The GOP is on a dangerous path

By Joey R Weedon | Related entries in News

As this is my first post here at Donklephant, I should start with a brief introduction. I’m an ‘Illinois Republican’ who has spent the last decade living and working on the fringes of politics in Washington, DC. I previously wrote at ‘The Yellow Line’ with Alan Stewart Carl and am excited to re-join him and the other contributors here at Donklephant.

So, as a self-described, ‘Illinois Republican’ my first post is about the party that is searching to find a new identity. And, one, that in this process, is pushing me further and further from the party that I have worked for and supported.

Over the past few weeks, I’m sure you’ve read about the state of the Republican Party. Party Chairman Michael Steele has pledged to move forward and stop talking about the past. Steele believes the party has compromised its core principles and needs to reestablish itself as a truly conservative party. In his efforts to be inclusive and grow the party, he has gone as far as criticizing those who are casting doubt on former Mass. Governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s conservative credentials – those who are saying that the Republican base rejected Romney because “it had issues with Mormonism” and was unsure of Romney’s commitment to opposing to abortion rights. This division clearly paints a vision of a party that is intolerant and exclusionary. And, while I don’t agree with all Michael Steele is attempting to do with the party (in fact, even he’s far from where I’d like to see the party go), his efforts are being undermined and I wouldn’t expect Steele to last much longer as party chairman, unfortunately, he is not alone in his efforts to remake the GOP.

Vice President Cheney – who is surprisingly popular among Republicans, receiving favorable ratings from 66% of Republicans in a recent CNN poll – has launched round after round of attacks on the Obama Administration for undermining efforts to win the War on Terror. If you read last week’s speech to the American Enterprise Institute, it’s clear that the Vice President’s continues to believe that the Administration was justified in all aspects of its persecution of the War on Terror. If you combine this with the subsequent comments Cheney has made about the policies of the Obama administration, his vision for the future of the GOP becomes very clear. And, unfortunately, it’s a vision that places national security and conservative social policies above all else.

The extent of this effort t remake the party is alarming. Cheney and Rush Limbaugh, who continues to pontificate in his ongoing crusade to move the party further to the right, have gone as far as trying to kick former Secretary of State Colin Powell out of the party

“The version of the party that he’s waiting to emerge is not the Reagan wing of the party. Does Powell have the pulse of the Republican Party, folks? He’s for more spending. He’s for higher taxes. He’s against raising the social issues. He’s for affirmative action. He’s for amnesty for illegals. He endorsed Obama.

“And now there’s an agenda — an emerging agenda — that he’s waiting for for the Republican Party? The only thing emerging here is Colin Powell’s ego. Colin Powell represents the stale, the old, the worn-out GOP that never won anything. The party of Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller, Bill Scranton, Arnold Schwarzenegger and those types of people. Has anybody heard Colin Powell say a single word against Obama’s radicalism — or Pelosi or Reid, for that matter? Maybe he has but his fawning media sure hasn’t reported if he has said it.”

I could add names like Bob Michel, Jim Edgar, and Ray LaHood from my days in Illinois to this list. Or, I could even add the names of two of the party’s heroes – Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. Lincoln was a strong unionist and promoted equal rights for all. Roosevelt busted the trusts and began the environmental movement. I would find it hard to believe that either would be welcomed into today’s GOP.

The GOP was once a party of change and vision. Unfortunately, it’s lost its way. And, it’s going down a very dangerous path.


This entry was posted on Thursday, May 28th, 2009 and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

11 Responses to “The GOP is on a dangerous path”

  1. Simon Says:

    Steele has pledged to move forward and stop talking about the past. Steele believes the party has compromised its core principles and needs to reestablish itself as a truly conservative party. In his efforts, he has gone as far as stating casting doubt on former Mass. Governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s conservative credentials, saying that the Republican base rejected Romney because “it had issues with Mormonism” and was unsure of Romney’s commitment to opposing to abortion rights. This clearly paints a vision of a party that is intolerant and exclusionary. And, while I wouldn’t expect Steele to last much longer as party chairman, unfortunately, he is not alone in his efforts to remake the GOP.

    Perhaps it is merely improvident wording, but this paragraph gives the impression that you’re criticizing Steele for furthering a trend towards an exclusionary party identity, for sympathizing with the base. I thought, however, that Steele made those comments in criticizing the base. One might think that if you criticize the GOP to the extent it is heading down an exclusionary road, since Steele is pointing in the other direction, you would hope to see him stay, yet the sense of “while I wouldn’t expect Steele to last much longer as party chairman, unfortunately, he is not alone in his efforts to remake the GOP” is quite the opposite.

    Nor is it clear why you sound so dubious about Steele’s view–if indeed it is–that “the party has compromised its core principles and needs to reestablish itself as a truly conservative party.” Given that most of the leadership’s most ruinous mistakes of the Bush era (at least those that can be classified in a political taxonomy; incompetence is apolitical) were the result of deviating from its core principles in the direction of liberalism (the Iraq war, whatever its merits, was a page torn straight from the Woodrow Wilson playbook, and much of the last administration’s domestic policy would have warmed Lyndon Johnson’s grave – Medicare Part D, NCLB, sarbox, bailouts, etc), the analysis has an intuitive appeal. Why is it erroneous, would you say?

