A Message To My Republican Friends

A Message To My Republican Friends: You Spoiled The Party


Leonard Zwelling

         Yes, it’s true. I actually have Republican friends. Remember I served in the office of a GOP senator and became friendly with the late Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) while I was on Capitol Hill. There is much to be liked in the values of the traditional party of Lincoln.

         As this NY Times (July 31) opinion piece by Republican political strategist Stuart Stevens relates, after the 2012 defeat of Mitt Romney, the GOP wisely held up a mirror to itself to try to understand its loss. It found that its lack of appeal to minorities, to the young and to women were problems needing attention if the GOP was to return to winning the White House.

         Surprise. It didn’t work out that way.

         Instead, for a variety of reasons, a race baiting, demagogue returned the GOP to the Oval Office despite his alienation of the precise three groups the GOP had sought to capture. How did this happen?

         That’s what Stevens’ op-ed is about.

         His claim is that Trump represents the true soul of the Republican Party—racist, misogynistic, moneyed and old. What’s more is that the GOP cannot blame it all on Trump. The leaders of the party in the Senate go along with everything Trump says. Even Cold Warriors like Lindsey Graham toe the Trump line on being nice to Putin.

         It is clearer than ever that the GOP has not shed its image of a whiter, richer and more manly America. What is more frightening is that the Democratic Party has not shed its image of being run by single-issue candidates and their supporters who are lobbying for an ever greater safety net under America which could undermine the basic capitalistic drive that made the country the envy of the world. Do we need a balance? Of course we do. Do I think that health care is a right that should be guaranteed by the government? I do. Do I think we should decrease funding by tax dollars for the police? I do not. There are certain functions that only government can provide (e.g., the military, but not on the streets of our cities). Is a realignment called for as more and more wealth is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands leaving far too many destitute? Yes. But right now, neither major political party is plotting a course towards a successful America—an America that balances basic service with fostering human initiative.

         We are created equal, but inevitably the result will not be equal and I think capitalism is the best way to sort that out, but I also think when a service makes us a stronger country (like universal health insurance), that this should be applied in a more socialistic fashion.

         There is room for solutions of the capitalistic and socialistic kinds, but we do need to agree that having two parties so drastically at odds with each other (and with basic American values) as our current parties are is not healthy for the democracy.

         It is possible that Joe Biden might provide the bridge from the Trump years to an America with that balance. I doubt he will be able to get much started, but if he is a one-term president as I suspect he will be, then perhaps his successor, Republican or Democrat, can get the ball rolling toward the next American century. What is clear is that the current leaders of both parties cannot get the job done. Even should Mr. Trump be defeated, that is no guarantee of improvement. A thorough cleaning of Congress will also be needed and its ancient leadership must also be shoved aside.

         As this blog has been saying, the government is not functioning as the Constitution says it should. The balance of power has been disrupted by a very weak Congress, a mean and strong executive, and a split Supreme Court.

         Need I say it again? What a mess!

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