In the 1968 presidential campaign, third-party candidate George Wallace, the once and future governor of Alabama, proclaimed: “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Democrat and Republican parties.”
That might or might not have been entirely true even back then, 55 years ago, but it’s certainly not true today in 2023.
The political ideologies of the Republican and Democratic parties have never been more diametrically different on virtually every issue than they are today.
In her rebuttal to Democratic President Joe Biden’s by turns schizophrenic and manic-depressive State of the Union address on Feb. 7, Arkansas’ new Republican governor, Sarah Sanders, spelled out those differences with scalpel-like precision and moral clarity, unlike any other explanation we’ve heard in recent memory.
Other Republicans — especially the Mitch McConnell wing of the party in the Senate — could learn from the Sanders speech how to frame the issues and by extension, the debate.
Unlike Biden, who talked a lot but said pretty much nothing, Sanders said more in 11 minutes than he did in 72.
In a series of broadsides, she differentiated the president’s and most other Democrats’ far-left positions on the issues from her own and those of most Republicans.
“I’ll be the first to admit President Biden and I don’t have a lot in common. I’m for freedom. He’s for government control,” she said, warming to her task, beginning with what’s perhaps the starkest of all of the ideological differences between the two parties.
“I’m the first woman to lead my state, and he’s the first man to surrender his presidency to a woke mob that can’t even tell you what a woman is,” she said later.
While most Republican governors and state lawmakers understand the biological distinction between XX and XY chromosomes and have acted on it legislatively by banning opposite-sex hormones, puberty blockers and body-mutilating surgery for minors and by barring biological males from taking part in girls and women’s athletics, science-denying Democrats are in political thrall to the minuscule but militant transgender lobby and have resisted those commonsense measures supported by large majorities of the electorate.
(Inexplicably, however, there are still some country-club Republicans who appear to regard transgenderism battles as distasteful or even “icky” and are hesitant to deploy them as the effective political wedge issue against Democrats that they could and should be.)
Sanders summarized other partisan ideological divisions equally succinctly, noting that the dividing line in America “is no longer between right or left. The choice is between normal or crazy.”
“In the radical left’s America, Washington taxes you and lights your hard-earned money on fire, but you get crushed with high gas prices, empty grocery shelves, and our children are taught to hate one another on account of their race, but not to love one another or our great country,” she said, adding: “Whether Joe Biden believes this madness, or is simply too weak to resist it, his administration has been completely hijacked by the radical left.”
Sanders completely dismantled the president and his party’s policies on a range of other issues as well.
“President Biden inherited the fastest economic recovery on record. The most secure border in history. Cheap, abundant, home-grown energy. Fast-rising wages. A rebuilt military. And a world that was stable and at peace,” she said. “But over the last two years, Democrats destroyed it all.”
So, what’s the takeaway from the Arkansas governor’s State of the Union rebuttal?
Simply this: As Ronald Reagan advised conservatives back in 1975, bold colors beat pale pastels every time. It was as if to answer Wallace and assert that there should indeed be more than “a dime’s worth of difference” between the two parties.
In his speech to the 1975 Conservative Political Action Conference, Reagan observed: “Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pastels, but bold colors, which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?”
All of this is to say that had the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the National Republican Congressional Committee consistently employed messaging as pointed as Sanders’ in the lead-up to the November midterms, rather than the predictable “Stupid Party” pabulum, that red wave the GOP was expecting might not have been reduced to a rivulet.
Originally published at WashingtonTimes.com
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