Is it time for GOP to throw in the towel?

Published 10:11 am Friday, February 27, 2009

Last week Youngstown, Ohio’s Kelly Pavlic successfully defended his championship boxing title against a gamey but overmatched contender.

Pavlic had won eight of nine rounds and the contender, hurt from the pounding Pavlic had given him, did not answer the bell for the tenth round.

Antonio Rubio did the smart thing and threw in the towel. Republicans should be as smart as Rubio.

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Hurt from stinging defeats in the 2006 and 2008 elections, Republicans have gamely tried to fight back by establishing a position, an ethic that will bring them back to the center of American politics.

But their attempt has been like Rubio’s efforts, too few punches thrown, far too few punches landed, and an opponent that is pounding them incessantly.

In case you have not noticed the Democrats are utilizing the very real economic crisis to establish 30 years of democratic programs for America. From health care to S-CHIPS, from war policy to weaponry, the Democrats are re-shaping policy at a pace unseen in modern times.

Oddly enough, the very crisis brought about by careless spending and debt creation, and a failure of government oversight, has brought about stimulus spending and a reversal from the “government can’t do anything right” philosophy to “government will get it right.”

Only in America can overspending bring overspending as a solution, but our economists tell us this is indeed the way to recovery.

Right or wrong the nation is behind President Obama and behind his ideas for recovery.

Given his personal popularity and the new found power of the Democrats in Congress, there seems little doubt that much of his agenda will become law in the next 60 days.

And our Republican friends can do little more than throw punches that don’t land or are ineffective in fighting against the tide of change.

This week the Republicans had Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal refute the joint house of Congress speech made by President Obama. Jindal’s speech was a microcosm of all the punches the Republican Party has throw and missed with over the last few years. In attacking the presidents’ policies Jindal used a Republican theme that government always fails.

His Katrina example was indeed a failure, that of a Republican President to staff a critical federal agency, FEMA, with competent experts in the field. Hardly a blow that landed to the head.

Jindal followed the glancing blow with a critique that Republicans prefer to “do it themselves” rather than have big government help. This from the governor of the state that has received more federal aid after Katrina than any state in our history. This from a governor about to accept an additional $3.5 billion dollars in stimulus aid. He sounded like the 8-year-old grandson who rushes into the grandparent’s home, stuffs his cheeks with candy, drools down his chin, and tells the grandparents they have lousy candy.

But beyond the highly questionable choice of a Louisiana Governor to carry the message of self-sufficiency, the Republicans have decided that their new moral imperative is anti-spending.

Having doubled the national debt in eight short years, going from a surplus to the largest debtor nation, only after losing power to they discover that they oppose big spending and the big government they created.

If this was a fight the referee would have called the fight due to the damage the Republican contenders have taken in the ring. The problem is the country really does need a two party system, and the loyal opposition needs to have some sting in their punches.

Either fight back effectively or throw in the towel.

Jim Crawford is a contributing columnist for The Tribune and a former educator at Ohio University Southern.