Open Letter to Republicans: “Big Tent” Addendum

THIS is a supplement to our Open Letter to the Republican Party.

A major theme running through the comments to the original post is that if the party’s national leadership downplays issues of sex and religion, relegating them to the states where such matters properly belong, this is somehow a betrayal of our principles. We’d be diluting our purity of essence, and operating a “big tent” to welcome the barbarians into our ranks. That’s the concern. “No big tent!” is certainly Rush’s position, so it’s well worth addressing.

A big tent is not what we’re advocating. Downplaying divisive issues isn’t heresy — especially when those issues are local in nature and distract from focusing on core principles that are vital to the entire nation. It’s not heresy; it’s called “winning elections.” As we said before, this is the tactic adopted by Newt Gingrich in drafting the Contract With America.

Consider this scenario: You’re in charge of the party’s introspective review in the wake of recent electoral failures. Suppose you ask all Republican office-holders to rank a list of items according to their importance to the party. Give them our traditional issues — the Constitution, rule of law, national defense, free enterprise, limited government, low taxes, balanced budgets, and individual rights. And to illustrate the point we’re trying to make, let’s add one more item to the list — public nudity.

Nudity? Is this a joke? No; we’re using it to make a point. We understand quite well that in any test of intelligence, most people would select that as not belonging on the list. But what would be your reaction if someone in our scenario were to rank nudity as issue number one?

You’d ask around to learn who he is. Oh yeah, you’re told, that guy! They call him Mr. Fig Leaf. He shows up at all the meetings, and he’s always ranting about the evils of running around naked. Before and after meetings he’s in the parking lot handing out garish bumper strips that exhort: “Conceal your genitals! Vote Republican!

Running on a platform emphasizing the shame of Adam and Eve, he somehow got himself elected to a state’s school board — probably in Texas or Louisiana, or maybe Kansas. Now he’s an outspoken office-holder, a member of our party, and you need to figure out what to do with him.

Here’s what we’d recommend: Keep him in the closet. Don’t let the press near him. And for God’s sake, don’t let him get near a TV reporter. You know what the opposition would do if they got even a few seconds of that guy on tape. He’d be all over the news, now and forever, with his party label prominently displayed. That’s how the game is played.

Our point is this: Although most of us agree with Mr. Fig Leaf that people shouldn’t be strolling around downtown in the nude, we understand — as he does not — that eradicating social indiscretions isn’t the purpose of our party. We also understand that Mr. Fig Leaf, our single-issue colleague, cannot — under any circumstances — be permitted to speak for our party or to have a role in defining its purpose. This is true even if there’s a fair-sized faction who think as he does. We want their votes, but not their voices. This is a delicate and difficult matter, but it’s also essential. Yes, he and his faction will be insulted. (After all they’ve done for the party, etc.) Nevertheless, he’s got to be closeted or he’ll sink us all.

Please note that by consigning Mr. Fig Leaf to the closet, we are most definitely not advocating a big tent. We’re not reaching out to the nature boys with a pro-nudity platform, nor have we compromised our opinion that people should be clothed in public. We are, however, realistically aware that nudity is not the concern of a national political party. We are also aware that a Presidential candidate who runs on a party platform mentioning nudity (or creationism or abstinence, or whatever) is unlikely to be elected. That is not what most people look for in a President.

Sticking to our vital national issues, while avoiding the distraction of divisive local matters, is not a compromise. It’s a program for victory.

Mr. Fig Leaf will call this a sell-out. We call it “reality.” Reality is more than a jealous mistress; she’s the only girl in town.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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23 responses to “Open Letter to Republicans: “Big Tent” Addendum

  1. Reality is more than a jealous mistress; she’s the only girl in town.

    Superb.

  2. Doctor Stochastic

    The Democrats won every Dallas County race in 2006 without doing any advertising. Before the election, polls showed that the “evangelicals” were not going to turn out for the election. (As did exit and post-election polls.) The reasons given were primarily to punish the GOP for not expelling Mark Foley. All the judges, county attorneys, etc. are now Democrat.

  3. mainstreetobserver

    I am in agreement with your proposal.

    I would add that the Republican principles of smaller government is a protection to all people. The problem with Liberal Democrats is that they want to call all the shots for everybody. The means to control is bigger government.

    At some point we could end up with a government that mandates abortions for all conservative couples! Wouldn’t the pro-life people be happier having the choice? I know that’s hyperbole, but the more the government is part of our private lives, the more likely we will lose basic liberties and we open the door for fascism.

    So I agree, the far right needs to self-regulate. Understand that while they may not agree with abortion rights, etc., we will be worse off in a totalitarian government.

  4. Doctor Stochastic says: “All the judges, county attorneys, etc. are now Democrat.”

    With a “base” like that, we’ve got it made. Oh yeah! Why pander to voters who throw tantrums?

  5. retiredsciguy

    This is an issue of far more importance than keeping creationism out of the public school science classes, although I do agree with you that that is very important, as I’m sure you can tell from my comments over the past year.

    Your blog is evolving, Curmy. Your writing is superb.

  6. retiredsciguy says: “Your blog is evolving, Curmy.”

    Maybe. I don’t think I want to go full-bore into politics. It’s fun, but it’s not what I’ve been doing. We’ll see what the news brings us. I take it day by day.

  7. retiredsciguy

    Curmy says,
    ” I don’t think I want to go full-bore into politics.”

