The Republicrat Party


As a Freshman here at Michigan, one thing in particular I was really looking forward to coming into this school year was the great political atmosphere here at the university.  I enjoy discussing anything related to politics, and what better environment to do so than one of the biggest and most politically active universities in the world?  I was eager to see all of the political groups organized on the diag during festifall, giving their pitches to passersby trying to get them to join.  Not surprisingly, the two groups with the biggest presence were the College Republicans and the College Democrats.  On the surface, these two clubs seem like complete opposites.  The members in them I’m sure have a dislike towards the opposing group.  In reality, however, the College Democrats and College Republicans have more in common with each other than they may think.

In the mainstream media, all you see is the constant pushing of Democrats vs. Republicans, right vs. left, the good guys vs. the bad guys.  Conservative talking heads like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh make a living by chastising those Marxist, socialist, and America-hating Democrats, while people like Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann love telling the world about those racist, bigoted, and cold-hearted Republicans.  It makes for entertaining news, but they are really bickering over nothing.  It may seem like Hannity and Limbaugh have completely different political ideologies as Matthews and Olbermann, but all four of them are really clamoring for the same thing: Big government.

Conservatives like Limbaugh and Hannity try to espouse small government ideals, and in some issues they do represent less government intervention.  Repealing ObamaCare, opposing the bailouts, and opposing economic stimulus are all small government positions.  Economics is only one piece of the pie, however.  When it comes to foreign policy, many Republicans are full blown lovers of government and spending.  The supposed frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Governor Mitt Romney, wants to raise defense spending.  Another candidate, Senator Rick Santorum, “would absolutely not cut one penny out of military spending”.  These two candidates have been very critical of President Obama and his spending, but like many other Republicans, refuse to cut spending out of their own pet issues.

[Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s pet issue is pizza.  Large one topping for only $9.99!]

Big government runs rampant in social issues for Republicans as well.  Most Republicans favor government staying out of the lives of citizens…Unless you’re gay and want to get married, sick and want to smoke marijuana for health reasons, or don’t like being forced to vaccinate your daughter for HPV.

So Republicans talk a good game when it comes to the economy, but show their loving for big government when it comes to foreign policy and social issues.  How do the Democrats compare?  It’s no secret that many Democrats favor increased government intervention when it comes to the economy.  Most Democrats will favor national health care, economic stimulus, bailouts of certain industries, and raising taxes on the rich.  When it comes to foreign policy, many believe that the Democrats are anti-war and for less military intervention.  Recent actions by President Obama, however, go against those notions.  Obama has decided to intervene in Libya, spending close to $1 billion, and has recently sent troops into Uganda to help fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army.  Not only has President Obama created new military conflicts, he has escalated wars started under George W. Bush, such as sending in 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan back in 2009.

Democrats are generally better when it comes to social issues in terms of limiting government involvement, but they still have some issues in which they favor intervention, such as gun control, environmental issues (banning incandescent lightbulbs), and affirmative action.

When looking the big picture, it’s easy to see the many similarities in terms of how much government involvement the two parties feel should be in the lives of the people.  Technically there are two major parties in America, but they act as one “big-government party”.  There is a Republican wing that likes to wage war, increase defense spending, and restrict personal liberties.  There is a Democrat wing that likes to wage war, increase defense spending, and restrict economic liberties.

Courtesy of ronpaul.com

Republican congressman/presidential candidate Ron Paul (pictured above) is an exception. (Photo courtesy of ronpaul.com)

I, myself, do plan to vote in the Republican primaries, but do not consider myself a Republican.  There is only one candidate I feel represents my views, and if it wasn’t for him, I most likely would be just voting third party come November.  I don’t see the point in choosing between “big-government candidate #1” and “big-government candidate #2”.  No matter which one wins, I know I’ll be getting more government involvement in some aspect of my life.

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5 Comments on “The Republicrat Party”

  1. ianbaker2041 Says:

    I’m not completely sold on the connection to political theory here, but nonetheless, I can appreciate your view. While I am most certainly NOT a Ron Paul fan, I tend to lean towards the conservative side (although I vote for the candidate, not the party), and with all of the government spending that’s going on, I completely get where you’re coming from.

    I’m not sure that I agree with you in saying that Republicans favor big government. Traditionally (before Reagan), the Republican party generally did go against big government and wasteful spending, etc etc. I don’t think that it’s totally true to say that Republicans primarily want to start wars. President Truman was the first person to send US troops into Vietnam, and he was president during the Korean War. JFK has come to be related to the Bay of Pigs and the potential of nuclear war with the USSR (Oct 1962). As you mention, Obama inflated the wars in the Middle East. While the Republican party has a history of starting and expanding conflict, the Democrats have an equally hawkish record when you really get down it. While Republicans do generally favor higher military spending than Democrats, they tend to favor drastically lower economic intervention; I think that the Republican emphasis on cost cutting far outdoes their focus on maintaining defense spending. Besides, the military is more of a “fundamental” function of government, too; defense of citizens is something that America has done since day one. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment, welfare, and the like were all much later creations-mostly after 1933, so to compare the two is like comparing apples to oranges (to drop a nice cliche in).

