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Reflections on a House Divided

Silent and Waiting

Contrary to "pundit wisdom" and media hype, America is not really aching for a leftwards turn.

The Republican Party suffers from a pervasive and inexplicable failure to identify some key points of distinction between themselves and their Democratic opponents on issues that speak clearly and forcefully to the public consciousness - and to run with them.  I.e. to put and keep those issues in the spotlight of the campaign.

The latest case in  point:
Racial preferences - i.e. Affirmative Action. Many "red meat" Democrats as well as most Republicans see these measures for what they are - state-sponsored racism - plain and simple. More deeply - an attempted end run around the most basic tenet of our Judaic-Christian heritage - "doing onto  others as one wants others to do to oneself"/"not doing to others that which is hateful to oneself."  I.e. don't discriminate against me by race if you want me to refrain from doing that to you.
And the realities of the current political cycle seem to bear this out:
 3 states to consider affirmative action ban

And in fact, in the last decade or so similar initiatives have been passed in some of the   "Bluest" states in the country, such as California and Michigan. 

Sen McCain's recent endorsement of the current round of initiatives of this kind is certainly a step in the right direction - but only a step. In order to penetrate through the media haze and into the  publics awareness more has to be done to ensure that the issue does not fad, that support for racial preferences is clearly branded as a trait of liberal and "progressive" Democratic politicians and activists, that  opposition to them is likewise branded as characteristic of most Republican candidates. and that the issue is not obscured by the fact that a handful of Republicans - some with a very high-profile, such as  President Bush - have been, and still are, soft on the issue.

But racial preferences - i.e. Affirmative Action, is only the tip of this iceberg. There are a whole host of others: parental rights (does anyone know normal work-a-day parents of this generation who've not faced at some point the prospect of being "reported" for applying normal discipline to their kids - e.g. spanking them?), indoctrination of K-12 kids by public schools in far left-wing politics and against many of the values held by their parents, the spirit of far left-wing activism that seems to permeate the k-12 educational establishment generally,  restrictions on freedom of worship and association, and of freedom of political and religious speech, being amongst the most volatile of such issues. And, threats to which are exemplified by situations and actions such as:

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE APPROVES BILL THAT WOULD CRIMINALIZE SPANKING AND THREATEN PARENTAL AUTHORITY

 Homeschool advocates fight for parental rights: Oral arguments heard to decide fate of California educational choice

 Lawmakers pass redefinition of 'sex' Bill threatens references to 'mom,' 'dad' at school

Banning Legos

 BSA: Litigation

Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech

College Official Fired for Column on Homosexuality

To repeat, for the most part Republican candidates and activists are much more likely to be on the right side of these issues - in regards to public sentiment as well as their relative positions in the political spectrum and the acuity of their ethical judgments - than are their Democratic counter-parts. But that is a point that must be made, remade and emphasized in this campaign if it is going to take root, grow and bear fruit in the coming November elections. The fault being - I believe - that Republican activists and commentators take that fact for granted and assume that it "just has to be" known and understood by the public-at-large as well. They seem to be wrong about that. In any case, for the GOP, making that case now may well be a matter of - literally - using it - their advantage in these and similar matters - or losing it - the election.  

(C) David Aronin 2008