The Czar has noticed, of late, that whenever Republicans gather around him, the tone seems to be one of intense irritation. “They’re no different than the Democrats,” is perhaps the simplest summation of the complaints. Republicans could have ended Obamacare with any of the hundreds of ingenious replacement bills written over seven years, but didn’t. They could have reformed the entire tax structure of the United States, but instead settled for a tax cut that will drive up deficits considerably. They could shrink government to reduce the deficit and pay back the debt, but have instead increased both. And don’t get the people around the Czar started on immigration or social security reform.
So what makes them like Democrats? The fact that when push comes to shove, and boy, it did in November, 2016, the Republicans have expressed little tangible interest in undoing Big Government, and seem just as interested to expand the size, cost, and power of it.
These concerns are not without merit, of course. The American people gave the Republicans everything they wanted under Obama: a president not afriad to run afoul of the media, a House, a Senate, and a slightly right-tilted Supreme Court. By 2019, the country could be running like a lean, money-producing machine. Instead, it’s just as neutered as ever.
So we can step back, too, and discover that a group of Democrats at a gathering are saying something odd, too: “We’re no different than the Republicans,” they cry. And, for sure, something sounds weirdly familiar here.
Start with the top candidates the Democrats are fielding for 2020…what a pathetic bunch of jackasses. Republicans fantasize about the horrors of facing Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, or Sen. Bernie Sanders…but they’re political toast: crusty, dried-up, and stale. The newer faces in the party are either absent without leave or have tremendous baggage to explain. Sure, they’ll come up with somebody for 2020, but there are no guarantees they won’t be the next Michael Dukakis. Their talent pool, as the Czar has repeatedly warned, went pretty dry in 2008. The average Democrat voter doesn’t give a crap about their candidates—which is a massive change for a party that always developed crushes on their candidates to the point that no faults could be imagined.
Unlike today, where the Democrats are starting to admit that, well, even Bill Clinton probably was a foul egg morally. Not so long ago, a Republican senator in an airport men’s room lost his job because he probably was hitting on another male; today, photographs of a leering Democrat senator molesting a sleeping woman makes them think maybe he should set a date for his own resignation—after all these decades of finding and expunging any Republican politician who quivered on Family Values, the Democrats are realizing the biggest hypocrites are in their own party.
And let’s look at the messaging: what do Democrats believe in? What is their view on public responsibility? What is their plan to aid the middle class? As it turns out, you don’t know. They don’t know, either. Right now, the only unified Democrat position is that they hate hate hate Republicans. Everything else is a big question mark.
If this sounds familiar, it should—Republicans have long been completely incompetent at messaging. The Czar would wager that 90% of what the public knows about Republican aims, principles, strategies, and beliefs comes from NBC News. The GOP has never been able to explain why Obamacare would crater, why social security needs urgent reform or outright replacement, or why they are, in fact, the party of science. They just can’t do it, which is why the Town Hall meetings almost ten years ago were such a success: the GOP managed to let the people do their messaging for them; the GOP enjoyed a massive renaissance from the outspoken outrage at public venues. Now that those are gone, the GOP is back to pie charts and WordStar reports broken into 46 sections to explain this stuff.
And now the Democrats finds themselves in just the same position: they can’t inspire their voters, they can’t explain their positions, and they can’t get the public to share their anger over government overreach.
It’s a rough time for Republicans. And it’s a rough time for Democrats. And since they cover about 80% of the country’s voters, one assumes it’s a rough time for everybody.
An aside: The Czar has a good friend who is a Democrat (although he seems to be a 1960s-era Democrat who seriously thinks they still matter to the party), and over beers the other night, he shared with us a story about how bad GOP messaging is. That afternoon, the friend’s phone rang, and it was a local Republican party office calling. Eagerly, he took the call, and the caller introduced himself and asked if our friend would be willing to engage in some political conversation.
The friend immediately confirmed he would love to. The first question was on Donald Trump: what does our friend think of him? Our friend stated that he was a joke of a president, doing some good things when he listens to smart people, but too willing to let his undisciplined nature get the better of him almost every time. Furthermore—but the caller interrupted to ask about Nancy Pelosi. The friend asked why he, as an Illinois resident, should give a feces about her, since he couldn’t do anything about her; she was a California entity and their problem. Now, he said, about President Trump….
The caller cut him off to ask about Chuck Schumer. Out of New York? Yeah, our friend admitted, he probably wouldn’t be voting for him, either, because our friend doesn’t vote in New York State. Did he want to have a conversation or not, he asked the caller, because so far it sounds like they want to just check off a list of hot buttons to hear people rant and rave. “Convince me,” our friend said. “Tell me why I should vote for Republicans, and not Democrats.”
Oh, the caller paused. Was my friend a Democrat? He replied he’s been registered his whole life—but go ahead, make your case. Instead the caller said, “We should probably place you on our Do Not Call list, then?” Our friend asked why he was even on the list to begin with, since the call was more about affirming than converting. The caller thanked him and hung up.
When asked what we thought about this, the Czar said it sure sounded like the GOP: listening doesn’t mean nodding your head when someone is ticked off. It means responding. And had the call been from a local Democrat party office (not that there are many around the Czar)? The call might have gone precisely the same way.
This is a bad time, politically. Don’t be fooled. The two parties have been so busy racing to cut each other off that their ships have collided into each other, and water is pouring into both.