The Republican Party – Selling Fear and Failure


The Republican Party is crumbling. They lost congress in 2006 and will lose more ground in 2008 because they offer nothing new, nothing original, and nothing positive. We have seen the party of entrepreneurship, small government, and personal freedom become the party of fear, war, and police power. After the party leaders mocked, sneered, and cackled at those of us who believe in a limited constitutional republic, they now ask us to hold our nose and support John McCain.

A Message to Republican Leaders

(FYI – I was involved in the Republican Party for almost 20 years):

John McCain recently said the U.S. Government should step up the drug war. This is indicative of why the Republican Party is crumbling, they don’t think things through and smart people are catching on.
I don’t care if you are on the right or the left, rich or poor, Christian or Atheist, black or white, if you value your personal freedom, it is time to stand together and question these people.

Anatomy of Failure

I have readers asking me why I won’t tow the Republican party line, and support John McCain. I’ll tell you why. I don’t agree with John McCain on much of anything. One of those disagreements is the about the drug war.

We’ve had almost 40 years of failed drug policy. In the past, when it was clear our efforts were failing, the politician’s solution was to escalate the war, increase police powers, and further restrict individual liberty. We’ve seen this pattern repeated for decades… escalate the war, the problems grows, react with more escalation, the problem continues to grow, react again, more escalation…

And now the Republican front-runner tells us, once again, that we need more of what hasn’t worked. Isn’t that insanity defined?

The modern war on drugs officially started in the late 60s. The results are in: Abject failure.

Freedom The First Casulaty of War

Whenever an elected official uses the word war, pay attention, because freedom is the first casualty of war. During the US Civil War, Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus for the ‘common good.’ After the war ended, it was restored. During the First and Second World Wars, the government suspended almost every personal and economic liberty. After the wars ended, most of our rights were restored.
Those wars had clear beginnings and ends, but today we have wars which never end. How do we win the war on drugs? How do we win the war on terror?

Meanwhile our leaders tell us we must accept every new encroachment on our personal freedom, because it serves a greater public good. Where will this end? How much freedom are we willing to sacrifice for safety? Why isn’t anyone in power asking these questions?

How Many People Will We Imprision?

Right now we have over 2 million people incarcerated in the US, more than any other nation in the world including Russia and China. How many people are we willing to incarcerate to win the war on drugs? 4 million? 10 million? 20 million? We are fast approaching a point when we will imprison more people than Stalin or Pol Pot.

And how much money are we willing to spend? 100 billion? a trillion? 10 trillion? Are we willing to go bankrupt because we are too stubborn to accept that there might be a better solution?

An Anecdote

In Stillwater Minnesota, in the late 1980s, the US Federal Government seized a family home because a fifteen year old boy sold a hit of acid to a friend in his basement bedroom. This was a kid, not a kingpin. His parents worked their entire lives to pay for that home, and while suffering the anguish of their teenage son’s drug abuse, the government showed its compassion by stealing their home. Back in the day, it was big news, because this gross abuse of power was new. Most people knew it was insane, but they did nothing, and today property seizures have become so common the news doesn’t even report them.

The drug war and the war on terror are stripping us of our civil liberties, and when we protest, politicians like McCain sneer and call us dangerous and crazy. You know what’s dangerous and crazy? Quietly accepting a government which steals from it citizens.

Creative Problem Solving 101

There are five high level steps for planning and executing anything:

  1. Define your purpose and your moral limitations
  2. Visualize and communicate the outcome
  3. Brainstorm
  4. Organize
  5. Act
  6. If you don’t get the deisred results, return to #3 and repeat until you do.

With the war on drugs, the US government skipped step #2, #3, and #4 and went straight to #5.

Like this:
1. Drugs appear to be hurting some people. We have a moral responsibility to do something.
5. Police action

And when these actions didn’t create the desired result, did they regroup and brainstorm? No, they pushed for more of the same. If you listen to John McCain you’d think we are failing because we haven’t imprisoned or killed enough people.

