July 30, 2014

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Republicans must move towards moderation

American politics rely on bipartisanship. They rely on compromise and moderation. Foremost, they rely on fact. Since the founding of the Republic, two parties have chosen to come together on almost every big issue, and violence only ever solved one – slavery. Now, America faces an absence of fact, an inability to agree, and stubbornness unmatched by even the most petulant child.

MCT

Science has been a common ground for Democrats and Republicans for 100 years. Both parties agreed with the National Science Foundation, NASA, research investment and technology grants, but the 2012 Republicans across the board supported sequestration cuts disregarding their impact on research and development. Some current Republicans cannot even accept the scientific facts that human-caused global warming is happening and evolution is real. This does not bode well for a century in which technology, scientific transparency, and accessibility to knowledge are quickly advancing.

The Republican platform has not always been as radical as the 2012 platform.

In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower wrote, “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor law and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again.” The Republican Party has rejected this idea, but we still hear from them, and Eisenhower’s prediction that anti-New Deal politicians would disappear failed; they now control the party.

In 1961, Eisenhower said, “We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence… by the military-industrial complex.” This year, former Gov. Mitt Romney proposed giving the military-industrial complex $2 trillion that it did not need, which would have exploded military power; Eisenhower probably would have advised against that.

In 1971, Richard Nixon, in agreement with Democrats and economists, famously declared, “We are all Keynesians now.” Now, the Republican economists rely on the unproved and oft-rejected “supply-side” economic theory that has never worked and, in fact, has increased inequality and led to the Great Recession.

In 1997, months before the Lewinsky scandal instigated the polarization of American politics, Sens. Ted Kennedy (D) and Orrin Hatch (R) worked with President Bill Clinton to create the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Hatch, a conservative Republican, saw the benefits of compromise and intended to show that the Republicans did not “hate children” because “as a society, we have a moral responsibility” to take care of the most vulnerable. In 2003, former President George W. Bush signed the largest Medicare expansion since 1965, and called it, “the greatest advance in health care coverage for America’s seniors since the founding of Medicare.”

In 2012, six Republican state governments are blocking the expansion of health care to almost 4 million poor Americans by rejecting the Medicaid expansion provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Supreme Court’s decision on the ACA allowed states to opt-out of the expansion, and states with a large proportion on uninsured do not want to pay for just 10 percent of the expansion.

In only 10 years, our politics have become so divided that, where before states were willing to pay 50 percent of the cost of insuring poor Americans, they now will not even pay 10 percent. In only 10 years, the two parties lost the agreement that poor Americans should go to the doctor. In only 10 years, the Republican Party has shifted policy from providing more Medicare and Medicaid to cutting $1 trillion from Medicaid and turning Medicare into a voucher program.

This fundamental shift in Republican politics does not bode well for their future as a party, but as an American first, this shift does not bode well for our country. We face essential questions over the coming months: how do we fix Social Security? How do we control health care costs? How do we distribute the tax burden? How do we cut our deficit and pay down our debt?

We can answer those questions far better with moderate Republicans on the other side of the negotiating table. It is time for the Republicans to reenter reality.

They need to accept that polling methods are real, and stop creating new internal polls that falsely favor their candidates.

They need to accept that, with small changes, Social Security and Medicare are sustainable, instead of trying to privatize those programs. They need to accept that the rich should pay back their tax cuts that created our huge national debt.

They need to accept that we must address rising sea levels and our warming Earth.

They need to accept that gays and lesbians are people too, and that they have the same rights to family, love and country as every other American. They need to accept that women have the right to equal pay, the right to choose and the right to fair and unfettered access to equitable health care.

They need to accept the undocumented immigrants who came here out of a sense of hope, the same sense of hope that led many of our ancestors to come to this great land: hope for liberty, opportunity, and equality. The American people know that no person will ever “self-deport” from our “city upon a hill.” As Winthrop continued, “The eyes of all people are upon us,” and now, the world looks for leadership to repair our faltering global economy and help mend the conflicts that plague the world.

Former President Abraham Lincoln, in 1858, foreshadowed his solemn duty by saying, “A house divided against itself cannot stand… I do not expect the house to fall, but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”

I do not think America will fall, but Republicans must move their policies back into the mainstream. If they do not, our house will most surely become “all one thing”: Democrats.

Zac Bears is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at ibears@student.umass.edu.

Comments
16 Responses to “Republicans must move towards moderation”
  1. Kris says:

    Moderation? What about your article denouncing Scott Brown?

  2. David Hunt '90 says:

    In other words, just become Democrats.

