This is a message meant for the more rational, sane Republican voters. For those who don’t believe that Obama is an evil, left-wing, Commie-Nazi, Kenyan-born Muslim who’s out to destroy this country. It’s for those who have views that are different from Democrats, but can understand the importance of compromise, and assuming the best when dealing with your competition. It’s a simple message, and that message is: please stop letting your party leaders act like lunatics. All of them, with the exceptions of Ron Paul (off in his own fantasy land), and John Huntsman (attached to reality, but no chance of winning), have moved your party so far to the right as to make it something that cannot be taken seriously as a national political party.
Your party has been taken over by a pack of religious extremists who believe that evolution is a lie. Who believe that somehow global climate change is some vast conspiracy on the part of scientists/Al Gore to do…something sinister that we’re never quite clear on. Who believe that keeping abortion safe and legal is an evil second only to allowing gays to marry. Who believe that people should be held without charges, without trial, for over a decade, and tortured whenever possible. Who believe that compromise and negotiation with anyone, be it Democrats or simply other countries, is a sign of weakness that must be avoided at all costs. Who believe that allowing the Bush era tax cuts to expire, increasing the highest tax rate by about 2%, will destroy our economy, and that the best way to balance the budget is to slash the benefits for the least among us.
These people believe, sincerely, that this is a Christian nation, first, last and always, and that government-mandated prayer in school is something we must have (as long as it’s Christian prayer, naturally). Who believe our judicial system is flawless enough that no innocent person has ever been executed for a crime and if they weren’t guilty of what they were killed for, well, they were probably guilty of something else. These same people also believe that our judicial system is so flawed, and so rife with “activist judges,” that the only solution is mandatory minimum sentencing, and if that impacts black people unfairly, well, black people should stop smoking so much crack.
These people believe if you get sick and can’t afford health care, well, too bad for you. Get charity and if you can’t get that, die, and help reduce the surplus population, because we certainly can’t afford to help lazy people like you. They believe that the only reason anyone is ever unemployed is because of a personal failing on their part, not recognizing the fact that at present there’s five applicants for ever job opening. To them, being poor is a sin, caused by laziness, and never such external factors as the cycle of poverty, racism, sexism or anything like that. It’s always your fault, and you should never expect government to help you. Your church should help you, and if you don’t go to church, well, I think that tells us all we need to know.
If you’re a single mother trying to raise three kids after your abusive husband left the picture, holding down two full-time jobs and even then unable to pay all the costs, and you have one child who’s sick all the time, well, it’s right that you should not have food stamps, because not having them will motivate you to work harder. It’s right that insurance agencies should be allowed to refuse coverage for your sick kid. If you don’t like it, find time during your 80 hour work week, and full time job raising your kids, to go to school and learn something. If you can’t afford to to, well, tough luck again, because there’s no reason you should get government-backed student loans at a reasonable repayment rate. This entire situation is your fault, the Republican candidates would generally have us believe. It’s your fault you got into the situation and it’s your fault you can’t get out of it. It’s all you.
Speaking of medical stuff, the primary candidates are all against Obamacare. That means they feel that insurance companies should be allowed to drop you once you get sick, even if you’ve paid all your premiums. They believe you should be denied health coverage for pre-existing conditions. They feel that you should be obligated to pay for preventative care, even though that can save insurance companies billions (though not if they’re allowed to drop you once you get sick). They believe there should be an upper limit on what insurers are required to cover, and if you get sick after that, well, that’s your own fault, Sicky McSick.
Then there’s illegal immigration. With only a couple exceptions, the mainstream GOP view is that if you’re here illegally, never mind the circumstances, then you’re going to be kicked out of the country. Period. You might get a deportation hearing, you might not. Even if you were brought here as an infant and were raised here almost your entire life, tough. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a great education or some badly needed skill. You’re still out of the country, because you broke the law, and in the GOP world, that’s only ok for corporations to do. If this means crops are left to die without being harvested, as happened in Alabama, with their new law, well…er…uhm. Well, they’re still taking jobs Americans need! Yeah!
The current GOP is obsessed with states’ rights on everything from immigration to medical coverage. This is the same party that touts itself as “the party of Lincoln,” and we all know what a great champion of states’ rights Lincoln was. Interestingly, their views on states’ rights wither when they talk about Constitutional amendments to ban abortion or gay marriage.
Listen, Republicans, I don’t want you guys to win in 2012. I’ll admit that. But you will win in the future, even if you don’t in 2012, and when you do win, I’d rather you win as a sane, rational party that’s based in reality. A party that I can disagree with on fundamental levels, but can still respect. I’d rather see you as the party of Eisenhower, Regan, the first Bush and even, god help me, Nixon, rather than party of Perry, Gingrich and Bachmann.
I think that a lot of you, deep in your hearts, know that your party is broken. You can take it back from the extremists. Just make sure that on primary day you’re out there voting for the rational candidates. Make sure your voices drown out the voices of the extremists. The Democrats have managed to do this. We listen occasionally to the extreme left of our party, then we mostly pat them on the head and ignore them. We don’t let them make speeches at our conventions. We don’t pay attention to them when they run for President. We certainly don’t nominate them. Our equivalent in extremism to Bachmann, Cain or Palin would probably be someone like Michael Moore, and if he ever ran for President, we’d never vote for him.
There was a time when the GOP, the party of nostalgia, was a party that believed in grand things. A party that supported NASA, that understood the value of a strong defense, but also of diplomacy. That knew that a social safety-net was a good idea. That understood that sometimes you had to increase revenue in addition to cutting taxes.
Eisenhower gave us the interstate freeway system at a cost of over half a trillion dollars in modern money. He also warned us about the military industrial complex. Regan negotiated with the Soviets. Nixon gave us the EPA and wasn’t against abortion. All three weren’t above raising taxes when the times called for it. These were people with whom I did, or would have, disagreed on many fundamental points, but I would do so knowing that at the end of the day, I could at least respect them.
The modern Republican party is a joke, and not just to us in the states. It’s a sad, tragic, mess of a party who seem to feel that the fundamental message of A Christmas Carol is that Scrooge gave in to Socialist ghosts bent on destroying him as a job creator. This is a party that’s to the far, far right of Republican Presidents like Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Ford, and the previously mentioned Eisenhower, Nixon, Regan and Bush I. It’s a party that, these days, would never elect someone like Regan.
It’s a badly injured party that could and should be better than its voting base.