Elephant in the Room
with Steve Jackson
HONOLULU—The Republican primaries this week provided a glimpse of just how powerful the far right has come and pushed some of the middle leaning candidates to the brink. But, they also provided a sobering reality to any conservatives who believe that far right thinking will really bring America a Republican dominated government.
Many conservatives, especially talk show hosts, continue to push a far right agenda as the only solution to problems of government excess. Government spending is out of control and we do have an economic problem, but far right conservatives are doing a disservice to the nation by pushing every piece of their agenda as “what America wants.”
If there is a sweeping takeover of government, conservatives may put themselves into the same corner the current Democrat-dominated government jumped into. The Bush wars and recession cost Republicans the presidency and Congress, not some national agenda to move toward Socialism. The reason Democrats are in trouble right now is that they overplayed their hand—precisely the reason far right conservatives should be tempered in their zeal.
The Democratic party and their platform have pushed Obama into a corner and are doing the same thing far right conservatives did to Bush; distance themselves.
President Bush was hounded by conservatives when he proposed some sort of amnesty and security reform for the illegal immigration program. He was constantly hounded for excessive spending and because he didn’t do enough for the free market.
Now, Democrats are pushing Obama to go farther in the other direction, as he tries to navigate through many different problems. He was pushed far to the left and chastised for the health care bill by Democrats who thought it didn’t go far enough. He’s also been crucified by his party for increasing troop numbers in Afghanistan, even though both he and Hillary used the lack of concentration on the Afghan theater in their campaign platform.
The Democratic party continues to undermine Obama’s future attempt at reelection. They see the congressional sweep and his election as political capital to enact their full vision—but they’re wrong.
The Republican party faces the same problem with the far right conservatives hiding under the umbrella of the Tea Party. The fringe right has taken the Tea Party and morphed it from a noble “Taxed Enough Already” party into a political tool used to promote far right ideas. They’ve siphoned money that could have been used fighting Democrats into many successful and unsuccessful attempts on government seats. Instead of making this an anti-Democrat campaign, they’ve made it an anti-incumbent campaign, hurting Republican candidates as well.
Talk show hosts like Mark Levin are promoting fringe candidates against candidates almost sure to win reelection, which is perceived as a far right takeover by independents. It’s counterproductive for the Republican party to fight battles against each other when there is a far more pressing issue: government irresponsibility.
Republicans and fringe conservatives should focus on repairing the scourge of economic efficiency in government, not on knocking each other off or on a referendum of American values.
With an economic recession like the one we’re in, the independent voter will be looking for politicians who can work together and provide solutions to problems ... not further discord.
Republicans and conservatives would do well to promote the merit of their solutions and ability to collaborate, rather than their willingness to oppose any nonconforming idea.
John McCain’s Primary win in Republican-dominated Arizona showed that the Tea Party’s ultra conservative candidates do not have the momentum or appeal to win consistently and turn the tides of government. It would be a disservice to the Republican party and Americans for ultra conservatives to keep up a fight against anything but radical right thinking.
Real Republicans, who share many core values, must come together or be seen as a far right, conservative, Christian-values-only, “no” party who won’t be able to provide solutions. Flexibility will be needed to solve our nation’s problems, not a restricted, all or nothing approach.