Blogs » Politcs Plus » Is the Republican Party irrelevant?


 I know the title seems controversial and downright offensive especially in this conservative city but that was the title of C-SPAN's topic of discussion this morning.  CNN ran a similar segment titled “Is Rush Limbaugh the new voice of the Republican Party."

The total rejection of the stimulus bill by the Republican House minority brought this topic in the forefront.  The 177 House Republicans and the 11 blue dog Democrats that voted against the recent stimulus package were all from solid conservative districts.  Those districts (mostly in the South) have a steadfast ideology of smaller government and lower taxes.  Those 188 will never vote for a stimulus package unless it is basically a cut spending and taxes bill.  This defeats the purposes of a “prime the pump” stimulus plan.  The Obama team made the house Democrats add 10% in tax cuts to try and sway a few Republicans. Since that did not work the liberal Democrats are asking Obama to go back to the original plan.  Neither the Conservatives nor the liberals for that matter should give up their core Principles. I think Obama will consider six or seven Republican senators voting for the stimulus package a major victory.

Rush Limbaugh has 20 million listeners per week so he carries a lot of clout in the conservative congressional districts, and the conservative lawmakers are well aware of that.  Congressman Mike Pence(R-IN) said he disagreed with Rush Limbaugh's message (hoping the Obama administration would fail) but he would not go as far as to condemn Rush.  Rush Limbaugh would vilify him. This what Rush wrote in the yesterday’s Wall Street Journal “Keynesian economists believe government spending on "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects -- schools, roads, bridges -- is the best way to stimulate our staggering economy. Supply-side economists make an equally persuasive case that tax cuts are the surest and quickest way to create permanent jobs and cause an economy to rebound. That happened under JFK, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. We know that when tax rates are cut in a recession, it brings an economy back….Nothing new but Rush has never been in office nor does  he know anything about making policy and compromising so he has nothing to lose. He is an entertainer. The up-and-coming new Republican leaders like Governor Romney, Governor Jindal, and Governor Pawlenty have been relatively quiet the past two weeks.

Nearly 30% of the stimulus package is for unemployment benefits, food stamps and fiscal aid to the states hoping they will not have to raise taxes, lay off workers, or cut social programs.  These expenditures are against conservative principles so I don't really expect a bipartisan compromise but nothing wrong with understanding their principles and moving on.  We still have a lot of legislation down the road.

Today the Republican Party will elect a new chairman and perhaps a new direction. Mitch McConnell(R-KY) said "another term for a regional party is the minority party and he didn't sign up for being in the minority party.”

Many will say it's a Republican issue and I should not be worried about it. They may be right but I find the subject interesting knowing where the lines are drawn. Understanding is the first part of a civil discussion.