After going back and forth with another blogger about my post on Sarah Palin and how she’s not to blame for the Republican’s loss, I realized I had to expose part of that discussion to a wider audience.
Face it: the Republican train has left the tracks. It has splintered into two parties, neither of which are very comfortable with each other. You have the traditional Republicans, generally fiscal conservatives, strong on defense, supportive of business interests; and then you have the Christian right, focused on what should and should not be gay rights, abortion rights, the use of prayer and creation science in schools.
Folks this was never the case before perhaps Reagan, and certainly got going with Gingrich. But, if you’d polled folks in the 40’s as to whether more Democrats or more Republicans were Christians, I’d have bet that it would be pretty even. Even now, I doubt that a significantly higher percentage of Republicans attend church than Democrats (but I know I can count on a sharp-eyed reader to supply this arcane fact, if it does exist).
This is a huge ideological shift that is really hurting the party. For a party that’s done pretty darn well since Abraham Lincoln, why did we need this huge shift? It smacks of extremism: you’re either with them, or you’re against them.
This ideology drives away potential new members among minorities and the young. The party is stagnating and becoming the bastion of the old, white, Christian right. The party does not seem to be relevant. It seems out of touch with today’s problems.
Sure people care about abortion, gay rights, and the moral fabric of our country. But I guarantee this, they care a whole lot more about ten months in a row of job losses, the bankruptcy of some of the largest financial firms in the world, the impending collapse of the world’s largest auto maker, the number of young men and women dying in foreign countries, and the new American role in the world as chief bully.
To make it clear, I am a Republican and a Christian. I am a successful businessman. But I believe in collaborators, not dictators. I believe that there are things that are the government’s business, and there are things that are not.
Perhaps the Republican Party no longer values people like me as a member. Perhaps it is not interested in young people becoming Republicans when they become of age to vote. Perhaps they’d rather not include in their party the ever growing number of proud Americans who are minorities.
Then they have no right to call themselves the Party of Lincoln and they’d better get used to election results like November 2008.