11.08.2012

3 suggestions for the gop

This is more of a jot list than a well thought-out proposal. Here are three (serious) ideas for how the Republicans--especially those in the House--could actually govern better and regain some political credibility for their brand. From most to least plausible:

1) Work with the president on immigration reform. Seriously, this is a no-brainer. Our system provides no legal means of migration for unskilled workers, a byzantine, slow, and expensive process for permanent residency even in the "easy" categories (trust me on this one), and cruelly punishes children for their parents' choices. Specifics could be tough to hammer out, but a robust guest worker program and something resembling the DREAM Act (though I am not a fan of the college/military requirement) would be a damn good start.

And there is that elusive Hispanic vote. Putting a Cuban guy at the top of the ticket isn't going to solve that for you.

2) Work with the president on entitlement reform. Again, the specifics could be tough, but we already have a perfectly tenable starting point: the Bowles Simpson commission's recommendations. We don't have to scrap Social Security and start over: raise the retirement age, raise the cap on income subject to SS taxes (this hasn't happened in a long time, making it the most regressive federal tax), and means-test benefits. That is the very definition of a conservative (in the original sense of the word) reform.

3) Repeal DOMA. Hear me out on this one. The only thing left for those of you opposed to marriage equality is to fight a war of attrition for as long as you can. The rest of us--not to put too fine a point on it--will outlive you.

I often hear from my friends on the right that they aren't opposed to gay people per se so much as having a change forced upon them by the courts. Well, here's the thing: there are now states that have approved equality through your allegedly preferred channels. (And there are others that while regardless of how they got there, have it.) There will be more. And eventually someone is going to sue for federal recognition of their marriage and/or full faith and credit recognition among the states. This will happen. It will go to the Supreme Court. And eventually, they will win.

If, however, DOMA is repealed, then you pave the way for federal recognition via a legislative process. You leave open the possibility that states may decide to recognize same-sex marriages from other states without having to license them themselves. Most importantly, you head off the contentious Supreme Court decision that you (rightly) worry will leave the country divided and a substantial minority feeling completely disenfranchised.


17 comments:

RW said...

This would amount to reversing years of adding by subtracting. They'd have to expand the party from its moribund base of angry white guys and their dependents. You're pegging for no minor upheaval here.

Brian said...

We have to destroy the party to save the party.

Gino said...

the GOP can take a page from the dem playbook of old.

hate blacks, and then flip when the war of civil rights was lost.

pull this off right, and the mexis can be a majority GOP minority.

Mr. D said...

I'm perfectly cool with immigration reform for a lot of reasons, although I'd say this -- there are a lot of illegals who don't really want it, because if they have to start paying taxes on their income, there will be less money to send back home. My guess is that there will be significantly less interest in a "robust guest worker program" than you think.

Entitlement reform has to happen -- means testing and raising the retirement age should have happened 20-25 years ago. By then, it was already obvious that we had a demographic problem on our hands and things have only gotten worse.

As for DOMA in particular, and gay marriage in general, frankly I don't give a shit any more. The minute the government starts telling churches that they have to marry gay couples, then we've got an issue. And it's going to happen. Watch and see.

RW said...

The Dems are counting on the intransigence. Let's not give these ditto heads too many ideas, Brian.

Brian said...

D--here again, we have a model! The Washington statute specifically asserts that state recognition of marriage is in no way to be construed as a requirement for a church to perform one. Even though that is completely redundant what with the first amendment and all.

Mr. D said...

D--here again, we have a model! The Washington statute specifically asserts that state recognition of marriage is in no way to be construed as a requirement for a church to perform one. Even though that is completely redundant what with the first amendment and all.

That's a model that's airtight, so long as five members of the U.S. Supreme Court agree.

Brian said...

Seriously: I know a lot of gay people. I know a lot of gay people that want to get married. I know a lot that want to have the option. I know a handful that are already married.

I do not know, nor do I know of, a single, solitary person that is remotely interested in forcing a church to consecrate their marriage. Just like I don't know of any non-Catholics who are interested in forcing the capital-C Church to marry them, any gentiles interested in forcing a synagogue to do so, or any non-Mormons clamoring to get hitched in the Temple.

You are being completely paranoid on this point.

Mr. D said...

Seriously: I know a lot of gay people. I know a lot of gay people that want to get married. I know a lot that want to have the option. I know a handful that are already married.

I do not know, nor do I know of, a single, solitary person that is remotely interested in forcing a church to consecrate their marriage. Just like I don't know of any non-Catholics who are interested in forcing the capital-C Church to marry them, any gentiles interested in forcing a synagogue to do so, or any non-Mormons clamoring to get hitched in the Temple.


I thought scientists were skeptical of anecdotal evidence. ;)

Maybe I am paranoid, but after watching the events in Minnesota in this cycle and the level of hatred directed at the Catholic Church generally and the Archbishop in particular, I'm not very sanguine about the tolerance of some gay marriage advocates. I suppose that's anecdotal, too, but so it goes. We'll watch what happens and if turns out I'm wrong, I'll be more than happy to admit it.

Gino said...

there has already been a lawsuit (decided in the plaintiffs favor i think) concerning a photographer who refused to photo a gay wedding.

