When the grand-daddy Republican is complaining about how the party is abusing its power, you know something is wrong.
Newt Gingrich, former house speaker and author of the Republican's "Contract with America," which is often credited to the party's historic takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994, is harshly criticizing Republican leaders for abandoning their principles since they've gained power of nearly all branches of the federal government.
Gingrich was the man who nearly single-handedly stole the working class from the Democrats with promises of smaller government. However, the Republicans are spending more than this government has ever spent. The tax cuts, other Republican pork barrel and our glorious war has bulged the obese national debt to around $7.5 trillion (http://www.toptips.com/debtclock.html).
According to a Denver Post article from March 27, Gingrich grumbled: "Everywhere I go, people complain about the deficit. Everywhere I go, people complain about the pork-barrel spending."
The Republican platform has its appeal. Seriously, who doesn't want the government to be more responsible with its spending and more cautious about social programs? As much as a mere glace at Gingrich makes me want to vomit, he is a genuine Republican and a well-intentioned leader. He believes in his values and demands those principles remain when his party gets control.
Unfortunately, and to the detriment of us all, the Republican Party has become a party obsessed with power and maintaining it. This machine refuses to acknowledge mistakes because doing so could jeopardize reelection interests. Rolling back tax cuts and not passing policy that benefits only its constituency also jeopardizes power.
And this is not a Republican problem. This is an institutional problem. The Democrats have and would do the same if they were in power.
This country was founded on the principles of fragmented powers among its branches of governments. We have checks and balances to assure no one ideology can maintain and abuse its power. However, our two-party system allows for political machines to do exactly as the Republicans are doing now and, basically, renders checks and balances a good idea rather than a realization.
Furthermore, we let the parties comfort us with pork barrel, and we let pop culture stagnate our minds with entertainment. It is hard to blame Bush and the Republicans because they are just playing the game – and playing it well.
We are the idiots. Only party ideologues believe their chosen party is looking out for our interests. But no party can care about the particular needs of a community because its needs often clash with ours. They need power. And when that is the case, right and wrong no longer exist. Morality dies.
We need more people like Newt Gingrich in leadership positions (though I would prefer his liberal clone), more people like him to speak out for the needs of the people over the needs of a political machine. Otherwise, our government will continue to grow larger and larger and our needs ignored more and more.
And that is where the Democratic Party can (and should) start to redefine itself. It can be the non-party alternative to a corrupted Republican machine.
Vincent Adam is an English graduate student. His column runs every Tuesday in the Collegian.