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The Republican Party’s Political and Policy Pyramid Scheme

On Saturday, Tony Lee wrote a piece at Breitbart highlighting a recent speech by Pat Caddell where he discussed the reasons behind the Republican party’s defeat in the presidential election. Among the many things that Caddell noted is that the Romney campaign bowed to the “consultant-lobbyist-establishment” complex. However, this is not only the GOP’s political modus operandi, it is also their policy approach. This is why, although the Democrats may seem to resonate with voters more on messaging (Caddell also mentioned that voters didn’t think Governor Romney “cared about them”), the differences on policy between the two parties appears to be shrinking. Of particular note, Caddell said:

“Why are Republicans not the anti-establishment party?,” Caddell asked.

Caddell emphasized a “narrative is a story” that comes over a period of time and “not just a single message.”

He cited Ronald Reagan as someone who knew how to speak to Democrats and “ordinary and common” Americans and bring them over to his side because Reagan had been one of them and came from regular Americans and shared their experiences.

“That is a quality that has been missing a long time in a search for alternative candidate,” Caddell said, in reference to Reagan’s ability to resonate with blue collar Americans.


“As long as the establishment wants to preserve the establishment and their special deals, you will lose,” Caddell said.

Caddell, of course, is correct. The Republican party’s political approach has been inept attempt of self-preservation of the Establishment. They have been rudderless, inarticulate, and out-of-touch. I wrote last week about the need for the Republican party to do a better job at messaging and selling the winning product of conservatism, but the keys to victory of course, goes beyond this. One of the Republican party’s failures has been that they have seen politics along a single axis–right and left–between the seemingly arbitrary boundaries of political parties. In reality, politics and policy both have a vertical component to them—top to bottom–not in the terms of political party, but of political connection and personal benefit.

As Caddell notes, “why are Republicans not the anti-establishment party?”. They are not because they willfully ignore their own devotion to that “consultant-lobbyist-establishment” complex. Caddell also noted:

“No presidential campaign should be run by consultants,” Caddell said. “They should be run by people who are committed to the candidate and not into making big money.”

However, the past two losing presidential campaigns has been run by people who saw they could make money even in losing. Despite running a horrible campaign in 2008, Steve Schmidt saw he could continue to make money as a consultant and later as a political analyst at MSNBC as a “Republican” who trashes Republicans. The same can be said for Nicolle Wallace who works now at ABC and has attempted to capitalized on the notoriety of defeat by writing political fiction (which is the same genre as her political commentary). Through mid October, the Romney campaign had paid  $134+ million to political firms tied to his aides, including funding a  failed GOTV software. Karl Rove’s “Crossroads” group brought in and spent more than one hundred million dollars, only to have every candidate they supported lose. The GOP establishment has turned the Republican party into a pyramid scheme–where the few at the top (the Establishment and their consultants) eat well at the expense of their own base. The political game is not simply “right vs. left”; it is a game where the establishment does not care if they win politically (and the country wins on the basis of ideology and principle) so long as they win monetarily.  They eschew their own base and ignore the entire electorate to pad their bank accounts. They do not realize the need for “free market populism”, which is the solution for the “vertical” political and policy problems the GOP has.

Policy must be viewed on a vertical plane as well. Cronyism and corporatism must be rejected. Both of these “isms” allow for the politically connected at the top of food chain to benefit at the expense of the taxpayers at the bottom. This goes beyond the infamous problems with Solyndra and the other green energy companies tied to political donors. This also includes political institutions like the ExIm Bank, which provides taxpayer backed loan guarantees for American companies who sell their product overseas. The ExIm bank is supported by many Republicans, and its re-authorization was one of the few things that flew through the House and Senate with ease before being signed by President Obama. The Republican party is not distinguishing themselves from the Democrats when they choose to subsidize business on the backs of ordinary Americans.

Economic ideas must not be the “pro-government” ideas of the Democrats, nor the purported “pro-business” ideas of the Republicans. Rather, they must be “pro-market” ideas. Pro government ideas are founded in expanding government at the expense of the taxpayers’ money and liberty. Pro business ideas are founded in expanding government and some businesses at the expense of both other businesses and taxpayers. Both of the ideologies empower either government or specific businesses or industries, but “pro market” ideas empower the consumer as their purchasing power, not government taxation, bailouts, or subsidies, drives the market. Take, for example, ethanol subsidies. The EPA refused to ease ethanol mandates for fuel following a year of drought which negatively affected the corn harvest. What does this do? It makes fuel more expensive, and it has even made livestock farmers resort to feeding candy to their animals because increased corn prices have made livestock feed more expensive, which continues to occur in part because corn is being used for ethanol in fuel rather than in livestock feed. What does this have to do with the Republican party? Again, ethanol subsidies have bipartisan support, and the Republican party has not distinguished themselves from Democrats.