Brian: its not so much that the govt will say 'you must marry gays'. that is too blatant.
but, i can see attempts to remove tax exempt status, refusal of building permits... etc...
its the nature of the pro-gay beast (ask the Boy Scouts)

yet, as i've said, i am on record for civil recognition of gay marriage. its cool, ok?
but, when it comes to my faith, i will do what i will, and i will fight accordingly. i CAN separate Church from State.
can *they*?
the record, as i see it it, shows that they are not always able to.

Brian said...

I can't speak to MN, and I don't want to get into a round of "who shot first", but I would suggest that if the Church was lobbying as actively there as it was here that any vitriol directed against the Church has less to do with objections to the Catholic doctrine of marriage than with the attempt to make the Catholic doctrine of marriage (or something an awful lot like it) the law of the state.

But I'll tell you what...if there is an attempt to force a church to marry someone it does not wish to, I will be right there with you objecting to it.

RW said...

In the first place the chances of Mr D having an actual conversation with a Mexican immigrant I'd take to be pretty rare, especially long enough to know "what they want."

In the second place - because I work in a place that prints nothing but Catholic Sunday bulletins - the Catholic church is schizophrenic. The churches and local priests rail against Obamacare and the "abortion mandate" while the Catholic hospitals send their board of directors to DC to lobby in favor of both. Not to mention Notre Dame and Georgetown already having the mandate in place among their employees. So the complaints of Catholics can be discounted, in my opinion, until they decide what they actually want.

I'm thinking Gino and Dr Doom are in full-fledged victim mode on what the state is or will or may be forcing church's to do now or at some point in the future or in somebody's fear-tinged fantasyland and what not. They're the types to pick up one rare incident and blow it up into a universal conspiracy. OMG the sky is falling. They've been doing it for years, and little if anything has ever come for the things they're willing to "fight" over.

Mr. D said...

Brian, apologies in advance for the following, but it needs to be said.

RW,

The ad hominem really gets old after a while. You know nothing about me or my life. Nothing at all. Frankly, you're a waste of space.

Not that you give a shit, but please know that my brother-in-law is a Mexican immigrant, whose family went through the immigration process legally during the 1980s. He's an American citizen and a successful sales professional. Hell of a guy, too. His mother is a lovely woman and his younger brother is a great guy, too. And my brother-in-law is more conservative than I am. By a lot.

I'd say more, but frankly I don't think it's worth engaging you any further, lest you uncork another 55-gallon drum of duck vomit in Brian's comment section.

Mr. D said...

But I'll tell you what...if there is an attempt to force a church to marry someone it does not wish to, I will be right there with you objecting to it.

I know you will, Brian.

RW said...

Y so srs Dr Doom? A sense of humor is the first thing to go in folks who take themselves too seriously.

And if ad hominem is bad, why was it okay for you to just do it? I mean there are axioms and there are axioms right? Is it wrong for one and not the other? An interesting ethical question.

Worse than ad hominem, I believe though, is covert hostility and condescension. The kind of smarmy way of nicely telling someone they're full of shit without seeming to be too impolite. That's a much more egregious insult than mere ad hominem, because it has a way of telling someone they aren't worth the effort. All I did here was finally get you to tell me what you've been thinking all along; that I'm a "waste of space." Thank you for that, since you know all about me and my life.

So now we can be honest with each other, and I won't have to listen to you tell people they're full of shit in such an erudite and condescending way.

I bet you have a lot of friends who are black, too. Some of your best friends, no doubt.

Mr. D said...

All I did here was finally get you to tell me what you've been thinking all along; that I'm a "waste of space." Thank you for that, since you know all about me and my life.

Actually, I didn't initially think anything of the sort, but you've revealed yourself as such. Life's too short to worry about internet trolls.

RW said...

Then why come back to check on what horrible things I've said now?

Actually, finally, the point is twofold:

1. Personally I have a deep-seated mistrust of what anybody tells me on the internet. You can say anything, be anything, make believe anything on the internet. You say you have this Latino relative, but you could just as easily be a bold faced liar. What do you want me to do, roll over and offer gifts to the god?

and

2. I have an infinite capacity for making a bad situation worse.

Here's a tip; why not try being a little more witty and let me have it with some humor instead of this old man serious whisker shit? Honestly it's getting to the point that something as innocuous as satire is seen as bloodsport anymore.

There's a joke going around about Governor Romney's debates with President Obama. The gag reads something like "we should congratulate Romney on all this, that's probably the longest conversation he's ever had with a black man in his life."

is it meant to be a dagger to the heart? No, doofus, it's a joke. It's a joke at the expense of a conservative stereotype.

So what's worse, really? A troll or someone who, recognizing a troll, still feeds him?

I know the past election proved a lot of conservative projections, 3,000 electoral points for Mr Magic Underwear and all that, and "we'll see" and blah blah blah, has left you with a little egg on your face. It's only natural to go all sour grapey and shit, and take all kinds of offense at perceived slights that were really kind of harmless and silly. So congrats - you're a human being.

You've also been pwnd because you bit. Welcome to the internet.