Tag Archives: establishment

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz Just Gave the Perfect Response to Establishment Critics VIDEO

The 9 percent who belong to the oligarchical political class hate the rest of us—except when they’re eating from our tables like rabid Vietnamese Potbelly Pigs.

The establishment’s latest target: Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Fox’s Bret Baier asked Senator Cruz about critics like George Will and Charles Krauthammer who say Cruz doesn’t understand Washington’s rules: Congressional politics is a team sport

I am not trying to play the rules of Washington, because I think Washington is profoundly broken.

The taxi commissions have done everything they can to kill Uber and Lyft,

What we’re trying to do in the political world is very much the same thing [as Uber and Lyft], which is change the means of decision making,take it out of the smoke-filled rooms where decision making is done in Washington between career politicians and lobbyists, and instead empower the people. In my view, the only way we can turn this country around is if the American people rise up and hold every one of us accountable. So I’m not trying to play by the Washington rules.

The Establishment is upset that Ted Cruz had the audacity to question the Constitutionality of Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty order.

mccainsenate.3.13_thumb.jpg

Why Libertarian Kids, Not Drones, Scare McCain and Graham

Jennifer Rubin—WaPo’s token conservative—said it perfectly:

McCain lost his cool with Rand Paul and sounded like the old man down the street screaming to the new kids on the block, “Get off my lawn!”

The real reason McCain and Lindsey Graham embarrassed themselves on the floor of Senate had nothing to do with what Rand Paul said. Rand Paul’s ideas terrify McCain, Graham, and most of the Republican establishment.

Those Troublesome Libertarian Kids

McCain and Graham sit at the top of the Republican hierarchy that thrives on protection money from crony capitalists. (See more on crony capitalism here.)

Senator John McCain complains about appealing to libertarian kids
Senator John McCain mocks Senator Rand Paul, saying the Kentucky Republican won’t be taken seriously by appealing to “libertarian kids in their college dorm rooms.” Senator McCain is wrong.

Young libertarians are the closest thing to conservatives coming out of the Millennial generation. If the GOP is to play a role in the 2016 election, it must attract every possible Millennial libertarian.

That puts establishment politicians like McCain and Graham in a precarious position between two competing interests: small government libertarians and big money crony capitalists.

The Conflict That Divides The GOP

These crony capitalists aren’t evil. Neither are the Republicans who enable them. They all believe in American exceptionalism. They invest money and time and energy to keep America great. They honestly believe that America’s strength depends on companies producing wealth. On that point, they’re right. Where they go wrong is cause and effect.

Republican crony capitalists believe that corporate profits are the source of American greatness. Libertarians and tea party conservatives believe that corporate profits are the rewards of American greatness.

(Democrats, by the way, believe that government is the source of American greatness . . . if they believe in American greatness at all.)

Republican Crony Capitalism Can’t Survive On Its Own

Crony capitalists feel they must invest in politicians who will protect and promote their business interests. Those business interests, in turn, create jobs for people, donate funds to improve their communities, fund non-profit charities and schools, and guide politicians on good policy. These are noble activities that benefit all of society.

Over the years, though, these civic investments – increasingly through donations to candidates — have become less noble and more self-serving. With the rise of profit maximization and shareholder value thinking, corporations treat government and politicians like vendors.

Investing in good government should improve business conditions by promoting a stable economy in which free market capitalism flourishes. Crony companies, however, expect a measurable and direct return on investments for their companies and shareholders alone. The rest of the country be damned.

If those profits made it back into the economy through more jobs, higher wages, and capital investment, things would be better. But they don’t. Even conservative Forbes magazine recognizes that businesses today hoard cash rather than reinvest. Blame “uncertainty” if you will, but don’t overlook the shareholder value mentality that dominates business and finance today.

Crony capitalists accept more regulation and taxes because they think it will give them an advantage over their competition. They trade their independence (and risk) for targeted tax breaks and protected markets. This cycle repeats itself election after election, and each time the government comes out more powerful and corporations more dependent.

This cycle has repeated so many times that corporate dependency on government now threatens the balance of power between people and state. The financial collapse of 2008 demonstrated that big government and big business have grown too large to stand on their own. They lean on each other like weary heavyweight boxers in the 15th round of a brutal championship fight. If one falls, they all fall.  And we get crushed.

