It turns out that voting Democratic — not just for president, but for congress too — might be the only way to save the Republican Party.
Over at the conservative Reason Online, Radley Balko explains:
Nothing short of defeat will put the GOP back on its limited government track. … In the last eight years, the GOP has given us a monstrous new federal bureaucracy in the Department of Homeland Security. In the prescription drug benefit, it’s given us the largest new federal entitlement since the Johnson administration. Federal spending — even on items not related to war or national security — has soared. And we now get to watch as the party that’s supposed to be ‘free market’ nationalizes huge chunks of the economy’s financial sector.
We’ve all watched as the Republican party has moved ever away from its roots as the party of small government, fiscal responsibility, and free enterprise, to a party dominated by a kind of lunatic fringe that is anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-immigration, and anti-environment. Sarah Palin has been characterized as the last gasp of that fringe.
Doug Mataconis on Below the Beltway points out that electing Democrats may be the only way to save us from socialism, since the current Republican party has “tarnished the reputation of free market ideas in the minds of a public that doesn’t know better”. In the same way that “only Nixon could go to China”, only a Republican president (like Bush or McCain) could nationalize our financial system.
Part of the problem with the current Republican party is that they have pushed away or destroyed moderates like General Colin Powell (who at one time was considered a good candidate for president).
Another example is Slade Mead, who was elected to the Arizona Senate in 2002, only to be rejected by the Republican party because he didn’t support their efforts to “dismantle public schools” and replace them with religious and charter schools. The same article describes how in neighboring New Mexico, social conservatives pushed moderates out of positions of power in the Republican party.
Rush Limbaugh himself once said that if McCain got the nomination, “it’s going to destroy the Republican Party. It’s going to change it forever, be the end of it!” Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal disagrees, claiming that it is Bush who destroyed the Republican party, and if “you don’t know what broke the elephant you can’t put it together again. The party cannot re-find itself if it can’t trace back the moment at which it became lost. It cannot heal an illness whose origin is kept obscure.”
By its actions — grasping onto Palin, and running negative and hateful campaigns — the Republican party is showing that it still doesn’t know how it is destroying itself. Glenn Greenwald has an excellent column giving concrete examples of how confused the Republicans are acting. Only by voting Democratic can we save the Republican Party from itself.