About the beginning of the 21st Century I suggested that the Republican Party needed to dissolve itself, and from its conservative base form a new party, perhaps called the conservative party.
My argument was that it was not enough to “reform” the party; it must die and a new organization birthed. No amount of tinkering could erase traces of impure conservative thinking. Further, unless it changed its name, the Republican Party would continue to be known as the “party of the rich.”
Can a party led by a billionaire avoid being labeled the party of the rich? Sure. The Democratic Party began its reign, which continues today, as the “party of the poor” under millionaire, in today’s dollars, Franklin Roosevelt.
I thought, some 16 years ago, it was possible that, at a convention, the Republican Party could kill itself and birth a new party, with a new name, a party that would offer the public a clear choice between the political philosophies and governing tenets of a conservative party and of a largely liberal Democratic Party.
My thinking was that, since the Democrat Party also needed revamping, a morphing of the Republican Party could soon cause Democrats to convene, kill the party, and emerge with a true liberal philosophy, perhaps naming itself the Liberal Party or the Progressive Party.
Recall the election years of 1992 and 1996, when Democrats nominated Bill Clinton, and Republicans served up for re-election George H.W. Bush. Elected in the glow of Ronald Reagan, Bush by 1992 had abandoned most of Reagan’s philosophy, so he couldn’t differentiate himself from Bill Clinton, who presented himself as a “New Democrat.”
In 1996, establishment Republicans offered Bob Dole as a foil, a sure loser, decades-old by Washington standards, to Clinton.
In 2000 “compassionate conservative” George W. Bush was nominated as the Republican nominee and only defeated Democrat Al Gore after the issue went to the Supreme Court. In 2004 Bush had the good fortune to oppose perhaps the weakest of Democrats, billionaire John Kerry.
My opinion then, and now, was that a true conservative could have easily defeated liberals Gore and Kerry, and that a true conservative at the top might have led to conservative control of both Houses of Congress.
No doubt Bush was less liberal in thought than Gore or Kerry, but some actions weren’t much different than they might have been under them. Creation of another huge bureaucracy, the Department of Homeland Security, was more similar to acts a Lyndon Johnson or a Jimmy Carter would take, rather than what a Ronald Reagan would have supported.
Along come election years 2008 and 2012, when Republicans nominated candidates who could not frame themselves as truly different from Democrat Barack Obama.
If one believes, even slightly, in improbable conspiracies, one could easily think that Republican leaders purposely, for whatever reason, perhaps money, effected the nomination of candidates McCain and Romney, knowing that there were stronger Republicans available.
I was wrong in thinking that the time was ripe in 2000 or 2004 for what I suggest above.
But maybe it is now. The Republican Party is split and so is the Democrat Party.
Will someone with strength come forward, from either party, and start a move that will benefit all people?
People uncomfortable with being a member of a new Conservative Party could find a happy home in the new Liberal Party, or Progressive Party, and vice versa.
Naturally, to ensure the integrity of each party, it would be necessary to screen crossovers to avoid interlopers.
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