An ex-GOP’r responds to a current GOP’r

It’s no secret that I am a former Republican.  So, when I read an article by a current Republican talking about how the GOP needs to reform, I want to see what ideas they have to share.

I was able, due to the individual being a professor, to find his email and respond to him directly.  

My response is below…

Dear Dr. Nelson,

After reading your guest editorial at The State newspaper, I wished to reply to you.  Knowing that The State would probably not post this reply, I decided to go to the Furman University website to get your email address (I hope you don’t mind).

The overall thesis of your editorial is correct, however, it is limited.  Yes, the SC GOP must reform itself.  However, it should be noted that the GOP in South Carolina is a litmus test for the GOP nationwide.  The reason for this is, as you cite, the fact that South Carolina is an extreme red state, thus, GOP politicians have carte blanc to say anything, do anything, and are all but assured to be re-elected regardless of what they do while in office.  Nationally, as we have seen in the past two elections, this is not the case as many prior red states voted Democratic (as you cited in your editorial), relegating the GOP to a regional political party.  While your suggestions for the GOP are correct on the face, they do not address the full cause of the decline of the GOP nationally.  As a former Republican who voted Democratic in the past two elections, I can speak for myself on why the GOP was, and should be, left behind.

1) Leadership of the GOP

– The GOP leadership is still more concerned about their own political careers and welfare of their cronies than they are the welfare of the citizen.  It cannot be understated that unemployment has risen in eight years of GOP “leadership” from 4.2% nationally to 7.2%, that wealth and prosperity was centered around the top 1% of our country as wages for everyone else stagnated, and that the first targets of the GOP have been the social programs designed to help the poorest of us.  This is not leadership; it is a sense of entitlement not seen since the Kings of old kept the peasants poor while hoarding the riches.

– While your editorial states that the GOP should turn from what they are against to what they for, the GOP leadership, and the aspiring leaders, have done it.  Ken Blackwell of Ohio GOP fame during the 2004 election is running to gain the leadership of the RNC.  His stated position is that the Republican Party must oppose the Obama stimulus plan because if the poor who are unemployed get jobs under the stimulus plan, it could further erode support for the GOP.  You may read Mr. Blackwell’s interview at the below link.…

“Possible problems with President-elect Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan must be thoroughly vetted. While only a few details are known, one overlooked issue is that it could create a major electoral advantage for Democrats at taxpayer expense. That would be unacceptable for what is being touted as a nonpartisan measure, and gives Republicans yet another reason to oppose it if not restructured.”

– The “taxpayer expense” is in the form of further deficits, but, this time, that deficit will actually help the citizen and not the rich.  But, Mr. Blackwell is more concerned about the GOP losing even further politically to the Democratic Party than he is about the welfare of the average person.  The eight years of President George W. Bush showed the citizens of the nation what the GOP stands for when they have unfettered control of government.  The results have been two wars, one of which was entered into under false pretense, a decimated economy, decimated regulatory procedures in every area, government stocked full of ideological hacks, political prosecutions, and an America that tortured people.

2) Lack of accountability

– During the Bush administration, numerous individuals have been found to have committed crimes.  Bradley Scholzman, a GOP appointee to the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division perjured himself in front of Congress as newly released emails have proven.  Monica Goodling broke federal laws in her hiring for the Department of Justice.  While “Scooter” Libby was convicted for his role in the political outing of a CIA operative, President Bush merely commuted his sentence.  This lack of accountability by no means is restricted to the Bush administration.

– In South Carolina, $50 million dollars of taxpayer money was “misplaced” by our government.  There was no accounting for that money, nor, any real accountability by those who “misplaced” it.  Thomas Ravenel, while serving prison time for his purchasing and distributing of cocaine, was tried and convicted under much more lenient sentencing guidelines than the average person in South Carolina would have received under our mandatory sentencing laws for possessing/distributing the same amount of cocaine.

3) Hypocrisy

– Under President Clinton, GOP politicians were crying daily about the wars in Bosnia and Somalia about how we needed to withdraw or “cut and run” from the fight as the GOP termed it.  Under President Bush, anyone who wanted to “cut and run” were anti-American traitors.  Under President Clinton, GOP politicians were crying daily about the rule of law.  Under President Bush, the GOP politicians were crying about how unfair it was to prosecute individuals who broke the law.  This is rank hypocrisy pure and simple.

