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Republicans Have a Problem. So What?

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Even though this appears to be a weak set of GOP candidates, all sensible Americans should care about this situation, because the ultimate Republican candidate will have pledged allegiance to a series of ultra-conservative principles:

1.     1.  Not to raise taxes under any circumstances.  Republicans want to maintain the status quo for corporations and wealthy individuals the Ryan budget actually lowers these taxes.

2.     2.  Severely limit the role of government.  In particular, Republicans believe that government plays no role in job creation; they trust that the "free" market will create the jobs necessary for an equitable economy.

3.     3.  Support the Ryan Budget, passed April 15, that savages Medicare and Medicaid and repeals "Obamacare."

4.     4.  Support the Defense of Marriage Act and oppose same-sex marriage.

5.     5.  Promote the repeal of Roe v. Wade and nominate judges that will further this objective. 

Saddled with these dogmas, the 2012 Republican nominee will be the most conservative presidential candidate in ninety years, pledged not only to repeal the legislation passed during the Obama era but also the New Deal.  The Republican candidate will not only oppose women's access to reproductive health services but will also strive to roll back ninety years of progress for women.  Since the Reagan era, Republican presidential candidates have gotten more and more reactionary.  As a consequence, we're about to see the most conservative Republican candidate since Warren G. Harding. 


The most recent Pew Research poll on political preference indicates that only 11 percent of voters are "staunch conservatives" who support the five ultra-conservative principles.  (Another 14 percent are "main street Republicans," who would support most of the principles but likely not the Ryan budget.) 


Somewhere between 75 and 89 percent of registered voters disagree with the core Republican principles.  Nonetheless, the most extreme wing of the GOP is driving the Party.  That's the Republican "problem.'


 It's a problem for all Americans because it signifies that a tiny minority is having disproportionate influence on our political process.



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Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.

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