What Libertarian Kids Want Threatens the Establishment

Libertarians realize that it was never supposed to be this way. More importantly, we’re pretty sure that America would never have become great had he started out like this. This was, after all, how Europe worked in the 18th century, as mercantilists pandered to nobles and royals who, in turn, granted mercantilists permission to do business, protected their businesses from competition, and collected handsome taxes from their profits. Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was, in part, a criticism of European mercantilism. So was the Boston Tea Party.

A libertarian solution to the mess politicians and corporations have made involves untangling the knots that bind government and business and banking together. It means that each Congress reduce the loopholes in law and taxes meant to coerce business behavior, eliminate regulations designed to change behavior toward some ideal, and reduce tax rates on businesses.

But that solution threatens a lot of people’s jobs.

Republican establishmentarians rose to power through this quasi mercantile system. They didn’t run on the idea of getting government out of people’s ways. They ran on getting government to favor their constituents, sometimes by holding back someone else’s constituents. Freeing business to thrive or die on a level playing would eliminate the skills that lifted McCain and Graham (not to mention Reid, Pelosi, Durbin, McCaskill, and Obama) to the top. And they’ll fight like hell to keep their power.

The Democrats practice crony capitalism more effectively than Republicans. While their constituencies might be different, the process is the same. Taxes and borrowing raise money that government distributes to favored groups and companies. Taxes and regulations coerce people to trade with those favored companies and organizations.Public education and green energy are two prime examples of Democrats driving economic behavior to benefit friends.

Still, McCain and Graham know that libertarians pose a bigger threat to their power than Democrats. The two big parties play the same game. Libertarians don’t.

The Public-Private Partnership Generations Are Dying

Just before the 2012 election, a poll showed that younger Millennials describe themselves as economic conservatives and social liberals. Their older Millennial siblings describe themselves as economic and social liberals. But both groups show a distrust of both government and big business.

If the GOP had convinced these younger voters that the party believed in limited government and economic liberty, in 2012 it might have eaten into Obama’s youth vote of 2008. Instead, the gap between the parties widened. We have to ask why.

The reason, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, is authenticity. Establishment Republicans don’t really believe in limited government and economic liberty. They say they do, but they act differently. And younger people see the hypocrisy. Given a choice between Democrats who honestly profess their love of unlimited government power and Republicans who talk about limited government and free markets but don’t really live it, kids go with the party that at least says what it believes.

(Yes, I know Democrats lie all the time, and I’ve blogged about that ad nauseam. But on their fundamental belief in the near-miraculous power of government, Democrats speak the truth. You have to give them that.)

At the other end of the age spectrum, older voters vote Republican—not conservative or libertarian. They want government to increase entitlements, for instance.

These older generations include the last of the WWII generation who grew up during the New Deal and raised families during the massive government programs of the Cold War. Behind them is the Silent Generation which revered (and envied) their WWII elders, becoming the bureaucrats and regulators doing the grunt of government’s growth. The Silents implemented the Great Society programs, the War on Poverty, the Korean and Vietnam Wars. They were young teachers who conducted air raid drills, and they were the first to grasp the power of television. They believe in group work.

Then come the Baby Boomers—those too young to remember FDR’s death. They didn’t trust government to tell the truth, but they never complained when government did their bidding. Boomers were less statist than WWII or Silent generations – after all, Bill Clinton signed off on welfare reform – but they believe government can be molded into a force for good.

Generation X—those too young to remember Kennedy’s assassination—rallied to Reagan’s most famous maxim: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Gen X is the tip of the libertarian spear, and it’s the generation that’s just reaching the pinnacle of power in business, government, education, information, and entertainment.

As I’ve said, the next generation, Millennials – those too young to remember the Challenger Disaster—are split. As generational historians Strauss and Howe point out, Millennials are much like their WWII great-grandparents. They believe in the power of groups and teamwork. They believe in working together to overcome obstacles. But they may not believe government should force people to do things. We see this in their attitudes toward the war on terror and their increasing drift toward libertarianism. Most compelling, Millennials support federalism when it comes to marijuana laws.

