Republicans missing pointsPublished 9:29am Friday, March 1, 2013
Every party loses a presidential election now and then, so claiming the demise of the Republican Party because they lost the White House to President Obama is just not a claim of substance.
But the Republican Party is in jeopardy of relegating itself to a minority party for generations if its current leaders do not soon grasp that opposing the public on virtually every current issue cannot be a path forward to electoral success.
All arguments are not equal, and all claims are not factual, which in the current political debate makes many of the Republican positions on issues untenable.
As sequestration arrives, the poison pill of bad governing, the Republican strategy is to let it happen, even though the spending reductions are so poorly designed that they will have significant negative impact upon the still fragile economy. And if intentionally torpedoing the economy is not bad enough Republicans now deny the very origin of sequestration.
The idea was originally proposed by President Obama as a path out of fiscal gridlock during the recently manufactured debt ceiling crisis (courtesy of our Republican friends). He advanced creating a solution so bitter, an outcome so undesirable, that compromise would be forced upon even the most reluctant members of congress.
The idea quickly gained the support of Mitch McConnell who said it was “a crucial step on the road to fiscal sanity,” and of House Speaker John Boehner who gained a majority of Republican House votes to pass sequestration.
Then Republicans promptly, from then until now, refused any compromise whatsoever and even re-imagined that the whole idea of sequestration and compromise was solely Obama’s, forgetting their own statements and votes in favor of sequestration.
And now, facing the reality of this economy damaging law, Republicans still refuse to compromise on revenue and spending cuts in a balanced approach.
Recently Speaker Boehner wrote a column in The Wall Street Journal in which he claims Americans want spending cuts, not taxes.
But Speaker Boehner has the facts wrong,
Americans, according to a new Pew Research poll out this week, by a majority of 76 percent want the deficit addressed by a combination of both spending cuts and tax increases. Only 19 percent of Americans want spending cuts only, hardly offering the Speaker even modest support of his misappraisal.
Sequestration is not the only issue Republicans find themselves out of tune with Americans according to the Pew Poll. On Immigration, 50 percent support the Presidents’ position of a path to citizenship, while 33 percent support the Republican argument to do nothing until the border is 100 percent foolproof.
On climate change, a topic Republicans either deny exists or claim no solution can matter, 47 percent agree with the President that we need to actively respond to climate, and 26 percent agree with the Republican position.
Responsible gun control, by universal background check and smaller ammo clips, as advanced by the president, is supported by 45 percent of Americans. The Republican position of doing nothing with gun control has the support of 39 percent.
On gay marriage a very slim majority of Americans now favor permitting same sex couples to marry, Republicans disagree and now hold a minority viewpoint.
On issue after issue the Republican positions are not representative of the views of a majority of Americans. Given the serious problems Republicans already face in electoral demographics, siding against a majority of Americans on many issues cannot be a path to future electoral victory.
Should sequestration occur, according to the Pew poll, 49 percent of Americans will hold Republicans responsible for the damage done to the economy, only 31 percent would blame the president and Democrats.
The public would be right, all arguments are not equal, all claims are not factual.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.