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(6,234 posts)
Tue Oct 15, 2013, 04:28 PM Oct 2013

A brief guide to understanding the factions within the GOP

Last edited Tue Oct 15, 2013, 05:02 PM - Edit history (1)

The following is a simple guide to understanding the larger factions within the GOP and how they relate to each other. My hope is that it might shed some light on recent events, and provide a somewhat clearer picture of what is going on.

In addition to the usual collection of (largely disinterested) moderates (who vote Republican as much out of habit as anything else), the GOP is comprised largely of three distinct groups. Before identifying these groups keep in mind that, while these groups and divisions exist, individual Republicans within these groups generally refuse to self-identify with them. All call themselves “Conservatives” and label anyone who does not share their brand of conservatism a heretic. Even terms like “far right” mean completely different things depending upon who is using the term.

This can be very confusing for those watching and commenting from the outside, and is the reason for this little essay.

Within Republican and Conservative ranks, the three major divisions are Libertarian leaning Paleo Conservatives, Neo Conservatives, and Social Conservatives.

Paleo Conservatives:

Libertarians and Libertarian leaning Paleo Conservatives are by far the weakest of the three groups, largely because their ranks are split between the Democratic and Republican parties. They are left wing in terms of foreign policy, equal rights, and social issues. They are appalled by the police state and big government and favor its eradication, they are opposed to the Drug wars and foreign entanglements, they support open borders or easy immigration, and they tend to be very much anti-religion.

In general, while the party leadership offers this group the occasional platitude, that's all they get, and no serious efforts at outreach have been (or will be) made. Simply put, they are too far from the GOP mainstream, and a Republican politician who offers them more than weak platitudes is stepping outside the fold.

Neo Conservatives:

Neo Conservatives, such as Dick Cheney and George Bush Jr. and Sr., remain the foundation of the party at the National level. They are practitioners of Realpolitik and see America and the GOP leading (and where necessary, crushing) the world for global corporations. In short, they are corporatists and fascists who love money and power and little else. They are MORE than willing to allow social conservatives to dictate GOP social policy positions (so long as they don‘t get too crazy) in return for Social Conservative support.

This is the faction of the GOP that mega-corporations are attracted and donate to. They support free trade, zero regulation, zero taxes, zero workers rights, and they are more than willing to slaughter anyone in the name of corporate conquest.

Social Conservatives:

At the state and grassroots level it is a different story; there Social Conservatives rule the day. This is what we call the Christian Right. Simply, they want their religious beliefs to be the law of the land. They are racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-science and anti-reason. They do NOT believe in a separation of Church and State. Given the chance, they would outlaw abortion, homosexuality, science education, non-Christian religions, and use the power of law to re-subjugate women. Where Neo Cons see America (and the GOP) ruling the world for corporations, Social Conservatives envision a Christian America, with Christian leaders, spreading their version of the Christian faith to the heathen masses around the globe.


A politician who can combine the support of any two of these three groups will win his party’s nomination for national office. During the Bush and Reagan years, the GOP was led by the alliance of Neo and Social Conservatives. Neoconservatives directed foreign and fiscal policy, while Social Cons were allowed a voice in domestic and social policy.

The problem for the GOP (for the last half-decade) is that Neo-conservatism has been largely rejected by the country at large and even by many Republicans. The American people (including Republicans) are tired of corporatism, tired of global conquest, tired of the fascist police state Neocons so love, and tired of the ever expanding government. This left the Neo Conservative leadership foundering.

As a result, the largest remaining power block within the party is Social Conservatives, known to most as the Tea Party. That's who is deciding candidates and elections. They are shockingly powerful both in terms of their ability to get out the vote and the money at their command -- far more so than most American's realize. They are not simply religious fanatics, though this would be bad enough, they are fanatics with money.

As fanatics, Social Conservatives are not interested in or moved by practical or rational considerations. They do not simply hope that their representatives advance their interests, they DEMAND it. They will accept no compromise. The things that they believe are not positions based on their consideration of what is best for America, they are the “Will of God,” and one does not compromise when it comes to that. Not when one is in his mid to late sixties, a follower of talk radio and Fox news, and otherwise ignorant.

Social Conservatives are finally running the GOP show, but they KNOW that their beliefs are widely rejected by the public at large -- particularly young people. They are ageing and angry and desperate. And like religious fanatics of every flavor, they long for Armageddon. If America refuses to embrace their visions and beliefs then America deserves to perish. Yes, they would rather default than compromise, and no, they don't even know specifically what they want. They are ANGRY. They want you to listen to them and their god, they want you to persecute gays, and oppress women, and get black people away from them and out of the White House. They want the Bible taught in school and get your fake liberal anti-Christian science out of it. They want Muslims to head back to wherever the hell they came from so they can be bombed into submission there. They want to turn back the clock to when they were younger. They are furious old people, Left Behind by science and progressive cultural values, and they want their Apocolypse.

It is our job to ensure that they do not get their way.

In any case, hopefully this very brief overview of the Republican party will help shed a little light on the things you see going on in the news, and perhaps offer a different perspective on what the President (and people like Boehner and Reid) are trying to deal with.

In my opinion only.

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A brief guide to understanding the factions within the GOP (Original Post) Demo_Chris Oct 2013 OP
Not to kick my own thread, but... ah... nevermind. nt Demo_Chris Oct 2013 #1
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