In my column last week, I looked at what President Barack Obama will need to do to be successful. On the flip side, let’s take a look at what Republicans would need to do to restore their party’s credibility and viability.
A lot of people have said, with good reason, that they’d never consider voting for a Republican again; however, I believe that the Republican Party can still be saved.
I was raised in a Republican household and naturally gravitated in that direction as I grew up. However, as I read biographies of famous presidents and examined American history, I realized that the Republican Party of 2000 shared little more than its name with the Republicans of the 1900s.
The modern Republican Party has morphed into an extreme party driven by religious fundamentalism.
The Republican Party that my parents joined was focused on traditional conservatism. The Republicans of old valued small and efficient government, deliberate dispassionate decision-making and a respectful toleration of the rest of the world’s ideas and leaders.
However, the actions of the past two decades, particularly of both Presidents Bush, have made a mockery of their forefathers’ conservatism.
The Republicans no longer stand for small government. They now favor theocratic government — if their god says the Jews are his chosen people, it means we must launch unilateral wars with all the Jews’ enemies immediately. If their god says substance abuse is bad, then we must throw millions of plant-smokers in jail.
The Republicans have also forsaken deliberate decision-making: just take a look at the passage of the Patriot Act.
This almost 1,000-page long monstrosity was passed in just a few days. Congressmen complained they didn’t even have time to read the bill before voting on it.
The Republicans of old would have been ashamed to pass a bill that bad without thinking it over first.
Finally, the Republicans’ foreign policy changed from cautious isolationism to reckless unilateral aggression.
Republicans routinely criticized democrat Woodrow Wilson for interfering in world affairs to promote democracy. His League of Nations proposal was strongly rejected. However, a century later, Bush was viewed as a reincarnation of Wilson. Bush’s rhetoric about making the world safe for democracy came right from Wilson’s policies.
Now the Republicans have turned into an aggressive theocratic party. While their leaders are as corrupt and immoral as the Democrats’, they claim to have the will of God on their side.
Apparently the god that Republicans worship doesn’t mind that party leaders such as Sen. John McCain, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani all have had messy divorces and multiple affairs.
Though, in their minds, President Bill Clinton was public enemy number-one for his sexual affairs, the Republicans expect to get away with equally distasteful things without consequences.
People like megachurch pastor Ted Haggard preach every week about the evils of homosexuality and then go and have affairs with gay prostitutes.
America is sick of watching this hypocrisy. The Republican Party claims to be so moral, and yet their actions are morally bankrupt. It’s time for the Republicans to drop this religious charade and go back to being the Republican Party of old.
Once the religious nuts are kicked out of the party, the Republicans can go back to focusing on the neglected economy and better foreign policy.
Here’s a lesson for aspiring Republican leaders: Just because the Bible says Armageddon will occur in the Middle East doesn’t mean you have to go bomb every Muslim country back into the Stone Age. If God wills it, I’m sure He can blow stuff up perfectly well without our assistance.
Ian Bezek is a sophomore economics major. His column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.