In a nationwide poll that asked whether the federal government should respect state laws on marijuana or enforce more draconian federal law, seventy-four percent of Americans said the feds should respect state law. But 81 percent of Generation X wanted the feds to stay out of states’ business.

With their patriotic embrace of business and careful defense of entitlements, establishment Republicans are the natural allies of WWII and Silent voters. But those generations are dying fast. Nearly 10 million of them died between 2008 and 2012. The 2012 presidential election was the last for 11 million more.

There will be no more Gen Xers or Boomers to swell the ranks of older Republican voters. The last Xer was born during Regan’s first term. The only way the Republican party can grow, then, is by attracting Millennials.

Embracing Libertarian Views Will End the Old Republican Establishment

“The country need more Senators who care about liberty,” Senator McCain said Thursday. “but if Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously, he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms.”

There it is. Those libertarian kids and their vision of open, honest, limited government that does what it’s supposed to do—what we’ve authorized it to do—and nothing more.

Those damn libertarian kids in their dorm rooms who want to own their own lives instead of borrowing one from the government of Barack H. Obama.

Those libertarian kids with wacko-bird ideas like leaving businesses to compete in a fair and open marketplace where everyone plays by the same rules, faces the same risks, and benefits from the same economy.

Those libertarian kids who want America to go to war only when our liberty is at stake and only when we’re willing to fight for the unconditional surrender of the enemy. (And that’s not very often.)

McCain and Graham and the establishment—Republican and Democrat—fear libertarian kids more than al-Qaeda or Iran.

For a century, but especially beginning with the New Deal in the 1930s, the government has imposed restraints on everyone—some more so than others. Managing those restraints is what the establishment does best. It makes them rich and powerful and supports their fabulous lifestyles.

Those libertarian kids who terrify McCain and Graham want to grant equal liberty to everyone. Libertarians would, over time, remove the government shackles from our ankles.  McCain and Graham, Obama and Pelosi, and all the restraint-keepers will have to find something else to occupy their time.

Rand Paul’s filibuster sparked the imagination in those libertarian kids. Imagination leads to stories, and stories, sometimes, become reality.

If the GOP survives, it must become more libertarian, younger, and authentic. It must look more like Rand Paul and less like John McCain.

And that’s a horror story to McCain and Graham.

Ed Martin’s Grit Overwhelms Establishment’s Power

In a blow to the old guard establishment, the Missouri Republican State Committee elected Ed Martin Jr. as its new party chairman.

Ed Martin Addresses First St. Louis Tea Party 2-27-2009

Roy Blunt and all six Republican members of Congress from Missouri lobbied the new state committee over the past few weeks to block Ed and retain the establishment’s choice, David Cole. Jo Mannies of the St. Louis Beacon wrote:

Cole’s loss appears to be a setback for Missouri’s GOP establishment. U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and all six Missouri Republicans in the U.S. House had signed a letter backing Cole’s re-election.

Martin’s win was seen as a victory for the Missouri GOP’s more conservative factions, including some tea party groups – notably the St. Louis Tea Party, whose founder Bill Hennessy had endorsed Martin.

The victory demonstrates the power of grit—one of Ed Martin’s most valuable qualities. Ed narrowly lost his bid to unseat former Congressman Russ Carnahan in 2010.  In that race, Ed came closer than any Republican in recent memory to taking Missouri’s old 3rd District away from Democrats. Ed’s gritty campaign solidified his standing with grassroots tea partiers.

Grit is the most important factor in success according to human behavioral scientists. As Jonah Lehrer explains:

After analyzing the data, Duckworth discovered the importance of a psychological trait known as grit. In previous papers, Duckworth has demonstrated that grit can be reliably measured with a short survey that measures consistency of passions (e.g., ‘‘I have been obsessed with a certain idea or project for a short time but later lost interest’’) and consistency of effort (e.g., ‘‘Setbacks don’t discourage me’’) over time using a 5-point scale. Not surprisingly, those with grit are more single-minded about their goals – they tend to get obsessed with certain activities – and also more likely to persist in the face of struggle and failure. Woody Allen famously declared that “Eighty percent of success is showing up”. Grit is what allows you show up again and again.