    I can understand that. However, your nation needs your reasoned voice. You would write an excellent op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal. Or any paper, for that matter.

  8. Thad Peters

    Thank you.

    A strong national defense, low taxes, support for small biz and less government intervention in our lives. That is what made me a Republican in the first place, why I voted for Reagan and stayed with the party ever since despite the insults of the Bush misunderstandings of those principles.

    Creationists, I call the “Creatards” anti science anti enlightenment “Christian Nation” types, magic underpants wearing crackpots,
    Elmer Gantry type bible thumping frauds with private jets and others claiming to be the voice of our party are an embarrassment.

    You letter is exactly on point.

    America does not want the minds of their kids emptied by the Discovery Institute they want their kids educated to be competitive with the rest of the world in the highest levels of science.

    No one cares what consenting adults do in private, keep those two faced Swaggerts, Haggerts and pedophile priests out of our face and voting booths.

    Rush has quite a party room at his mansion in Palm Beach I hear. He has a right to keep his private life from the Evangelicals. He should too. But I do wonder what goes on in that big tent of his sometimes.

    .

  9. mainstreetobserver said:

    At some point we could end up with a government that mandates abortions for all conservative couples! Wouldn’t the pro-life people be happier having the choice? I know that’s hyperbole, but the more the government is part of our private lives, the more likely we will lose basic liberties and we open the door for fascism.

    Yeah, comments like that are what lose you guys centrist votes.

    When it comes to sexuality in the 20th century, the Federal government has largely acted to remove State governments from our private lives. The fed has reduced the state fascism of miscenigation laws, laws against various sex acts, cohabitation laws, etc….

    Smaller and more local government is not necessarily better government. Sometimes local control is the most tyrranical form of control there is. Anyone part of a housing association want to refute that?

  10. retiredsciguy

    Eric wrote,
    “Sometimes local control is the most tyrranical form of control there is. ”
    I agree. Look a the Taliban.

  11. “Smaller and more local government is not necessarily better government. Sometimes local control is the most tyrranical form of control there is. Anyone part of a housing association want to refute that?”

    It’s MUCH easier to “vote with your feet” with respect to local government.

  12. Hm. I respectfully disagree with the addendum.

    I think the religious right SHOULD be shunned, although I understand that this faction will likely never back down from their beliefs or be rejected from the party.

    I don’t care about abortion (!), putting creationism in schools, prayer in schools (course, I think all schools should be private, with some voucher type thing, so they can do whatever), the ten commandments in court (shouldn’t be there), “protection” against gay marriage (hey, they can have gay divorce too! they probably haven’t thought about that downside…). I also detest the racism that sometimes fuels the immigration reform discussions in the party (yes, it is there). In addition, I have overheard many, many comments from republicans that show that they believe “God’s law” should be replicated in our government, and consider it a primary goal. As an atheist/agnostic, this attitude makes me unlikely to buddy up with these folks for any reason.

    Anyway, downplaying those issues as if they will be addressed once the election is won seems disingenuous to me. Sort of like a leftist playing moderate and then instituting a big government policy once in office. You either stand for the ideas or you don’t. Besides, those who think these issues are important will expect them to be brought back to the forefront at some time.

    If the republicans want to keep them in, fine, just don’t expect any donations from me, or to be seen at a rally, or to support any religious candidate from the party. Let’s bring back the Deists! 🙂

    Consider this: Goldwater was pro-choice. Was he a republican/conservative or no? Does that not call into question the validity of republican/conservative “core beliefs?”

    Great blog btw.

  13. “He’d be all over the news, now and forever, with his party label prominently displayed. That’s how the game is played.”
    He’d also be all over Foxnews, portrayed as a martyr for Truth™. He’d also be all over WND, to rally “the core”. He’d also be all over…

    “We want their votes, but not their voices.”
    Luckily, they’ll vote republican anyway, since the dems are for mandatory abortions, socialized gay marriage and banning God in churches.

    mainstreetobserver “The problem with Liberal Democrats is that they want to call all the shots for everybody.”
    That’s a problem endemic in politics. Try “The problem with Liberal Democrats power is that they those that have it want to call all the shots for everybody”.

    “I know that’s hyperbole, but the more the government is part of our private lives, the more likely we will lose basic liberties and we open the door for fascism.”
    You don’t have to take your shoes off at the airport because it prevents terrorism. The colour-coded “terror alert” wasn’t invented to protect you from terror. You don’t have cops taking away cameras from the public in public places because it prevents terrorism. Security theatre/politics of fear is every bit as fascisistic (which may be a new word) as the worst fantasies the right has of the left.


    Possible bumpersticker:
    “RINOs are Republicans too!”

  14. Pah! WordPress doesn’t appear to accept the “cross-out” thingy. How is this:
    The problem with Liberal Democrats power is that they those that have it want to call all the shots for everybody.

  15. Nuts!
    The problem with power is that those that have it want to call all the shots for everybody.

  16. Having a bad day, MO?

  17. Shorter WordPress” “Needs preview”

  18. Shorter WordPress: “Needs preview”

  19. Shorter Modusoperandi: “I need a big glass of Chill the F-word Out”

  20. It bleeps naughty words? Golly. The one time I swear and it gets washed away.

  21. Family values, MO.

  22. If so, you should probably take your hand off my thigh.
    Is that Bolero on the hi-fi?