    There is not enough money to close the deficit, let alone pay off the debt. We are Greece writ large.

    Eat the Rich
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=661pi6K-8WQ

  3. Republican Reform? says:

    I agree with Hunt. This was a sad attempt at masking a diatribe against the Republican party as a reform proposal. Considering 59 million Americans (48% of the electorate) voted for Romney, your bizarre characterization of the republican party as out of the ‘mainstream’ is a fallacy. Perhaps not in the majority, but that’s saying something different. You can cherry pick low priority issues as an indication that the Republican party has gone rogue, but a look at some of the more serious dynamics at play in American politics reveals something different.

    When Obama shoved his healthcare bill through congress, ignoring republican cries for moderation and bipartisanship, polls indicated upwards of 60% of Americans opposed Obamacare. In September, a Gallup poll found that a solid majority of Americans believed government was doing too much. A colossal 66% believed government had too much power last July. Obama has rarely found his job approval rating above 50%. Another poll done earlier this year revealed that Americans tilted pro-life as opposed to pro-choice by a 9 point margin. Most telling of all is that Americans identify as conservative twice as often as they identify as liberal. Does this indicate the Republican’s message of small government is out of the mainstream? Do all of these polls point to American’s approval of government’s unprecedented size during the Obama administration? Hardly.

    The most important components of the GOP’s message still resonate with most Americans. A few fringe voices on the right have drawn the attention of the media, but that’s just what Akin and friends are: fringe voices. For too long the republican party has been lazy in its analysis of demographics, and consequently let a relatively unimportant issue-immigration-decide the election for them. Does the republican party have to become the democratic party in order to survive? Hardly. Rather, republicans need to exercise more discipline and restraint in their rhetoric, tweak their stance on immigration to appeal to a voting bloc that by all other accounts should be republican, and double down on their message of fiscal discipline, market liberation, and smaller government.

  4. Zac Bears says:

    Kris,

    Until the Republican Party and Republican leadership become moderate, I am not going to support or vote for a person, however moderate they may be, that would put them into the majority.

  5. alum says:

    Right…….so let’s make sure that we vote out the 2nd most bipartisan Senator, Scott Brown and elect a wildly partisan Liz Warren. Let’s re-elect Mr. Tierney with his dismal record but not vote for an openly gay, moderate Republican, Rich Tisei. Let’s vote in Young Kennedy who’s only claim to fame is his last name instead of another moderate Republican.

    And by the way, what does the last sentence even mean??
    “I do not think America will fall, but Republicans must move their policies back into the mainstream. If they do not, our house will most surely become “all one thing”: Democrats.” So, Republicans who refuse to become more “mainstream” will do what, disappear??? Evolve into Democrats??

  6. alum says:

    “Until the Republican Party and Republican leadership become moderate, I am not going to support or vote for a person, however moderate they may be, that would put them into the majority.”

    Gee, what are we going to do now? We were really counting on your support. So much for moderation.

  7. David Hunt '90 says:

    “Trying to please your enemies does not make them your friends.” The Left is today’s Fifth Column, continuing the work that Progressives have been pursuing to destroy America.

    The line must and has been drawn. Here. Now. No further.

    We will not compromise with the cancer that has infected and metastisized throughout America’s culture.

  8. Dr. Ed Cutting says:

    Zac, first you need to take a course in basic English grammar because more than half of your sentences aren’t really sentences and that makes it very hard to understand exactly what it is that you are trying to say.

    Notwithstanding that, if Orrin Hatch is a conservative Republican, then I am an anorexic lesbian — and I am neither. You want to quote things out of context — OK, during the last year or so of his Presidency, Jimmy Carter increased US Defense Spending by a greater percentage than Reagan ever did. It was Jimmy Carter who started the “Reagan Buildup” — not Reagan — and that is a fact.

    As to this mythical $2B that Romney wanted to spend on defense that the military allegedly didn’t want, I really wish that Romney had the b*lls to simply ask “what f*****g $2B that the military doesn’t want — where are you getting this number from?!?!”

    And I do wonder if it was for things like the A-10, designed to kill tanks, something that the Air Force is not worried about and hence didn’t want a plane to do — but which the Army very much was worried about and very much did need a plane to do. And the first Gulf War showed how much we did need the A-10….

    I neither understand nor like your reference to violence — were you a conservative, ACT would be jumping all over you, but being a good leftist means all is always OK, I guess, because we all know that “all conservatives are crazy.”

    Before you hold up Dwight Eisenhower as the ideal POTUS, remember that his Vice President was a man named Richard Milhaus Nixon, who had already made a name for himself with the House Un-American Activities Committee — ever hear of a man named “Tail Gunner” Joe McCarthy or “McCarthyism”?

