Extremist Party

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Conservatives like Sen. John Warner and Ronald Reagan influenced many to become more conservative. That kind of conservative, however, no longer exists at the core of the Grand Old Party, which has become dangerously extremist. The Warner - Reagan conservative was about governing for the future of America, first and foremost. The current GOP is not about governing, but winning elections at any cost to the nation and people. Let's take a look at these differences and what, if any hope lies with the Democratic Party.

Pres. Reagan was a union organizer and leader for the Screen Actor's Guild, before becoming governor and president. Unions were OK up to the point where their power crippled employers and cost workers their jobs, or the public its services. Ronald Reagan was for limited federal government and willing to cut taxes where government could be shrunk in size. However, Reagan was also not opposed to raising taxes to balance budgets and fight the rise of national debt. Ronald Reagan didn't like national debt, but, understood that given the choice between Russia and national debt, national debt would have to come second to winning the Cold War with Russia.

Sen. John Warner was pro-choice on the abortion issue generally, but, was supported by the pro-life interest groups for his votes to put limits on abortions. Sen. Warner served in the military and on the Armed Services Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence where he was highly regarded by all. Sen. Warner was about governing, not afraid to stand up to his own Party when conscience dictated, and not afraid to side with the American people in the present and future, despite political pressures in other directions.

Both Warner and Reagan were men dedicated to governing and as such, both able and willing to work and compromise with Democrats for the benefit of the nation and her people, present and future. These were men who defined conservative in their time.

What's changed? The difference is like night and day. Today's Republican Party is controlled by those who absolutely refuse to compromise, and because of that, they continue to refuse to govern, unable to get every demand fulfilled by Democrats in the Senate. The GOP's 'no compromise' positions have led directly to America's most challenging threats and issues going unanswered by government.

On health care reform, Republicans took a 'no compromise' position against publicly funded health care, forcing Democrats to pass the Affordable Care Act, absent provisions to drive down the cost of health care, which is the single greatest threat to America's national debt growth going forward. What we ended up with is many of the benefits of a public health care system without any means of paying for it, for future generations.

Republicans have taken a 'no compromise' stand on federal revenues, to include refusing to cut tax loopholes for the wealthiest corporations and individuals, while at the same time, illogically, touting a balanced budget and reducing national debt. There simply is no scenario in which the budget can be balanced without increasing federal revenues, and avoid forcing tens of millions of Americans into bankruptcy. No compromise has resulted in a complete absence of governance toward addressing the national debt and deficits issue.

Aware of the public's declining approval of the GOP's obstructionist positions, Republicans in many States are attempting to pass legislation to deny voting access to predominantly Democratic voters. Knowing they can't win on their record, they are attempting to change the rules for winning, in their favor, undermining the very essence of democratic elections in America.

Changing the rules for elections is not the only rewrite Republicans are engaged in. The Party continues to falsely attach the decline in our economy to President Obama and Democrats, despite the historical reality that Republicans were in control of government when the economy's roof began to collapse. It was a Republican sponsored bill, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, that paved the way for Too Big To Fail banks to come into existence and threaten the next Great Depression if the government did not bail them out. Rewriting history to serve their election ends has been taken to new heights.

Republicans lambast the Affordable Care Act as unaffordable and not paid for, both true, while Republicans under G.W. Bush passed the Medicare Prescription Drug legislation without paying for it, or offsetting it, adding enormous annual costs to the national debt. Republicans refused from 2003 through 2008 to include the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the budget, which would have highlighted the enormous deficits and growth of the national debt during President G.W. Bush's terms in office, while cutting federal revenues which deepened deficits and debt. The rich got richer, the middle class declined, and the national debt to be dealt with by our children, grew to monstrous proportions.

The GOP has become the trickster Party. It has become expert at lying and hiding realities from the less educated and more ignorant sectors of our voting population. The are rewriting history and election laws to cheat their way into election victories instead of earning their way on a solid record of performance they can be proud of.

The GOP's all time Houdini though, has to be convincing the public they are for fiscal responsibility when their entire record of the last decade has been one of devastating growth to the national debt, to include today's obstructions to addressing deficits and debt by refusing to compromise and pass legislation with Democrats to get the job done.

On issue after issue, the Republican Party stands in opposition to the public opinion, making them the extremist Party on those issues. Here are just a dozen of many more examples.