Lack of Vision

What is McCain’s vision for the war on drugs? Does anyone know what desired outcome would look like? Is it a world without drugs? Is that realistic? If so, is it a world without every drug or just some drugs? Who will decide which drugs to eliminate from our lives, us as individuals or a committee in Washington? Maybe his desired outcome is a world without drug users? Or a world where every drug user is locked in a cage? Mao would be proud.

My vision is a day when drug and alcohol use is treated as a potential health issue and not a moral failing.

On a closely related note… Some of my Republican readers can’t understand why I’ve said that Barack Obama may be preferable to McCain.

I’ll tell you why…

No New Ideas

The Republican leadership hasn’t adopted a new idea in almost 30 years, and John McCain is the problem personified. He himself said he doesn’t know much about economics and economic policy is the only reason I’d vote for a Republican. I lean libertarian, and McCain fails every test of personal liberty. I can’t think of a single reason to vote for him.

Why Obama seems preferable right now:

  • He is open to libertarian ideas
  • He is open to decriminalizing marijuana
  • He believes the 2nd amendment guarantees the individual the right to own firearms
  • He is open to ending the war in Iraq
  • His election would do wonders for race relations
  • He admits his failures
  • He has vision
  • He seems to understand the problems in our working classes
  • He’s likable

Why John McCain scares the hell out of me:

  • He said we will stay in Iraq a 100 years if necessary
  • He is planning more wars
  • He wants to step up police powers
  • His economic positions seem to favor large corporations, not free markets
  • He has a bad temper
  • He doesn’t offer anything new

This Isn’t an Endorsement of Obama.

I’m simply warning the mainstream Republicans that they are losing the libertarian wing of the party and it may lead to an Obama victory in November. I have not ruled out voting for Obama. I have ruled out voting for McCain and so has almost every other libertarian leaning voter I’ve met.

The Republican Convention

I am
a delegate to the local Republican convention, and I will support Ron Paul, but don’t kid yourself, he isn’t going to win the nomination. Mark my words… when the national convention comes to Saint Paul, the Republican elites won’t even let Ron Paul speak and I predict that Ron Paul signs won’t be allowed inside the event. Ron Paul supporters will be fenced in outdoors blocks away with all the other protesters in the ‘free speech cage.’

I can’t believe I’m saying this, I abhor socialism, but right now, Obama seems to be our best hope for a positive outcome in the ’08 presidential race. Let’s hope it leads to open minds and better ideas in 2012.

Thanks for reading,

Every time I try to wash my hands of politics, it just gets more interesting.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this feed. I’ve got some fun surprises in store.

23 thoughts on “The Republican Party – Selling Fear and Failure”

  1. Whoa get a therapist, buddy. Calm down and take a deep breath. The Republican party will probably lose this election anyway, so you don’t need to stress about it. Maybe you should take a hit from that joint you want to legalize so bad. I agree that Obama is the best choice. You should be writing an article against Hillary, she’s the real threat. Peace

  2. I’m not stressed. I am my therapist. I enjoy ranting.

    I don’t use drugs, I just don’t think we should destroy the lives and families of the millions of people who do by throwing them in prison.

    I agree that she is as bad as McCain, maybe worse. Her plan for universal healthcare would ‘force’ people to buy insurance or have their wages garnished. Sheesh!

    I can’t believe the dems are even considering her.

  3. Thank you. I’ve been struggling to explain to my republican friends why I will vote for Obama over McCain. You’ve explained it better than I ever could.

  4. You could vote or Obama, or you could do the right and moral thing and write in a candidate who more closely holds your beliefs. In your case probably Ron Paul. Bush won twice by people like you and me voting for the lesser of two evils. I for one will never again commit that error.

    If Obama wins, I don’t much care, but I would love to see him win with less than 20%, with many of the candidates that have dropped out receiving a few percent in write-ins. It would show the leadership in both parties that we would like a real candidate next election. Someone we can vote for, rather than people we must vote against.

  5. A couple of elections ago there was a local election where I came to the conclusion that I should vote for who I believed would do the best job and not just who was listed as my party’s candidate just to make sure “our side” won.

    This conclusion has freed me from the sick feeling I get when voting for the lesser of two evils. When it became clear that Mc Cain was going to win, I decided then that voting for a 3rd party (or canditate) would be my best option… not like it is going to matter… I live in California and my state is almost certainly going to go blue, but I will vote my heart.

