we Democrats often forget how powerful the free market is and how important incentives are to making things work well.  Having you join in and say, “Yeah, but …” rather than “No!” makes everything we do not only more palatable but better in the long run.

Like it or not, Dr. Obama is in da house!

Like it or not, Dr. Obama is in da house!

So you don’t like Obamacare.  Well, the voters and a fairly conservative Supreme Court weighed in on it and said it was OK.  You may not like that, but we don’t like a lot of things that the Supreme Court says either (Money is speech?  Really?).  We might squawk a lot, but we never threaten to bring down everything if we don’t get our way.  We lived through things like tax cuts for wealthy people and the Iraq War and you can live through Obamacare.  If it’s a real turkey, you get a big fat “I told you so!” at the end.

If you really have faith in the fabulous system our Founding Fathers put together, now is the time to show it.  Please.

There are a lot of changes in the world right now, and they are very unsettling to everyone.  Yes, Democrats tend to be very worldly and embrace cultures that you might not like.  It’s still good to have you remind us of the importance of a common culture and the rich heritage that we share as a people – that helps us get through this.  We rarely care a lot about the deficit, although that addiction to free money poisoned your party, too.  More importantly, we expect “conservatives” to be the ones who remind us of the importance of civility even when taking a strong stand. United, this nation is incredible – but divided it’s as hopeless as any place else.

A little respect for the duly elected President would go a long way.  You may not like him, but you have to respect the office – as you reminded us to do during the Bush years.

Right now, we are careening along from one totally manufactured crisis to the next like a drunk teenager on a dirt road.  That’s not good for people who are vulnerable, but I’ll just guess you don’t care as much about that as I do.  It’s also not good for financial markets, interest rates, small businesses, or your own blood pressure.

These crises come up for two reasons that I can think of – it’s either a minority that doesn’t understand they have very little power anymore or it’s an attempt to keep the faithful on their toes and engaged at all times.  I think it started as the former, but the adrenaline is addictive.  You seem to be angry absolutely all the time.  Do you really think that is productive at all for anyone, yourselves included?  Can you really sustain this indefinitely?

"I belong to no organized political party - I'm a Democrat."

“I belong to no organized political party – I’m a Democrat.”

I do think that this is a Democrat nation at heart that wants to constantly make things better for everyone.  My joke is that people will always vote for a Democrat that can reliably add two and two to get four – but we seem to only win about half the time.  That’s where you come in.  To really help people is to have a stable, reliable system that lives within its means and respects the common values that got us to where we are today.  When we forget that you have every right to chide us – but to call us “un American” or “Terrorists” or “Socialists” or … Hell, I’ve lost track of the names, but the point is it’s totally unproductive.

We all care about the future of this nation.  We all live in uncertain times when that future is very hard to imagine.  We all get upset when we realize the way things used to be is gone forever.  We all live by the same rules and, when you get down to it, we all have similar hopes and dreams.

No one person, no one party, no one ideology has all the answers.  We all have to work together to make something happen.  We need you, the Republican Party, to be strong and engaged in the creation of the next great era of America.  Tearing everything down isn’t going to get us down that road.  It’s a lot more productive and easy to make friends and influence people.

"If we love our country, we should also love our countrymen."

“If we love our country, we should also love our countrymen.”

Please, my Republican friends, tell the members of your party who are part of this show-down to stop it.  There have to be ways you can work with us or at least point out where we are screwing up bad in a calm and rational way.  If you do that well, you’ll win again – and deservedly so.  But there is a ton work to be done fixing and reforming and preparing for a new future together well into the next generation.  We’re probably going to have to try a lot of things that won’t work as well as planned.  We can’t be screwing around as we are now and not expect to be left sorely behind.

Thank you for reading this far.  And I’m serious – tell me what I can do to help.  I’m happy to try to get my Democrat friends to understand how important this is, too.

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22 thoughts on “Dear Republican Friends:

  1. You have to forgive Republicans for being too far to the right. You have to remember that in the House, from 1932 to 1994 they were in the minority a lot. That hurt their feelings. Since FDR took power they kept explaining that increasing the size and scope of government means that legislative choices increasingly replace private choices. No one seemed to listen to them.

    They also made factual statements about the Soviet Union and China and people thought they were making it up.They said “Oh they are just red baiting.” Then for some reason the Soviet Union and China wanted to try their versions of capitalism. No one seemed to listen to them.

