Editors Note: This was a piece written for an assignment, but these editorials will be published every Thursday from now on.
With the Republican Congresses’ 10% to 20% approval rating, one might ask why? It’s not only that the Republicans can’t negotiate with the Democrats but also they can’t negotiate with themselves. The Republican Party is struggling to find an identity, just as all major political parties have. In this case you have die hard, neocon, Tea Party members whom aren’t willing to negotiate and compromise and on the other side you have more liberal old fashioned Republicans, who are willing to compromise. A party is supposed to act as one, not as two, and as we have seen Republican leaders such as John Boehner no have no control over their party, in essence parts of the Republican Party have gone rogue. While the moderates want to get things done and want to negotiate, the fundamentalists are refusing to. The fundamentalists have muddied the water for the rest of the party, by primarily, downgrading our credit rating. It will take a miracle for the Republicans to hold onto Congress.
Michael Steele was one of the first victims of such infighting, because he was the chair of the RNC in 2008, and due to that, he was at the center in the beginning of the fighting, when in 2008 the Republicans lost the presidency. Many Tea Party members began to appear, shouting, “Obama is Hitler” and “Where is the birth certificate?” . Steele could not seem to adjust to the new G.O.P and as a result, he had to step down.
However, the Tea Party is not the only tarnishing faction in the GOP. With people like Donald Trump and Herman Cain being considered candidates, many cannot take the party seriously. Many characterize the entire party based on these two and others. During the Republican debates, the public saw the debate audience roaring and clapping to Governor Rick Perry’s achievements of having the most people given the death penalty in his state during his time as Governor as well as booing at a gay soldier. This does not give the GOP a great image.
But apart from mucking up congress the fundamentalists might have given the Democrats a few seats on the senate, as the Republican representatives cannot negotiate with the Republican senators. When the payroll tax cut was about to expire, it took Obama’s leadership to push the extension through. Will the public blame Congress or the Senate for that? We probably won’t really know until the upcoming election.
Then there is the GOP primary and it has been a trip. With all the fighting in the party its not surprising that when they try to pick a candidate, they fight. With Libertarians like Ron Paul and Moderates like Mitt Romney, the fighting only becomes more aggressive and petty. The candidates will say anything to get the nomination and votes from the Tea Party, which might distance Independents in the general election. Essentially, to gain the primary the candidates might sell themselves down the river.
There is also the question of the candidates; first, the initiative has changed hands seven times. You have Romney who is a moderate, who has a chance against Obama but in the primary, he is not the Republicans first choice. Next, you have Rick Santorum, the reason the Republicans gave Santorum any momentum is because they haven’t tried him yet, but he did come within eight votes of winning Iowa. Ron Paul, for a lack of a better phrase scares me, wanting to rip apart government services like libraries and firehouses. Gingrich has, forgive the phrase, too much baggage, as the former speaker of the house, whom shut down the government for a while. Next, there’s Perry… Well, what can you say, he’s Perry. He’s not the strongest candidate, especially in debates. Finally, you have my favorite: Huntsmen, who is the most liberal of all. I think he has the best chance against Obama as he can attract the Independents but he is never getting the GOP nomination, as he is too liberal for Republican voters. I believe that Romney will get the nomination because I don’t think anyone will be able to keep their momentum long enough to significantly damage Romney’s numbers, and as long as Romney can be steady he can win.
The Republican Party will soon have to define itself. Will it embrace its new kooky cousins the Tea Party? Alternatively, will it distance itself from them? Will a new party rise out of the ashes of the old GOP or will a new party split from the GOP? Only time will tell.