In 1987, shortly after I turned 18, I went to the courthouse and registered to vote. I registered as a Republican and have been a Republican since then. I’ve campaigned and voted for Republican candidates. I’ve put bumper stickers on my car and signs in my yard. My daughter is named for President Reagan. Things have changed since the 40th President of the United States was in office. in 1994, Newt Gingrich helped lead the Republican revolution which saw great gains in both the house and the senate by Republican candidates. It was our last great, sweeping victory. Too often they compromised and ended up not making much of the opportunity that was afforded them. It would be our last great hurrah for a long time.
Last year voters elected Barack Obama, called by many the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate. He had little trouble defeating the self-proclaimed maverick, John McCain. McCain was fond of telling people how he broke ranks with Republicans on many occasions. That he was all about reaching across the proverbial aisle. Well, he managed to maverick himself right out of the White House.
I can only speak for myself, but I’m not interested in campaigning for, voting for, or electing a President who governs from the middle. I became a Republican because there are, or at least were, certain planks in the party platform that I stood for. I won’t get into them here as it serves no real purpose at this point. Those ideals weren’t then and aren’t now up for debate. I want the person I support and vote for to feel the same way.
I understand that in politics, if you want to be an effective leader, there are certain things that require compromise. You can’t win every debate and you don’t always get things your way. Hopefully by compromising on some issues, you encourage the other side to do the same and the public interest is served. But there should be some issues that one should hold near and dear and that should be fought for no matter the cost.
The Republican party leadership, whoever that is, would do well to learn that lesson ASAP! When the candidates from each major party go head to head in an election and there isn’t a nickel’s worth of difference between their views on most issues, then the guy with the best personality wins. Senator McCain made an attempt to inform us that he was indeed conservative in nature. Unfortunately, after over twenty years as the maverick senator from Arizona, many Republican voters, including me, had a difficult time believing him. None of us were particularly excited about him as a candidate and he never had a real chance against the younger, hipper, more polished Obama. Rather than choose the best candidate, conservatives were forced to vote for the man who was the least bad.
I’d like to think that the so-called GOP leadership has learned a lesson from this. They certainly should have but only time will tell. They are politicians, after all. Get us some candidates we can get behind and be excited about who have a backbone and ideologies that aren’t for sale to the highest bidding special interest group. Stop trotting out these fence-straddlers who care more about extending their careers at the public trough than they do about being servants to the people who put them in office. George W. Bush inched closer and closer to that line and by the end of his second term he had no broad support from any group, left or right. Things have not gotten better. This much I do know: The middle of the road is no place to be. Where I’m from, you see an awful lot of dead armadillos and possums there. I hope that the GOP mascot isn’t in danger of being replaced by some beady-eyed, gray marsupial. The RKP(Road Kill Party)just doesn’t have the same ring.