  1. Public Opinion favored the Public Option health care reform. Republicans opposed it.
  2. Public Opinion favors increasing taxes on the wealthiest to reduce deficits. Republicans opposed it.
  3. Public Opinion favors some choice in abortion. Republicans oppose it.
  4. Public Opinion favors saving Social Security and Medicare as publicly funded programs. Republicans oppose it.
  5. Public Opinion favors leaving Iraq and Afghanistan. Republicans oppose it.
  6. Public Opinion now barely favors legalization of marijuana. Republicans oppose it overwhelmingly.
  7. Public Opinion says Constitution requires separation of church and state. Republicans don't agree, generally.
  8. Public Opinion believes government is broken and needs to be overhauled, 93% of Republicans, 78% of independents and 72% of Democrats all agree. Republicans and Democrats in Congress have failed to produce any significant government process reforms, campaign finance reforms, or lobbying reforms that could be considered an overhaul. 
  9. Public Opinion supported ending the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. All but 8 Republicans opposed it.
  10. Public Opinion supports recognition of civil unions for gays. Republicans largely oppose it.
  11. Public Opinion favors increasing federal funding for research on wind, solar and hydrogen energy technology. Republicans oppose it.
  12. Public Opinion says jobs and economy are top priorities. Republicans in Congress, however, are sticking to their "No Taxes" pledge, making compromise and actions to further stimulate the economy and jobs, impossible.

Ironically, as Republicans continue to insist that deficits are their main concern, despite their no tax pledge, public opinion toward Republican leaders in Congress, on the deficit issue, has plummeted. From the same research linked above, public confidence in Congressional Democratic leaders has also fallen, but, not as far. Public opinion remains unchanged toward Pres. Obama's sincerity in addressing deficits, higher than Congressional leaders of either party.

The political landscape actually favors liberals over conservatives in this fascinating Pew Research done in May, 2011. More registered voters lean left than right according to their research. Is it any wonder, then, that Republicans feel compelled to stoop to revisionist history and changing local election laws to stop as many left leaning demographic groups as possible from voting? [Linked source is biased, but, its reference to state election law changes are accurate.]

The Republican Party used to stand for the status quo, opposing change generally, unless it would advance defense strength or economic growth. This new incarnation of the GOP however, is made up of a number of extremist groups working to create changes that only a minority of Americans would approve of. From no gun regulations to no abortions under any circumstances, from declaring America a Protestant Christian nation to virtually eliminating the federal government entirely except for defense and domestic crime, from Koch Brother's designs toward aristocracy and Plutocracy (government by the wealthy) to anti-immigration hate groups, The GOP has splintered into extremist factions all finding their home in the Republican Party.

In effect, the GOP has become the anti-majority Party, intent on depriving the majority of Americans any gains or effective representation, at all. If the majority of Americans are for it, the GOP will likely oppose it, eventually. This is what happens when a political Party embraces any willing supporters with votes or money, and as one study (arguably flawed with too small a sample size and geography) insinuates, targets the under-educated and lower end of the learning curve with their campaign advertising dollars. 

One thing is certain about recent history. Republican victory in the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections has failed to produce the kind of results that instills confidence in our nation's future, given the all time record low approval rating of Congress that exists today.

It remains to be seen if corrupting money in politics, gerrymandering, and disenfranchising voters will be a winning strategy for Republicans in 2012. If it is, I will long for the years past, when the GOP elected statesmen and women like Reagan and Warner, who put the nation and people first on their priority list, as their means to achieving public support and election victory. The GOP used to function as a check and balance against the excesses and extremists of the Democratic Party. Now they have become an extremist Party, all of their own.

Do not mistake this article as a pro-Democratic Party piece. The Democrats have their own factions and extremists, as well. The difference is that the Democratic Party continues to champion the objectives of the majority of Americans with only a small number of exceptions (gun control and government regulation, as examples), And the Democratic Party is in bed with Republicans in defense of corrupting money in politics, lobbying, and abject refusal to put forth real political reforms that would maximize voting, and minimize corruption, legal blackmail and bribery in government.

The political system is broken, and the political parties are destroying the American people's ability to democratically elect effective representatives, not only for the present, but for many decades into the future, as well. The people are ready for real change and reform, but, the Democratic, and most especially, the Republican Party, are the wrong places for Americans to look for the changes and reforms they seek.

The time is ripe for the creation of a third party, but, Democrats and Republicans have the system rigged to prevent the effective emergence of any such contender. (See FEC, ballot access requirements, and history of independent and third party candidate financing.) America is in trouble, and if the American people are fed up enough, they will shit kick incumbents to Timbuktu in 2012, out of pure exasperation and retribution for the mess our country is in at the hands of these two parties, the Extremist Party and the Less Extremist Party. 

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on November 27, 2011 1:28 PM.

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