  6. I’m glad you’re actively trying to look for someone to vote /for/ instead of someone to vote /against/. Thanks, Steve, for having some class.

  7. I do not like socialism either. And having a “right” to health care is not the same as having a right to access to health care. I registered as a Dem for the first time this year so that I could caucus for Osama-bama over sHrillary. I am prepared to vote a straight Dem ticket, let them screw the pooch on taxes, the GWOT, health care, and any other damned thing they get their greedy hands on.

    When the car bombs start going off in US cities, Jacksonian America will get off their collective butts and clean things up. ( www . )

    Conservatives and Libertarians need to vote for Osama-bama to teach the Republican party a lesson. Then set their sights on replacing EVERY single member of Congress (up for re-election) in 2010 with a non-establishment, non-lawyer, non-muslim candidate who will restore honor and dignity to Washington DC.

  8. I’m not so sure I can believe anything a politician says, but I hadn’t heard Obama actually say anything other than we need “change.” Can you please point me to where he says he wants to decriminalize marijuana, get out of Iraq, and that he supports the second amendment?

  9. Steve,

    This was a powerful post and really hit the mark! I feel exactly the same way about McCain. To me, it would be just 4 years of Bush. And yes, the Republican party is fragmented and falling apart. I think the party sowed that seed when it crawled into bed with the religious right.

    I feel that Obama, if elected, will reenergize the country. If he’s the nominee, he has my vote.

    As far as the Hillary vs Obama debates — either is better than Bush and his band of neoconservatives. If the worst thing Hillary does is force people to buy health insurance, so be it!

  10. Hi Steve,

    I’m very happy to see that you open your mind and your eyes and see that your society needs changes that only a Democrat with a vision can provide. I’m living in the Netherlands and sometimes its hard to believe that while we have 3 coffee-shops on my street where you can buy pot, for the same joint you go to jail for many years in the States. I also dont smoke and dont want my kids to do so. The Netherlands is a socialist society, like others in Europe, free, open minded, etc….., if the USA really wants to solve the problems of drugs and poverty, the only way to do it will be a socialist way, the prove is here.



  11. Antonio,
    Socialism won’t work in the long run, you won’t be able to compete with capitalist countries over time. Don’t mistake what I said. I abhor socialism. I am saying I like Obama in spite of his socialism.

    I don’t understand how you can be free and socialist. To be socialist is to depend on the government. Dependency is slavery not freedom.

    Freedom is making agreements with others voluntarily. Socialism is the government forcing people to make agreements with one another.

  12. Antonio,
    Good article. I can’t say I disagree with much of its findings. That is social freedom not socialism. I understand that Holland has some very libertarian steaks and I admire the Dutch very much for having the courage to be open and free in those regards.

    The freedom I was talking about it is economic freedom. In Europe you call it liberalism.

    In Holland you have loose social freedom and restricted economic freedom.

    In the U.S. our social freedom is very restricted compared to Holland. If we lose our economic freedom, there won’t be much left. The Republicans claim to want to preserve economic freedom and restrict social freedom. The Democrats claim to want to protect social freedom and restrict economic freedom.

    I don’t believe either of them… they all seem to want to restrict every freedom.

    But Obama does seem a little different than most. We’ll see.

  13. I’m voting for Obama because he is inspiring those who have never been inspired by a politician; he is the anti-politician

    I’m voting for Obama because he will move people to be greater than what they currently are, he will rally the young and old, left and right, black and white to come together and reach for greatness.

    I’m voting for Obama because he is a proponent of change and hope –something our world desperately needs.

    I’m voting for Obama because His ability to lift the spirits of those who are oppressed is evident in his soaring speeches not seen since Dr. King; this will truly heal the damaged reputation of the U.S. abroad.

    I’m voting for Obama because he will provoke change and transformation in our nation, our communities, and ultimately, in ourselves.

    He bridges the racial divide of inequality and resentment that plague us- he will repair the years of brokeness that have gone before us. In him the ivory tower of Ivy League schooling and inner city desperation kiss in an intimate resolution of tension, strife and the chasm of want.

