Like many, including our friends at “Doonesbury” I am bemused by the intense soul-searching post-election by the GOP. Reading Governor Bobby Jindal’s comments chastising the former GOP Presidential candidate for his recent idiotic comments is just one example. Over the past many months along with many others, I have been writing about the GOP platform which is built on a weak foundation. My last post on this topic was on September 26 and is entitled “GOP Needs to Finds its Way Out of the Abyss.” Irrespective of the outcome of the Presidential election, my concern is the GOP party has made itself less relevant and driven more reasonable minds out of the party. So, even if the GOP had won the White House, it would not alter this belief. Many GOP members won’t want to hear this, but the huge PAC money actually made this election closer than it should have been. These ads targeted an uninformed public who did not truly pay attention to what their candidate and party stood for.
I was actually avoiding writing yet again on this topic, but the second of two editorials in the paper caused me to turn on the presses once again. Last week, a nationally known minister filled in for Charles Krauthammer’s column while he was on vacation and in essence said the “GOP does not need to change, it just needs to modernize.” I found that to be an interesting view, since it was so far off the mark. The second editorial was a reprint of a LA Times piece by Charlotte Allen under the title “Cure for the ailing GOP: Palin in 2016.” This editorial would be funny, if she was not serious with her assertion. The title seemed more appropriate for a Mad Magazine article or a lampoon piece on “Real Time with Bill Maher.”
These two editorials are precisely what the GOP leadership should not do. Some of my Democratic friends may disagree with this, but as an Independent voter we need a reasonable GOP voice at the table. What we do not need are the voices that have been getting to the table. If it were not for the Koch money, many of these voices would have been quieted. Fortunately, the far extreme members were de-selected due to some inane remarks during the campaign. Yet, what we need is a reshaping of the platform based on verifiable, unbiased data and platform positions that are sound and reasonable and not empty-headed sound-bytes to get concurrence from a very conservative base.
I do not want to repeat my earlier posts, so I would welcome and encourage you to poke around on my blog a little. But, if I had to clearly state the headlines from these posts:
– Global warming is man-influenced and our response needs to be thoughtfully mapped out. This is the biggest threat our planet faces and your party denies it on its platform. If you want to be relevant, then stop listening only to people in industries with vested interests in the planning process.
– We cannot resolve our deficit and debt crises without revenue increases and spending cuts. We are one of the least taxed countries in the world. Please listen less to people telling you what you want to hear. This goes for our Democratic friends as well, yet with the Grover Norquist pledge on no tax increases, the GOP has taken a key lever to solve our problem out of the mix.
– We have poverty and middle class crises in our country. We need to be very mindful of what we cut and where we cut as we cut spending. We need an increase in wages on the bottom end and we need the full implementation of Obamacare with over 46 million uninsured Americans. Lack of healthcare insurance or access only to very limited care is a key driver of personal bankruptcy and poverty. The GOP has never articulated what they would do if they eliminated Obamacare. It is not perfect and needs further tweaking, but it is already making a difference.
– We need regulations to keep the “haves” from taking advantage of the “have-nots.” Doing away with or gutting the EPA would be the dumbest thing we could possibly do. The new Consumer Protection Agency which the GOP hates has already fined several reputable credit card issuers who have many TV commercials for unethical and inappropriate marketing practices. Of the over $500 million in fines on four of these companies, a very high percentage was refunded to the maltreated customers.
– We need the GOP to listen less to the Evangelical voters and more to all voters. Some of the platform features that evolved from placating this crowd were unnerving to many. Especially issues like birth control, which is overwhelmingly supported by Americans and would actually help resolve issues with abortions, unwanted pregnancies, poverty and, some cases, STDs. And, the same-sex marriage train is leaving the station and should. You need to get over some of the extreme bigotry apparent in your party on this subject and treat others like you want to be treated.
– Finally, please stop using Fox News as your stenographer. Fox News needs to be a news entity and not an editorially biased entity. Your constituents will get a truer picture of what is going on in the world and you will have a better sense of how your message is being received. You were surprised by the election results, I was less so.
Let me end with the following comment to the GOP leaders. Even if you do not agree with my assertions above, please do the following simple exercise as your homework assignment. If you sincerely want to change, talk more with the people who left your party and less to those still in it. Ask them why did you leave? I left in 2006 and you can get a sense as to my rationale from the above. We need you to be at the table, but only if you are open and reasonable. If you continue to deny global warming, for example, people will not take you seriously. I know I won’t.