 Ed put in the 10,000 hours of practice. His dogged campaigns in 2010 and 2012 gave him the courage and earned him the privilege to show up.

After losing his bid to unseat Attorney General Chris Koster last November, a lot people wanted Ed to give up politics. But Ed’s no quitter. Instead, he rallied his considerable charm and tenacity to take on a role that is well suited to Ed Martin’s skill and experience.

Missouri’s Democrats and even some conservatives mockingly said “Ed  finally won an election.” The Democrats should be very worried that a talent as gritty and popular as Ed Martin now chairs the Missouri GOP. Conservative might want to review Abraham Lincoln’s electoral history before mocking the resilience of a man who never gives up.

Congratulations, also, to Trish Vincent, Auditor Tom Schweich’s chief of staff, elected Chairwoman, or co-chair in today’s PC-speak. And a special congratulations and thanks to Frieda Keogh of Missouri Precinct Project and a new member of the Republican State Committee. Frieda’s efforts to advance grassroots causes and candidates is a gift to Missouri and America.

TeaParty2009.jpg

The State of the GOP

by Bill Hennessy and Jim Durbin

John Knowles’s classic novel, A Separate Peace, begins memorably:

I went back to the Devon School not long ago, and found it looking oddly newer than when I was a student there fifteen years before . . . as if a coat of varnish had been put over everything for better preservation.

I get precisely the opposite feel when I look at the Republican Party.

Republicans Return to Disarray

Less than two years after the Tea Party carried Republicans to historic gains in Congress and state housesTea Party 2009 around the country, the Grand Old Party looks much older than grand. Its skin is coarse and leathery. Pachyderm-ish.Or like the broken, bleeding hands of a North Dakota railroad worker in January. It’s as if a coat of Elmer’s Glue had been put over everything to blister and peel and crack like mud under the burning sun.

Across Missouri, people were driven away by heavy-handed party regulars. The disenchanted were mostly newcomers to politics.

Most infamous of these events was the St. Charles County debacle in which the county chairman ruled with an iron fist, inspiring a rebellion that ended with police riot squads clearing the premises and arresting two caucus-goers. Ready to lead, indeed.

In Illinois, a wealthy young man from a prominent family unleashed a tidal wave of lies—flat out, ridiculous, and cruel lies—against a decent and honest opponent.  Meanwhile, the Illinois GOP insiders threatened and cajoled anyone who dared support the young heir’s opponent. At a Lincoln Days dinner in Madison County, I heard a small business owner explain the sticker on his chest: “I’m not supporting him, but they’ll go after my business if I don’t wear this.”

Liberty my foot. The Illinois GOP is every bit as capable of totalitarian control as the Obama administration. It feels like the Republican Party is more interested in protecting the power and redistributive entitlements of its long-time insiders than in growing its base. The party fears new blood (except their properly schooled off-spring), the way closed country clubs of the 1970s feared blacks, Jews, and Catholics.

Where Does the Money Go?

Did I say “redistributive entitlements?”  Yes, I did. When it comes to government spending, the biggest difference between the Republicans and Democrats is to whom they redistribute our money. Democrats buy votes with tax dollars; Republicans buy donors.

Now, I admit, I’d rather live in a nation led by Republicans than one ruled by Democrats. Republicans tolerate more personal liberty and more economic growth. They are more open to learning and to experimenting with better methods than are Democrats. Republicans remain naturally skeptical of experts who’ve never accomplished anything in real life.

But only slightly.

Republicans do not tolerate real competition between businesses. They championed TARP as much the Democrats did, and TARP was the crown jewel of anti-competitive legislation. Nor do they welcome newcomers into the party—at least not newcomers who want an equal say in things.

I realize that people who’ve worked on Township committees for 20 years want to have more influence than some guy who accidentally wanders into his first caucus looking for a public toilet. But rigging the process to produce results that were predetermined by a small cadre of insiders doesn’t help Republicans win or grow the base—it helps launch third parties.

