I Don’t Get It

No doubt about it, the Democrats are up and the Republicans are down. There is no shortage of pundits and politicians that wag their finger in the direction of Republicans and kindly suggest that the GOP will continue to contract if it continues to be “the party of no”.

But I don’t get it. I understand that demographics (e.g., Hispanics and younger adults) are not in the republican’s favor. But I don’t know what the critics would have the republicans become. It seems like the major complaint is that Republicans are not Democrats.

The Republican party nominated John McCain for president last year. Not a southern Christian, not a neo-con. But one of the few politicians that has actually worked with those across the aisle to accomplish legislation. It is true that recent budgets and stimulus packages received little or no Republican support. But why would there be such an expectation. As Nancy Pelosi said, the Democrats won, so they get to write the bill. A vote against $750 billion of stimulus, with its 1000+ pages, and with less than 24 hours to read, sounds like good judgement to me. Such a vote would not mean “no stimulus package”. It would just mean “not that stimulus package”. Meanwhile, President Obama has stressed on a few occasions since taking office that bi-partisanship is not about attracting votes of both parties. It is about “talking”. Umm hmm.

And, since the smack down in November, the Republicans have selected Michael Steele to head the RNC. Mr. Steele, a moderate Republican, was elected Lt. Governor of the People’s Republic of Maryland.

My favorite Republican last year, Mitt Romney, is an early front-runner for 2012. Romney, a moderate Republican, was elected Governor of Massachusetts. And he was the only candidate in either party that has actually spearheaded something like universal health coverage at the state level.

Thinking back to 2000 – and I know this may engender a lot of bad memories – I recall that W ran as a “compassionate conservative”. But what exactly did that mean? At the beginning of his administration, before 9/11, his main focus was on education. Later, he would turn his attention to Medicare prescription drug benefits and to an international AIDS program. I also recall the diversity of W’s cabinets. There were women, African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans. Some were held over from Clinton’s administration. Some were Bush’s people from Texas. Others were those that had served the elder Bush with distinction. I realize that some of these folks did not work out well. But the Bush cabinet was not, for example, a bunch of old white men.

I was amused by an article today in the Washington Post Outlook section. Who Won Feminism?*, by Naomi Wolf, begins

Look at Michelle Obama: She has segued seamlessly from an active professional life as a highly paid hospital executive to her current incarnation as fashion plate, doting mom and demure sex object, posing for Vogue in a hot fuchsia frock that shows plenty of skin. What’s most surprising about this metamorphosis? How few people are objecting to it.

I mention this passage by way of showing the degree of infatuation with the Obamas.  Sure, Ms. Obama was a highly paid hospital executive. I guess she brought unique skills to her job, because when she left the position to come to Washington, her position was not back filled. Sounds more like she was given her position as a way to buy influence. This was similar to Hilary Clinton, who was a full partner in the Rose Law Firm.

Yes indeed, the Democrats are up. The Republicans are down. But I still don’t get it.

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