Republicans need a new reason to be

Tuesday November 6, 2012

No matter the results of elections today around the country, it seems clear that the national Republican Party is in need of some new ideas, and more than a few new faces.

Why is that? Well, because the once Grand Old Party of Abraham Lincoln has devolved from having a progressive stance on civil rights -- and later under Theodore Roosevelt on the environment -- to the near exact opposite today, especially concerning same-sex couples and immigrants. Not all, but too many party leaders want to put up real or imaginary walls to block decided trends in the other direction among most Americans.

Add to this philosophical burden that the party is now identified as vehemently anti-government to the extent it opposes every tax, no matter how necessary to fund the government of a nation expected to be the most influential democratic country in the world. Their math, in other words, does not compute.

Remember, the party has for the past few decades bought into the fantastic notion that cutting taxes, especially on those with the highest incomes, will lead to greater economic growth and greater tax revenue. This has now been proven bogus on at least three occasions, the most recent just prior to the economic meltdown of five years ago. It has led instead to less tax revenue than was needed and massive federal debt.

And in yet one more long-view losing position, the GOP has become the party of unlimited military spending while consistently and brazenly attempting to cut off funding for programs that mainly benefit the poor, the working class and the middle class.

No matter your point of view on these issues, you have to admit it is the Republicans, not the Democrats, who are joined at the hip to these viewpoints, while the number of voters who benefit from these extreme stances is shrinking daily.

The Democrats, meanwhile, have been generally in favor of a compromise of tax increases mostly falling on the wealthiest Americans, an end to the tax reductions Republicans rammed through over the past 30 years, and for modest reforms of social programs to curb spending. This difference has been highlighted for the first time during the 2012 campaigns, and the Republicans are steadily losing the argument with voters, based primarily on the reasonableness test.

Certainly, Wall Street speculators and billionaire businessmen have helped keep Republicans in the electoral game, as have those who can be appealed to on racist or anti-immigrant or anti-gay issues, and those who believe in creationism rather than scientific observation and deny climate change, and those who believe only they hear the word of God. But that should not be what defines America. They are mostly great big negatives.

These are electoral trends the Republican Party should not ignore. Moderate members of the party should be taking stands against radicalism from the right and standing in favor of what is best for the country. If they are beaten down in primary elections, that is the price that must be faced when the time has come to take a stand.

That moment would seem to be at hand, which means that moderate Republicans may find themselves less than extinct after all, and they might even begin a resurgence. Of course, someone has to lead the way.


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