Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Time For A Realistic Third Political Party?

There was a time when the predominantly Republican/Democratic two party political system worked fairly well in The United States of America. However, those glory days may well be over and in the 21st Century what is now needed is a realistic third party choice for the American voter.

Over the last two Presidential administrations what has transpired on Capitol Hill is total chaos, whether accidental or by design, that has literally crippled both houses of Congress to the point where the Executive Branch has taken unprecedented and possibly questionable Constitutional infringements upon the rule of law in the nation.

Due mainly to the ineptness of the House of Representatives and the Senate, along with certain Supreme Court rulings, the Oval Office has begun exerting more and more unilateral control over the government leading to what many are now calling the Banana Republic of America.

This state is not entirely the fault of the current President or his most recent predecessor but is mainly a symptom of what has been identified as a radical change in the principles that appear to be governing the nation. Many of the founding principles that have guided this nation for the past 227 years are being abandoned by the people and those to whom they elect to public office.

The erosion of those ideals and ideas can be seen by some of the more recent decisions, or better still, indecisions that have come out of Capitol Hill causing the President to step in like a quasi-dictator and rule by the Power of The Pen, a role this current President seems more than willing to play. Too willing!

The little legislation coming out Congress these days is either simple copy and paste of the Executive Branch’s Kool Aid brand of governance or, in the case of the Republican-led House, a total abandoning of those principles that for over a century distinguished the Grand Ole’ Party as a counter to the more progressive elements found on the other side of the aisle.

As a result of a complete breakdown in leadership and severe in-fighting among its members and elected officials the GOP has been left powerless, ineffective to the point of being a joke and a sad historical commentary for future generations to examine on how best to destroy oneself from within.

Most recent evidence of the GOP’s losing its grip on reality and what it use to stand for is the House’s vote on the debt ceiling issue. There was a time when the Republican Party led the charge for government fiscal responsibility, curbed spending and sound budget practices by the Fed. Those days have been over since G.W. Bush became President and the 180 degree turn on fiscal responsibility made by the GOP at that time has not only continued but fourteen years later is so bad that it is now impossible to tell the difference between a Republican member and a Democratic one when it comes to the out-of-control fiscal decisions made in the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

It was once a common Republican principle that the government could not spend more than it took in. It was also a common Republican foundation that no increase in the national debt could be instituted without the requisite federal spending cuts. However, the idea of fiscal discipline, like a baby, has been thrown out with the bathwater.

Today the Republican Party is the opposition party in name only. They have failed to stop the Democrats from getting the debt ceiling raised on several occasions and in most cases enough Republican lawmakers voted in agreement with their Democratic counterparts ensuring passage of said legislation, even knowing to do so would fiscally damaged this nation in the long run. But, being short-sighted, they are willing to continually kick this can down the road until the day of ultimate collapse.

They have failed to budge the President on the Keystone XL oil pipeline proposal, even after the Republican Governor of Nebraska had the path of the pipeline changed to an area that, if leakage ever occurred (which most specialist today agree won't likely happen), would have had little to no significant environmental impact in his State. The Democrats, although the minority party in the House, has been able to stop the greatly divided Republicans on nearly every major piece of legislation coming out of their corridors thereby giving President Obama relatively smooth sailing when it comes to his signature healthcare law, The Affordable Healthcare Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), a law that very few Republicans and no Democrats actually read before voting yay or nay. He has been able to easily override the scant Republican opposition to his refusal to work with the Treasury as it concerned Social Security payments and paychecks for federal workers.

Today the Democrats have the one thing that was always the mainstay of the Republican Party - basic unity within its ranks. What little infighting there has been is kept in-house while the division within the GOP is the stuff of news frenzy served chilled for public consumption. Apparently the rift between many members is so great I'm not even convinced that a majority win this coming November would change things much. After all, division within a large family brings more chaos than that of a smaller family.

The solution to the Party’s problem is one of focus. It has to finally decide what it stands for. Is it the GOP of a Reagan? Is it the GOP of an Eisenhower or possibly a Goldwater? Or, will it totally redefine itself as something not yet seen? One thing is for sure -- it needs to become fixed on principles again -- whatever those may end up being. It needs to give the American people an alternative to the progressive leanings of the Democratic Party or they may as well kill the elephant and hop on the back of that donkey and ride down main street waving the flag of defeat.

This may be the time for an actual viable and realistic third party that espouses the principles once deemed so sacred by the Republican Party - lower taxation, smaller government, fiscal accountability, responsible humanitarian legislation that meets the real needs of the people and not just the corporate few and common sense leadership. I don’t see that kind of movement yet on the horizon but if the GOP should breathe its last as a real option for the Republic then one could surface because life abhors a vacuum.

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