Gary Bauer, an evangelical conservative with strong ties to fundamentalist religious organizations, let the cat out of the Republican Party bag the other day. In the process, Bauer effectively demolished just about everything that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) has said in his role both as House Budget Committee chair and former GOP vice presidential candidate. Bauer:
“If we gave our voters an accurate portrayal of our ideas, that we want to cut the rate of growth on Social Security, give tax cuts to billionaires and then the values issues, the values issues would be more popular than the economic agenda of the current Republican Party,” said Bauer, citing particularly those Mass-attending Roman Catholics who have fled the Democrats.
This flies in the face of Republican Party insistence, loudly vocalized by Ryan, that the national social safety net is in danger of fiscal collapse and that Republicans will save it by making serious benefit cuts and/or transforming the programs from guaranteed, defined benefits to iffy voucher plans that don't even pay today's costs, much less those in the future.
Bauer now strongly alludes to what's really going on: The Republican hierarchy and many in its elected rank and file just want to redeploy the money now spent on retirees, the disabled, the injured and the sick -- giving it to rich people.
Much of that money, of course, was collected from prospective federal program recipeints through years of taxes; nevertheless, goes the GOP plan, take much or maybe even all of that money from those deserving Americans who were promised those beenfits, and give it to the uber-wealthy in the one percent -- and mostly just to the one percent of the one percenters.
Bauer clearly was trying to make the case that the GOP is in danger of losing many in its voter base by ignoring or backing away from some of its most cherished social policy issues, among them gay marriage. But to do that, he evidently felt compelled to blow the whistle on fiscal Ryanism, at least indirectly.
Bauer added, “I would caution the donor wing of the Republican Party that is driving a lot of this: If they think social conservatives are the only thing preventing Republicans from winning, they’ll learn that their economic agenda will go down the tubes along with the Republican Party’s prospects.”
This is an amazing admission, coming from the far-right wing of conservatism and a leading Christian "family values" fundamentalist. We have blogger Blue Texan at CrooksAndLiars.com to thank for helping bring it to light. The quotes originally appeared -- well buried -- in a long online dispatch at Politico.com (see URL in links below). Other conservative politicians and pundits mentioned in the article more or less rubber-stamped the Bauer view, only not with the same, startling declaration.
The only reasonable conclusion is that the GOP definitely is in turmoil and trying to make it sound like this is just a game of PR and tactics, when the party's real rationale -- paying back their well-heeled supporters -- is on the verge of being rejected by the Christian right.
Electorally as well as intellectually, it's more and more looking like buh-bye, Paul Ryan. And buh-bye, GOP, whose primary coalition of social conservatives and wealthy special interests is coming apart at the seams.