Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Is the GOP Well and Truly Broken?


Given the sorry state of GOP politicians in opinion polls (and around the blogosphere, for that matter) and the upcoming midterm Senate and House elections, questioning the health of the party and the tack party leadership has chosen remains rather pertinent. Aware of possible difficulties in the upcoming elections, Senate Republicans have leaked some of their agenda, focusing on issues important mostly to religious conservatives.

From CNN.com:

Between now and the November elections, Republicans are penciling in plans to take action on social issues important to religious conservatives, the foundation of the GOP base, as they defend their congressional majority.

Religious conservatives the foundation of the GOP? Let's not forget that a sizeable portion of GOP members are rather libertarian in nature, myself included. The GOP in most of the latter half of the Twentieth Century was much more libertarian, both economically and socially, than any "core" group of current religious conservatives. What will pandering to social conservatives do to placate the economic and social libertarians?

The House has approved an amendment to the Constitution to outlaw flag burning and passed a bill to crack down on the practice of minors' crossing state lines for abortions to evade legal limits in their own states.

Oh, spectacular. Rather than just passing an amendment to ban flag burning, let's just rip up the whole damn 1st Amendment while you're at it. Same thing, really.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, and a possible presidential candidate in 2008, announced early this year that the Senate would consider those and the anti-gay marriage amendment that has failed in both chambers despite Bush's endorsement.

Great, let's waste more time, money and energy on worthless religious arguments over gay marriage. This ranks right up there with trying to outlaw abortion.

The bill to curb abortions among minors has long been on Frist's list of legislative priorities. Legislation imposing penalties on anyone who helps a minor cross state lines to obtain an abortion won easy passage in the House last year.

Between South Dakota completely outlawing abortion and attempting to curb abortion rights elsewhere, the GOP more or less guarantees that centrist Democrats will avoid voting for Republican candidates. Great election strategy, guys.

And that, as far as the CNN article goes, is it. Nothing about economic plans, taxation, energy, civil rights, government spending...just the same old pandering to social conservatives. Where's the great plan for the future of the country? What happened to, among other things, the ideals of the Contract With America? Where's the damn vision?

So, in the upcoming elections, I can vote for:

A) The Democrats, a party that shares little with me ideologically
B) The Republicans, a party that only claims to share ideological ties with me
C) A third party, which probably has almost zero chance of getting elected.

If only the damn Libertarian Party would get with the program and seize the opportunity for change. But, no, that's not likely to happen any time soon.

What would I like to see from GOP candidates and incumbents? Simple:

1. Fiscal sanity; reign in the damn deficit and cut useless pork
2. A deep respect for the Constitution and the rights it protects, especially free and unfettered speech
3. A true commitment to lobbying reform
4. An end to the war on science and education
5. An effective energy policy that will promote exploration of oil resources and oil alternatives
6. A firm commitment to dealing with impending spending issues, such as social security, Medicare, that damn prescription drug program, etc.

Somehow I don't think the odds on those issues appearing as GOP campaign planks are very high. Hell, there are better odds on Elvis returning to Vegas alive, slim, and ready to sing.

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