This portion of the GOP is not reading the tea leaves

There has been attention given to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)which was underway this week in Oxon Hill, MD. For those without a scorecard, the CPAC is the very conservative wing of the GOP and includes Tea Partiers, Libertarians, etc. They don’t speak for the entire party, but the GOP leadership does not throw water on what they are doing either. So, the news agencies report on what occurs. The fact that one of the more obvious choices for a GOP presidential nominations – Gov. Chris Christie – was not invited and Former VP candidate Sarah Palin was, should give you a strong indication of what this group is all about.

Christie was not invited as he had the gall in the eyes of the CPAC to publicly thank the President for going out of his way to help New Jersey Hurricane Sandy victims and chastised Congress for their ineptitude and callousness for not passing hurricane relief. Hurricane help is a tremendous metaphor for the differences in the two major parties, as many have said of all of President Bush’s failures in the White House, his inability to help the Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans may be his greatest failure.

With all of this said, as an Independent voter, I was optimistic about some self-reflection from the CPAC and the recognition of the need to change. However, watching conservative columnist David Brooks with Mark Shields on the Shields-Brooks portion of the PBSNewshour last night, he summed up best the disappointment in the CPAC efforts. Brooks lamented that Senator Marco Rubio, one of the darlings of the GOP, said something akin to “we don’t need new ideas, we are America and America is our idea.”

“In a nutshell, this is the problem with the GOP,” said Brooks. “They need new ideas.” He contrasted their dilemma with the selection of an outward thinking Pope Francis. He said when an organization is in trouble and being attacked, you do not turn inward. You reach out and it is a promising sign that the Pope will do that. The GOP needs to do this, as well.

I have written four specific posts out of several about the need for the GOP to change. Their demise was predicted back in 2009, when an unnamed leader said the GOP will have success in the 2010 mid-term elections, but it will mask the underlying problems of the party. We are seeing this today, as Speaker John Boehner has had to call for three important votes where his party did not favor the outcome, but enough did to join with the Democratic caucus. Going backwards in time, please check out the following posts:

“Memo to GOP Leadership – Please do your homework to become more relevant” written on November 23, 2012

“The GOP Needs to Find Its Way Out of the Abyss” written on September 26, 2012

“The Big Hairy Audacious Lies” written on July 22, 2012

“What Kind of Tea is the Tea Party Drinking” written on May 19, 2012.

As a former Republican, I want the party to return to reasonable governance. Our country and states need this. As disappointed as I am with Congress, I am totally disappointed and disillusioned by the State of North Carolina GOP led legislature who is rolling out the mission of the fossil fuel industry before our very eyes. It is highly discouraging to see a state who is innovative and leading on alternative energy see threats to the enabling laws and mind-boggling legislation around moving forward with fracking consideration, cutting down trees for electronic billboards and to dismiss a scientific report on rising sea levels similar to what as adopted in other states. It is highly disappointing to see a state refuse to accept the Medicaid expansion to help 550,000 needy residents without healthcare because they want to make a statement against Obamacare, ironically, a largely Republican idea.

What is happening in NC shows the stripes of the party which seems to care less about people and the environment. We must expand healthcare coverage to help those without it. And, we must address man-influenced global warming. These were two keys of my post on The Big Hairy Audacious Lies. One of the other keys related to the unbelievable support for the gun lobbyists and industry. To me, it is quite hypocritical to say you support kids and then tolerate the means to have more of them killed. This is not a mass shooting issue, it is an every day 16-year-old killing a 13-year-old kind of issue. This blind support for guns without reasonable restrictions is almost criminal, in my mind.

Yet, I wanted to close with a final key which is fiscal responsibility. The post I wrote in May about the Tea Party is telling. You cannot be the party of fiscal responsibility when you take a key lever off the table to solve the problem, citing an ideology based on fallacious arguments. We cannot solve our budget deficit and debt crisis problems without increasing taxes as well as cutting expenses. We have to do both and that was the conclusion of the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Commission.

I cited a study of “Taxes as a percent of GDP” conducted by the Paris based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is a well-respected organization including 34 countries. The numbers I cited have been updated for 2010. The  numbers show the US Taxes/ GDP ratio in 2010 to be 24.8% which compares to the unweighted average of all 34 countries of 33.8%. The US is 9% less than the average and remains near the bottom of the 34 countries. When we were last balanced in 2001(before the Bush Tax cuts), the US ratio was 28.8% and the unweighted average of 34 countries was 35.5%. A conclusion that can be drawn from this is we do have room and the need to increase tax revenue to help us pay for things. So, to say we are taxed enough already does not seem to be a fair statement.

The party needs to talk with those outside the party to understand why their message is off mark. The CPAC meeting is prima facie evidence that at least this portion of the party is not prepared to do that. I did not address the social issues, as they could take up their own post, but many find this party to not be on the side of the Angels on many issues. GOP Senator Rob Portman’s announcement in favor of gay marriage yesterday actually stole some of the CPAC thunder. Based on the CPAC posturing, it was more newsworthy. Getting back to my November post, if the GOP wants to be relevant again, they need to do their homework. And, that homework should start with those who left the party. It apparently cannot begin with the CPAC, who won’t read the tea leaves. Plus, you might want to align yourself with your better candidate – he was not in the room at the CPAC. He was the guy in New Jersey trying to solve real problems.

4 thoughts on “This portion of the GOP is not reading the tea leaves

  1. My definition for the moderate Republican of GOP? Get Out, Pronto!

    CPAC just proved how out of touch the Republicans are with the average American, or even any American capable of rational thought. The list of speakers included:

    Sarah Palin, who never read a newspaper, and never let a fact get in the way of one of her pointless platitudes.

    Allen West, disturbed, one-term representative who counted at least 81 fellow members of congress who are card-carrying communists.

    Mittens Romney, who never meant what he said, and never said what he meant.

    Rick Santorum, an almost certifiable far right, lets take over the world and give it back to white men christian, whose Jesus is certainly not anyone I would recognize.

    Marco Rubio, who seems destined to fill Mittens’ shoes as the guy who will say or do anything to get elected.

    Donald Trump, buffoon in chief, upset because his offer to build a $100 million ballroom in the White House was ignored (like he should be).

    These are the leaders of the Republican Party, the key to the future?

    And more importantly, those republicans who are both moderate, and electible, and who were excluded, as you noted.

    ‘There are none so blind, as those who will not see,” the republican party to a “T”.

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