Monday, August 6, 2007

What Is Wrong With The Republican Party

Now, if you notice, I did not end the title with a question mark. Rather, I am going to tell you what the GOP is doing wrong. This post may get a little long (though it will be a lot shorter than if I were to tell you what is wrong with the Democratic Party).

The Republican Party was established in the early 1850's as a third political party (the Democrats and Whigs were the two-party system at the time). The party was established by anti-slavery activists and people that believed the government should give free land to people willing to settle out west. In it's first presidential election, the GOP (Grand Old Party) managed to get 33% of the vote ... In it's second attempt in 1860, the first Republican was elected President ... his name ... Abraham Lincoln.

So, how did the GOP get from being the party of Lincoln to the party of Bush? Seems almost unbelievable that it went from a party that believed in freedom for all men to a party where the presidential candidates won't even show up to speak at the NAACP annual convention. What were they afraid of? Tom Tancredo was the only Republican to address the convention, and guess what ... he was politely received. He was not tarred and feathered for being a Republican, and he probably scored some points, if not some votes for bothering to show up.

The problems with the GOP begin with the base. The fundamentalist Christian Coalition has hi-jacked the party to the extent that pro-choice candidates like Mitt Romney feel they have to change their stance to get elected. On this point, kudos should be given to Rudy Giuliani for not sacrificing his beliefs for political gain. I understand that to this group, one of the most important things is protecting the life of innocent unborn children, but this, while important, is only one of the things that the President has to deal with.

The NRA is another big pain in the GOP butt. Convincing me that we need machine guns for personal protection and sport hunting is never going to happen. We have the 2nd amendment, and we are going to keep our rights to own handguns and rifles ... but we do not live in Baghdad and don't need military-style assault weapons to protect ourselves (we do after all have some of the finest police officers in the world working in our cities).

Lobbyists ... When special interests give things to our Representatives, even if it does not influence any decisions ... the appearance of impropriety is as damning to the politician as the impropriety itself would be. We as a nation must demand that lobbying in Washington DC (and in State Houses across the nation) be severely limited.

Pollsters ... How often have we seen our politicians change their positions every time a new poll comes out. Republicans have lost the courage of their convictions. Democrats lost this a long time ago ... and for a while it was a Republican strength. Even though many people didn't agree with Ronald Reagan, most could admire him as a man and a leader ... the GOP needs to get this back.

Pork ... For years the Democratic controlled Congress was accused (and rightly so) by the GOP for loading spending bills with Pork-Barrel Projects to benefit their districts. When the Republicans took over Congress ... they proved that they could out pork the Democrats and opened themselves to accusations that these fiscal conservatives (in word) were two-faced when it came to the actual deed. These Republicans need to remember that they are playing with the people's money, and spend wisely and account for every dime ... just as if it were their own money.

Pride ... we all know the old saying, "pride goeth before the fall". Well, the GOP has fallen and the causes are pride and arrogance. No member of the Republican Party displays these traits like our President. This is what led him to stick with a failed plan in Iraq for 2 years and this is what leads the Republican Party to write-off entire segments of the population, leaving them to the Democrats. Having pride in your vision and your ability to lead is fine, it is when that pride interferes with your ability to sell your vision to others, or a feeling that you know better than others that it becomes one of the deadly sins.

Republicans, if you do not get your act together and go back to your roots, another upstart party is going to take your place and you will go the way of the Whigs in 1860.

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Anonymous said...


There are some serious issues with the GOP [as listed in your post], but the election is for the GOP to lose.

The rising of a third party is extremely difficult, there is way too much money involve, and yes, money can buy elections.

On a personal note, I had it with the MSW [Morally Superior Wackos].

Already then, have a fine EL PASO -JUAREZ evening !!!

Blancodeviosa said...

i can see where the dems and reps both have their problems but what burns me up the most is their treatment of the poor and disabled. it's all about family issues but then it turns to everyman for themselves..

lime said...

personally, i'd be happy if the democrats and the republicans went the way of the whigs. both of them are full of people who only hold to the party line. both of them are corrupt. neither of them cares as a whole about serving the american people, only gaining and maintaining power. it's why even though i vote every novemeber i absolutely refuse to declare a party.

Paul Champagne said...

tlrb ... the thing that I hate is that the GOP used to be my party ... and now it's been hi-jacked.

blanco ... it's all about politics ... gaining power, then keeping it. Politicians no longer care about the people they were elected to represent.

lime ... it is my wish that a new party would rise up (maybe called the middle of the road party).

Jenny! said...

What bothers me is people who vote party lines or die kind of thing! I align myself with the *** but I wouldn't vote that way just because...i vote for the candidate. I find that voting party lines is extremely ignorant! Sorry, off topic...just on my mind!

Anonymous said...


Things are different now. Voters need to do their homework and pick the best candidate regardless of party affiliation.

Here is an idea: Add the NOTA [none of the above] option to every position on the ballot.

Have a Texas Size evening.