    And as to John Winthrop and the “City on a Hill” stuff — you do know they were creating a Puritan Theocracy, don’t you? Ever hear of someone named “Mary Dyer” – or perhaps some of the fun and interesting things that were happening in Danvers back in the fall/winter of 1691-92 — yes the trials were held in Salem, but the “witches” were actually all in what is now Danvers.

    Beyond that — whatever. I really wish you could express yourself coherently so I could disagree with you…

  9. Brian D. says:

    All the Republican Party has to do in order to win is to change its stance on immigration to appeal to latino voters, you say? Ah, but there is a fatal problem with that plan. One of the key pillars of the GOP coalition is the white racist vote. No one will admit it, but we all know it’s true. Republican candidates are not usually white racists themselves, but they need the support of white racist voters in order to win. The moment they compromise on immigration, they lose the racist vote. So here’s the dilemma: white racists and latino immigrants may agree on social conservatism, but how on Earth can you get them to vote for the same party?

  10. billz says:

    Zac – if you think the Republican party is any more radical than the Democrat party, then you must be getting your most of your news from Saturday Night Live.

  11. Dr. Ed Cutting says:

    Brian, what do you call La Raza?
    What do you call the New Black Panther Party? — and they were documented doing some quite questionable things at Philadelphia poling stations.

    How do you define the word “racist”?

    The true appeal to white racists was by FDR who built a coalition in 1932 — a coalition including Southern White racist, urban Blacks, and NorthEastern Jews. The Dems were the party of segregation & racism — the late Senator Byrd of West Virginia was a Klegal in the Klan — some sort of paid recruiter — and the media never reported on his routine use of the “n” word — but I digress.

    The various Civil Rights Acts were passed by REPUBLICANS. Title IX was a Dem attempt to defeat the Civil Rights Act but the Republicans passed it anyway. Dr Martin Luther King Jr was a Republican — yes, he was.

    These are facts, and you can look them up.

  12. Brian D. says:

    Sure, the Democrats used to carry the white racist vote (because the Republicans were identified as the party of Lincoln and northern industrialists)… but the last time that happened was 50 years ago. Times have changed.
    .
    Tell me, who do you think white racists voted for in the election this month, and four years ago? Obama? Come on. I’m not saying that Republican CANDIDATES are racist (generally speaking, they are not). What I’m saying is that white racists vote Republican, and that the Republican party can’t afford to offend them because it needs their support. That’s why the Republican party can never accept immigration.
    .
    And by the way, if you believe it is somehow possible to forge a coalition that includes white racists AND urban blacks, perhaps you’d like to share the secrets of that miracle with us.

  13. Republican Reform? says:

    Brian, rather than argue your unfounded and unsupported claim that Republicans rely on a vast constituency of racist white people (because of course, anyone who is anti-immigration is automatically racist, right?), I’ll simply address your claim that a pro-immigration platform will deny the GOP the “racist vote.” Why is this so? Because they’ll all leave the GOP? And go where? Join Obama? Join the Dems? Republicans would have to try really hard to actually lose the racist vote. They have no-one else to vote for. The reality is that most die-hard republican tea-partiers aren’t actually racist, and if they are, they care way more about small government than they do about race. I wonder why Marco Rubio, a latino, is the favorite son of the Tea Party Movement. I also wonder why Allen West, a black man, is so popular.

  14. Dr. Ed Cutting says:

    Alan West would have won the election — so much for your “racism” stuff.

    And while there isn’t any accurate data on the Klan voting patterns, there *is* some on other somewhat surprising cooperation with radical Black groups. Why? They want to spark a race war and I wouldn’t be at all surprised that a good chunk of them *did* vote for Obama in hopes that it would increase their membership.

    I like Alan West, Ward Connerly and Clarance Thomas. I guess that makes me a white racist or something — oh, wait, we have a problem here — my political heros aren’t themselves White….

  15. Dr. Ed Cutting says:

    0ne more thing on the REAL white racists attempting to spark a race war — what do you think Charles Manson and “Helter Skelter” was all about — Manson had the hypnotized girls go kill famous white people (i.e. Sharon Tate, et al) and tried to make it look like the Black Panthers had done it so as to spark the race war. The swastika carved into his forehead pretty much shows where Manson is coming from, doesn’t it?

  16. David Hunt '90 says:

    Marco Rubio – popular with the Tea Party. Allan West – ditto, as was Mia Love, a black woman… and ALL viewed and hoped-for as up-and-coming Conservative stars.

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