Republicrats can find a problem for every solution

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By Jim Flynn

Republicans went from riding high in 2000 to walking home from the 2008 election with holes in their souls. They can’t blame the economy for their misfortunes. They had the power and they made the mess.

Project GOP renewal is under way on several fronts. The Republican National Committee (RNC) appointed former Maryland Lieutenant Governor and TV tough guy Michael Steele, to be its new chairperson.

Steele had an immediate attack of foot-in-mouth malaise. He showed bad manners by taking cheap shots at Mr. Obama while the prez was still on his maiden tour of the White House. Next he took on heavyweight Republican talker Rush Limbaugh, calling his radio show ugly and incendiary. Steele barely survived to apologize.

After a few weeks of TV notoriety, Steele showed up for work at the RNC and announced the national committee’s hopeful goals – better mastery of the Internet, recruiting five million new Republicans online, designing a new fundraising model, recruiting a new generation of candidates, competing in every state and national race. Sounds like Obama lite.

Meanwhile, a new force for resurrection of the moribund GOP had formed. The National Council for a New America (NCNA) held its first meeting with “regular folks” in a pizza parlor in Arlington, Va., within smelling distance of Potomac pollution and corruption. 

The NCNA panel of experts is a gallery of likely presidential candidates in 2012 – Jeb Bush, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former candidate Mitt Romney. Most recently, Sarah Palin sledded down from Alaska to volunteer for duty. The campaign is off and running in pizza land.

GOP resurrection consultant Rush Limbaugh gave the new group a no-stars review. He suggested a teaching tour of good ole Reagan conservative ideals. To give the big noise his due, Limbaugh advised Republicans their best strategy is to widen their differences from Democrats.

Red-state blue-state maps which illustrated political reality in 2000 are history. Polls vary, but lately 45 percent of voters call themselves Demo-crats, while only 28 percent admit to being Republicans. The GOP has become GOPOC, the Grand Old Party of the Confederacy.

The mantra to which many Republicans subscribe when they’re selling hot air is that they’re a conservative movement with a conservative agenda of conservative principles. They just love that word “conservative.”

In reality, the GOP has become a collection of single-issue causes, muddled together to get and retain power. The two most recent elections have shown that strategy isn’t working any more.

Republican talk-show hosts and party firebrands offer up a lengthy menu of issues – smaller government, sanctity of life, lower taxes, firearms ownership, free markets, less spending, law and order, traditional values, more personal freedom, and no quotas. Sounds more like ideology soup than constitutional principles.

Like Democrats, Republicans have become a party dedicated to having government do something about everything. In order to get back into power in 2000, they adopted more single-issue activists than they’ll ever be able to satisfy. They’ve become Republicrats, trying to solve all problems by direct government action at taxpayer expense.

To make themselves feel good, Republican chatter about President Reagan’s conservative principles. They don’t bother to recall what he said and did. Mr. Reagan agreed unhappily to two tax increases, because they were needed to balance budgets. And at the end of his presidency he stated his regret that he was unable to restrain government growth. 

Suggestions for renewal from within their own ranks have been as dull as might be expected from a freshman political science class: find new solutions rather than new convictions; discontinue the strategy of spending and borrowing; point out to voters that Republicans really stand for something.

Our observation is that Republicans stand for too many somethings. They are in close competition with Democrats for enlarging government. They are hypocrites of the first order.

Every time Republicans have caused an economic catastrophe such as the Great Depression and our current economic mess, voters have abandoned them with just cause.  Nothing betrays the principles of the nation more than untrammeled greed in connivance with government.

All the principles this nation has ever needed were stated in the Constitution: “…  establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty …” The disgrace of government is its inability to narrow its focus to issues of importance, such as international terrorism and a corrupt economy.  They’re busy with steroids and designing a collegiate super bowl.

Jim Flynn was formerly a corporate counsel, served in military intelligence during the Korean War and once aspired to be a newspaper columnist.