    He inspired to write a great song and video, showing he has the ability to transcend artistic barriers of indifference and greed, uniting those would otherwise be prone to capitalist quarreling.

    I’m voting for Obama because He is in his forties just like Bill Clinton was. And just like JFK was.

    I’m voting for Obama because He is willing to speak with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – and other misunderstood leaders of developing nations letting them know that, yes, we can.

    I’m voting for Obama because he was not subjected to 5 years of Vietnamese imprisonment and torture, thereby proving his youthful vitality and ability to stay out of harrowing and unnecessary wars.

    I’m voting for Obama because He will bring home the troops and finally leave Iraq to flourish in peace and prosperity.

    I’m voting for Obama because He is so cool he is bound to have an effect on global warming.

    I’m voting for Obama because I love the sound of beautiful words that sing like Clay Aiken on a warm summer day.

    I’m voting for Obama because He makes me feel good about myself.

    And what I feel defines what is real.

    When I vote for Obama, I vote for me.

  14. Very interesting analysis Steve. I love the fact that you’re into politics and you blog about other topics I find very interesting too i.e. education reform, entrepreneurship, personal development etc.

    I’m not an American but I keep track of US politics more than most Americans themselves do. As someone who lives outside the United States, my main concern is foreign policy. America’s has a huge, huge impact and I fear that a fast and miscalculated withdrawal from Iraq will be bad for Iraqis, the Middle East, and the United States. That’s my main concern regarding Obama. McCain is willing to wait until the Iraqi army is strong enough to take care of the country and then begin a calculated withdrawal.

    On the other hand, I understand all that you mention. If I were in your shoes, living with America herself, I’d lean more towards Obama. He’s a very likable guy. Plus, I do lean towards libertarianism.

    Free markets, personal liberty and a small tiny government. That’s the way it should be. 😉

    Love your blog!


  15. Nobody is ever going to be a perfect candidate, but, you can’t vote for a socialist and call yourself an patriotic citizen of the United States. That’s right. You read me correctly. Socialism is anathema to anything this country has ever stood for, the main thing being personal liberty.

    Obama is a smooth talker, like a lot of socialists and collectivists. If he’s elected with a Democrat Congress, say goodbye to your freedom and freedom’s surrogate, your money and wealth.

    You simply have to vote for McCain and all other Republicans or those of like mind, if there are any, that are closest to a freedom, low tax, small government agenda. Tax increases, national health care, the faux war on global warming, pulling out of Iraq precipitously, and on and on.

    If you like a world in which the federal government confiscates over 50% of your income (which will just embolden the states to tax more), where the jihadists control the oil fields in Iraq, where you are forced to pay for a government run health care program that punishes you and your doctor criminally for seeking treatment outside the plan, even more political correctness, write into law (read this as hate crimes on steriods), and on and on.

    You think that Libertarians or other conservatives will rise from the socialist ash heap? Not in our lifetimes, my friend. There’s no evidence you can roll back these major government initiatives that reach millions of voters who will never let go. These programs will stay until there is a revolution or the workers in society simply collapse and can no longer afford to subsidize the Leviathan that’s been created.

    Hold your nose, if you must, but vote Republican. Then, libertarians and conservatives must regroup. You influence the party from the grass roots. That’s how it’s done. It’s heavy lifting, but there is no other way.

  16. Steve, I’m seeing McCain ads on your site. Does this mean you’ve had a change of heart and you’ll be holding your nose as I recommended?

  17. Yeah,
    I know…
    Google serves them up based on the content in the post. I haven’t tried to get rid of them. I don’t even know if I can.

    I’ll never vote for McCain, under any circumstances. I had the discussion last night with my wife, she said she’ll never vote for him and will probably write in Ron Paul. I leaning toward that too. I don’t know yet. But I know I will NEVER vote for John McCain. I’m done with big government politicians. I’m not voting for any of them no matter what party they are in.