After the Tea Party dragged the GOP across the finish line in 2010, to borrow Mike Leahy’s line, the GOP wanted nothing more to do with us. They’ve quietly toiled to let us know our kind isn’t welcome.  We’re like Irish and Italian immigrants a century and a quarter ago. “We’re going to vote now, dear. Be a good little immigrant and take out the trash.”

If the Republicans don’t wake up and grow up quickly, come November they will find themselves the most exclusive club in America—on their way to joining the Whigs.

Who Held the Line?

The GOP in Missouri wasted the biggest influx of new blood into the political fight in 30 years. Now you understand why so many young people support Ron Paul.  The Democrats are destroying the country, but who has the stomach to work with Republicans?

In 2008 and 2009, Republicans across the country gave up. They let Al Franken steal a seat. They let Arlen Specter slip through their fingers. They embraced the idea of 40 years of Democratic Rule.  Heck, even Roy Blunt was touring the state hoping to stop Robin Carnahan from being the 60th Senator.  They had given up.

  • While the Republican Establishment cut deals with Democrats, The Tea Party stood in the gap and said “No more.”
  • While the Republican Establishment cowered behind city walls, we charged into the streets and parks and hearings and town halls declaring, “we created this government, not the other way around.”
  • While the Republican Establishment ducked its head and buried its wallet and worried about its political future, our flesh and blood held back and reversed the tide to historic victories across the country.

It was the Tea Party that held back Obamacare from fast track implementation in August of 2009.  They were ready to pass it, and we stepped up in the townhalls and said HELL NO!  We were telling them it was costly and unconstitutional long before the CBO and the Supreme Court got involved.  We were right then.  Do you remember?

It was the Tea Party that made a national mission out of Scott Brown’s election in Massachusetts. And if the Supreme Court overturns ObamaCare, it will be because the Democrats rushed the bill through the Senate knowing Brown was the 41st vote for freedom.

It wasn’t just healthcare shoved down our throats.  The Republicans couldn’t stop the stimulus. They put up token resistance and then a bunch of them voted for the omnibus budget a few weeks later (allowing Claire McCaskill to vote against it because Kit Bond voted for it). They ducked the debt ceiling fight.  They refused to defund Obamacare or the czars.  They were given a huge majority in the House of Representatives – the power of the purse, and what have they have done with it?  The debt continues to grow as the Senate refuses to even consider a budget.

Now it’s March, 2012. In Missouri, the Tea Party candidates have been driven out and redistricted and co-opted.  What exactly is a Tea Partier supposed to fight for in Missouri?  Where’s our skin in the game?  Who can we stand behind?

The Republicans don’t appreciate what was done for them.  They will.  They will wake up this fall to empty phone banks, small events, and the full attention of a press eager to prove 2010 a historical anomaly.

Come October, the Occupy Crowd will hound them at local events, and the social media will be all leftwing, all the time.  The Republicans will have lost the narrative, and they will once again be playing defense.

And they’ll put a coat of varnish on the state capitol and talk about the ebb and flow of politics, as the debt tsunami approaches.  The Tea Party was willing to fight alongside Republicans.  We never signed up to fight for them.  The danger is not that Tea Party voters sit on their hands and let Obama stay into office.  It’s that across the nation, publicly funded groups like the unions and the new ACORN and Occupy and Color for Change are preparing for 2012.  The Republicans, in their arrogance, have decided to tell a million volunteers and donors to stay home.

As patriots with families and businesses, we have choices on how to use the limited time God has granted us.  We are forced to choose where to apply our time and attention.  Is that focus to be placed on working with candidates and fighting the mainstream media?  Or is it shoring up our homes, finances, families, and communities for whatever comes next?

What You Think You Know About Establishment Candidates Is Probably Wrong

I see is all the time. Supporters of Establishment candidates complain that their opponents are establishment, too.

We saw it in the Missouri 2nd District.  We see in the GOP Presidential primary.  The last refuge of the Establishment’s candidates is to spread the pain of the Establishment label.

What many people don’t get is what the Establishment label actually means.  It’s time everyone understood this.

The Establishment’s candidate is the candidate the Establishment chooses for us

Got that?  Please repeat it.  Say it out loud.  Write it down if you have to.  Just don’t forget it.  If it helps, add an apostrophe-s to Establishment, as in “Mitt Romney is the Establishment’s candidate.”

