Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Poor GOP 1/3

I feel bad for the Republican Party right now. They are a lost bunch of decent human beings that have become fixated on some odd concept of ideological purity that has failed to actually make the party stronger. It is very clear to me that they (and I mean they in a very general sense) have taken positions that are more contrarian than they are practical; self-righteous than real; self-defeating than deeply thought out.

Let’s start with RINOs. RINOs and DINOs are names given to middle of the road party members that are Republican or Democrat “In Name Only” (get it?). Now these distinguished politicians are moderate and usually represent districts with very middle of the road politics or opposite politics of their constituency (a Republican Congressman representing a predominantly Democratic district). These poor politicians have spent their careers singled out as traitors to the party and ideologically vacant. Perhaps this is true for some, but certainly not all of them. They certainly aren’t prone to be more corrupt than the ideological hardliners on the wings of their parties. That point is moot and often these politicians are key swing votes in passing controversial pieces of legislation. They have traditionally been the glue that keeps the two sides from devolving into an endless series of filibusters and grandstanding.

But whoops! Lately Tea Partiers have started calling everyone who disagrees with them RINOs. And a lot of pols are playing ball. So the RINOs who have spent years pulling the two sides together have now been either kicked out of the party or forced to tack right. Do you see where this is going?

The Republican Party’s ranks are shrinking, probably a lot more than people realize. By tearing at more moderate members of their party they have become extreme in their views and not necessarily logical. Take for example the Affordable Care Act. By any factual historical account, the majority of legislation was originally proposed and supported by the GOP—the most notable Democratic contribution, a public provider, was scrapped. Many of the provisions within the act were universally accepted by politicians, experts, and the industry. Somehow the GOP ended up fighting their own provisions and calling their proposals unconstitutional.

The perfect example is poor Mitt Romney who has had to backtrack on what was his signature piece of legislation as governor. He keeps saying that healthcare was right for Massachusetts but not right for the entire country. His reasoning behind the statement hasn’t really gone much beyond that. And this has just been left. I find it completely irresponsible that no one has inquired too deeply into why healthcare is somehow not ok for the entire country. Maybe it isn’t, but the arguments put forth have very little by way of legal or historical precedent behind them—to me a heavy indicator of the logical twists that the party has had to make.