    But I don’t take back what I said about Obama. I like what he is saying about civil liberties. I like how he admits his failures. He’s likeable. If he gets past Hillary, he’ll walk away with this thing. He is the best orator since Reagan. People are looking for leadership and he is saying he right things. I don’t agree with most of them, but he has charisma like we haven’t seen in 20 years.

  18. Just one more point and I’m letting this go on without me. Before you say you won’t vote for McCain—and I hate carrying his water, but it is a “hold your nose” situation—think about what you just said. You are done with “big government politicians.” Okay, so what’s Obama other than the biggest government liberal this country has seen in its history. He makes FDR look like Thomas Jefferson.

    Anyway, if you hate big government, just think about the likelihood that the next president will be nominating three Supreme Court justices. If the idea that Obama may be doing the selecting with a Democrat Congress doesn’t scare the hell out of you, I don’t know what will. The Supreme Court has the power to rubber stamp any of Obama’s big government programs even though they eviscerate Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution. We have a fighting chance with the likes of Rogers, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia. McCain was behind all of them.

    Think about it. You’ve got a long time until November. We have to hold our nose, vote McCain, pray, and get to work right now supporting conservatives and libertarians for the House and Senate all over the country. Steve, don’t be complicit in what might be the beginning of the end for liberty in America. Obama talks a good game on “civil liberties,” but that’s all. It will be high tax, more regulation, and global warming initiatives that will bankrupt us all. Money and assets are the same as liberty (and freedom). We’ll end up with neither.

  19. Steve,
    I like your website,however I really havn’t heard anything different from Obama , other than “change”, maybe he is waiting for a better time to go in more detail about his plan. I am an independent, and I am unhappy with Pres Bush, but there is alot to say about not being attacked on our land since 9/11, I do belive that the republican party is far from being a fragmented party. I believe in a strong national defense, and these times are different and can’t really be compared to WWI, or WWII. What suggestions do you have for combating a group of people who live just to kill Americans, and any other person that isn’t Muslim. I mean these people are willing to blow themselves up and kill men,women, and children. If you have a hard time believing this could happen in America, look at Israel, they see this threat in their stores, on their buses etc.. I mean I voted for Clinton, little did I know how much he had weakened the Military, and had a chance to eliminate Bin Laden. I along with many americans are willing to look at other options, so far nothing new has come out.

  20. Really liked you’re point about the war on terror and drugs not having a finite ending. I’ve been taking quite a bit of heat from friends saying ‘We gave things up during the World Wars back when Americans had backbones.’ I have a good response now, thanks

  21. You sir, are a true breath of fresh air. I have been reading a lot of these types of postings lately and frankly, they all seem to send the same reactionary, rhetorical messages, both from the left and the right. It’s grade school sandbox dirt kicking with most of them. you have however presented a very rational, logical and reasonable message for that I thank you. It is balm to my soul that someone knows how to THINK today! I frankly am a Democrat (moderate actually) but I am not thanking you just because you tend away from McCain. Rather I am thinking you because you use logic and rationale in your arguments in favor over reaction.
    Thank you.

    One point stands out in your post that I think I could take a reasonable hazard at answering: Which drugs to leave and which drugs to stay? The answer to that (In my admittedly inexpert opinion) would be that any drug not making money for Big Government and Big Pharma would definitely have to GO. Wall Street wouldn’t have it any other way. Anything which was created in a lab with a name like Pfizer or Lillie attached to it would be A-OK provided it met the government’s approval and could provide revenue in taxes. Things like Cannabis (and again, I’m not a user myself-however I fail to see the harm in it being that I know quite a few of them who still function quite normally-some even better for it) would be expunged because they don’t suit the Wall Street and White House goals.
    I didn’t vote in the ’09 election because to me frankly there WAS no lesser of two evils since to me McCain simply appeared to be a continuation of a growing Neocon dynasty, and Obama’s statement that he was a ‘citizen of the world’ smacked of One World Government. My personal belief is that we need a good, responsible PATRIOT in office, not a citizen of nowhere and everywhere. Where does such a one’s true allegiance lie? Inevitably with self.
    My point is that I will certainly vote in the ’12 election and I hope I make the right call. I hope you vote too and I can reasonably assume that the choice you make will be at least a rational one. Thanks again.

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