MONA said...

at least you have a two party system. Our is a fake democracy with so many parties and independent candidates,who fight elections either to just cut the rival votes or to horsetrade themselves to support the ruling party.

eastcoastlife said...

Yeah, at least you can vote for your party. In Singapore, for the past 40 years, we are ruled by just one party. And it's not likely to change for the next decade.

Our Elections every 5 years are just a show. With half of the constituencies having walk-overs.

We have a clean government but it is so powerful that it just shoves policies down our throat.

Keshi said...

2 parties is way better than a 100 greedy it is in Sri Lanka!


David said...

I am getting so sick of the Republicans (yes I am one and go Mitt!) that I am all for the rise of a new party! Want to start one for us?

buffalodickdy said...

I've started to wonder what happened to the Constitution and The Bill Of Rights under Bush. I've been following info on Ron Paul, an obscure candidate who is running as a Republican, but has a solid voting record and espouses a return to the U.S. Constitution.

Mike M said...

Another post I agree with. Get out of my head Paul!!

In_spired said...

I've never been one to be politically involved...just one to take care of my home, my family, and my teaching career. I was always naive and idealistic enough to believe that "my party"(which was the Republican party) was going to take care of me and my family. Well, the condition of our political parties is indicative of what naivity and idealism will get you...which is NOTHING!

I am sickened and fearful of what our young generations will face. I regret my lack of involvement in the political process of the past...not that it would have made that much difference but maybe I would feel better about myself for trying.

Sarah said...

Seems like you could replace democrat for republican in just about every instance and still be right on.

I am not sure thought that another party would fix it? Wouldn't it become as prideful and distant as our current ones?? I think we have to address things like education if we want to fix a system in trouble.

it is not a democracy when the people are uninformed!

In_spired said...

addressed to Sarah:

I don't know you, but I believe you've got the right idea when you say the answer could be in the education of the people. People have to be informed before getting involved. On the other hand, involvement is a choice one has to make, informed or not.

I stand to be corrected, but I don't think the course which was called "Civics" a few years ago, is currently taught in our high schools. If it is, it's offered as an elective and how many teen agers will 'elect' to take a civics course?

Paul Champagne said...

jenny ... I hear you, I live in the most Democratic town in Texas. 80% of the electorate declare themselves as Democrats and 57% of these vote a straight ticket. We actually re-elected a State Senator last year that ran on raising taxes and implementing a State Income Tax. When I asked some of my Democratic friends why they voted for him the answer was, "Because he's a Democrat and besides, the Republicans in the State House will never let a State Income Tax pass". My head is still spinning.

tlrb ... none of the above would only work if people actually came out and voted. Alas, there are fewer voters every year.

mona ... sorry you feel that way, but India's democracy though a bit corrupt ... is not a fake democracy. The votes are still counted and the one that has the most votes wins. Sure there are plenty of tricks played and people will cheat if they can, but it is better than the totalatarian regimes half the people in the world are living under.

eastcoastlife ... a one party system is not a democracy. Is there nothing that the people can do to change it?

Keshi ... Sri Lanka is a mess. But the biggest problem that they have is the fighting between the Hindus and Buddists. If that could be solved, that country could be a paradice. Don't think it is not possible. They said that the Catholics and Protestants would never stop fighting in Northern Ireland and look at it now.

david ... sorry, can't start a political party ... there are more skeletons in my closet than in Gomez Adams' closet. Then again maybe in this new party, the politicians could admit making youthful mistakes and go about the people's business ... nah, not going to happen.

inspired ... actually, I don't want my political party to take care of me and my family. I want them to defend the country, take care of infrastructure, set down the law of the land and otherwise stay out of my business. I believe less is more, but both parties keep making government bigger and bigger.

buffalo ... Ron Paul is actually a Libertarian in everything but name. Now, there are parts of the Libertarian cause that I embrase to death, but I have issues with protectionism, legalizing drugs and isolationism.

mike ... I would love to get out of your head ... it's just that I've gotten lost (and it's really dark in here).

Sarah ... yes and no on the interchangability of the parties. The prime motivator of both of these parties is getting, then keeping power ... so sometimes they do indeed look the same, and arrogance is easy to find in DC. But to show the differences in the parties, let's look at a subject near and dear to your heart ... education.

We will take the Detroit School System for an example and under "No Child Left Behind", most of the schools are failing. Under Republicans, the parents of children in failing schools would be issued vouchers to attend better schools ... under Democrats, we would pour millions of additional dollars into these failing schools. The major reason for the difference is the Teachers Union. The Union hates school vouchers because the teachers at private schools for the most part are not union members. The Republicans take great delight in anything that will piss off the teacher's union because they pour money into the Democratic campaign coffers. The Democrats on the other hand are beholden to the unions and will fight school vouchers till the end. So, what gets done? Nothing ... the schools are still failing, and who suffers ... the kids (and eventually the nation ... but politicos don't look that far into the future).

Here is what is different ... Republicans will not fight very hard over Detroit because they know that 90% of that city will vote Democratic and they don't feel it is worth the effort. Democrats won't fight very hard over Detroit because they know that no matter what, the votes of Detroit are secure.

