Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Constituent parts of the GOP

Months ago I tried a thought experiment--trying to classify the different constituent parts of the Republican Party. I never wrote it up, but it was an interesting exercise is species classification, which is always one of the first steps in a scientific understanding of the natural world.

With the GOP fracturing (to what extent we don't know yet), it's apropos to talk about the constituent parts, which may soon be warring factions:
  1. The country club set of monied executives. They want a good business environment and as low taxation as they can get away with.
  2. The middle class/working class allies of the executives. They want a good business environment for the jobs it entails. They are pro-business and pro-development because they are pro-jobs.
  3. The social conservatives who are pro-prayer, pro-life, and anti-modernism. They got lip service during most of their association with the GOP, especially at the federal level. A lot of the establishment treated them as patsies, but enough patsies can take over large swathes of the party.
  4. The traditionalists who are fearful or resentful of the changes that started in the 60's and were embraced by the Democrats.
  5. The foreign policy hawks who want America safe and ascendant in the world. 
  6. The fiscal conservatives who want the government to restrict its purview to the areas where it is necessary and effective, and thus stop wasting money on other areas. This isn't a philosophical viewpoint was much as a practical view.
  7. The anti-tax brigade that don't care whether government could do something well--they just want to pay the least tax they can.
  8. The libertarians who want a small federal government focused only on its limited constitutional role.
  9. The haters who are in the GOP because they hate the Democrats for assorted reasons. (The Dems have their hate wing too. I'm not just picking on the GOP.)
I think that covers it. I'm not planning to use this classification in any particular way, such as trying to figure out rivalries and internal jockeying. It really was just an exercise in trying to understand an unfamiliar clan.


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