    While I certainly like some of Ron Paul’s fundamental ideas (small government), I think he takes fiscal conservatism too far too fast and cuts things too deeply. Eliminating five cabinet-level agencies, each with an important function, seems to be using an axe when he really needs a scalpel. For example, eliminating the Department of the Interior would leave no one to care for America’s national parks. Many of them would probably get auctioned off-sold back to wealthy landowners, no longer available for the common enjoyment. Although Ron Paul says that he would not end Social Security, permitting young people to opt out of it would bankrupt it and indirectly end the program. Very clever political maneuver. His plans to slash the State Department threatens American interests overseas; if we allow our relationships with others to fall apart, what does that do to America’s overall safety? Although there are a slew of additional problems with his policies, I won’t digress any further.

  2. rachdavidson Says:

    I completely agree with your excitement to come to a politically active school. I come from a very liberal town. In 7th grade, we had a mock presidential election and 99% of the student body voted democratic, however when asked what democrats stood for, very few students actually knew. That just about sums up the political activity at my school.

    In my town, political views are passed down from generation to generation. Other views besides the “norm” are scarce and thus very few stray from these views. When my friends turned 18, half of them didn’t even register to vote.

    Personally, I consider myself a liberal democrat, however I feel that we cannot truly know something for sure until we compare it and discuss it with others of different views. Coming to Michigan, I feel I will finally be given this opportunity. I just turned 18, and I have full plans to vote in the upcoming election. Hopefully, being at Michigan will make my decision more clear.

  3. tyhughes2014 Says:

    Have you looked into the Libertarian party before? They definitely represent smaller government and some of the representatives of the party, such as Bob Barr, have some very interesting viewpoints on certain issues. I tend to consider myself moderately libertarian just because the libertarian party platform can be a bit extreme in some issues and I believe more in moderate stance.

    I completely agree with your comments though that both political parties represent large government and I think the reason for this is because the people in power do not want to limit their power. If leaders were to start shrinking the role of the government, they would be shrinking their influence and power as well. This is similar to the Republican and Democratic parties limiting the influence of other political parties in the political scene. Third parties have always struggled to gain influence, and this is because the larger political parties limit their ability. The Republicans and Democrats do not want to lose their power in politics and block third party candidates for that very reason.

    Is there anything we can do to try and decrease the size of government and/or allow third party candidates to gain influence? Do we, as citizens, have the ability to decrease the power of the people and parties we elect year after year? I have my doubts, but maybe others are more optimistic on the matter.

  4. blakesimons Says:

    I’m not quite sure how I feel about this post. To some extent, I agree with you, but to some extent, I’m a little perplexed. Over the past years, I have greatly agreed with you that Democrats and Republicans are portrayed as going head-to-head, while in reality, their views are not on polar opposite sides of the spectrum as thought. A bi-partisan system, such as the system sought after by the United States since its formation of the Constitution, will never work when the politicians and their parties are continually vying for control. In order for a two party system to work, the two parties must work together to form a united country. Over the past years, our beautiful nation has been split, as politicians refuse to formulate views that would be best for the country, rather forming views that are contrary to their competition. Take the most recent Republican debate, for example: Congresswoman and GOP candidate Michelle Bachman spent much of the debate speaking on what President Obama has failed at rather than presenting her own views.

    Much of the rest of your post, however, I tend to disagree with. While the Democratic and Republican parties are not on complete opposite sides of the spectrum, there are numerous main differences between the views of candidates from each party. In fact, Republicans and Democrats tend to disagree over a countless number of social, economic, and individual issues. Voting in the upcoming presidential election really isn’t “choosing between “big-government candidate #1” and ‘big-government candidate #2’”.

    Both the Democratic and Republican candidate, whoever it turns out to be, will be providing you with government. Historically, Republicans have supported less “big-government” than Democrats, but at the end of the day, there will be government in America. Ron Paul is an outlier in this presidential election, in my opinion (I don’t consider him a Republican, as his views can be viewed as extreme). Plus, even if Paul wins the presidency, there will still be government, as checks and balances formed in the U.S. Constitution will hail supreme.

  5. elmatts25 Says:

    This is a very interesting a relevant post at the moment. Now more than ever, the Republican and Democratic parties are butting heads with each other. To an extent, I agree that to an extent the inflammatory rhetoric used by politicians is simply for entertainment value. This clip shows how media can essentially fabricate this conflict, strictly for entertainment value. http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_bn1#/video/politics/2011/10/27/ac-politicians-behaving-badly.cnn

    I also agree with your statement that, in broad terms, Republicans and Democrats favor similar things. However, what is important are the differences between the parties. Those similarities might as well be called “what American’s like”. This is exactly why political education is so important for American citizens, who come election time, will be deciding who the new president will be. Coming from an overwhelmingly democratic town, I too value the political diversity of the University of Michigan. It is exponentially beneficial to be surrounded with diverse and EDUCATED political opinions. I believe that one of the primary problems in American politics is the preoccupation of loathing the opposing political party. I believe that if Americans educated themselves on the values of both parties, and the similarities and differences between them, our democracy would function more efficiently and be more representative of the general will of the people.

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