My Side of the Fence

The danger isn't going too far. It's that we don't go far enough.

What about the GOP?

The GOP is, without doubt, the party in power.  They control just about everything.  Both houses of Congress, President and shortly the Supreme Court.  They're in control of some amazing percentage of state houses.  It really is almost without precedent.  

However, all of that kind of belies the fact that there are really no fewer than 3 republican parties.  There remains the old, social conservative republican party – but mainly at the state level.  You can see that on full display in Richmond with bathroom bills, pornography proclamations, abortion, gay marriage and other legislation crucial to controlling our private lives.  Actual governance kind of happens by accident and it's normally driven by the budget.  The stuff that gets considered in Richmond is just as crazy as anything you'd see further south.  That's the social conservative wing. 

Next you have the fiscal conservatives.  They are sometimes wrapped up with the social conservatives but not always.  The TEA party is pretty representative of this wing of the party.  These guys really do not care about anything but the bottom line.  I got no fight with that but this world view makes the allergic to planning because that commits them to spending money at some point in the future….even if they agree with those expenditures.  

Then you have the Trumpers.  They believe in Trump and his ability to singularly influence the outcomes on no fewer than a dozen policy fronts.  The Trump phenomenon is a populist one: he and he alone can deliver what everyone else needs.  Need a job? not a problem.  Fixing health care?  pish.  Rebuilding infrastructure?  easy.  Foreign relations and treaty issues?  We just need better deals.  The Trumper wing of the party is interesting because it contains a core of true believers for whom anything but good news is fake news.  However, the increment that put Trump over the top in the general election are folks from the middle and social conservatives who cautiously invested in the Trump phenomenon.

Interestingly, those three wings don't include guys like me.  Center-Right "Businessman Conservatives".  You know, the guys who have historically been responsible for cautious spending with a willingness to invest.  Think about guys from both sides of the aisle that everyone holds near and dear: Harry Parrish and Chuck Colgan come to mind.  We will occasionally invest in the fiscal conservative movement but they tend to extremism and we don't like that.  We aren't, after all, politicians really.  And don't start in with "RINO" and all that BS.  Those same businessmen conservatives balance the books in every municipality every year and the current brand of "republicanism" we see doesn't make much sense although I'm open to the argument that this is mainly due to the current messenger.

I don't know what the future holds for the GOP.  Along party membership lines, I think the group of people who identify themselves as "Independents" continues to grow as the parties become more extreme.  From a here and now perspective, my guess is that Trump continues to bumble.  At some point, it will occur to the GOP in Congress that they are going to have to run for office again so they'll crank up their legislative processes and start putting legislation on the Presidents desk whether he wants it or not.  Hopefully healthcare gets fixed in a useful way and we'll do some tax reform.

I don't remember much from the Nixon administration so the "Saturday night massacre" is really history to me.  I cannot imagine, mainly due to the massive changes in media, that interest in politics could be any higher than it is right now.  As I write this, we're about a month into a new administration, the national security advisor has already resigned and it's clear the Trump administration is headed towards some sort of reboot.  I welcome that.  Many of the centrists cautiously invested in the Trump administration and I, along with them, do hope that the President gets his act together.  I do think the President, along with a GOP majority in Congress, has a historic opportunity to get some big things done but the self-inflicted wounds are piling up.


  1. Andy,

    Gotta disagree with you on the "Three Parties and Me" theme here. The "Center-right Business Republicans"are alive and well within the party. I know a bunch of them.  They are cautiously optimistic that Trump will be successful, and see his first month in office for what it is: Delivering on campaign promises to his grass-roots supporters.

    If you look at this cabinet, you will see where he plans to go: Military strong on deterrance, light on intervention. Business de-regulation domestically, bilateral trade agreements. 

    After the 2000 recount drama, both parties set-about executing a "bottom-up" strategy. The problem with the Democrats strategy is they tried to "fight the last war", in that they went after largely ceremonial positions such as State Secretary, who would certify close elections in favor of their candidates. The GOP set about winning control of legislatutures, who would draw congressional districts during to 2010 redistricting, whch would enable strong majorities in the House, and develop deep benches for candidates.

    The result is the Democrats are at the lowest of low-points of real political power. They are like the Japanese in WW2. They lost at the Coral Sea, and doubled down. They lost at Midway, and doubled down again…and after the battle of the Philipine sea: No carriers, no planes, a few battleships and cruisers, but little real striking power.

    Parties ascend when they build coalitions, and fall when the coalitions crack. Right now, the Democrats coalition is in shambles. Trump saw this, and capitalized on this. He built a coalition of loyal republicans, independents, and diasaffected democrats.

    There's always room in a coalition. You might want to consider how those moderates in the Democrat party feel right now, when they see their party firmly in the control of the far-left, reduced to rioting and female genitalia costumes.

