Day: October 26, 2009

The Further Narrowing Of The Republican Party Base: Prescription For Disaster

It is absolutely amazing to see more and more Republican leaders backing the Conservative party nominee in the 23rd congressional district in upstate New York, instead of the Republican nominee, to fill the seat of a Republican who left to serve as Army Secretary under President Obama.

Hard to believe, but now Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Fred Thompson, Rick Santorum, and Dick Armey have all abandoned the GOP nominee as “too liberal”, forgetting this is New York, not the deep South or Great Plains that is being contested.

What does this say for party loyalty and for the rightward swing of the Republican party? Soon, NO moderate Republican will be able to feel comfortable in the party, and the GOP will be so marginalized as to lose opposition party status.

This seems to be a warning to moderates to look elsewhere, and it may be that the Democrats will benefit, or that a new party may emerge which will make the Republican party a fringe group outside of the political mainstream. IF that was to happen, the Republican party would have committed suicide and destroyed the historical image it has gained with such leaders as Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and even Ronald Reagan, who talked about the “11th Commandment”, which was NOT to attack any fellow Republican!

Only former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich so far has had the common sense to back the Republican nominee in this New York congressional race,  asserting that the party cannot be just right wingers, but must accomodate moderates as well.  For once, Gingrich is correct,  and yet the party seems to be ignoring his entreaties to their detriment!

Senator Harry Reid And The Health Care Public Option “Opt Out” By States

Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has announced that the Senate will consider a health care reform act with a public option, but allowing an “opt out” by states.

The politics of the Senate makes it difficult to accomplish a public option, since 60 senators are needed to avoid a filibuster, unless “reconciliation” is invoked, requiring only 50 or 51 senators, but provoking a lot more anger and partisanship.

Having said that, it is disappointing that the states will be allowed to “opt out”, as that will provide, inevitably, fewer choices on health care coverage in many states, particularly those that are poorer and more backward in social terms–particularly the South and Great Plains and some Mountain States. These are precisely the areas of less competition among health care plans, and should require the stiff competition of a public option.

The likelihood is that the Northeast and New England, the Upper Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and California will participate, which will promote more inequities and unfairness and division within this nation, which already has too many elements of the above.

It will mean that where one lives will decide a person’s opportunity for a fair and reasonable cost health care system, and in that sense, this decision of the Senate Majority Leader is disappointing. It is really catering to conservative and anti government interests, the precisely wrong message to send.

Negotiations with the House of Representatives and Speaker Nancy Pelosi may yet change this situation, and it is hoped such an eventuality occurs.