On a recent episode of NBC’s Meet the Press President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe professed that the Republican Party today is actually led by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin. In part, he’s right.
I have never spoken or heard anyone in person or through blogs speak of the current Republican Party in a positive light. Even those who believe in the GOP in principle agree that it needs some drastic changes to go in the right direction. No matter how rich, charismatic, intelligent, or talented you are you cannot lead people if they do not wish to follow and the Republicans have gotten wildly off track.
That being said, Limbaugh, Beck and Palin don’t really lead the GOP. They are leaders each in a slightly different way, but their relationship to the American people is direct and not filtered through a political party. Glenn Beck in particular is not about politics at all, rather about virtuous principles and good government. Republicans are extremely sluggish in responding to the current drift of American opinion and indeed seem to spend all their time chasing what they perceive to be the politically expedient rather than the principled path. The GOP appears without position and is, in any event, notoriously poor at explaining it or adhering to it for any length of time.
It is interesting to note that when Plouffe named Limbaugh, Beck and Palin as the Republican leadership he was making an effort to marginalize the party. That may not be the best tactic since all three are gaining in popularity almost every day. It’s hard to convincingly claim that a majority of Americans are on the fringes for a majority does agree with at least a significant part of the message being spread by the three.
While government is formed for the organization of society and the protection of life and property, politics is the effort of individuals and groups to use government for their own gain in power over others. The GOP is about politics as much as the Democratic Party is. Each wants power. Beck and Palin at least are dedicated to promoting proper government. Limbaugh walks the line between good principles and power, desiring a strong GOP that follows good principles. It is the principles of good government the people of America are responding to just now. The Democrats have been hemorrhaging supporters and losing leadership at an alarming rate as well, though the full extent of this problem won’t be evident until after the November elections for Congress. It is parties and leadership the Americans have become disillusioned with. For the moment, politics is disgusting to all and freedom becoming palatable again.