  2. andy

    February 20, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    I think we're saying a lot of the same things – I believe many folks like me have cautiously invested in a Trump presidency and, despite the significant distractions he provides on a near-daily basis, are prepared to wait a bit but the window is already closing.  

    The "businessman conservatives" that I know increasingly identify as independents.  I don't see any of those people in elected office around here.  

    I don't need to worry about how the democrats feel.  That's their affair.  

  3. Impatient lot….Trump's been president for what..a month? At this point in his presidency, Barrack Obama was on world tour, waiving around his Nobel Peace Prize, giving his "People of Earth…We Come in Peace" speech.

    I think if you can squelch the circus that is the daily coverage of Trump's presidency, focus on his EO's and his cabinet picks, you'd see he's accomplished quite a bit in his first month.. 

    Look, during the nomination contest, Trump wasn't my guy. I went through the Walker-Rubio-Cruz process, and even went to the state convention as a Cruz delegate. I wasn't out there door knocking for Trump either, during the general. But I gotta give credit where credit is due…Trump's a winner.

    I also see the genius in what appears at first-blush as madness. His tweets, and a couple of his EO's are a major distraction, keeping the opposition in constant react mode, unable to think strategically, and form a cogent defense. Keep the far-left elements in the streets, doing what they do, reminding all of those who voted for Trump what the alternative to victory would mean.

    Classic Boyd, Guderian, Sun Tzu, Musashi….I am impressed.

  4. andy

    February 20, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    I can't bring myself to believe that this is some sort of master-planned effort on his behalf.  He's far too transactional for that.  I agree he's been in office for only a month but I don't accord him quite the record of accomplishment you do.  From the Wall Street Journal:  

    "Meanwhile, history suggests the time to strike with big economic legislation is quickly. When Ronald Reagan took over the White House in 1981, he proposed his historic tax-cut plan on Feb. 15. When George W. Bush moved into the Oval Office in 2001 he proposed a tax-cut plan on Feb. 8. And when Barack Obama became president, Congress actually passed a giant economic stimulus package so he could sign it into law on Feb. 17. All those dates now have passed." 

  5. "I can't bring myself to believe that this is some sort of master-planned effort on his behalf.  He's far too transactional for that."

    I am sure there are a whole bunch of conventional thinkers, thinking the same thing. Of course, these conventional thinkers didn't give him a snowball's chance to get the nod, and even less to win the White House.

    And yet…here we are.

    As far as the tax plan goes, I guess when faced with the choice of satisfying campaign promises or pushing big ideas that require congressional buy-in, he's choosing to go for the quick victories. Smart if you ask me. Put's the legislature in react mode too, pushing them to move faster than they might otherwise move, if left to their own devices. Lest we forget, during the last 8 years the strategy has been to move slow, to stall the past admin's agenda. Taking some time to digest the atitude shift of a new admin. I point to Obamacare. How many bills and resolutions passed to repeal that monstrosity, and we're now told "something soon"? 

    I think it is also a big mistake to use a yardstick that is outdated. Obama took that yardstick and threw it out onto the south lawn. Trump is doing it "his way".

    But what does all of this have to do with whether or not you see a place in the GOP? Aren't we more than our President? Aren't we more than the Congress? And while we are on the subject…the tremendous legislative successes the GOP has mustered (albeit not so much locally) should give one pause to think, "maybe their on to something". The maxim of needing to actually be in power to effect change is screaming here. 

    A lot of Rockefeller Republicans thought Regan was the end of the world too.

  6. Nice to see the folks over at "Manassas Speaks" thinks highly of the discussion here….notice the header line about the former RINO which leads over to this column…


  7. That website is registered to Mr. Youlen…..who ran as an independent because he couldnt summon the fortitude to endure a GOP primary contest.  Laughable that he is calling anyone else in the world a RINO.  Your two minutes of fame are up Youlen.  Buzz off.

  8. andy

    February 22, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Mr. Youlen is entitled to his opinion.  I'm a bit suprised at his vitriol but it goes along with his campaign ads.  I didn't click on every link but most of the site seems to be links to other sites without any writing.

  9. Well, if it brings more people into your blog/discussion then I'd consider it a success. That way you don't have to have the same conversation with the same circle fest of people all the time. New ideas are a good thing….

  10. I see that "Manassas Speaks" imitates Drudge, in that it's an aggregator of thoughts and ideas formulated by others, rather than actually producing content and analysis intended to inspire discussion.

    Put up a sensational headline in an attempt to set the context for the reader as they are redirected to someone elses thoughts and opinions.

