Sunday, November 19, 2006

GOP Blame Game - Republicans Turn On President Bush

At every turn, leaders in the GOP are turning on President Bush and VP Cheney after the party lost both houses of Congress on November 7th. While I tend to agree that President Bush has been stubborn to a fault when it comes to his Iraqi War policies and domestic agenda; where were these GOP leaders several month ago when everything was beginning to fall apart? From my point of view, they were still walking in lock step with President Bush and refusing to see what was happening right in front of them all for the sake of party loyalty. It takes no political courage to speak out against a lame duck President, so that is what many GOP leaders are doing right now.

Conservative leaders like Newt Gingrich are now trying to salvage what is left of their 1994 vision for American, but those efforts are happening to little and too late for many people who once considered themselves conservative Americans. I remember being so angry when the GOP and President Bush intervened in the Terri Schiavo case in Florida a few years ago. For me, that was when I started losing faith in GOP leadership and their conservative vision for America. Until that whole Terri Schiavo mess played out on television over Easter Weekend, I was the most loyal Republican in the country. However, when GOP Members of Congress decided to take control of this case away from the Florida Court System and President Bush flew back from Crawford to sign this outrageous bill, I knew I could no longer remain a loyal Republican.

I am almost 50 years old and I first started to believe in a conservative vision for America when Ronald Reagan first ran against Gerald Ford for the party’s nomination in the late 1970’s. During that time period, being a conservative Republican stood for; smaller government, lower taxes, against nation building and keeping the government off the backs of the average American. I still believe that is what true conservatives stand for, but some time after the GOP won full control over the United States, most of those issues were abandoned to where now the only core issue left for party leaders is the anti-abortion wing. There is a big disconnect between the far right anti-abortion part of the Republican Party and most other party members.

While President Bush has pushed for lower taxes on Americans, his tax reductions are based mainly on percentages of dollars paid and not on the actual numbers of Americans helped. This policy has caused most of the tax savings to end up in the pockets of the rich while the average person receives nickels and dimes. Ronald Reagan’s tax cut ideas were similar to President Bush’s, but they occurred in a different America when “trickle down” economics could still work. Over the past thirty years, “trickle down economics” stopped working because of globalizaion. When Ronald Reagan was President of the United States, the rich would reinvest in plants and domestic companies with the tax savings they received from the government. However, in modern day America those savings are most likely spent and invested in plants and businesses with cheaper labor cost in foreign nations.

Probably the biggest issue that has been abandoned by the modern day conservative movement, in the GOP, revolves around keeping the government off the backs of the American people and letting them lives their lives in the way they see fit. This is the area where the far right wing of the party conflicts with everyone else. Like millions of Americans, I could not understand why the GOP was using its power in Washington to impose its will on the Terri Schiavo family. The only way to view the Terri Schiavo law was from the point of view that big government was imposing its will on an American family. True conservatives do not want the government intervening in their personal lives, but religious conservatives do not follow this same vision. To many religious leaders their ideology forces them to impose their views of morality on the rest of us. That ideology is in direct conflict with true conservatism and this is the main reason the GOP conservative movement is falling apart in the United States right now.

True party leaders should have spoken out months ago as these problems were happening right before their eyes, instead of waiting for President Bush and Cheney to lose the election and then criticize them. Less than one month ago it was difficult to find any of these party critics willing to stand up to President Bush and other GOP leaders when they were making these decisions. True leadership is found in people who are willing to do the right thing when they see problems, even if doing so involves political risk. The people who are trying to blame all the current GOP problems on the Bush/Cheney administration, at this late date, are not leaders at all. They are just party politicians who desire to advance their own political careers by criticizing the same people they supported not that long ago.

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