Mr. Smith: Establishment's Candidate

Remember the Frank Capra movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? Mr. Smith was the Establishment’s appointment to the US Senate.  (In that case, the Establishment chose the wrong guy for their own narrow interests.) Indeed, the Establishment’s candidate might be as un-establishment or anti-establishment as you can get.

Everyone who works with, for, on behalf of an established political party is part of the establishment. For that matter, anyone who votes in a primary in which he must choose a party’s ballot joins the establishment. Every candidate who runs as a Republican or as a Democrat is a member of the establishment. Libertarian candidate?  Libertarian establishment.

Simply running for a party’s nomination does not make one the Establishment’s candidate, though.  Nor does having been an office holder.  Or an appointee. The Establishment’s candidate one year can be the Establishment’s enemy in another election.

When people reject the Establishment’s candidates, they’re not rejecting party affiliation; they’re rejecting political elites telling them whom to vote for.

If you reject government telling you how to live, you should reject a Party telling you how to vote.

Mitt Romney’s Resume Cover Letter

There are some things you just don’t say in a cover letter—or on the campaign trail.

A self-aggrandizing cover letter from an NYU undergrad to some Wall Street banks has the whole financial world laughing. The kid’s naïve hubris and ignorance of what employers look for in a candidate earned him public humiliation on an internet scale.   Here’s just a sample of the kid’s self-promotion:

That semester I achieved a 3.93, and in the same time I managed to bench double my bodyweight and do 35 pull-ups

(Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-a-tenacious-summer-analyst-applicant-got-laughed-at-by-goldman-morgan-and-everyone-else-on-wall-street-2012-2#ixzz1loTZYiIe)

Mitt Romney should be even more embarrassed. He’s a lot older and, theoretically, wiser, you know.

mitt-romney-tsa

After Rick Santorum destroyed the establishment’s plastic candidate of choice, Romney’s spokesman gave a remarkably idiotic reason to support Romney: Money and infrastructure.

The reason Romney won’t beat Obama and shouldn’t win the GOP nomination is his hubris and his inability to think like a human being. Romney is the reason that Republican voter turnout is abysmal and why Democrats are now more enthusiastic about voting than Republicans are.

The republic’s greatest threat since the British army of 1812 now sits in the White House.  In 2009 and 2010, the Tea Party resuscitated a comatose GOP and won back the House.  Since then, the inept, elitist, and self-serving Republican establishment has reasserted its thumb-laden hands, chosen an elitist candidate, and killed enthusiasm among those who actually get out the vote and win elections—the conservative grass roots.

If Romney and his elitist Republican friends manage to give Obama four more years to destroy this country, the GOP, not Obama, will face the angry mobs of America’s 60% conservative base.

New Hampshire Exposes GOP’s Diverse Base

Okay, Santorum and Gingrich didn’t get a bump out of their debates over the weekend.  More like the bump got them.

And Ron Paul did way better than I expected. Congratulations to Dr. Paul and Mitt. mitt-romney-fgr

I still think my Saturday night post accurately reflected the national impressions, though.  That’s backed up by this CBS News poll that shows Republicans believe Santorum most closely shares their values, but—and this is a J Lo but—they believe Romney is more electable.

Romney and Santorum bring different perceived strengths to the race as well. Romney is viewed as most electable (and most likely to be the eventual nominee), while Santorum is seen as the candidate who best represents these voters’ values – up 17 points since November. Romney is right behind him on this measure.

I have to disagree with their judgment on Romney. Here’s why.

To win, the Republican nominee must do two things: 1) generate more energy within his base than Obama, and 2) he must attract the people who don’t trust unlimited government, but don’t necessarily care for the conservative base, either

Ronald Reagan did that.  Reagan won the support of many center-right factions:

  • Defense hawks (Cold Warriors)
  • Religious right (Moral Majority)
  • Fiscal conservatives (Supply Siders)
  • Strict constructionists (Constitutionalists)
  • Blue collar families (Reagan Democrats)
  • Independents (independents)

But Romney isn’t Reagan.  Romney is much more like John McCain, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, and Gerald Ford—the last four Republicans to lose a presidential election.

