The importance of the November election goes far beyond whether Romney or Obama will lead the nation for the next four years. And the outcome has greater ramifications than which of the two major parties will control Congress. It will be a referendum on the Republican Party itself — how it is constituted, what its stated goals and values are and will be, who will lead it — and possibly whether it will survive at all.
That’s not the conclusion of this independent voter, nor of any partisan Democrat. That’s what Republicans themselves are saying:
Even Bob Dole, known as the conservative Hatchet Man in his day, is warning that his party could curdle if it doesn’t start appealing to ethnic minorities, young people and the “mainstream,” and stand up to the far-right lunacy. The G.O.P. has veered so far right that Jack Kemp, Dole’s running mate in 1996, now looks like Teddy Kennedy compared with Kemp’s protégé Paul Ryan.
“We have got to be open,” the 89-year-old Dole told The Daily Telegraph of London. “We cannot be a single-issue party or a single-philosophy party.” He added that he was concerned about the “undercurrent of rigid conservatism where you don’t dare not toe the line.”
“If you can’t beat Barack Obama with this record, then shut down the party. Shut it down, start new, with new people. Because this is a gimme election, or at least it should be,” [Laura] Ingraham said on her radio program yesterday.
“I think that this Republican party will have to completely, utterly and totally revamp its thinking, its strategy, what it stands for, how it trains, what it speaks about, how it recruits and the total abandonment – actually the professionalization of the party – and the abandonment of the grassroots.” — Rick Tyler, former advisor to Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign and current advisor to Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin
While some of this gloom and doom may be simply an effort to motivate Republican voters (not that anything in politics is ever simple), it’s clear that your vote in November is important. You can vote for Obama or for Romney, or if those options don’t appeal, you can vote to marginalize the current ultraconservative, obstructionist Republican Party. Perhaps, with the restoration of some pragmatism and bipartisanship in Congress, we can get this country moving again.