By Josh Sager
FULL DISCLOSURE: If you read the title of my blog (SarcasticLiberal.blogspot.com), you may have discerned the fact that I am a liberal and thus might be somewhat biased against the conservatives.
Note: I am not talking about the historic Republican Party in this post, but rather the Republican Party of the last 40 or so years. The Republicans spent decades as a legitimate political party, with an ideology based in reality, but in recent decades, they have degrades into a shadow of their previous selves.
Ah, the Grand Old Party also referred to as the Gas and Oil Party, or Greed Over People party by those who pay attention. The Republican Party has three central ideals that a vast majority of its members believe in: 1) Lower taxes and Cut services/abolish the welfare state, 2) Shrink government and give power to the people, 3) Impose their social conservative views on the rest of the country. While these three ideals are the central tenants of conservatism, there is a dichotomy of beliefs in the Republican Party in that for every ideal that they hold, their policies express the exact opposite sentiment.
1) Lower taxes and cut services/abolish the welfare state --- This Republican ideal when expressed in policy boils down into cutting THEIR taxes and cutting OTHER PEOPLE' services and economic welfare programs. The same people who are the first to complain about unemployment benefits to the poor or single mothers would have a collective seizure if their Medicare or Social Security were ten seconds late.
In addition to the endemic selfishness in the policies of taxing and cutting, republicans as a group seem to have no comprehension as to what pays for defense, roads, disaster relief, and education. The Republican base seem to see no connection between the taxes that they pay and the services that the receive, instead attributing the services to something akin to magical fairies fixing the roads at night; but god help their representative if the roads start breaking down or if the underpaid and disrespected teachers are unable to teach their 50 student classes well enough that every one of their children gets into a good college.
2) Shrink government and give power to the people --- Republicans, as a group, hate what they see as government overreach into their lives while at the same time want the government to reach into the lives of other in order to regulate their behavior. Classic examples of rights Republicans demand but are inconsistent upon are personal rights such as the right to bear arms and, the freedom of religion.
Many Republicans want to be able to own any gun including assault rifles and to carry it anywhere they want. At the same time Republicans are using 10th amendment arguments to secure the right to carry bazookas; they disregard the exact same argument in favor of gay marriage. A parallel situation to the guns/gay marriage double standard has also arisen in the debate over freedom of religion. Republican fundamentalists demand the right to not only practice their religion but insert it into the public discourse while at the same demonizing other religions, particularly Muslims, and attempting to take their rights. The abortion and gay marriage debates are perfect examples of how republican religious fundamentalists have attempted to insert their own beliefs into public policy. Ironically, the same people who are pushing for a Christian theocracy are those who demonize American Muslims for the Sharia laws of other Muslims half the world away. This situation makes one wonder whether they dislike the idea of Muslim laws or whether they are simply jealous that the Sharia law proponents have succeed in controlling the population and oppressing women, while they haven't been nearly as successful.
3) Imposing social conservative views on the country --- The Republican base is for the most part socially conservative and feels the need for to impose these views on everybody else through legislation. While a majority of the Republican base feels the need to impose their views through legislation, they react extremely badly to what they perceive as others reaching into their lives.
Apart from their common ideology, there is a personal characteristic that is far more common in Republican politicians than in the Democratic Party or the past Republican Party: The current Republican Party has developed the habit of supporting unbelievably stupid or ignorant politicians to represent it. The modern Republican electorate, starting in the nineties, has developed the habit of electing unbelievably stupid candidates to office. Politicians such as Bush, Palin, Bachmann, West, and Perry are all examples of unbelievably stupid Republican politicians who have garnered enough support to get elected in recent years. I can find no elected Democratic politician who matches these Republicans for shear lack of knowledge or intelligence. While it is entirely excusable for a few ignorant politicians to get elected based upon their charisma or just luck, the volume of ignorant Republicans is so high that it indicates a party wide problem rather than a few isolated cases.
The combination of stupid politicians, large amounts of corporate money and illogical, religiously based, beliefs has turned the Republican Party into a caricature of its past self. Even Ronald Reagan would be considered too liberal to survive in the current Republican Party; a party that has adopted a kamikaze like mentality where the government and economy can crash and burn while they get paid just as long as they have their bibles and get paid by their true bosses (See: The 2011 debt ceiling fight as an example).