creators.com opinion web
Liberal Opinion Conservative Opinion
Ben Shapiro
Ben Shapiro
22 Oct 2014
Why Republicans Don't Get It

The Republican Party simply doesn't get it. A new poll this week shows 2012 presidential nominee and 2008 … Read More.

15 Oct 2014
A Bowla Ebola Idiocy

On Monday, The Daily Mail reported that NBC's chief medical correspondent, Nancy Snyderman, had a hankering … Read More.

8 Oct 2014
Rise of the Barbarians

On Friday night, a Huntington Beach man, 43, was walking back to his car after the Los Angeles Angels played … Read More.

The Republican Party Becomes the Whig Party

Comment

In 1831, Henry Clay formed a new political party. He called it the Whig Party. His goal was to ensure Jeffersonian democracy and fight President Andrew Jackson, a Democrat. Over the course of the next 20 years, the Whig Party achieved several presidential victories. But as slavery assumed more and more national importance in the political debate, the Whig Party began to shatter. Southern Whigs were slave owners; Northern Whigs were industrial gurus who hated slavery. In 1849, the Illinois Whig leader, one Abraham Lincoln, quit politics completely in frustration with the party's inability to come together. With the Compromise of 1850, in which Whig leaders strengthened the Fugitive Slave Act on the one hand and admitted California as a free state on the other, the Whig Party was fractured beyond repair.

In 1852, the anti-slavery faction of the Whig Party prevented the nomination of the incumbent, controversial president, Millard Fillmore; the party settled on a compromise choice, the bland, boring and elderly Gen. Winfield Scott. He lost in dramatic fashion to the handsome, young cipher Franklin Pierce. In 1854, with the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Whigs were irrevocably split. Northern Whigs joined the Republican Party. Southern Whigs vanished.

By 1860, Abraham Lincoln was president of the United States — as a Republican.

Why tell this story? Because the party of Lincoln seems about to splinter the same way its predecessor did.

The center of the Republican Party cannot hold. With Mitt Romney's victory in the Florida primary, it's clear that large swaths of the Republican establishment have rejected the Tea Party; it's similarly clear that the Tea Party has largely rejected Romney and his backers. While Republicans hope that the party will unite behind Romney in opposition to President Obama, that hope seems strained. Democrats, optimists think, fought a brutal Hillary vs.

Obama battle in 2008, then united to defeat Republicans. They forget, however, that the Hillary vs. Obama battle was not so much a battle over message as a battle over messenger. More than anything, it was a fight over whether to push for the first black president or the first female president. When it came to ideology, however, Obama and Hillary were virtually identical.

The same is not true within the Republican Party. On what basis will the party unite? On fiscal responsibility? Romney and his cohorts have said nothing about serious entitlement reform; the Tea Party, meanwhile, calls for it daily. On taxation? Romney has a 59-point plan that smacks of class warfare; the Tea Party wants broad tax cuts across the board. On health care? Romney and much of the establishment aren't against the individual mandate in principle; the Tea Party despises the individual mandate as a violation of Constitutionally-guaranteed liberties. On foreign policy? Paleoconservatives want a Ron Paul-like isolationism; neoconservatives want a George W. Bush-like interventionism; realists want something in between.

There is the very real potential for the Republican Party to spin apart in the near future. It could easily become a set of regional parties knit together by opposition to extreme liberalism. Chris Christie and his followers don't have all that much in common with Rick Perry and his followers. Never has that chasm been so obvious.

The Republican Party is like a bed of nails. It works so long as the nails are relatively close together — but as the nails are moved further apart, the chances of winding up spiked from head to toe grow. Right now, the nails are too far apart. The Republican Party is about to be cut to shreds, even as the establishment declares victory over those redneck insurgents from the Tea Party. Romney's victory may very well end up being pyrrhic for the GOP in the end.

Ben Shapiro, 28, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School. He is the four-time bestselling author of "Primetime Propaganda." To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM.



Comments

1 Comments | Post Comment
That is the best prognostication of a dying Republican Party I have heard. The only thing you left out was Lincoln's "House Divided" metaphor. There are two different visions for the Republican Party. One vision is a party that fights for individual, property and religious rights and the other vision is for power, cronyism and self-dealing.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Terrenceor
Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:25 PM
Already have an account? Log in.
New Account  
Your Name:
Your E-mail:
Your Password:
Confirm Your Password:

Please allow a few minutes for your comment to be posted.

Enter the numbers to the right:  
Creators.com comments policy
More
Ben Shapiro
Oct. `14
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31 1
About the author About the author
Write the author Write the author
Printer friendly format Printer friendly format
Email to friend Email to friend
View by Month
Marc Dion
Marc DionUpdated 27 Oct 2014
Mark Shields
Mark ShieldsUpdated 25 Oct 2014
David Limbaugh
David LimbaughUpdated 24 Oct 2014

22 Feb 2012 Satan Is Not a Campaign Issue

29 Aug 2007 Is Larry Craig The Face Of The U.S. Senate?

20 Aug 2008 Government Is One Big Traffic Jam