I will try and make this as short and brief yet explanatory as possible. From my understanding of politics, alongside my understanding of American
political history, I truly believe we are on the verge of a GOP civil war.
No this is not some liberal attacking the Republican Party and hoping for its downfall, rather I am on one of the sides in question.
We are coming up to the critical point in just one month where the Republican Party could be virtually torn apart because of one legislative decision.
There are two sides currently fighting over how to vote on this issue. One side is the Establishment GOP who arguing that not raising the debt ceiling
would be catastrophic for America and would bankrupt us or cause serious economic damage not only here but around the world. The other side is the Tea
Party GOP who arguing that raising the debt ceiling would create an atmosphere where getting our fiscal house in order would be impossible and we
could use this event to force drastic cuts in our deficit.
Now even John Boehner has taken the side of Mitch McConnell and the establishment in saying we cannot raise the debt ceiling.
opinion is not shared with every Republican in the House and Senate as Sen. Mike Lee of Utah has promised to filibuster any raise in the debt ceiling.
The leaders of the Republican Party have virtually all agreed that not raising the debt ceiling or holding it hostage is simply unacceptable at the
same time the Tea Party has virtually all agreed that raising the debt ceiling or not holding it hostage is simply unacceptable.
Both sides are set for a major showdown, one that if not handle correctly,
could lead to the GOP fighting each other for control of the party instead of just cooperating.
So is this really just all about the debt ceiling? Or is this rift between the Tea Partiers and the Establishment so powerful that it will simply lead
to one side trying to run the other side out of the party altogether? This was not the first time that such a rift had occurred as it happened back in
1964 with the nomination of Conservative Barry Goldwater over Establishment Nelson Rockefeller for GOP nomination. Even though in the Conservative
wing did not take over the party until 16 years later it was still enough to drastically change the entire party ideology.
By 1980 the Republican Party began to lose its support in the Northeast and Great Lakes but at the same time took the Southeast on the federal level
away from the Democrats, this however started under Nixon with his ‘Southern Strategy’.
And once again 1964 was not the only time the GOP had an internal war as it also occurred, although subtly, at the end of the Roosevelt administration
in the 1950’s. This is what drove Joe McCarthy to become leader of the Conservative wing of the party then when it was in the minority.
The largest shift in the Republican Party however occurred during the ‘Progressive Era’ when the party was divided between Progressives like Pres.
Theodore Roosevelt and Sen. Robert M. LaFollette, Sr. and Conservatives like Pres. Calvin Coolidge and Pres. William Howard Taft. The party at the
time was so deeply divided that the Progressives left and formed their own third party and in 1912 came in second place in the Presidential
However this divide did not end in 1912 as even in 1924 Sen. LaFollette ran for President the Progressive Party candidate garnering 16.6% of the
popular vote. 4
Nonetheless the Conservatives had won the party in
1920 with the election of Pres. Warren G. Harding and the election of Pres. Calvin Coolidge in 1924 finally the election of Pres. Herbert Hoover in
These three Presidents along with the ideology of the Republican Party and Southern Democrats came to be known during the inter-war as the ‘Old
Right’. They were the staunch defenders of limited government, non-interventionism, anti-unionism, pro-business, agrarian, and classical liberalism
which had dominated American politics until 1904.
So what are we seeing now? It is with my understanding of American political history that we are seeing the confrontation of the ‘New Right’ of
Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, and John McCain clashing with the ‘Old Right’ of Calvin Coolidge, Robert Taft, and Al Smith. Allow me to
The views within the Old Right are rather diverse but strongly unified, having their own particular reasons of why they belonged within the Old
• Intellectual Individualists and Libertarians
• Liassez-faire Liberals
• Pro-Business Republicans
• Anti-Union Republicans
• Southern Conservative Democrats
• Pro-Business Democrats
• Southern Agrarians
Now that you know the views within the Old Right we should take a look at why they were able to unify together and form one ideology. It was
relatively simple as they had several key ideals that made them distinct.
• Protectionist import policies
• Non-interventionist foreign policy
• Opposition to personal taxation
• Opposition to League of Nations
• Support for businesses
• Support for domestic manufacturing
• Protection of critical domestic industries
• Opposition to unions, especially public employee unions
• Strong Constitutionalists
• Belief in traditional values
• Belief in natural rights over civil rights
• Opposition to deficits and debt
• Opposition to the Federal Reserve system
• Opposition to all New Deal policies
Overall those ideals sum up the Conservative Republicans and Democrats of the inter-war period from 1919-1940. This is also considered the “high
tide” of American Conservatism in 1924 as both the Republican and Democrat ran on a platform of limited government.
Do you see the striking similarities between the ideals of the Old Right and the ideals of the Tea Party Republicans? They are strikingly similar as
they should be since Ron Paul is basically the father of the Tea Party Movement and Ron Paul is the modern embodiment of the Old Right ideology which
today are known as Paleoconservatism
I see the current leaders/figureheads of the revival of the Old Right being Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Jim DeMint, Sen. Mike Lee, Sen. Pat Toomey,
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Congressman Ron Paul, and Gov. Bob McDonnell, along with the platform of the Tea Party.
The debt ceiling vote is simply the turning point, the deciding time for if the GOP establishment votes as they are promising to do then we will see
the Tea Party shockwave hit them as well. The ripple effect will launch a full attack against the entire GOP establishment. Launching it into a full
scale battle between such Senators as Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell for who will control the Republican Party.
Just wait until 2012 when it will really heat up, at that time we will see the full division revealed. As the establishment will back people such as
Mitt Romney, Mitch Daniels, or Newt Gingrich while the Tea Party will back people such as Ron Paul or Jim DeMint.
We must watch closely as the GOP is at a very important time in its history.
edit on 2/2/2011 by Misoir because: Sarah Palin shouldn't be
considered Old Right