    Now some liberals complain about the national debt and socialized risk and shocking bailout of fat cat bankers and say maybe the fed has too much power. Now the Republicans are standing up for what they believe in. And that is what Senator Paul Wellstone used to do day in and day out when he was alive and active in the Democratic Party.

    Republicans take seriously all the ranting against Big Media, Big Business, Big Labor and Big Government. But for some reason it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans to liberals when Republicans say they want to reduce the size and scope of government so that more power can reside in the hands of the little person.

  2. In general this blog is insulting to Republicans. I’m playing along with it, given that this is my 2nd comment. The thing is, is that it is seen as okay to say mean things about Republicans and get away with it.

    The everyday discourse of a left liberal progressive is “The Republicans this. The Republicans that. They’re evil. Let’s hop in my Volkswagen Passat and grab a bite at WA Frosts. After that I’ll show you my new kitchen at my Cathedral Hill house, which was built in 1873. Did I mention I deserve historic preservation tax credits?”

    Take another topic for Democrats. The Republican War on Women. I think a talk show host and some Senators said something bad. But has the Republican really killed anyone. Oh really.

    Another topic. African Americans. Is Barack Obama doing anything in particular increase employment of African Americans. On other hand it is assumed that Republicans do things to hurt minority employment!

    Remember when Mitt Romney said binders full of women. On the internet it became a meme and the story about binders full of women was covered for days. Evil Republicans!

    Or take Scott Walker. He had a policy proposal and then everyone goes ballistic about it!

    • Interesting that you say that this is insulting, but don’t say why. Until you do, I’ll just assume you are being satirical – especially given how you go on about “feelings” so often.
      As for how many liberals/lefties behave – what makes you think I’ll back what others have to say? I usually don’t unless they are trying to advance cooperation, policy, or perspective. Most of what passes for campaign rhetoric is actually counter-productive because it turns the truly undecided off altogether.

  3. It may be true that the Republican party is too far to the right. But this blog is incredibly mean spirited and condescending.

    Republicans and Democrats don’t have a good relationship, That is what the budget battle is about. In a relationship between 2 parties, there will be blame to go around. It won’t just be on one person. It would be like saying that in a fight there is only person to blame.There is no mention on what advice you would give the Democratic party. That is really mean.

  4. I think you are way too kind to Republicans. Most of them are not radical extremists but they let them take over the party. Threatening to destroy the country is just the latest proof.

    • And at least one Republican thinks I’m too “mean”, apparently. That seems to me like I hit the middle about right, offhand. Or I’m just way out of touch, which is also possible. 🙂

  5. If you’re talking about the party of Eisenhower and maybe even Reagan I’ll agree with you. Today’s republicans are not like that anymore. There may be a few left but certainly not in leadership. John Boeher knows better, you know it & I know it. But look what they made him do. It’s really sickening.

    • The age of “Rockefeller Republicans” is very long gone, but there are still many Republicans who are quite conservative yet decent and honorable. I don’t have to agree with everyone – that’d be boring – but it is important that our government generally figure out how to move forward. I am also concerned about Boehner’s “leadership” given that he is doing something he said was wrong just a short time ago, and probably doing it just to hold his position of power.

  6. The reality is that the President and Harry Reid must deal with a Republican congress. It is
    232 R, 230 D, all elected legally.

    The arguing between the House Republicans and the Democrats is just like a man and woman arguing. It is just like a family argument where you shout at the top of your lungs. All you who are experts at marriage and divorce tell me what keeps things together and separate.

    I have pointed out the basic fact that some Americans split their ticket by voting Republican for House and Democratic for President and/ or Senate. What we could do is ask a random sample why they did this.

    • You are correct in that Obama won by +5% and the House elections overall went +2%, meaning that at least 3% of all voters split their ticket. That may not sound like much, but at the margins in a close election it does make a difference – and I think that it is done very deliberately. These are probably people who fear one party having too much power to force their agenda through entirely. I think that makes a lot of sense.
      But it would be good to find those people and really nail it down, you’re right. It probably would be really fun!

  7. I rise to condemn this column.

    If Republicans are your friends, why do you stab us in the back and then ask: How ya doing?
    And Really, is there anything I can do to help.

    That’s mean. That’s not MInnesota NIce. That’s St. Paul mean. You slapped the hockey puck and hit us below the belt.

    Republican Tea members shouldn’t be vilified. We should salute them. They have ideas.
    Maybe not the same as yours. They oppose bailouts. They oppose socializied risk. They denounce stupid terms like Manage Depression, which are just designed to promote Erik Hare’s “brand.” They abhore the large balance sheet of the Federaa Reserve. They question the power of Ben Bernanke (shouldn’t that be elected?). They oppose the policies that encourage part-time work. Human beings are not part-time. Human being are full-time and they need full-time work. They oppose bombing of Syria.