  2. Chris Says:

    “Vice President Cheney – who is surprisingly popular among Republicans, receiving favorable ratings from 66% of Republicans in a recent CNN poll”

    And that right there sums up the problems with the republican party.

  3. Bubbaquimby Says:

    Not that I disagree with this post but where has Cheney been talking about social issues? I mean I get that he regards national security above all else but I hardly hear him talk about the other two poles.

    Parties change overtime, Andrew Jackson and Truman probably wouldn’t be welcomed in their parties today either.

    Both sides are focusing too much on the past to go to the future. The Rush wing is focusing too much on Reagan and what he did or was perceived to do and the reform wing is focusing too much on past successes of moderate or non-movement conservatives.

    The Dems did this for a long time and were in the wilderness for years. The came back due to two things 1) GOP incompetence 2) have an overall principle even if they have members that disagree with some of those overall principles.

  4. kranky kritter Says:

    In his efforts, he has gone as far as stating casting doubt on former Mass. Governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s conservative credentials, saying that the Republican base rejected Romney because “it had issues with Mormonism” and was unsure of Romney’s commitment to opposing to abortion rights. This clearly paints a vision of a party that is intolerant and exclusionary. And, while I wouldn’t expect Steele to last much longer as party chairman, unfortunately, he is not alone in his efforts to remake the GOP.

    It is my impression that Steele was not casting doubt on Romney, but on those who chose not to support him. The GOP has an ongoing problem with receiving at best lukewarm support from folks who style themselves as hardcore conservatives.[So do democrats, with hardcore liberals. Just ask Al Gore about Ralph Nader.]

    Here’s the thing. If you choose to be part of one of the political parties, you have to eat from the party’s menu. The grown-ups in the GOP get this. That’s why they don’t support the less viable fringe candidates that the hardcores always fall in love with. The hardcores were very quick to disavow John McCain. But they played a very big role in the dynamic which led to his nomination by failing to support more conservative options who still had mainstream appeal, like Romney.

    None of the hardcores wants to acknowledge this. They prefer the petulant, “it’s my ball and if I don’t get my way I’m going home with it” game. I expect it to take several election cycles for the hardcores to get tired of their party getting hammered to be willing to look more favorably on viable candidates.

  5. wj Says:

    It is, unfortunately, not new that people like Lincoln and Roosevelt (and Eisenhower) would not be welcome in today’s Republican Party. What is (relatively) new, is that people like Reagan would be unwelcome as well. Yes, there are constant loud voices in praise of Reagan . . . but NOT in praise of what Reagan actually did while in government. And that right there say a great deal about the current sad state of our party.

  6. ExiledIndependent Says:

    And remember that Democrat JFK radically restricted the number of immigrants into the US. Certainly wouldn’t be a welcome point of view in the modern version of the party.

    Welcome aboard, Joey. Your POV certainly puts you among friends. Since you’re a self-professed Republican, what does “the right” mean to you? What does conservatism mean? What should the Republican party stand for? Would love to get a sense of the context of your political views.

    Happy blogging!

  7. Joey R Weedon Says:

    Bubbaquimby – Comments from Cheney on social policy pop in and out of the coverage of his speeches – though he’s focused almost exclusively on defense/terror and it’s typically in the context of protecting our country that he tramples on civil rights and liberty. In many ways, I’m lumping his conservative defense policies with Rush’s calls for more conservative social policies – in many ways, that may not be fair – but due to their common attacks on Sec. Powell I’ve taken the liberty.

    Thanks, ExiledIndependent. I’ll get to my ‘vision’ for the GOP and all politics later this weekend if all goes as planned.

  8. Tully Says:

    It is, unfortunately, not new that people like Lincoln and Roosevelt (and Eisenhower) would not be welcome in today’s Republican Party.

    How far would Lincoln’s contemporary Andrew Johnson get as a Democrat today? Reaching back for such historical comparisons is a major stretch.

    Yes, there are constant loud voices in praise of Reagan . . . but NOT in praise of what Reagan actually did while in government.

    Amen. Selective memory.

  9. 100fools.com » Blog Archive Says:

    [...] my first post here at Donklephant last night, I wrote about how the GOP has lost its way – effectively [...]

  10. Joey R Weedon Says:

    Tully -
    It is true that the parties have shifted positions on many major issues – some argue they’ve essentially swapped places on the political spectrum. However, I’m only pulling historical figures who were, as recently as the 2008 presidential election, held up by the Republican Party leadership as those embodying the core principles of the party and questioning whether or not they’d actually be embraced by today’s GOP.

    Reagan is a slightly different story from Roosevelt and Lincoln. First, historically speaking not much time has passed since his presidency and many of those who are in power today (or at least 2 years ago) also served during his presidency. This makes it much harder to put his policies into perspective and judge them independently. Secondly, he is given credit for the establishment of an entire philosophy of government – which bears his name and reflects his rhetoric but doesn’t necessarily resemble the policies he promoted while in the WH. Again, making it more difficult to separate his administration’s policies from political rhetoric.

  11. Donklephant » Blog Archive » The GOP is on a dangerous path: Part 2 Says:

    […] my first post here at Donklephant last night, I wrote about how the GOP has lost its way – effectively […]

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