The concept of populism is not often seen as a conservative concept, and to some, free market populism may seem like an oxy moron. However, it is not the populism of liberals who pit Americans against each other through class warfare. It is a populism that desires to wage a war of sorts against the permanent political class (and the “consultant-lobbyist-establishment” complex) through a new brand of policy and politics. It is a brand guided not by the clinched fist of socialism, nor the hand-in-hand relationships of business and government, but of the invisible hand of the free market where the individual is empowered by lower taxes and smaller government.

In order to win elections and subsequently support for policy, the Republican party must realize that the battle lies in their message and the directionality of their focus, not in the hands of establishment consultants. If they ignore the vertical plane of their political and policy battles, they will lose not only their political base, but the electorate as a whole, and their pyramid scheme will come crashing down.

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  • hrh40

    Excellent, Whit.

    Retweeted and Facebooked.

    We’ve got some died-in-the-wool GOP commenters here (and at C4P), who say they support Palin, but then say she can’t “reinvent the wheel” and has to “play the game the way it’s played,” etc.

    This article – and Caddell’s – puts point to the fact that things NEED to change and they need to change BIG if a conservative is EVER going to win the presidency again.

  • Guest

    Brilliant…as always!  Thank you.

  • RedDaveR

      Thank you for an excellent piece, Whitney.  Regarding Caddell’s question as to why the GOP is not the anti-establishment Party, Gov. Palin gave us the answer in Indianola:

    “Because there’s nothing in it for them”.

  • deTocqueville1

    Great exposition Whitney!

  • melory2

    One of the best pieces I have read in a long time!  It is as if I am just now discovering you Whitney, the last 3 pieces you wrote were just excellent!  If they insist on using consultants, they should use our Whitney.

  • Lipstick

    In regards to ethanol subsides, it also has to do with the GOPers in Congress wanting to do whatever it takes to be re-elected rather than serving the people who elected them.

    No one from corn country wants to end these subsides because the people there want them. So they get their buddies to make sure they continue and they help to make sure whatever needs to be “fed” in their buddies districts to continue to be re-elected is done. Everyone is scratching everyone’s back to get re-elected.

    Meanwhile, we all want to get rid of wasteful spending & subsides that are no longer needed, but we view any spending that helps our local area as “badly needed”, but other parts of the country are wasteful. Since “our guy” in Congress keeps the money coming that our area “really” needs, we keep putting them in office and so does every other district in the country. It is a big circle.

    • section9

      The Corn State Republican who tries to do away with the Ethanol Scam won’t be in Congress for long. 

    • Whitney Pitcher

      Oh, I know it. I grew up on a corn and soybean farm and still live in an Agricultural area. My dad does not support ethanol subsidies, even as someone who farmed for more than 20 years. Ethanol makes fuel more expensive, which affects the corn farmers, and of course, it affects other types of farmers–livestock farmers particularly. Also, it destroys engines.

      All that said, it is a meal ticket for Midwestern politicians. There are all kinds of examples of this. Romney pandered Iowans about this,which probably allowed him to do well in the primary there.

      This also shows how right on Gov. Palin is on energy subsidies in general–no subsidies for anyone.

      • pete4palin

         Whit-  Regardless of of whatever “subsidies”  there are here,  ethanol production would continue because it is profitable.  It always amazes me how little knowledge there is about how American agriculture works.
        The fact is one bushel of corn can be make into more than 2 and a half gallons of gas, plus the distillers grain which is equal to two thirds of the original food value , plus some CO2. You just ask your dad about  it. See, all it (the production) does is separate sugar from the starch. Nothing is lost per se. 
        The beauty of it is, the corn will be grown anyway no matter what.  Ethanol just gives the grower another possible market outlet for the crop.  I am a shameless advocate of American agriculture and know-how.  Good for them and everyone else to make something ourselves and be independent.  It would be nice if more people could do that. Anyone wishing to read news about American agriculture from the actual source, should go to sites like  and get a balanced opinion.  

        • Whitney Pitcher

          If it’s profitable without subsidies, even more reason for it to not be subsidized!  :) Please don’t misunderstand me. If I seemed to knock agriculture, that was not my intention at all. I just don’t think it should be subsidized. Ethanol may very well be profitable and have its uses, but it also has it’s drawbacks too for use as a fuel. Thanks for sharing that link. I’ll have to spend some time looking at some of those stories there. Although I grew up on a farm, I’m not super familiar with all the specifics of ethanol production.

        • LS as guest
  • Bean Counter

    Outstanding! And dead on the money. The longer this comedy of errors goes on, the more I’m convinced that the entire swamp needs to be drained and disinfected. It’s getting harder and harder to tell the sides apart.

  • bourque801

    Thank you Whitney for writing an outstanding post on the corruption In the Republican party.

    “Gives a Standing ovation”

  • Firelight

    This is as good as pie and I love pie!!!

  • section9

    Yet another reason for The Pip to be on the Short List of Palin Staff hires.

  • Guest

     Well written article.    I was wondering, would any of you out there like to help me shave a Liberal?

    • Guest

       That looks fun :)

  • susiepuma

    Posted to my FB page – excellent summation……………….

    Makes me glad I am not a Repub or a Dem – both parties are useless and conservatives need to figure out what they are going to do because the parties will not change………………………

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