A Bump On The Road To Unity – Unity of what?

by Skip

Rose Colored GlassesAgain, Steve’s post on NH GOP’s mistrust of bloggers and unity ignited a bunch of thoughts – and realized I had gone long (even for me).  So consider this Part II of mine from his Part I.  On Unity – or more properly put – the false sense of Unity that some in the NH GOP are proclaiming just because, well, it what is supposed to happen after elections.  Phewy on that – unfortunately, Reality is about to be injected into some self-delusion happy talkers that are believing that nonsense (their rose colored lenses are gonna have to dialed down quick).

Unity – all day Saturday we heard that we, as a Party, now have to unify, that we have to be united.  Well, that’s very true.  The question is “Unity of what?”  Well, the simple answer is “well, to win”.  Gee, no kidding – that’s a given.  The purpose of the NH GOP, historically, has been to take people who are willing to put an “R” after their name and get them elected.  Period.  They have had (or shown) very little judgement or discipline in this matter (sorta like that TSA parody of Rush’s: “He’s breathin’!”).

Simply saying “Unity NOW!” or “We are UNITED!” is now insufficient for the NH GOP at this time.  Period. Silly, really. Ain’t gonna happen and if the E-Board and the Chair think that this state of being is here, well, it’s back to the Wilderness for quite some time (am just hoping it isn’t for 40 election cycles).  A snap of the fingers isn’t going to heal what has been festering for 3 or 4 cycles now (at a minimum, but has become front and center the last two or three cycles).  Ding Ding Ding!  Ignoring the real state of dis-unity it isn’t going to solve it – that’s just doubling down on the Disaster line.  Acting like a judge (or a parent) and only yell “stop it – act like adults ” will probably end up like the SuperBalls I used to bounce off the brick wall at JFK Elementary School – I found out the hard way that a rebounding (super hard) ball on the soft parts of the body HURT.  So will maintaining the delusional.

NH GOP Chair Horn has a split Party that is quite content to throw spitballs (or worse) at each other; worse would be if the two sides simply ignore each other in a silent Cold War.  Unity by itself is useless, so to ask folks that aren’t trusting each other to “unify” or hold a pep rally (er, wasn’t that what Saturday was, in part, supposed to be) to form a cohesive entity by itself will be a rather useless exercise. (sorta like Progressive enforced collectivism).  True, a small number of people can be unified all by themselves simply because they are a unique group (a family, small group of long-term friends) but that isn’t the description of a political Party and the NH GOP is neither a family or a small group of friends.  But another example is a cult around a singular personality  (I don’t think that the NH GOP wishes to be seen as a cult; there is a political Party that has already chosen that path).  But what DOES unite a faction within a Party?

A set of common goals, principles, or a uniting philosophy.  And once established and accepted by the various faction, a trust that everybody will honor them.   Simple, eh?  Seemingly, it will not be for the NH GOP as it isn’t just the items but the intensity required (demanded?) by some in support of them.  Some factions are satisfied with just an “R” next to a majority+1 mass of elected politicians;  others are much more serious and inculcated in those items (and the values behind them) in seeing the NH GOP as not just a political club that meets every once in a while but a way to effect change.  So, now what?  How to create Unity in this chaos?

Normally, people have to have a rally person or point around which to cluster and to move that point to a successful conclusion (notice that I did not say FORWARD! – smirk).   I don’t think, with all due respect, that Jennifer is that “rally” kind of person – she is going to have to prove herself by leading in other ways.  What she will have to do is to come up with a prescription of what Unity will be for the here and now.  Simply hauling out the hackneyed “support the Reagan 80%” isn’t going to make it in this here and now – it IS a hackneyed phrase and there are too many Rs that don’t meet even that lower B- / C+ standard (to the chagrin of those aiming for As).  The meme from this side of the split is that the Establishment Old Guard doesn’t care about that standard – only the winning is important.  They aren’t necessarily too not worried about afterwards of actual governance (or worse, not even worried being seen as a Demi-Democrat).  The grassroots DO care about what happens afterwards “what are you going to DO with that power once obtained”?  One again, a split – a very large philosophical one.

