Saturday, April 7, 2012

Has the Republican Party become the "new" Whig Party?

I will have to start this rant off with a disclaimer, I have voted Republican my entire life. I was a Reagan Republican and since I gained the right to vote, I have not seriously considered voting for a democratic candidate for president. That being said, I honestly believe that the "current" Republican Party is now on life support. The "old" Republican party was based on several major tenets: first, an avowed hatred of "big" government. Goldwater and Reagan both campaigned on the notion of shrinking the size of the federal government. Second, republicans had a deep hatred of Communism and would do anything in their power to limit it's spread and eventually destroy it. Third, republicans have always resisted virtually any interference in the economy by our central government. I would respectfully suggest to my republican brethren that all three of these issues are now "dead and buried." The federal government is now the single, largest employer in the country. To argue that it is time to shrink the size of that said government would be to argue for an increase in the unemployment rate. Communism, for the most part, is now a forgotten ideal. Even those countries who still claim to be communist, no longer truly practice the ideology. Finally, it is hard to argue that the government should not get involved in the economy. Our practice of business bail-outs and tax incentives shows that the government is currently knee deep in the economy.

Therefore, what does the Republican Party believe? The Reagan Revolution brought the "moral majority" onto the Republican playing field. That "marriage" has forced the Republicans to adopt a "social" agenda. Hence, the Republican insistence on pro-life and pro-family issues. Mitt Romney will be the first non-conservative republican presidential candidate since Gerald Ford. The religious right is now in a quandary about whether or not they can support Romney due to his "moderate" beliefs. Therefore, we are back to my question-what is the future of the Republican Party?

After the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828, we saw the decline of the National Republican Party (no relation to the modern one). Those groups, north and south, that opposed the policies of Andrew Jackson slowly coalesced into a national party, they referred to themselves as the Whig Party. The Whig Party was NOT unified by any central political doctrine, just a hatred for all things Jackson. After Jackson served his two terms, the party slowly crumbled and disintegrated in the face of sectionalism prior to the American Civil War. I would suggest that the current Republican party is facing a similar fate. There is no central Republican ideology. There is no longer a core set of beliefs. The party has simply become the anti-Obama party. The Republicans are in need of new leadership and a new sense of vision. If not, we may be seeing a new political re-alignment in our future. Something that most of us thought was a virtual impossibility. After all, where there is no vision, "the people perish." Of course, this is just my opinion, and I could be wrong!

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