Loyalty to an ideal or to a person?
by Randall H. Nunn
The Republican Party suffered a blow in the 2006 elections, losing control of both houses of Congress. Many have hoped that the party would analyze the results of that election and correct the problems before the 2008 elections. However, the signs thus far are not encouraging, as the party leadership seems fractured, indecisive and unsure of itself. Rather than trying to focus on core principles and representing the base that elected them, too many of the Republican leaders are pandering to interest groups and adjusting their positions based on polls and conventional wisdom as laid down by the mainstream media. As a result, a large segment of the Republican base is becoming even more frustrated and alienated from the leadership.
Even though the Republican defections on the war in Iraq are eroding the administration's strength at this critical juncture, there may be something more powerful and more insidious at work here. The Republican base has become angry and frustrated with the leadership's inaction on issues that impact them daily and significantly and which result in the middle class shouldering more of the burden of the high cost of government while losing individual rights and economic security at the same time. This feeling that the leadership of our government is out of touch with middle class America and governing much like the Democrat elites saps support for the administration at a time when it needs support most.
The failure of the administration to have any impact on Social Security reform or tax reform is another major irritant to the conservative base. If the administration could not effect any such reforms when it controlled both houses of Congress and The White House, why should the base expect any relief now that control has been lost? If the administration could not get more of its judicial appointees reviewed and confirmed when it controlled the legislative and executive branches, why should the base expect effective action now? To explain these failures by pointing to those in Congress who are Republicans in name only is disingenuous. Ronald Reagan worked with Congresses controlled by Democrats, yet the conservative agenda was advanced and the base always knew where President Reagan stood on issues. If the leadership of today's Republican Party is not loyal to its base and true to its philosophy, why should that base remain loyal to the leadership?
Randall H. Nunn is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.