The grassroots did cringe a few times at what the House passed last session (even me).  But with O’Brien, the grassroots saw a purpose: actually doing what Government was instituted to do: protect individual Liberty & Freedoms and did it mostly by removing power from Government and returning it to the people (or at least, to lower levels of government than the State).  The Stand Your Ground law was a good example: it said that Republican Government trusts that adults are responsible from the get go.  On the other hand, Progressives insist that adults cannot be trusted to act responsibility and make good decisions – Government must have oversight and in a lot of cases, micromanagement of them.  HB135, the repeal of Stand Your Ground is the perfect example of this (as well as their penchant right now to wipe any traces of the Republican Party off the table).  After all, that kind of responsibility and power should ONLY be for Government to wield.

And that is a key, perhaps THE key, for proposing a common set of goals.  Some might say this next part may be too much Libertarian for them, but think for a moment:  less choice (Dems) or more choice (Rs)?  Land of the Free – or the “OverLords of the Thou Shall Nots”?  Who really IS willing to give (or more properly, restore) Economic Freedom to you?  Educational Freedom for your kids under YOUR decisions?  The Health Freedom unbound by Government in between you and the Doc?  Who is really willing to put the freedom back into the Live Free of our State motto?  And who is satisifed with Live…and be told what to do (or not do)?

The NH GOP should be waging this philosophical war, this difference between treating voters as Citizens and not as Wards,  and do it over and over again using this type of mantra.  It should not be “hey, we get things done” – especially since from the obvious truth, the GOP can’t (given the House, Exec, and Guv) right now.  It should be setting up that attractive messaging “Isn’t it better when YOU are in control, instead of Government controlling you?” and tick off each and every controlling law or regulation the Dems promulgate.  Remind people: even as Dem Progressives are are giving you stuff, how many strings are attached?  Who is pulling your strings?  And if YOU are in control, won’t your family do better?  That YOU decide how your kids are to be educated – and where?  That YOU decide how to better enjoy YOUR property  (instead of the Govt telling you what you can’t do with it)?  That YOU can be sure that the NH GOP will move to make Govt public servants and change that meme that Government is morphing into larger and larger Overlords?

That REALLY by evaluating new legislation against the Constitutions and the Platform, and that it is debated and created  in open and transparent fashions, those that govern have to explain themselves.  And make a push to trim the overbrush of regulations that bind and to sunset old laws that no longer serve a purpose.  Or that were enacted only to serve a small purpose but end up impacting the many.

Look, I have not structured this well – just stream of consciousness of some ideas and contrasts for them.  The point is to look at some of them, look for the general cases, and then make it real to the citizens.  And then set them up as goals to accomplish for the NH GOP.  Given that, what Jennifer has to start measuring out is what values embedded that are common; simple political goals around  this idea around which all of the factions can coalesce (or be cajoled in some way).

Note one large shift in implication what the NH GOP would have to do or become – a huge shift (because this may well be the time of Go Big or Go Be Sent Home for Good).  Certainly, the NH GOP could come up with these over some short amount of time (heck, I bet the Groksters could do it in a day (a weekend at worst) – all wrapped up in a bow).  That’s the easy part.  The hard part, the “we have NEVER done it this way before” and get the buy-in such (man, am I gonna get pelted for this) that the NH GOP stops just being the entity that recruits candidates to put their butts in the seats and then lets the politicians take over in their various chambers.  Rather, in terms of these goals, it would have to become more powerful (I cannot believe I am saying this) in that it also plays and manages a more consistent role in policy in getting the politicians to achieve those goals.

Centralization to promote decentralization? (Let the 1984 metaphors begin – sigh) Wrap up thought for evoking even more thoughts:

  • Here’s the promises – in advance and in small, concrete items
  • Here’s the results – out of X number of items pertaining to a Freedom Contract with NH (for grins and giggles), we accomplished Y at the end of the next session.

Easily understood by the ‘low information’ / non-engaged voter.  Easy to message.  Easy to legislate – small one or two page bills.  Easy to score.  Snap back to the Platform and the Constitutional Articles.

I haven’t thought this all out (gee, Dr. Obvious, that’s for real sure!), yet, but there is one thing about this Unity that is troublesome: easy to say, harder to think about the right things in the right order in the right intensity and to get the right people to buy into it like it was their own.

Until then the problem of “Unify around what?” remains.  Now, go away….all I want to do is see the smoke and the gears turning.

