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Where Has My Party Gone?

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 7:00 pm - November 28, 2005.
Filed under: National Politics,Post 9-11 America

After seeing the news this afternoon about US Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham resigning as the result of a bribery scandal, it reminded me of a great article in Sunday’s Washington Post Opinion Section.

The GOP And The Sandbox – WaPo Opinion Column by Douglas MacKinnon
(subscription required — use mine! email:, password: gaypatriot)
(GP Editor’s Note — Douglas MacKinnon is identified in the article as the former press secretary to former Senator Bob Dole. He is also a former White House and Pentagon official, and an author.)

The subhead to the column is “I Wonder Where My Party’s Headed.” I couldn’t agree more. But let me provide some of Mr. MacKinnon’s best arguments.

For Republicans, all the intense, newfound focus on Iraq that the Democrats and some in the media are avidly promoting is coupled with a sharp rise in partisanship and both real and politically motivated ethics problems in the GOP (I consider the questions facing former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to be mostly politically motivated, while those surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff and Reps. Randy “Duke” Cunningham and Rob Ney are very troublesome). And it raises a critical set of questions: “Who are we, what have we become, and what do we, as a party, stand for?”

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For while it takes two parties to govern — or embarrass themselves — it is the Republicans who control the White House and the Congress and thus have the greater burden to lead. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way we seem to have lost vision, belief in our platform and a commitment to higher ethics.

Since 1994, when Newt Gingrich led the revolution that gave us our first House majority in 40 years, Republicans have sold the American people on the premise that we are the party of national defense, character, morality and ethics. But that premise is getting tougher to defend with each passing day.

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If these Republicans abandon the president because of their own worries, then the damage to the nation and to the Republican Party will be incalculable. We will have squandered any chance of democracy in Iraq, and potentially large parts of the Middle East. This is something that many Americans — and more Republicans — will not soon forget.

Instead of turning Congress into a sandbox, leaders of both parties should demand serious and extended debate over the war. While there is clearly no support, even among Democrats, for Murtha’s call to bring the troops home, there is also very clearly no coherent strategy for the future of the war coming out of Congress. Many members still refuse to be held accountable for their votes on it.

Enough with the name-calling, charges and counter-charges. Forget how we got there and focus on how we can and must prevail. The least that members of Congress and the administration can give our troops is a dignified and serious reflection on why they have put our soldiers in harm’s way. Both parties are in trouble at the moment. And Republicans have the most to lose.

Events like today’s Cunningham resignation and other recent scandals are not pillars of the Republican Party that I want to be a part of. They are instead the seeds of power and deceit that brought down the Democrats’ 40 year reign over the US House in 1994.

Governing responsibly is a lot different than campaigning from the minority position. The only saving grace Republican leaders have now is that the Democrats look more shrill and childlike every day. It is unfortunate that our elected leaders are helping demean our democracy brick-by-brick and in many ways are having a longer term impact than Osama’s plan did on 9/11. We are all responsible for our elected officials’ actions and we all need to call them on the carpet.

[Related Story — Charging Rhino suggests some punishment options for Rep. Cunningham]

Welcome Instapundit readers!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)



  1. Excellent points. It’s about time elected Republicans realize that the Rovian strategy of provoking the Democrats to become more and more idiotic is a chance to strengthen the party’s grip on the center, not a license to steal.

    Republicans need to call out the fact, as I blogged yesterday, that liberals and Democrats are making deliberate alliances with Saddam supporters and Stalinists to pump up numbers and get more media attention at their antiwar and anti-Bush rallies. They need to point out that DNC-supported media hogs like Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan are running around calling al-Qaeda “freedom fighters”. Most of all, they need to get the split-screen ads on the air that I’ve talked about, in which Teddy Kennedy is shown whining about torture at Abu Ghirab while a video of Saddam’s torturers plays beside it, or the videos of deliberate mutilation of those who displeased Saddam playing beside Howard Dean’s screeching of how the war was “unnecessary and unjustified”.

