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The virtue of dress rehearsals is that they are a free show for a select group of artists and friends of the author, and where for one unique evening the audience is almost expurgated of idiots.
- Alfred Jarry

Remembering that Big Tent

We Remember - Do You?

Republicans are facing a crisis of identity. When Lee Atwater coined the "Big Tent" perspective for the future of the party, he was lauded as a visionary.  Conservatism as the all inclusive welcome wagon for the populace! Or was it about making room in the party for people of all views? Depending on your viewpoint and objective, its meaning would shift. But what is the nature of this awning that promised us shelter and protection from the political storms?

On rare occasions, a politician strikes the nail squarely as they raise the canopy on insight. California State Senator Ray Haynes has it right:

"Tents are by definition collapsible structures designed for temporary residence. They are typically anchored with poles and ropes, and staked into the dirt or grass. This leaves them vulnerable to being battered by the wind and a storm can send one tumbling into oblivion. Much like the foolish man in the Bible who built his house on the sandy ground, a tent staked to the dirt is a disaster waiting to happen . . .

A serious party requires a serious building. Just as the wise man built his house upon the rocks in the parable mentioned earlier, so must we build our party on a solid foundation. It must reflect a permanence that comes from being grounded in bedrock principles that will stand the tests of time and the transient winds of fluid public opinion . . .

Our party must not compromise its principles in the process of reaching out. Even though recent candidates have been unwilling or unable to defend our principles against the barbarians at the gate, there is no reason to desert our posts and surrender. We have lost because we have allowed the opposition to define us. We have fought the battle on their turf and lost. To win, we must frame the debate in our own terms and be consistent."

No doubt that the demographic and cultural outlook of America is in constant flux. Shifts in complexion, circumstance and condition is a natural consequence of change. American citizens of all backgrounds are invested in the prospect of the general society. Equality has never been a guaranteed right, but has the promise of balanced access to opportunity. Political parties are organizations that seek power to promote policies and philosophies. So what does the GOP means today - and what will it become tomorrow?

The Republican Contract With America brought majority rule to the People's House, back in 1994. It was no simple feat to wrestle control away from the Socialist Statists, that dupe the public with promises of government favors. Do you recall what the revolution was all about?

FIRST, require all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress;

SECOND, select a major, independent auditing firm to conduct a comprehensive audit of Congress for waste, fraud or abuse;

THIRD, cut the number of House committees, and cut committee staff by one-third;

FOURTH, limit the terms of all committee chairs;

FIFTH, ban the casting of proxy votes in committee;

SIXTH, require committee meetings to be open to the public;

SEVENTH, require a three-fifths majority vote to pass a tax increase;

EIGHTH, guarantee an honest accounting of our Federal Budget by implementing zero base-line budgeting.

In addition, within 100 days there were ten specific bills that would codify reforms. Most initiatives were successful. Hope and genuine progress was restored to the political landscape. Eight years later - the dreams of a nation, or her loyal citizens and of the Grand Old Party are mere apparitions of the promise. Why did the revolution fail?

All you need to do is look at the acts that perform in the three ring circus under that "Big Tent" . . . It's not the audience that clamored for a different show. It was the cast of characters that changed the substance of the performance. The abandonment of principles and reform policy is at the core of the demise of the "Greatest Show On Earth". You can't blame the competition on TV apathy, or the mix of varied groups and cultures among  the fans. It is the feud within the thespian political community that earns the censure.

Republicanism once stood for sound principles of character, accountability, responsibility and America First policies. The Neocons faked their resumes and dressed up in false costumes and perfected their act of deceit and deception. Folks, they are the magicians of transparency. Their goal has been to hijack the party. Their background and outlook is no different from the Liberals - the fraud of government benevolence. Would anyone be surprised to see Senator Joe Liberman's face on the next GOP clown? Those flips and flops jump back and forth between the two parties. Both provide the same entertainment - written from the same script, spoken with the identical diction that offers policies and programs of indistinguishable failures.


When Liberal Democrats flock to become Republicans, the "Big Tent" needs to restrict entry. Without commitment to the values and principles of Conservatism, why would you want to turn over your party to intruders? Internationalism and Interventionism are NOT Republican traditions. The Frank Gaffney's want us to dine with the Richard Perle's. If you accept this scam, the dark joke is on you . . . Where are the successors to Barry Goldwater?

This hippodrome will meet the same fate as the Hartford Circus Fire of 1944. The circus tent had been waterproofed with paraffin and gasoline and therefore quickly burst into flames when ignited. That is exactly the combustible combinations you mix when diametrically opposed world views are allowed under the same canopy. Political Parties are supposed to represent and reflect the interests of their ardent members. If we wanted to walk with Liberals, there is already another Party for the "collectivists". Why would you accept them, just because they claim they are Neoconservatives? Has the elephant forgotten the lesson of that other national socialist - Vidkun Quisling? Lee Atwater would be turning in his grave to think that the "BigTent" is now known as the watering trough for chameleons of shame. When this tent collapses and burns, who will be left to save the flag?

SARTRE - May 9, 2002

Since the 1960s, we have seen the failure of the melting pot ideology. This ideology suggested that different historical, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds could be subordinated to a larger ideology or social amalgam which is "America." This concept obviously did not work, because paradoxically America encourages a politics of contestation.
- Edward Said

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