The reason those four lost wasn’t because they were bad men.  They were good men.  And it wasn’t really because their policies were out of step with most voters.  In fact, their policies were more reflective of America than those of their opponents.

The reason McCain, Dole, Bush, and Ford lost to Obama, Clinton, Clinton, and Carter was because they failed to pull together that broad conservative coalition. But the biggest reason they lost was that they failed to convince the last two—so-called Reagan Democrats and independents—that they offered a choice. And they failed to inspire the base to spend their vacation pounding the pavement or making calls.

A WSJ story today reveals some crucial facts:

Today’s Republican Party has become steadily more blue-collar, more populist and more influenced by voters who act as much like independents as Republicans. All that makes the idea of attacks on capitalist behavior arising from the traditional party of capitalists a little less bizarre.

• Three-quarters of those who voted in the New Hampshire Republican primary had family incomes below $100,000, early exit polls indicated. Almost half had no college degree.

• In a stunning sign of how loose party affiliations have become, almost half of those who turned out to vote in the Republican primary actually identified themselves as independent voters. Big chunks of them went for Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., the least-conventional of the GOP candidates.

• Nationally, when the thousands of interviews conducted in last year’s Wall Street Journal/NBC News polls are combined, Americans who call themselves blue-collar workers actually were slightly more likely to identify themselves as Republicans than as Democrats.

• And when the Journal/NBC News poll asked Americans in November who was responsible for the country’s current economic problems, Republicans were precisely as likely as Democrats to blame “Wall Street bankers.”

When blue collar families and independents see establishment Republicans, they figure they might as well vote the Democrat who will at least throw them some largesse

There a many Americans who want government fixed. They want the Fed managed at least, if not dissolved. They are willing to go through the pain of winding down entitlement programs and realigning powers of the states to Constitutional intent. 

But they won’t go for half measures that create a bunch of pain and confusion but resolve nothing,eliminate no unconstitutional program, shut down no counter-productive cabinet department, and create new layers of bureaucracy through which we all must wade.

Maybe the blue collar voters and independents are wrong about establishment Republicans. Maybe I am, too.  And maybe so many people find Obama dangerous (I do) and anti-American (I do) that they will vote for anyone the GOP nominates. Our desire to avoid bad things is very powerful.

Then again, our desire to move toward good things is important.  If the only choice we on the right offer non-aligned voters is the lesser of two evils, Obama will be win re-election. 

There is no Reagan on the horizon, no Shane character to ride into town and save the day.  We have a choice between Romney, Paul, Santorum, and Gingrich.  Among those last three, I see none with a distinct advantage in gaining the nomination. Unless two quit. Soon.

But the larger problem is with the party itself.  Its establishment seems to have no idea how to inspire, and its insurgents have no idea how to team up.

BREAKING: Santorum Pulls Away with 13-Vote Lead

That’s with 88 percent of the counting complete.

The bigger story: Romney’s underperforming his 2008 results in key counties.  Santorum outperforming Huckabee in 2008. 

iowa-caucus-results

What does it all mean? 

Conservatives and libertarians dominate the caucuses. 

Romney is the choice of the Republican establishment. The cronies poured millions into his campaign even before he declared himself a conservative.  He’s won endorsements from just about every big name general election loser include Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush. (UPDATE: McCain to endorse Romney tomorrow.)

Yet Romney garnered only 25 percent of the Iowa caucuses (as of this posting). Rick Santorum, an afterthought two weeks ago, leads Romney by 13 votes. Ron Paul is in third with 21 percent. The Professor and Mary Ann and the rest, not so good.

So 75 percent want a non-establishment Republican candidate.

Every candidate except Romney is non-establishment in the voters’ eyes, no matter how you might evaluate their ideologies.

All this means that if the race were between Romney and two non-establishment candidates, Romney would lose.

That’s good news for the GOP and for the  country.

For the GOP because establishment Republicans have a weak record against liberal Democrats in the general.

Good for America because the GOP establishment is largely responsible for Republican loses in 2006 and 2008. And, of course, because the most important mission of a generation is changing who occupies the White House this year.

P.S.  You might hear a lot about the 17th Amendment and Cloture between now and South Carolina.