Watching the Republican Party debate on Thursday night, I was disillusioned by how far the Grand Old Party had fallen. Their Top Ten candidates (of a 17 player field, it must be reminded) consisted of the leader, a person who had never held political office, has filed for bankruptcy four times, traded in older wives for trophy wives twice and has little to offer the world other than a banal reality television program and the right to use his name on your properties; the third wheel of a familial dynasty that looks like he’d rather be somewhere else than running for President; a “bold visionary” who did nothing but hurt constituents that, while working for the state, suddenly found their rights to collectively negotiate their benefits was being pulled by his leadership; and, without droning on too long, a list of other religious sycophants, Tea Party dweebs and a Libertarian that lost his way. And this isn’t even looking at the JV team that played to a silent house before the Main Event on Thursday night.
There was a time when the Republican Party actually got things right. Richard Nixon was quite the embarrassment for the GOP in the 1970s in becoming the first sitting President to resign the position, but he did some great things before he was forced (rightfully, it must be added) from office. The opening of relations with China, the détente developed with the Soviet Union and the addition of several key agencies (most notably the Environmental Protection Agency) were all done under his watch. He was one of many in that era of Republicans who actually got the job done, except Nixon went a little too far.
The wheels proceeded to come off the Republican bus soon after that. While many look to Ronald Reagan as the “perfect Republican,” many in the party today would run him out of town if he were in the party because he wasn’t “conservative enough.” They would deride his sessions with then-Speaker of the House “Tip” O’Neill, a Democrat, after hours where the two men would commiserate – but not judge – about their jobs. Today’s Republican would have hated how, oh, just once or twice, Reagan would enter into a compromise with the Democrats, giving both parties the ability to say they got something done.
It REALLY went to Hell in the 1990s, however. The Republicans, granted control of Congress, worked with President Bill Clinton for a time before the ultra-right wing of the party decided that a blowjob in the Oval Office was a high crime and treasonous. Once the impeachment of Clinton was done – with his easy acquittal – the wedge was placed and, over the last 20 years, has been hammered in deeper and deeper.
Today’s Republican Party, while they like to say that they are “reflective of America (their word, not mine…we’ll get into that another time),” are about as far away from that as possible. It has become a political organization that looks out for business but doesn’t look out for their fellow man; it has become a political organization that is too beholden to religious interests, to the point of crippling the ability for their elected officials to do anything; it has become a party of “No” with zero credible ideas that would counter what is on the table and it has become a party that is way too old, male and white.
There’s still time for the Republican Party to resurrect itself, however. All they have to do is enter the 21st century and shed some weight.
Some of the platforms the GOP have are about as welcome in the 21st century as the proverbial turd in the punchbowl. Their views on several social issues, such as abortion, immigration, drug legalization, gay rights and social programs, are rooted in a 1950s mindset when these “things” weren’t discussed, pushing them under the pillow in the hope of smothering them until the light that the 1960s was illuminated the surroundings. As it is a new age – one that is more “forward thinking,” you might hope – the GOP could change some stances and make greater inroads.
Abortion should be a right; the government should have no place to tell someone what they can or cannot do with their body. Even the debate participants the other night couldn’t bring themselves to allow for an exception for rape, incest or endangerment of the mother’s life! Such a view as this is going to cause a sizeable segment of 52% of that electorate to not exactly side with you.
Immigration also falls into a category like this. When the minorities in one state (California) outnumber Caucasians, it might be a constituency that you would try to reach. Estimates are that currently the U. S. is 62.6% “white” (discounting Hispanics that count themselves as white), a total that will continue to move closer to the 50/50 mark as the country moves forward in this century. If you can’t have a solid policy for immigration – and this counts those that are here illegally as well – then you’re going to continue to have problems drawing these people to your viewpoint.
It is also time to get over the gay “rights” issue. Why shouldn’t people have the right to marry the person they love, even if it is the same sex? Why is it such an abhorrent occurrence that it causes Republicans to try to shut it down at every angle? How can you say that a same sex union sullies the “sanctity” of marriage while people get married two, three, four or more times heterosexually? Time to get over it, Republicans.
Now that we have most of the social issues out of the way, it’s time to cut the weight. For too long, the Republican Party has been carrying people that have dragged it into the morass that it currently finds itself. It is time to tell this “dead weight” to head off on its own.
First we’ll start with the “Tea Party” movement, who says it is all about lower taxes but seems to drag the GOP down when they start talking about social issues. Unfortunately, to run a government you have to have revenues and “trickle down” economics has been proven to be a disastrous way of running a government (let’s ask the people of Kansas what they think of this). Social issues are also a part of running a government and require funding.
The GOP should cast those that call themselves members of the “Tea Party” and say, “Hey, here you go. You’re on your own.” If the party is viable, then it will be able to garner support and, perhaps more importantly, financial viability and survive…hell, maybe even become a solid third party. If they aren’t able to do this, then they will drift off into the mists of history along with the Whigs, the Federalists, the Bull Moose, Know Nothings and Dixiecrats.
The GOP also needs to wean itself from the religious zealots of the party, which do nothing but hold it back. The United States has a definitive separation of Church and State; while you can be religious as a politician, it shouldn’t be the end-all, be-all with every decision that you make on a government level. In that case, you are a theocracy and no better than Iraq or other nations that rule by religion. The GOP needs to let those folks go also and maybe their party will be a viable one in future elections.
So let’s see what we have left in our Republican Party 2016: people that believe the federal government should not reach into every level of a citizen’s life; those that believe there should be financial responsibility in the operation of government; for the most part, the citizens should be left to do as they want unless they violate an extreme law of the land. This party already exists but is pooh-poohed by the two major parties…it’s the Libertarian Party.
If the GOP were willing to do these things, then they might be able to survive as a party. They sure as hell would be able to draw a more diverse following than they currently have.
I’d be pretty happy if there were a Democratic (and let’s be honest, that one could be hacked up itself), Republican, Libertarian, Tea and Church Parties and we’d probably have a pretty decent set of candidates for every election. We’d also have a keen insight to what mental motivation drives this person for office and what we could expect if they were elected. We would definitely have much better choices for President in 2016 than we have under the current situation.