    Then, once that’s done and the Democrats are pinned in the corner, the Republicans need to govern. Start asking questions about spending, regardless of whose pork it is. Fund worthwhile social programs (public education accountability and improvements, realistic immigration policy and practice) and cut the knees out of programs like welfare that do nothing but buy votes for Democrats while perpetuating the very problems they were created to remove. Put in place strategies to encourage business investment here while providing incentives for innovation in process, product, and human capital.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — November 28, 2005 @ 8:02 pm - November 28, 2005

  2. One of those lawmakers was Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, who received more than $66,000 in donations from Abramoff clients from 2001 to 2004. Reid spokesman Jim Manley says Reid’s March 5, 2002, letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton opposing the casino was “consistent with his opposition to attempts to expand Indian gaming” and had “absolutely nothing” to do with a $5,000 donation the following day from the Louisiana Coushattas, the Abramoff client that had opposed the rival casino.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — November 28, 2005 @ 10:17 pm - November 28, 2005

  3. In part, we the electorate of either party have to have the integrity to say. “thro’ de bums out”, even if they’re of our own party. To say “he’s a crook, but he’s my crook” merely make you an accomplice. How many of my own party are so-compromised? Probably more than anyone Republican or Democratic would be comfortable-with.

    In part, it seems from the arrogance of power. After 4 or 6-years of the insulating cocoon of their staffs, the lobbyists’ entourages, and the flunkies they start to forget the real world. They stop going to the market for themselves, or even carry cash or credit cards. Why bother? Their House or Senate ID-card is a bottomless ATM-card for lunches, junkets and the invisible things like, “let me take care of that, Sir” from all-quarters. Soon they get an other-worldy view of the Universe that we commonly associate with the pampered and braindead Hollywood elites who never pay their bills personally, leave $1.00 as a restaurant-tip, and travel by limo to the drug-store.

    Would it surprise me if there were another 5 or 10 members of either House of both parties who are equally as guilty? Who have sold their office on the market-square to the highest or most ambitious bidder. Unfortunately for the Republic, no.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — November 28, 2005 @ 10:56 pm - November 28, 2005

  4. Good perspective and good advice. And from the Miers nomination to today’s immigration debate, it’s clear we call our own onto the carpet — even if it’s our President.

    The problem is that we’re playing a straight hand in a crooked game. Democrats don’t play by the same rules. They will continue to cover for their own, and disown any responsibility.

    While essays of self-examination like this serve as a healthy cathartic exercises (as it should be), our opponents see it only as an opportunity to point fingers — and for Reid and Pelosi to bolster their “Culture of Corruption” mantra. That’s what hurts.

    Comment by CaliforniaConservative — November 28, 2005 @ 11:15 pm - November 28, 2005

  5. When Republicans convinced voters in 1994 to unseat an arrogant, corrupt and out-of-touch Democratic majority — in power for 40 years — we had an obligation to be different. We haven’t lived up to that responsibility and today the stench on Capitol Hill is as bad as it was in 1994.

    I was active in the Republican Party from the time I was in high school — holding local, state and national offices — until a few years ago when I no longer felt welcome in the shrinking GOP tent. With all that experience, I know what the Republican Party has been all about. And I am today more and more at a loss to find anything the president is doing to uphold traditional Republican principles.

    Comment by Jack Allen — November 29, 2005 @ 12:29 am - November 29, 2005

  6. In short order, it appears that both parties equate governing exclusively with how much they can spend, and the only difference between the two is what each want to spend our tax dollars on. A pox on both their houses. One embraces the idiotic rants of Babs, Michael Moore and Al Franken, and the other works themselves into a lather over a brain dead woman and restricting the types of relationship that gays are allowed to have. I really wish I could register as a Republican in state elections, and as an independent when voting for national candidates. Either that, or I wish that someone who isn’t a nut ball or a loon, you know, someone actually electable, would form a viable third party to siphon off reasonable individuals from the two sorry excuses that the Democratic and Republican parties have become.

    Comment by sonicfrog — November 29, 2005 @ 1:08 am - November 29, 2005

  7. #4

    Frankly, I’m astounded that Pelosi and “Dingy” Harry have the gaul to open their mouths at all while they’re under the microscope.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — November 29, 2005 @ 2:01 am - November 29, 2005

  8. #7 — Democrats don’t have to worry about scandals. The media will go to bat for them, just like they always did for Bill and Hillary.

    Comment by V the K — November 29, 2005 @ 7:56 am - November 29, 2005

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