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GOP at a crisis point

November 24, 2012
By Dr. David Turner - Community columnist , The Inter-Mountain

Republican obsession with Barack Obama seems to come around full circle.

Having obstructed and delayed for four years, many GOP leaders, including John Boehner, have signaled they now may be ready to compromise.

Fearing a financial "cliff" that might end tax cuts and freeze budgets, those "never" elements on the Right appear to want to cut cards with the president.

But there is only one catch, in that the Republican Party leadership is no longer on Capitol Hill but rather consists of radio and television pundits.

An active grassroots receive their information and opinions from FOX, Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove.

As their votes for the likes of Richard Murdoch and Todd Akin proved, they would rather lose on principle than win with pragmatism.

Earnestness has marked the Tea Party since its formation and they support or are supported by the media darlings that frame the debate in the Republican party. The two main factions, the Libertarian and the Christian Right, see events differently than some of their opponents.

Whether by Limbaugh or Michael Savage, many commentator's screeds get attention simply because they know their audiences. Neither is a political Merlin changing at the stroke of a wand. They are mirrors - nothing more, nothing less - which make Boehner's and Mitch McConnell's job all that harder.

Although McConnell seems destined to be the last hold-out, lacking either backbone or leadership skills, he simply follows the mob. He does not instruct it or guide its course. Boehner is serious about not appearing as an agent of obstruction, particularly representing a state that voted for Obama.

Indeed, at least give Tea Partiers credit in that they seem to believe in what they propose. McConnell, John McCain and Lindsay Graham are all lacking a central philosophy and to fill the void are reduced to carping. Sometimes this is confused with moderation when it merely shows reflexive grumbling.

Sure that Mitt Romney had victory in his grasp, they never prepared for having to deal with President Obama for four more years.

Poor McCain. After Petraeus testified on Benghazi -essentially bolstering the administration's position - he appeared green around the gills. All it confirmed was that McCain was always a grandstander, never sure or serious about what opinion he wanted to advance, with the exception of wanting a war anywhere, any time.

McCain seemed clueless. Truly as Benjamin Disraeli said of William Gladstone, McCain is an "exhausted volcano." So this is what passes as Republican moderation.

Not since 1948, when Thomas Dewey unexpectedly lost, have the Republicans faced such a crisis of confidence, and it is worse than 1948.

Mitt Romney spent most of the year parroting a Right Wing candidate. This of course is what moderates want to point to - it typifies all the conservative faults.

Romney repeated McCain's campaign, making good the statement "history repeats itself as if twice. First as tragedy and the second as farce." The truth was that they made a souffle and called it a cake, soft and spiritless. No wonder some voters stayed home.

But their collective weakness was they based it all on the assumption that the public loathed Obama. Two elections, two victories for the president. Hate has blinded Republicans to possibilities.

Perhaps the party would do better to dump the carnival barkers they call pundits and adopt the moderation of Boehner.



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