With the stunning defeat of the Republican Party in the recent presidential and legislative elections, the party is yet to reshape itself into the party of the people. Republicans are a minority in both houses of congress and their numbers are likely to shrink once more with upcoming elections in 2010.
Every country needs a strong opposition party. The prowess of any country could be discerned from the strength of its opposition party. The government needs a strong opposition to keep it constantly on its toes and so the confusion within the beleaguered Republican Party should not be a cause for laughter-though the freely given source of laughter is an economic stress reliever.
In an era where partisan politics has hijacked the course of events, reward for loyalty the key to political success and where personal gain is the traceable footprint of many elected officials, voters can no longer afford to dice away the opposition party.
In one of the most historical campaign blunders, the Republican Party chose to fight unity with fear even with the voter’s obvious preference of unity over fear. The Republican Party has shown continued intransigence and disharmony on what policies to articulate, when to articulate them and how to navigate the political subtleties that have often backfired on the party. The party has ceased to be the party of NOW, but remains ever eager to announce it is still the party of YESTERDAY.
Unlike opposition parties in developing countries that suffer from government oppression, the Republican Party suffers from an identity complex. Policy articulation still baffles the GOP. For example, the party fails to distinguish small government from smart government. A small government strives to be small while the goal of a smart government is to stay smart.
This dissonance in articulation is reflected in the GOP’s stand on a host of issues including small tax and smart tax. Although the world rolls round and changes, the GOP still drags its feet and is yet to match the fast and changing dynamics of evolving social principles.
During recessions when many businesses are looking up to the government for mitigating policies, the Republican Party obstinately articulates limited government activity which is in contrast with public expectation.
The Republican Party has taken delight in highlighting terrorism over economic recovery. In times of economic prosperity, terrorism could become a decisive factor as people become more worried of losing anticipated pleasures. During hard economic times, people worry that their livelihood is gliding away.
As one of its peculiarities that it is yet to match the changing pace of time, the Republican Party still has a less than ideally defined role for women in the society. Within the party, equal pay for equal work is a silent taboo. While the treatment of women in other parts of the world or religions are viewed as abhorrent, the reference to women rights within the Republican Party is apparently a reference to better but limited rights-indicating that social evolution is still to attain an optimum progress.
Politics is a clash of ideologies. Ideological clashes often gives rise to a more resilient, dynamic and flexible political process. It is this clash that makes politics fascinating and the exclusion of moderate views prevents the occurrence of any clash and hence any fascination.
No one would dispute the fact that even the Republican platform might not have gone far enough for some people and that it might have gone too far for others. This is a tacit implication of the moderation of ideas and to deny this truth is to deny that politics is not a clash of ideologies. With some Republicans saying the Republican Party has only Republicans and no moderates, it makes one wonder if the party is engaged in a political process or religious adherence.
Conservatives are yet to define for themselves who makes a good representative. When Mike Huckabee a former Baptist Pastor was asked what Jesus would do about the death penalty, he said “Jesus was too smart to ever run for public office.” In a sense, Mr. Huckabee was insinuating that religious faith is not a barometer for smart governance.
Quite ironically during his presidential campaign, Huckabee outfoxed his opponent Mitt Romney in Iowa because of his association with the Mormon faith. Despite dodging the question on death penalty which his faith, Christianity, literally condemns, the religious right still rallied behind him as their candidate in Iowa. To be a party of religious faith today and cease from it tomorrow makes the party look incoherent.
Today, the GOP does more to dig its internal problems than stress how the party’s platform and ideals are starkly different from those the democrats posit. Party discordance is a natural phenomenon which sometimes breeds formidable strategies. Unfortunately, the current disagreement within the Republican Party has not been confined to the party.
With little coordination of internal debates in the GOP, the media has adeptly filled up that vacuum by moving internal debates to acrimonious media sensations leaving the Democrats smiling ear to ear. The media has taken the role of providing the latest round of debates, stirring one controversy over another, and tossing the GOP around like a game of ping-pong.
Winning requires team work and team work comes from studious deliberations. The recent media outbursts portray a party that is inept and incapable of resolving conflicting ideologies through robust discussions. The party only comes across as quick to blame, but lacking the understanding to repair.
To be a sounding cymbal about anything going wrong only works if you do not make cries your main platform. The GOP is increasingly seen as the party to call attention and not the party to offer real solutions even to heal internal wounds.
As conservatives struggle to resurrect themselves and begin to broaden their conservative appeal they would have to accept the bitter truth that as time changes and with the world growing smaller, political ideologies can not afford to be indifferent. It is not the GOP’s message that seems to be the problem, but the GOP’s stubborn adherence to an ineffective way of conveyance, an articulation from several quarters so virulent that the GOP’s message is rendered disagreeable in every sense, they’re desperate enough to use water bottles custom label as advertisement.