Since the presidency of Ronald Reagan, we have been witnessing two factions of the Republican party that have been fighting it out for supremacy. There was the extreme right wing that seemed more interested in “values” (their particular values) and the more moderate that was most interested in protecting the wealthy and large corporations. The problem is that as these two factions fight it out, the United States suffers. Further, it appears to me that which ever side wins, the party will be weaker for it.
The right wing certainly provides local color. Santorum, Palin, and Bachman are funny but also very frightening — they would do well on Comedy Central, but leading our country would be a nightmare. Most frightening, of course, is that there are a lot of people in this country who would conceivably vote for them. The lack of knowledge of our world that Santorum and company have is breathtaking. There are many countries in the world that do not wish us well, and if given the chance would show us no mercy. Yet the extreme right barely knows —or doesn’t know and doesn’t care — who or where those countries are, and whether or not they have nuclear weapons. One of them thought that Europe was a country. It is sad for our country that so many citizens are willing to vote for people who are so manifestly unqualified to be president.
According to David Brooks of the New York Times, the Republican party of old was “the party of national security, pro-business policies, and keeping the government lean and mean.” Now what are they? They are the party of the angry and insane — Bachmann, Trump, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum. They are also the party of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Good grief, to where has the party of Abe Lincoln descended? The Republican leadership is a bunch of nut cases plus one man who has flip-flopped so often that even he probably has no idea where he stands on anything.
Do the Republicans become the “party of God” (Hezbollah, in Arabic) or do they try once more to become the party of big business and low taxes? Both sides are fairly strong. The “party of God” side has the people who will get out and vote. The “big business” side clearly has the wealth. An election of a Republican president will not make the problems go away. The split will not heal if Romney wins the Presidency. My guess is that if he wins, he will get almost the same degree of ignorant stonewalling that President Obama is now getting.
He, like President Obama will be dealing with people who, quoting David Brooks, again, “Have zero tolerance for compromises needed to get legislation passed.” For them, politics is more about “making a statement rather than enacting legislation.” Sadly, there are a lot of Americans who think that is OK.
As we watch the meltdown of the Republican Party, we are in for some exciting, but not at all pleasant, times.