    Not to sure the "RINO" charge stands to scruitny, considering the person making the charge is not a Republican. Rather than let my assertion stand gratuitously, I offer the following:

    -Virginia does not require those who register to vote to affiliate with a particular party. Therefore, other characteristics such as voting history, membership in a local unit of the Republican Party of Virginia, a history of visible support for Republican nominees running for office at the local, state, and federal levels, having sought the nomination of the appropriate level Republican Party unit for elected office, AND/OR successfully run as a Republican candidate for elected office.

    Applying this objective criteria to Messrs. Youlen & Harrover, rather than the subjective "RINO" charge:

    Voting History: Mr. Youlen's is undetermined. I can state for a fact that Mr. Harrover has participated in multiple Republican mass meetings, conventions, Canvasses (Fire House Primaries), and Official Repuplican state primaries.

    Membership in a unit of the Republican Party: Mr. Youlen submitted a membership application to the Manassas City Republican Committee (MCRC), was accepted, never attended a meeting that I can recall, and was then deemed to have resigned when he filed to run for City Council as an independent. Mr. Harrover has been a member of the MCRC for almost as long as I have been. He served as the party's Vice Chairman.

    Visible support for Republican nominees: Mr. Harrover has campaigned for fellow Republicans, including working the polls as a member of the MCRC. During my time as MCRC Campaign Headquarters Chairman, MCRC Vice Chairman, and MCRC Chairman, Mr. Harrover could be counted on to support his fellow Republicans. I don't think I've ever met Mr. Youlen in person, and if I have, it wasn't in the context of working to get Republicans elected.

    Sought the Party's nomination, ran as the party's nominee, and/or successfully elected as a Republican: Mr. Youlen intimated that he intended to seek the nomination of the Republican Party for City Council. He subsequently filed to run as an independent, and ultimately placed last in the general election. Mr. Harrover filed as a candidate for nomination, stood for the nomination at a party Mass Meeting, secured the nomination, ran as the nominee of his party, and was twice elected and served 2 terms as a councilman, all the while maintaining membership in the MCRC.

    Now, I am not going to say that Mr. Youlen isn't in accord with general Republican principles, as stated in the Virginia Republican Creed ( I honestly don't know him well enough to form an opinion. I do, however know Mr. Harrover well enough to say he is in accord with these principles, and demonstrated such as a Republican elected official. 

    Put another way, in my humble yet QUALIFIED opinion regarding Republican "Creds"….Harrover has them. Youlen…not so much.

  11. Steve,

    I get that your very into your local GOP. What you and most likely some others on here fail to even remotely realize is how disconnected and out of tune the vast majority of people are with local City of Manassas politics. Many people cannot even name a single person on the City Council. So instead of laying out your support for a guy who formerly was a member of the City Council and probably your friend, why don't you try changing the narrative, fighting back for a change. Try getting people involved so you do not have to preside over a sinking ship, which by numbers alone, is certainly coming in the next 2-4 years. Try informing people what actually goes on around here, because no one else does. By the way I'm not narcissistic in that I believe anyone else cares what I write or believe so "collecting" the news is far more effective. Or, maybe you can collect ballot signatures for a referendum locally to strip the "R's" and "D's" from Council candidates to allow people to vote on the best qualified, instead party line votes that reproduce the Mark Wolfe's of the world. Use the system to compete. Your slogan can be "Taking the partisanship out of local politics." Who wouldn't want to do that? Your R means more than anything though, so I doubt we'll see that happen anytime soon. Lastly, maybe you can encourage your Treasurer candidate, who is a very nice man, very qualified for the job, to simply tell the truth about his opponent next time around, instead of just wanting to be one big happy little group of friends. So instead of talking about nothing, maybe we can talk about winning, and staying relevant locally.

  12. Mr. Youlen,

    I see that you are indeed capable of making a cogent, rational argument, rather than relying on sensational Ad Hominem attacks. Since you are being so very generous in your suggestions, let me reciprocate in that you might want to try do argue more along the lines of your last comment, and less along the lines of calling people names like "RINO" or attacking dedicated public servants based on their age, as you did during the last campaign, when you attacked Mr. Way. I might also suggest that if you are dissatisfied with the conduct of your political wars here, you might want to work on getting a few more "campaign ribbons" too. 

    You are correct in your assessment that the GOP is important to me. I am a partisan and have never run from that. But to your point regarding "R"s and "D"s for local candidates, please take a gander at the ballot, when you are next in the booth. No party identification is listed next to a candidates name for city council or mayor. That they choose to affiliate with a party or no party is their right, under the constitution to "freely associate".  The nomination of their respective party is important to them, and judging by the historical election results, it matters to the voters.

  13. Sensationalism sells, and grabs a persons attention. If you take things that personal you shouldn't be in politics per say. Were not in 1984 anymore politically.

  14. Mr. Youlen,

    See you on the field.


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