The Republican party seems to be tearing itself apart. I haven’t been a Republican since 1999, but I still read David Brooks’ column in the New York Times and I have many Republicans that I love and respect even if we disagree.
I am currently a progressive, which means I don’t have a party — only a caucus. I, along with many people, don’t believe that a political party determines my values, ideas and desires for my country. I look for the candidate, which is close enough to the issues that are most important at the time. It is the best I can do as I have only ever found one person who had almost a mirror image of my value system and was running for anything. In other words, I could have been persuaded. The Republicans could have seized the moment. Progressives get angry at Democrats. Plus, the Independents. The grumpy Democrats. The lazy Republicans. There were many votes out there.
Alas, the Republican party seems to be making the same mistakes it made in 2008. The winner of the primary is a moderate Republican who isn’t allowed (or isn’t choosing) to run on their record. McCain, and now Romney, have distanced themselves from any political choices that helped people if they weren’t within very narrow party lines. No talk of immigration for McCain and a complete 180 on Romney Care. They both chose extremist for running mates who have no plans or ridiculous plans for the country, respectively.
I feel like yelling: Can the real Republicans please stand up? The fiscal conservatives only have a voice if they are also social conservatives. The compassionate conservatives don’t seem to get a say at all anymore. What is the Republican base? Is it “we will never have the elite, smart people on our side” or “47% of people will never take responsibility for themselves“? When did Republicans stop believing in intelligence and education and science? When did Republicans want to stop serving the Veterans, the elderly and the poor children in American? Or even, when did paying back a loan become a sign of laziness and irresponsibility? The Republican party’s own vice presidential nominee could not give his convention speech without lying. How is that leading a political party?
Perhaps, I should be happy that the Republicans are imploding, but a one party system isn’t good for our country, and I love our country. Yes, I want Obama to win the White House, but I’ve also seen what a failed party looks like in Congress. A party, whose primary purpose is to defeat a president rather than support a people and the country, does nothing. For 2 years, the House of Representatives has failed. They have voted almost 3 dozen times to repeal a healthcare bill that was never going to happen when our unemployment rate was 8.2%.
I feel like the Republican party is in trouble when the presidential nominee isn’t allowed to be themselves. A party that once elected presidents like Lincoln, who chose the country over the Southern states, and Eisenhower, who balanced the budget 3 times in part by not giving into pressure to lower taxes or raise defense spending, needs to be more than ideological pandering to an ever-narrowing base. Nowadays, those presidents would be called “RINOs” or “Republicans In Name Only.” How sad not just for them but for all of us who rely on a two-party system. The Republican party, from the stars to the base, must move beyond rhetorical and into reality where compromise is not a dirty word and our country comes first.