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Friday, May 16, 2008

A Pre-Mortem Look at the GOP

By: Carlton Huffman

The third congressional special election loss for the GOP this past Tuesday has resounded like a political earthquake on Capitol Hill. When a district in Mississippi that went for President Bush by 65% is lost by 8 points the Republicans in DC have finally pushed the panic button. The irony is that the party didn’t have to be in this position, all it would have taken was to listen to just one sitting on the evening news or one listen to talk radio. Instead like the lookout on the Titanic, they have just spotted the iceberg and it’s far too late to turn the ship.
It is amazing how quick political fortunes can turn in a few years. Four years ago President Bush won reelection, Republicans expanded their majority in Congress, and gas was only $1.75 a gallon. Now the party of Reagan is hanging on by a thread just hoping to survive past Election Night this November. It would be tempting for the party to lay the blame on the man who will be out of power on January 20, 2009. Yet the blame rests not on George Bush alone, but on the party that enabled him, this writer included. Without popular support George Bush couldn’t have gone into Iraq, spent the country into a deficit, and signed every free trade deal he could get his hands on. Instead of demanding a change in course, the entire party attached its fortunes to those of President Bush and trusted in his judgment to lead the country
As a result of the party’s investment of trust we have seen the GOP brand sink to its lowest state since Watergate in 1974. It would be a blessing if the only transgression were a burglary and a subsequent cover up. Instead the list goes from an unpopular war to a sinking economy in addition to a party plagued by broken promises and betrayed principles. No longer when you say sex scandal to voters think of Bill Clinton but instead they think of David Vitter, Mark Foley, and Larry Craig among others. 2006 was no aberration but a vote of no confidence in Republican leadership for the country. Instead of changing its ways the party circled the wagons and chose to blame every congressional woe on Nancy Pelosi. Meanwhile gas and food prices spiraled up, the value of the dollar keeps going down, and confidence in government has sunk to it’s lowest in polling history.
I hope that Republican readers won’t take away from this writing a feeling of impending doom or anger at yours truly. The anger should instead be directed at the national party in DC who has substituted slogans for action and clings to the mantle of Reagan while betraying everything he ever stood for. It may be too late to save the Republican Party in 2008 from the chickens coming home to roost for the actions of the last eight years. It is however never too late to prepare for the future by demanding a change in the party’s attitude. A return to the basic principles of limited government, economic nationalism which puts America first, and the values passed down to us from Scripture must be the foundation for the party’s long term survival. If not then our party will go the way of the Whigs and the Know Nothings in the history of those past doomed parties left behind in our nation’s journey.

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