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October 17, 2015


The answer – A political party is a party when its members embrace a common theme for governing.

Given such definition, the Republican Party of today is not a political party but is rather a loose grouping of leaderless people (powered by libertarian zillionaires with Gilded Age economic mindsets) who cannot agree with one another on how to divide the spoils of power that come with success in elections. That “party” is currently asking the American people to vote for candidates of a “party” to govern America when their members cannot govern themselves. Their lack of cohesion is glaring as their candidates not only name-call and insult candidates of the other party but name-call and insult their own candidates in plain view of the American voters as well.

The Republican Party today is composed of disparate elements which range from moderate views to libertarianism and even nihilism. Political parties typically advertise that they are the parties of “the big tent,” suggesting that such parties can accommodate varying views within their ranks and that all are welcome. I submit that that “come-on” has its limitations as shown by history.

The Whig Party (one of whose members was Abraham Lincoln) could not survive the internal discord of its members; its leaders could not agree on the great issues of the day, and the party failed in 1854. Out of the ashes of the Whig Party arose the Republican Party, a then relatively unified and liberal political party and one that elected Abraham Lincoln president only six years after its founding.

The Whig Party had run out of both ideas and people to implement them and had nothing to offer the voters of that day, just as the Republican Party of today has run out of ideas and people to implement them and are offering today’s voters name-calling and thinly disguised corporate takeover in place of substantive efforts to confront today’s problems, problems like wage inequality, a disintegrating middle class and a host of other problems desperately in need of solution.  Today’s Republican Party is failing from within just as its predecessor Whig Party failed from within, and though the issues then and those now up for solution are different, some can be identified as similar (e.g., slavery then and wage inequality now).

As I have blogged before, the Republican Party of today is mired in similar straits. Its congressional members and presidential candidates eschew discussion of the real issues confronting America, offer nothing to voters and instead engage in name-calling with a view toward ruling rather than governing. Fueled by big money as the result of inane holdings by an ideological judiciary and a 2010 gerrymandering outrage, among other things, its membership has outgrown its “tent” and could well be en route to the fate of the Whigs since there exists no common theme for governing in that party today.

The Republican House cannot even select a Speaker for the House they dominate because of their internal political fights between conservatives and radical right wingers. I heard one such conservative Republican House member on television this morning opine that there will not be enough votes to elect a Speaker without Democratic help, so I have a suggestion: Elect Nancy Pelosi. She has often pointed out when she was Speaker that the Speaker represents ALL House members and not just those in the party he or she belongs to. What a refreshing show of responsibility to the institution that today’s Republicans are ignoring, and at their peril, i.e., a trip to Whigdom!

Radical right wingers in the Republican Party do not seem to understand that power has its limitations in a democracy. Nancy Pelosi as Speaker is really not so far out as it may seem. Mainstream Republicans could work with her better than they can with the radical elements of their own party, and would still enjoy their majority status in matters of committee seniority, hearings, and the like. Pelosi would be largely a ceremonial gavel-holder, but with the radical element of the Republican Party thus neutered, perhaps Republicans and Democrats could compromise on some of the issues now held hostage by the radical right wing and finally get something done. The American people are rightly sick and tired of manufactured crises, a paralyzed Congress, government shutdowns, pandering to zillionaires with our tax money etc.

So does the Republican Party have a common theme for governing these days? Plainly they do not. Are we the people to be deprived of responsible government because of political cat fights within a political party? Apparently, and that should not be tolerated by an informed electorate. We deserve better – much better from those who claim to be representing us.

The Republican Party, if it survives its potentially self-inflicted demise into Whigdom, should have to pay a price for ignoring the will of the American people. Those who were elected to represent their constituencies should be held to account for doing nothing for their constituencies while playing out their trickle down and other such fantasies and name-calling and defaming members of BOTH parties while doing nothing to solve the substantive issues of the day on behalf of those they purport to represent.

I personally intend to hold them to account in November, 2016. Join me.   GERALD    E


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