The similarity between the partys ... Detroit is screwed either way.

David said...

To sarah and Paul, as far as education goes...people have to choose to become educated. Like it or not, the possibility is there. Any kid and parent who wants their kid to get educated in America can...yes I have taught under the worst I can personally attest to this. It is a choice. Do you wish to be educated? I have taught in communities where all too many residents have decided not to.

Am I the only one to notice that the majority of horribly run schools are in Democrat controlled areas? Or am I wrong?

Paul Champagne said...

david ... in a way, you have made my point with your last statement. Most of the horribly run schools are in the inner city. Democrats are very strong in the inner city, so where is the impetus to improve. If those schools were in areas that were politically toss-ups, you can bet that both parties would be bending backwards to make improvements. As for people having to choose to be educated ... I have been to many schools, from the high end of NYU, University of Maryland, Hofstra and Adelphi to little community colleges like Pierce college, Big Bend Community College, Central Texas College and City College of Chicago. Some of the courses I took with the little guys were more challenging than the named schools offered. But in each of these classes ... I learned as much as I could. I was educated in the much maligned NYC public school system. This is a school system famous for turning out graduates that can't read or write ... I made the most of it and at least came out semi-literate.

Sarah said...

I woudl suggest that inner city schools struggle to educate their students for reasons much bigger than large groupings of Democrats. Funding I would say is one major issue (and no I do not believe that busing students to other schools fixes much of anything). The other is that when living in conditions where you fear for your life and have no one to look up to who "pulled themselves up by their bootstraps" and see no evidence in your life that education actually helps anything, it must be hard to make the decision to learn.

I agree learning is a choice, but damn do we make it hard for young people to make it.

What I want from politicians is to stop trying to fix schools, since they do not know how and start working on things like a fair tax system so that the poor do not keep getting poorer, initiatives and aide for groups that do know how to address issues of poverty and hunger and crime.

Possibly thinking about someone other than themsleves and deferring to people who actually know that they are talking about would be a nice touch!

Tapline said...

Paul, This was an excellent post. I enjoyed reading the variety of comments you received, especially the ones on education. Fist of from my neck of the woods....Our Grand old Party is no longer so grand......They don't use the media to their advantage and they definately do not cirle the camp when the enemy approaches. Maybe, if they started thinking about their constituents more instead of themselves we would get somewhere, that's to start, they do not have a united front, for some reason they don't seem a cohesive force. As far as education is concerned, I think it probably wouldnt hurt to have ordinary people look at some of the learning tools and books that the teachers of today are indoctrinating our youth with today. It's nausiating! I asked one such educator about the teaching of History in todays grammar schools. She said." We do not have time along with all the other things we have to teach...Something is smelling in Denmark!!! nough said:::stay well

Paul Champagne said...

sarah ... a fair tax system? As it is, the folks living below the poverty line don't pay federal income taxes ... they in fact get some of the thousands of tax dollars that I pay, back in the form of the earned income credit. This is something that I don't really mind, since I took advantage of the EIC when I was younger and just starting a family ... so I consider it pay-back. If the rich are taxed at 35% of their earnings, and I am taxed at 25%, and the poor are taxed at 0% ... You are right, that is not fair. But to tax everyone at 25% (including the poor) just doesn't seem right to me.

No positive role models ... of course there are. It's just that the role models don't draw attention to themselves. There are many people who are shining examples of what education can do for you, I will name just one. Oprah Gail Winfrey went from living in the slums of Milwaukee to being one of the richest people in the world. She is also one of the most giving people I have heard of (along with Bill Gates ... damn those rich people). If Oprah isn't an example, I don't know who is. Bill Cosby tried to ... but he was shot down by the Revs Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson. His ideas were shot down, not because they were wrong, but because they did not fit in with the message the reverends wanted to put out that, "Everything bad that happens to you is not your fault" So I guess if you do drugs and drink, get pregnant before you are ready, drop out of school ... someone else was actually doing it, because it is "not your fault".

Now I will admit to you that growing up poor puts you at a disadvantage, I grew up in a family of six in NYC and my father made 12000.00 a year (thank God for rent control). But, first off, I didn't consider myself poor, and seeing other people have more than I did, just made me work harder so I could get where they were.

The best thing a politician can do is crack down on crime and put criminals in jail (where they belong). The ACLU will of course fight any successful crime crackdown to the best of it's abilities (and as much as I hate what that organization has become, they have some very good lawyers). I took a trip to NYC about 5 years ago (after being gone for 8 years), and could not believe how much it had been cleaned up. Crime had been driven underground where I could not see it (I am not so naive to think it had been eliminated), so it was not right in my face as it had been in the past. Now why do you think that New Yorkers, the most liberal of all the species (with the exception of San Francisco), have elected Republican mayors for the last 4 election cycles?

Paul Champagne said...

tapline ... there is one sentance in your comment that rings out with crystal clarity and that I think everyone can agree on. "Maybe, if they started thinking about their constituents more instead of themselves we would get somewhere"

Amen Brother