It’s not quite as complicated as people think; however the cure is desperately difficult!
by Charlie Leck
The Republican Party (GOP), cleansed of its most significant problem, would still be the party of power in America and would, at most times, control both houses of Congress and the White House. Now, that doesn’t make me, as a loyal Democrat, very happy, but it’s the truth.
Right now, however, the GOP has hanging over it an awesome and awful cloud that interferes with the gears that operate the mechanism. It’s a three letter word that begins with G and ends with a letter than rhymes with P. The G-O-P is being mucked up by G-O-D. The party’s problem is as simple and as overwhelming as that.
A quack religious attitude dominates among a significant minority contingent within the GOP. The Party big-wigs know it. They also know they could identify and throw out the quacks; however, giving up those votes is something very difficult to do. A number of the level-headed, sensible people in the GOP wonder if getting rid of GOD wouldn’t be the beginning of a strong third party in America that would put the Democrats in the driver’s seat for a long, long time.
That’s the conundrum with which the GOP is struggling today in regard to the religious whackos who have invaded their party. They can’t live with them and they can’t live without them.
There’s another element at work here that is also hurting the GOP. As long as the Republican Party holds fast to these strange religious groups within the party, the more quickly it chases the more standard religious people from the party. I know of dozens of ordinary people who’ve moved out of the GOP because they felt they were being pushed by the religious types, symbolized by Sarah Palin’s eccentric leanings, to accept positions with which they couldn’t possibly agree.
It would be sad if this strangle-hold that the religious right has on the GOP causes the death of real conservatism; for the real conservative movement brings honest dialogue to debates with the liberal side of the aisle. Instead, these debates deteriorate into shouting matches between liberal elements and empty-headed religious freaks.
And Jewish conservatives are virtually thrashed out of the GOP by those who claim they have the only real way to God. In this past election, for example, there were many thoughtful Jews who struggled with voting for Barack Obama. The alternative, however, left them with a bunch of screaming meemies who demanded that everyone be reborn to God through Jesus.
Someone seems to have forgotten that we are a very diverse nation and that we are no longer overwhelmingly white and Christian.
Thoughtful independents around the country, like Minnesota’s Dean Barkley, are speculating about the weakening of the GOP and they see some hope for the growth of the Minnesota Independence Party as a result. Barkley, by the way, was extraordinarily strong in the recent Senate campaign and he did himself proud. My wife and I thought long and hard about voting for him and, in the end, did not because we felt he couldn’t be elected.
It was interesting to watch the Democrats over the last four years, under the leadership of Howard Dean, as they retooled and redefined themselves. If the GOP can’t do this over the next four years, there is a good chance that will see the birth of a new, totally different, new conservative party in America. I hope so. American politics needs a strong conservative political party. And, a party of Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians will be a non-factor.
A friend of mine, who proof-read this blog for me, pointed me to a column of similar sentiment written by Kathleen Parker in last Wednesday’s Washington Post. You might like to take a look at it. I think she’d concur with what I’ve written here:
“…the future of the GOP looks dim and dimmer if it stays the present course. Either the Republican Party needs a new base – or the nation may need a new party.” [Kathleen Parker]