There are many things to critique or insult the Republican Party or the Conservative establishment on, including such things as Iran-Contra, Newt Gingrich dumping his cancer stricken wife, Nancy Reagan's astrologer, Watergate, etcetera. And often the liberal establishment does keep its critique to this level, name calling and trying to point out the corruption of individual republican figures.
The problem with this is that if we are going to wrangle over the misdeeds of the Republican party, we will have to get into a bean counting match over what party or faction has committed the most misdeeds. And I think trying to account for that would be an impossible task. More importantly then the fact that this is a double edged sword is the fact that it is a rather dull one. While pointing out the other teams faults to get highfives from fellow bench warmers may be an entertaining way to pass a junior high basketball game, it is not the kind of tool to be used when trying to engage in productive debate.
I am addressing my argument to conservatives as much as I am to liberals. It is to show a logical, or conceptual flaw in the ideology of the Republican party.
The Republican party has two basic beliefs: that government shouldn't interfere in the business of individuals or corporations unless they have an absolute need to. The second belief of the Republican party is that if this is followed, everyone will be able to live lives of greater prosperity and happiness, and that industrious individuals will manage to take care of themselves in such an environment.
Now what I dislike the republican leadership for is their inability to honestly take a stand for their principles. (And I do honestly believe that many Republicans do believe in government noninterference as a principle, not because they want to hold on to their money and their right to pollute). But the conservatives seem to believe, even amongst themselves, that respecting property rights and lowering taxes will automatically lead to prosperity for everyone who "deserves it".
In other words, they seem to uncritically believe that doing what is prescriptively right will lead to a descriptively better condition. Which I think can sometimes be the case, but both in our normal life and in complex socioeconomic systems, is not exactly guaranteed. The ethics of taxation and regulation, in other words, while not being totally unrelated to the effects of taxation and regulation, do not share a direct correspondence.
I would gain a great deal of respect for the Republican party if someone (perhaps not a politician, who could never get away with something like this; but perhaps an academic) would say: "The Republican ideology doesn't promise prosperity for everyone. If we take money out of the school system to give back to the wealthy, the school system will suffer. Your children will be uneducated. But we think that is not our moral right to take money from people who have honestly made it to spend on such things as school lunches and music.". This would be a move of intellectual honesty that would make the Republican party much more attractive to me.