BTW, go through some of our comments as we’ve got some good folks making good points that could be used that have no connection to the NH GOP.  Always remember (and opposite of those that think the title automatically confers good ideas upon the title holder). the only folks that have a monopoly on good ideas are those (wait for it….) that have good ideas.  Anywhere and anytime (and not just at E-Board meetings).

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  • Van

    I saw unity at the NH GOP Committee Meeting. When Jim Foley attempted to break unity by
    attacking Skip and Shallow Pocket grass root Republicans (like me) he was booed
    off the stage. When Jennifer Horn won a
    close race, Andrew Hemingway rose her
    opponent rose and asked for the vote to be unanimous. Yes there are some bad apples that tear down
    unity but we need to learn by the democrats the stick together and they elect
    democrats. We need to stick together
    and elect Conservative, libertarian leaning Republicans and yes some moderate
    Republicans and we need to work together and ride the highway to Unity.

    • C. dog e. doG

      But Van, all this show of unity and togetherness is pointless unless the effort is put forth to accomplish big things such as school choice, private property, pared down State machine (we’re talking full amputation of tentacles here, not a snip here, a trim there). As long as the moderates only modulate and equivocate on small stuff, like whether to censure some cretin representin’ Keene, or whether the old man profile should be embossed on their free t-shirt, that’s fine by me.
      – C. dog

    • granitegrok

      Van, I think that a lot of the boos did not come from the faction we are in or that the ‘Grok represents better. I also believe that Andrew’s action was one of chivalry and a normal part of the process.

      The problem is that the Dems do seem to be more top down with a much smaller variance then Rs do which leaves a wider one in which there are Rs more like Dems than those like a Jim DeMint (or me!). We do need to work together – but on WHAT and HOW is the question to be asked, answered, affirmed, and actioned upon.

  • C. dog e. doG

    Skip, though you let your stream of conscientiousness tumble a far piece down the White Mtns, you captured a lot of lunkers along the way. Keep the ball rolling on this bottom-up approach, rather than the tired and failed dictates of top-down. I agree the process of identifying the actions (the steps) toward a freer state that are most important to those wanting such can be timely, substantive, and motivating.

    Importantly, such calls to action must have sufficient support from various groups, not all of whom wear the R on their car. (Democratics get plenty of support from socialists and commies – see BozO clipped in Haavad Yaad) You know my top 3 actions to move forward:-), three that I thought were key framing timbers of the Republican Party the past few decades, yet I saw nary a nudge while the R’s had the majority in the NH houses.

    As proof you can motivate sufficient people from various walks of life push for pro-liberty legislation, you need look no further than the watered down HB 648 (Eminent Insane) during the last session. Even democrats were on the side of private property! Yes, the planets were temporarily aligned for a brief moment in politicking time, but many pols wearing R’s wasted this opportunity to take a much bigger slice out of this pernicious vestige of New Hampshire’s royal “we” days. PSNH has many tentacles that reach deeply into Republican pocketbooks. Too bad, I’m sad; Lost opportunities.

    Perhaps the new NHRP administration can better prepare itself for future, and focus on the big stuff when such opportunities arise again, rather than bog down fighting side-show skirmishes with Cyndi, lil’ timmy, Peetey, and Raybo. Leave pot-shots up to the professionals, and rank amateur commenters, we love taking them.

    – C. dog

    • granitegrok

      Thanks for reading, C.dog! – long piece, even for me. I had hoped there were at least a few nuggets – glad to see I netted some much bigger lunkers!

      Keep the comments (pithy, snarky – whichever and both) coming, for as you see, they hit the mark with me (Educational and Property Freedom)!

      And as always, the offer for a guest post is always on the table.

      • C. dog e. doG

        I noticed Skip, but I think you were on board (not bored) long ago. And thanks for the offer. When I think I’m up to the challenge of initiating, rather than playing off someone else’s serve, I’ll send you a salvo.

        I do hope you and the other Groksters take the ball, with or without the official R stamp of approval, on initiating a webiscite for the top 3 actions they would like to see the NHRP push forth loud-n-proud the next couple of years. (Think Venn Diagram, adjusted for intensity) You could even extend this as an electronic olive branch to foster real unity around real principled objectives other than craven institutional gerrymandering. I think it would be fun, edifying, and instructional.

        – C. dog

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