Say what you want about Republicans, but the brand has been remade. The GOP had long ago grown lousy accommodating the populist entitlements of the welfare state. The Democrats exceled at turning everything into a third rail of politics: Social Security, Medicare, and every road, bridge and borough streetscape overpaid with Federal dollars, which reduced Republicans to haggling over tax rates and the less popular regulatory schemes.
A prudent reader might be itching to note that Mitt Romney was hewn from this variety of Republicanism, and record this observation as a serious flaw to my initial premise. Yes, I concede that the platitudinous Mitt may be a remnant of a line that continued – except for the Reagan interregnum – through George W. Bush. But then again he may not; I don’t think any of us know for sure.
What I do know is that the Republican Party is different. The Tea Party and the Paulies do not yet command a coordinated majority, but their influence was unmistakable. Sure, Ron Paul supporters were noisily suppressed by a change to the ballot rules, but those sympathetic to Dr. Paul’s ideals understood that he was campaigning for liberty, not for president. His candidacy is over but his message is flourishing.
Pre-Tea Party we would have endured a parade of Bushes and Doles. Instead, the most electric of the speakers were Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio, two young men not afraid to speak of natural rights, freedom and – gasp – the Constitution. Both Ryan and Rubio outshone Romney, but then again, Romney, knowing well this would happen, elevated both to prominent roles in the convention and in his campaign.
And then the eccentricities. Revolutions are not won by the bland or through political correctness (though the latter was displayed like a talisman during convention week). Capital was the choice of Clint Eastwood to deliver a semi-coherent but hilarious send up of President Obama. While it does not yet appear in Merriam Webster’s Unabridged, we can now add Eastwooding to the vernacular, meaning the art of talking to an empty chair.
The term “Eastwooding” is less than 24 hours young but the concept is age-old. As I type this, neither the reader nor the object of my commentary can respond, giving me license to add your (or the object’s) imaginary dialogue. Blogging in this manner (or any similar form of soliloquy) is Eastwooding.
Contrast to Eastwooding is stichomythia, that sharp, responsive dialogue perfected by the ancient Greeks, now practiced daily by the politically inclined in Facebook debates. Among the brighter and wittier, these dialogues are fascinating reading: Democrats vs. Republicans, conservatives vs. liberal, and my new favorite, libertarians vs. Republicans. More on that in the next Sweaty Federalist.
Happy Labor Day, y’all.