Our Opinion: GOP can be strong againPublished 5:58pm Saturday, October 19, 2013
It’s too bad the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party divides that party so sharply and harms it from being an effective leader in the federal government.
No one doubts that if the Republican Party was once again a party of wise, moderate conservatives like it had been under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush that America wouldn’t have endured a shutdown of the federal government, let alone one that lasted longer than two weeks.
It makes us miss the sound leadership provided by Kansas Sen. Bob Dole and his contemporaries. They often provided the necessary counterbalance to offset outlandish proposals sometimes coming from Democrats.
The Republican Party holds great appeal for many who seek fiscal wisdom in their government. This is what the moderate conservatives seek, too. But for those fiscally conservative independent voters, it can be scary to cast a ballot for the Republican Party because it means supporting a party that also possesses anti-government members.
It is not as though the independents and many moderates wish to tear down the government, but they know that the Tea Party-types, many of whom ought to be more aptly called Libertarians, want a far smaller federal government than is economically sound to have. To these voters, Tea Party politicians claiming to be Republicans are like wolves in sheep’s clothing.
What’s more, it is frustrating to moderate Republicans, independents and Democrats to hear the Tea Party politicians claim they have majorities, often stated in terms such as accusing Democrats of “going against the will of the people.”
If the will of the people had been for the Tea Party agenda, then A. the Republican Party would not be split so sharply right now, B. Sarah Palin would hold some sort of elective office, and C. the Republicans would hold the White House, a majority in the Senate and dominate many more state Legislatures than they presently do.
The fact is, the Tea Party movement, while noble in some beliefs, has lost its mass appeal, perhaps much more than its die-hard supporters realize. The 16-day shutdown could be its death knell. The race to see who can be more conservative than whom should be over.
We hope in the 2014 elections — in GOP primaries across the land — that voters return the Republican Party to its promising status as a party in favor of fewer taxes and more effective government, rather than a party of destroying the government. It would make the party much more appealing to the general public and return Republicans to greater power.