United States Of Common Sense

THE GATHERING STORM

Republicans
Republicans
Newt Gingrich, Willard Romney, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul are candidates for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination. | Gingrich, Santorum, Paul, Romney,

Time for A New Political Party

The Democratic Party is a spent force. Once the advocate of the working man, it has become the champion of endless government expansion and a corresponding never ending quest for new sources of revenue. It gains support and allegiance by turning Americans against each other, tribalizing politics and dispensing government benefits and patronage in exchange for votes.

This President is a disappointment at best. He inherited an economy reeling from the impact of twin deficits. The first, a massive trade deficit, which is hollowing out our manufacturing base and driving down median income, President Obama largely decided to ignore. The second, a massive budget deficit, which is bankrupting our country and threatening our status as a great power, President Obama decided to make worse.

And, remarkably enough, the Republican Party managed to field a presidential candidate who could lose the recent election and guarantee this Administration four more years in power.

No matter what conservatives may think or say, that did not happen because of some massive conspiracy or cover-up. Neither did it happen, because the American people are stupid or ill informed. It happened, because the GOP is held hostage by socially conservative forces that terrify the great majority of Americans and force anyone seeking the Republican nomination for President to espouse positions, which make him virtually unelectable.

It could, in fact have been worse. Romney lost but made a creditable showing. How many states would Santorum have carried?

Buddy Roemer
Buddy Roemer

Roemer became a delegate to the constitutional convention in his state where he helped write the Louisiana Constitution. Buddy then served four terms as U.S. Congressman, then two as Governor in 1988. | Photo: Aaron Stipkovich |
The election was a rude awakening for the Republican Party. It was a tragedy for the American people. We are effectively left precisely where we were before the votes were cast. Our government is divided. It is dysfunctional. And it is held in a death grip by two private political organizations, neither one of which speaks for interests of most Americans.

Here is the reality. The vast majority of Americans are fiscally conservative but socially tolerant:

They believe in government. They think it has an essential role in maintaining a level playing field and supporting a social safety net. They also think government today is too big, too intrusive and too inefficient. They want a flatter, leaner, more efficient government, which focuses on essential services and does a better job at less cost.

They think the United States should maintain a strong defense and retain its status as the most powerful nation on Earth. They also want the United States to stop acting like the world's policeman and engaging in ruinous nation-building exercises abroad. They want to win when we go to war, but they also want to know that when we go to war it is because some critical national security interest of ours is threatened.

They believe that abortion is a tragedy and should be a last resort. They would also rather trust the decision on when to abort a fetus to the mother than they would to the government.

They most assuredly do not believe that when a woman who is raped gets pregnant it is 'God's will". They also do not believe that women have some secret biological defense mechanism that allows them to avoid pregnancy when raped. It should go without saying, I think, that they find people who actually believe such things to be terrifying and virtually incomprehensible.

They're not afraid of homosexuals. It doesn't threaten them that some people are gay or that gay couples want to receive legal recognition for their unions. They don't care much in general about what consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms, and they're not sure why anyone else does. They'd really prefer that politicians spend a lot more time balancing the budget and fixing the economy and a lot less time lecturing people on "morality".

They believe in trade but are more concerned that it be "fair" than "free". They understand that the Chinese have been deliberately engaging in unfair trade practices for well over a decade and that we have paid a heavy economic price as a result. They have watched the factories closing all around the nation and the unemployment lines growing. They're tired of it. They want somebody to start pushing back.

They know that the stench of money, lobbyists and corruption coming from Washington is overpowering. They understand that the fabric of our republic is being threatened by big money. They worry that increasingly their duly elected representatives are a lot more focused on what their corporate sponsors want than on what average citizens need. They want it to stop. They want somebody to bring out a big broom and sweep the place clean.

One hundred years ago, at a time of similar peril. Theodore Roosevelt broke from the Republican Party and announced the creation of a progressive movement known affectionately as the Bull Moose Party. He explained his decision to do so as follows.

"The old parties are husks, with no real soul within either, divided on artificial lines, boss-ridden and privilege-controlled, each a jumble of incongruous elements, and neither daring to speak out wisely and fearlessly what should be said on the vital issues of the day."

The Bull Moose attack was spelled out just as explicitly in the party platform:

"Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside'Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people'To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day."

Running on a platform, which was centered on the idea of returning the control of the government to the people, Roosevelt was ultimately defeated in his bid to return to the White House. He did, however, place second in the general election, ahead of Taft, the incumbent President. The strength of the Bull Moose Party was such, in fact, that the two established parties were forced to scramble to embrace Roosevelt's positions on women's suffrage, the direct election of Senators and the establishment of a system of primary elections by which candidates for office would be chosen. The Bull Moose Party failed in its bid for the Presidency, but it dramatically changed the political landscape of America.

The Reform Party
The Reform Party

Set the highest ethical standards for the White House and Congress. Balance the Budget. Campaign Reform. Create a new tax system. Carefully putting together plans to deal with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Promoting jobs in the USA. Lobbying Reform. Individual Rights. Illegal Immigration. and more | Photo: The Reform Party |
All across America today a similar wave of resentment and protest is growing. People are fed up with a bloated, ineffective government obsessed with partisan bickering and the desires of special interests. They are tired of filing into the voting booth and being forced to choose the lesser of two evils. They know we can do better.

Some of the gathering forces have already taken the form of political parties. The Reform Party, with which I am affiliated, and the Modern Whigs are but two of a host of such organizations. Others are not quite parties, yet. How organizations like Americans Elect, the Reform Project and No Labels will evolve in the future is unclear, but what is evident is that they are gathering steam.

The storm clouds are growing darker. The people are angry. The two so-called established parties have failed. The nation is teetering on the brink of catastrophe in heavy seas, and neither the Republicans nor the Democrats seem capable of charting a course to safer waters. Change is coming. The storm is about to break, and when it does the new political force that emerges will sweep the decks clean.

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Updated May 6, 2017 5:59 AM EDT | More details

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