What are the biggest frustrations about the Republican Party?I think one of my biggest frustrations about the Republican Party is the way some (and honestly, most) of its members view the Democratic Party and people who take advantage of government programs. I think the best way to illustrate this is by examining the thoughts of a few individuals who answered the sister question to this one: What are the biggest frustrations about the Democratic Party? This gets a bit rant-y and ends up arriving at another thing that frustrates me about the Republican Party: they brand themselves as the fiscally responsible party, when often they are just opposed to the government providing non-defense services. The Republican Party is a doctor who recommends amputation for every ailment.
I'll start with perhaps Quora's most famous conservative, Gary Teal. His answer to this question was concise:
My biggest frustration is their greatest achievement. They have done a very good job of promoting the notion that the federal government is the best entity to solve most problems, that it does so by spending more money, and that any opposition to spending is in effect an attack on the needy, children, the elderly, etc.
This notion that Democrats view most societal problems as opportunities for increased government expenditure is, in my opinion, myopic. When most people see problems that they have been tasked with fixing (whether by their constituents or by a personal sense of obligation), they tend to try and fix them. This doesn't mean that all Democrats think that most problems must be solved by government intervention and spending, but rather that most Democrats believe they have an obligation to try to solve some problems, and that as government officials, the most powerful tool at their disposal is often targeted federal spending. However, and I'm very willing to admit this, sometimes government spending doesn't work. The cost of running a program can be too high, the criteria for eligibility can be too broad resulting in abuse, and the economic impact associated with taxing enough money to run the program can prove more detrimental to society than not having the program at all, culminating in the ultimate question: "Is this worth it?"
That's a reasonable question to ask, and it leads to a conversation and corresponding level of scrutiny that I believe all government spending should be subject to. But having that rational conversation about cost vs. benefit and pro vs. con analysis is a far stretch from what many Republicans contribute to public discourse, which often manifests in little more than a tirade against the tyranny of taxation. If there are truly problems in the way the government spends money, point it out and explain how it can be reduced. If that's what a Republican brings to the table then he or she will earn my respect, and while I might not always agree, I think that is an extremely valuable contribution to the national conversation. But in this day and age that kind of objectivity can be rare in the Republican Party. It's no surprise that members of the Republican Party struggle to offer constructive proposals for cutting spending; it's difficult to objectively evaluate how to optimize efficiency in a government program if you believe the people who created it are spendthrifts who throw money at any problem that arises and that the people who use it are lazy moochers. Put simply, a one-dimensional view of one's ideological opponent is detrimental to efforts to compromise. I think a lot of people on both sides of the aisle could benefit from realizing that.
Tom Byron's answer to this question also gave me pause. On the subject of what he calls "The 'Life of Julia' Model" he writes...
Every step in her life, and in many lives, the government steps in to assist. What happened to creating a strong "I did this!" work effort? What happened to trial and error, a few mistakes to make you stronger? Can we continue, generation after generation to be the force, the sole force, directing all outcomes in many if not most people's life's?
What is happening to self-worth and the old hard work attitude?
The Right's view of government programs and those who use them is one that I am fundamentally at odds with. A few of the government programs mentioned were Head Start, Pell Grants, and the federal student loan program. Programs that seek to help alleviate the burden with which our capitalist system encumbers certain individuals. Without these programs, low-income children born in urban areas have a fraction of the likelihood of success in this country that children born to wealthy parents have. Without some semblance of a level playing field, then what worth do the achievements of the wealthy's progeny have? How much pride should one have for finishing 2nd in a race in which several of the participants started 100 yards further back, with hurdles in their path, and missing a leg?
These programs are, in my eyes, not disincentives for the "old hard work attitude". They are enablers of it. The establishment of a level playing field is the best way to shift our country more towards a meritocracy, in which "the old work hard attitude" is the only factor contributing to one's chances of success. People taking advantage of these educational programs are not taking the easy way out, they are not dependent on the government, they are just seeking an equal opportunity to work hard and succeed.
Note: Tom Byron and Gary Teal are some of the most intelligent people on Quora and I have the utmost respect for them. They are almost always careful and moderate with their rhetoric. That's part of why I used them for this answer; the conversation goes nowhere if I use some random radically conservative Anon User's answer. They will be brushed off as being fringe members of the party. People on the far right and far left are equally flawed, so I felt that we only get somewhere if we focus on the sane people.