Before the election I heard many on the right talk about how the President should be elected so that the GOP could have a “super majority” in the leadership of this nation. After the election, when the Democrats were choosing a new leader, I heard many on the right say that they supported Howard Dean because he would lead the Democrat party to ruin.
I can certainly understand where the above sentiments come from. Regular readers of Say Anything are aware of the fact that I am very supportive of the Republican party. The ideals held by the party, for the most part, encompass my own.
The problem I have is this: Without a strong opposition party the GOP is not as good as it could be.
That’s a simplistic, perhaps confusing statement so let me expand upon it.
I firmly believe that the Democrat party has been moving itself to the lunatic fringes of American politics for a while now and they continue to move in that direction every time some hack like Howard Dean opens his maw and spews invective across the political landscape. Or when some malcontent like Rep. Charles Rangel tells us that our troops in Iraq are no better than the Nazis. Or when some hack like Dick Durbin tells us that our troops in Guantanamo Bay are no different than the guards at Pol Pot’s death camps.
This is why, I think, Republicans currently hold a majority in both houses of Congress and have their candidate in the White House in addition to having a majority of the state governorships. Americans want a party that will lead, not a party that will define their ideas by looking at what the opposition stands for and then choosing the position that is the polar opposite. In the last several years it seems like the Democrat playbook has had exactly one play in it: Oppose the Republicans. Heck, sometimes I’m not so sure that the play doesn’t read “insult the Republicans” as that, at times, seems to be the sum total of Democrat response to any Republican initiative.
Is that healthy for this country? I don’t think so. Here’s why: Republicans aren’t always right. In fact, they’re wrong quite often. President Bush was wrong to sign campaign finance reform into law. He was wrong about the prescription drug entitlement he pushed through congress. He’s got the wrong ideas about illegal immigration. He’s made mistakes on the issues of homeland security and the invasion/occupation of Iraq. I could go on, but you get the point.
The problem most Americans have, however, is who do they turn to when Republicans are wrong? Right now I believe that Republicans are getting elected into office not so much because the voters support everything they do but rather because the GOP is the party that is the lesser of two evils. I think people tell themselves that, while the GOP candidate might not be perfect, at least his/her positions are definable beyond the petulant and often zany “oppose-the-Republicans-at-any-cost” shenanigans held up as a political agenda by most Democrats.
To put it simply, the Republicans aren’t living up to their potential. I firmly believe that this country would be a much better place if more Republican politicians stood up for the core values that the GOP was founded upon. The problem is that, right now, they don’t have to work that hard to get themselves in office. They only have to work hard enough to beat the Democrats.
This is probably a bit of an over-simplification, but currently I believe that the right side of politics in this country is made up of an uneasy reliance between the libertarian-minded, so-called “South Park conservatives” and the “social conservatives.” What is uniting this coalition of two rather different political animals is a rejection of what the modern-day liberal stands for.
What I’m hoping for is that the Democrats will hit rock bottom soon. I hope, when that happens (and I think it will), that the Democrats eject Howard Dean and his ilk from the leadership of the party (or at least relegate them to the sidelines) and that the new left-right, Democrat-Republican divide will emerge between the South Parkers and the social conservatives.
That, I believe, would be much healthier for this country as a whole.
Rob Port owns and operates Say Anything.