    We must recognize Republican Tea members as agitators, political agitators of a high order.
    We have seen political agitators in our past. Some go by the name of Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin. They were hated by the established majority. They were in the minority and they opposed and hated British policies. Do we forget the patriots who actually fought and bled and died: Nathaniel Greene, Ethan Allen, and Daniel Morgan.

    The Republican Tea members follow in the footsteps of American patriots. They have right to dissent. They have right to raise a ruckus.

    • Pish-tosh. Everyone has the right to speak their mind, and to some extent we have an obligation to, IMHO. But that’s very different from financial armageddon – the threshold for that should be set very, very high IMHO.

  8. I think this sums up the situation very succinctly:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/09/your-false-equivalence-guide-to-the-days-ahead/280062/
    “The debt-ceiling vote, of course, is not about future spending decisions. It is about whether to cover expenditures the Congress has already authorized. There is no sane reason for subjecting this to a repeated vote. And there is no precedent for serious threats not to honor federal debt — as opposed to symbolic anti-Administration protest votes, which both parties have cast over the years. Nor for demanding the reversal of major legislation as a condition for routine government operations.

    In case the point is not clear yet: there is no post-Civil War precedent for what the House GOP is doing now. It is radical, and dangerous for the economy and our process of government, and its departure from past political disagreements can’t be buffed away or ignored. If someone can think of a precedent after the era of John C. Calhoun, shown above in Mathew Brady’s famous portrait, let me know.”

  9. Pish-Tosh on Barataria.

    There is no humility in Barataria. “I fix the news, I don’t break it.”

    Just because you are a chemical engineer and have patents and are smart doesn’t mean that you are smart about everything.

    You didn’t prove anything about financial armageddon anyway.

    The reason that Republicans read Barataria is to find out what are the thoughts in a St. Paul liberals head. (And likewise you can find out what is in our heads). You have been in St. Paul for a generation, so don’t tell me you aren’t from there.

    You have hardly ever voted for a Republican, so you aren’t credible on what the Republicans are doing. You are just trying to do psychological warfare against Republicans, so that is why I have written.

    I write to cheer up Republicans, since you’ve kicked us in the groin. If a man or woman is getting a divorce, do you mock them and say “How ya doing.” That is cruel, so cruel. Like Cruella Deville!

    The name of this column should be “glee” because you enjoy just sticking it to us. I thought Barataria is about civility and having productive discussions.

    • Let me put it this way, then – do you disagree that threatening a default is unique in post Civil War US politics? Because that is where I am coming from, and the Atlantic article quoted above put it better than I did. See next column on how at least some Republicans see this fight and how it will end. I think we’re seeing a lot of sanity rise to this situation – and not from my party.

  10. If you want to change or repeal a law according to our constitution you have to win enough votes to pass the law in both houses and get a president to sign the law; and/or have enough votes to override a veto. In our system, if you can’t get the votes, you don’t get the law. This shutdown is an attempt to kill an existing law even though Republicans don’t have the necessary votes. This business of shutting down the government because you didn’t have the votes to pass the law and you’ve decided you don’t like a law previously passed is simply the legislative equivalent of terrorism.

    This isn’t a budget argument, its an attempt re-legislate something that’s already been passed, it’s an attack on an existing law that was passed by both houses, signed by the president, and vetted by the supreme court. It’s an attempt to short circuit the democratic process with extreme political maneuvers.

    On a basic level this is simply a rejection of the democratic principles our nation is built upon. Living in a democracy means that you have to live with some laws that you like or agree with. Your redress is to persuade (not coerce or bludgeon with legislative terrorism) people to vote for repeals or changes. We have a situation here were the majority of Americans, even Republicans, want Obamacare to roll out rather than die.

    We have room for extreme points of view, ideas and views can enter the discourse and win or lose upon the power of their arguments. But this is extreme politics by extremist who lost the argument and failed to get the votes, they lack the power to change a law by normal constitutional means and don’t seem to care about anything other than changing a single law. THIS we cannot live with. If these acts of legislative terrorism are not brought to an end we will see the end of the United States as we know it. Scoundrels wrapped in American flags will be our undoing after all.

  11. Pingback: Ready to Panic? | Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

  12. Pingback: Losing? Change the Rules! | Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

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