That Anti-Republican Feeling
An interesting call to the Dan Yorke Show as I was nearing home on my commute. The caller started out complaining about the corrupt, one-party political system in Rhode Island and then suggested that he simply couldn’t vote for Republicans because, while he’s fiscally conservative, he’s socially liberal. He included opposition to the welfare state in his fiscal conservatism (erroneously, in my opinion). So, when Dan asked about social issues, he came up with abortion and same-sex marriage.
Dan got the caller to agree that abortion is a national issue, not a state issue, and asked (paraphrasing), “You’re not putting same-sex marriage above the economic collapse of the state, are you?”
At that point, the caller switched to, “Well, Republicans can’t govern.” He said they’re typically a rubber stamp. Assuming we’re able to tease out the Rhode Island context, the caller thereby illustrated two of the attitudes that have helped to doom this state.
The first is the need for saviors, whether in the form of a person or a party. Having such a small minority is not going to be conducive to expert performance from Republicans. They do what they can, no doubt, but sometimes the going along thing can seem like a fair trade for some small pittance of success. To turn things around, one must vote Republicans into office so that (1) what they do carries the minimal weight of, well, mattering, and (2) people who might be reluctant to spend valuable time on a futile effort will increasingly see public office as worthwhile.
The second attitude, under which the first arguably falls, has been bred by decades of manipulation in movies, art, education, media, magazines, and so on that voting Republican is just a bad thing to do. Special interests have gotten a lot of return on that particular investment. The impression of too many Rhode Islanders that good people have to vote for Democrats has certainly helped unions and the welfare industry, and we’re seeing the consequences, nationally, when the Democrats cash that chip in.
“Social issues,” in other words, can be cover for intellectual laziness and moral cowardice. It’s nice and vague and allows the voter to give in to the fully flourished seed of propaganda… without having to hurt the brain trying to dig up a plausible reason.