4) Racism and Bigotry

– It was not lost on the citizenry during the past two elections that racism and bigotry pervade the GOP establishment and its supporters.  The current RNC leader even circulated a “Barack the Magic Negro” CD to his “friends” not long ago.  The trademark “traditional marriage” wedge issue was trotted out by the GOP to keep gay/lesbian couples from enjoying the same liberties as the rest of America.

While these four issues are, by themselves, bad enough, they are not all of the reasons.  I could add lack of caring for our veterans, students, the poor, and more.

While your editorial raises good points, these suggestions, in and of themselves, will not cure the ills of the current GOP.  I can tell you what will, however; media doing their jobs.

The State newspaper wrote a scathing report on Charles Austin as Columbia City Manager, and, suddenly, he is resigning from office.  The State newspaper, while “reporting” on the loss of $50 million of the taxpayers dollars, didn’t harp on it near as much as the media harped on Bill Clinton’s blowjob, thus, nobody felt truly embarrassed enough to do anything other than say, “who could have known we’d lose $50 million dollars”.  

Our founding fathers wrote into our constitution freedom of the press for a reason; so that government couldn’t control what information media reported, especially if it was critical.  Yet, what we see today in America isn’t what our founding fathers envisioned.  Is The State newspaper really critical of the GOP politicians in power, or, merely those politicians to which they personally disagree like Gov. Sanford (I’ll give a hat tip to Cindi Scoppe here for her at least reporting on the ills)?  

If the leadership of the Democratic Party was anything other than a spineless enabler of GOP policies, the GOP would have been exposed long ago.  My own state Senator, Nikki Setzler, has campaigned as a “caring conservative” while wearing a “D” (Democrat).  Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, and it has taken eight years of President Bush to open the eyes of the voters, just as you stated would happen, and, has happened in the past two elections.  The SC Democratic Party has been silent for the 20 years I’ve lived in this state unless you run in “those circles”.    

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have, arguably, been the best thing for the GOP since the citizenry awoke from their slumber.  The citizenry is, and has been, speaking out at the polls; give us CHANGE from this GOP made nightmare.  Yet, these two have worked to give the GOP politicians everything they have wanted under the guise of “bi-partisanship”.  It is not lost on the voter that “bi-partisanship” to the GOP means, “whatever we want or we will throw another hissy fit in the press about how victimized we are”.

I voted for George Bush in 2000.  In 2004 I voted for John Kerry, not because I liked him, but, because our country couldn’t stand another four years of Bush.  Unfortunately, many voters bought the bigotry, the racism, and the wedge issues pushed by Karl Rove, and our country is worse off for it.  The citizenry voted in 2008 to get a Democrat into not only the White House, but, even bigger majorities in the Senate and House, as well.  It is a pure repudiation of the GOP and its policies, mentalities, and leadership of our country as a whole.

I agree with you that even South Carolina will become vulnerable in the future as the older, white, more “conservative” voting block declines and their bigotry and racism dies with them.  But, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing since for the 20 years I’ve lived in South Carolina, this state has been at the bottom of every category imaginable under GOP rule.  20 years.  You’d think that the electorate would have awoken already, and they probably would have, if The State had of done its job instead of being a GOP lap dog.  But, when it gets to the point where people are starving, homeless, can’t afford health care or college for their children, even The State and Brad Warthan can’t paint a rosy enough picture to keep the electorate ignorant.

The Democratic Party may not be perfect, their leadership spineless, and their state representatives invisible, but, the GOP put themselves into the hole they are in and the Democratic Party is the only other viable alternative since both Party’s worked to get 3rd Party’s excluded from our democratic electoral process.  A reasonable person would think that the SCDP would start an aggressive campaign to get more voters to see the failures of the GOP in this state.  A reasonable person would expect Democratic state Senators to run openly as a Democrat, not a “caring conservative”, given the repeated failures of the GOP in this state.  But then, being reasonable never entered politics in South Carolina; only God, Guns, Gays, Abortion, and Immigrants (as you have noted).  Those bastions of the GOP are gone.

In North Carolina, Dole lost trying to paint her opponent, a Sunday school teacher, as a “Godless liberal”.  The GOP lost the northeast with their “gays are coming for your children” rhetoric.  The GOP lost the midwest with their “immigrants are coming to take away your $5/hr jobs” rhetoric.  Only a fool believes that the “evil liberals” will take away your guns.  As for abortion, abstinance-only programs are proven failures and a fools errand.

So, while I appreciate your attempt to educate the GOP on how to save itself, the leadership of the GOP is locked into its “base”; bigots, racists, and fools.  They have driven everyone else away already.


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