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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/20/08

Why The Republicans Lost

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The election season is over, at least until the spring when BC will hold its provincial elections in May. The BC municipal elections saw quite a bit of turnover, but the big attention getter for many of us was the US election where history was made as that country elected its first president with visible African heritage. Elected, too, with a healthy majority, leading the Republican by over eight million votes.
The dust hadn't settled on election night before the Republican Party began trying to find someone to blame for their loss. The right wing nut bars blamed John McCain for being too moderate, the main stream members sought to pin the blame on the choice of Sarah Palin as the VP candidate to appease the fanatics.
In reality the main reason that the Republicans lost is probably because they ran their campaign against the wrong person. There is no doubt that a large majority of the American people like Barack Obama far more than they like George W. Bush. Instead of attacking Obama, the Republicans would have had more traction with most voters if they would have attacked Bush and his administration, and repudiated much of its policies. This, of course, would have meant a different choice for VP, much to the displeasure of the rabid right, but it would have sent the message that the Republicans were ready to return to the mainstream of the American political scene.
The prognosis for the Republican Party might not be too good if they can not find a new consensus between those with traditional conservative Republican values, and the extremists characterized by John Bircher types and religious weirdos. A consensus that must be created by the extremists moving considerably leftward toward the mainstream, back to the party of Eisenhower, Teddy Roosevelt and Lincoln. Even moving back to Ronald Reagan would be an improvement. In fact, in an article posted on titled "Why McCain Lost" Reagan's son Michael even said that his dad would have probably voted for Obama.
Despised by Americans of all political affiliation, there is little doubt that George W. Bush will be remembered as one of the worst presidents in the history of the United States. A barely mediocre person with powerful supporters who used him as their front man to run the country, more aptly, to run the country into the ground. A president who was in deep trouble before the gentlemen from Saudi Arabia made the attacks of September 11, 2001, and allowed irrational, reactionary fear to become the deciding factor in American politics for almost six years.
The legacy of George Bush will smell like a dead fish, and smell a long time to come, and if the Republican Party wants to regain power any time soon, it will probably have to either deal with this fact or hope that the new administration quickly loses credibility. Given the Republican's record of the past eight years the Democrats will have to screw up big time before their credibility is gone. And, the Republicans won't deal with the Bush legacy very well if the party turns to Sarah Palin for leadership, at least not if she doesn't change the perception that she represents the bozo side of the party.
Palin is a very charismatic and entertaining person, and most of us can not help but like her on a personal basis, but behind the facade there is either no intellectual depth, or she has conscientiously chosen to play to the wrong audience. Either is not a trait that would make her a leader good for the United States.
There is no doubt that the American political scene will be providing much of interest over the next year as the Democrats take control of the nation. What may be the most interesting will be whether or not the Republicans can resolve their internal conflict.


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Jerry West grew up on a farm in California and is currently Editor and Publisher of THE RECORD newspaper in Gold River, BC. Graduate with Honors and graduate school, UC Berkeley. Member, Phi Beta Kappa. Vietnam veteran and Former Sgt. USMC
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