Like many other long-time Republicans, I am concerned about the future of the party, as well as the direction that its leadership seems to want to drag this country. The Republican Party Establishment is apparently immune to logic and reason. Therefore, they will be willing to continue their path to political suicide by refusing to acknowledge what Ron Paul has been warning about at every debate: the party is shrinking, and is in danger of losing power and relevance.
Unless its leadership is willing to embrace new ideas and new members, the once Grand Old Party will be relegated to the dustheap of history, like the Whigs, Federalists and other once-major parties that refused to face reality and change, and rapidly moved from dominance to extinction.
"Who is John McCain? And what is he doing to the Republican Party?" Like many long-time Republicans, I have been asking myself this question quite a bit lately.
Now, a little disclosure: I have been asking the same Question about George W. Bush ever since the beginning of his first term. The George Bush that ran on a limited-government, fiscal responsibility, low-taxes, a strong military and a non-interventionist foreign policy platform in 2000 rapidly evaporated under a cloud of neo-con inspired smoke and mirrors. His actions since 9/11 have given us bigger government, increasing debt and defecits, a tax shift that lowered taxes only for the wealthy and corporations, a dangerously weakened (but well-funded) military, and a U.N.-inspired interventionist foreign policy that emphasizes nation-building and pre-emptive war on fabricated evidence!
With the media and the party bosses all but canonizing John McCain as the party's nominee, this is shaping up to be a massive rout of the Republican Party this fall. When you couple the leadership of the ticket by a hopelessly out-of-touch-with-the-electorate John McCain with the high number of Republican Congressional incumbents not running, what comes increasingly into focus is a huge Democratic Party takeover of two of the three branches of government.
Just like Ron Paul warned of the collapse of the dollar early on in the election, his warnings of the collapse of the party are similarly going unheeded by party bosses. Ron Paul is no Nostradamus, but he can read the signs and interpret the facts as well as anyone (apparently better than the rest of the Republican field!). People are staying away from the Republican Party in record numbers in the primaries, and the only growth in membership and support the party has seen in over a decade is from Ron Paul supporters- and they are being insulted, marginalized, and openly denigrated by the Party leadership and their flacks in the media.
The push to nominate the prototypical Washington Insider John McCain is a both a symptom, and a prime example of what is wrong with the Republicans. Here is a man whose central issue (continuing the war in Iraq) is vehemently opposed by at least 70% of the American electorate. Couple that with his lack of even a rudimentary understanding of economic issues (the number ONE concern of most voters), and you can see where this train wreck is going. His outreach to both 'moderates' adn 'conservatives' should give many pause, as it seems to indicate a lack of a firm political policy, other than one of election-time expediency.
It is dangerous for party leadership to ignore those in the party who dissent with its new-found 'orthodoxy' of Corporatism and War-Mongering - two policies that are antithetical to traditional Republican Party principles, and anathema to the electorate in general.
While not garnering a majority of electoral support, Ron Paul has shown a relatively steady and significant amount of core support. More importantly, he addresses the current glaring weaknesses in the party by offering a grassroots organization second to none in the Republican party, an energized and enthusiastic core of supporters who (contrary to the Mainstream media and 'conventional wisdom') are more educated, quite adept at both mobilization of electoral ground troops, and are more diverse in every respect- be it race, gender, economic standing, geographic location and even IDEOLOGY than the Republican Party's current base.
Given this situation, it is ridiculous that the Republican Party establishment would not even offer token support or even RECOGNITION to the Ron Paul wing of the party, amazingly ignoring the fact that it can use all the help it can get regarding support, fundraising and outreach to new members.
Unfortunately, it appears the Republican Party elite, rather than looking out for the good of the party or even the good of the COUNTRY, merely wish to maintain their OWN power base, even if it is detrimental to the party or the country in general. These elites continue to see the electorate in terms of the old 'Left/Right' paradigm, and expect the voters to be easily manipulated by the polarizing rhetoric that has served it so well for the last 20 years.
To thier detriment, this election has shown, if nothing else, that the Liberal/Conservative paradigm has shifted to a more three-dimensional battleground, where voters are looking for a deeper meaning in the candidates and are turned off by the empty rhetoric that has fueled so many past electoral victories. To think John McCain can suddenly become a unifying candidate is ludicrous on it's face, given his chameleon-like strategy of shifting, adjusting and changing not only his rhetoric, but also his historic positions and record of voting in the Senate.
It should be interesting to see just how the Republican Party treats the Ron Paul delegates to the convention, as well as their treatment of the Candidate himself. If they refuse to allow the Ron Paul delegates the access accorded other delegates, and attempt to marginalize him or even refuse to allow Ron Paul to address the convention, they will expose themseles as a closed party- unwilling to accept dissent or new ideas and members. That will probably be the last nail in the coffin of what was once the dominant party in American politics.
A party that refuses to accept change and turns its back on its roots has essentially sacrificed it's future by denying its roots, merely in order to futilely and cynically think it can manipulate the present political reality in it's favor.
Even more frightening than the Republican Party's future prospects is Dr. Paul's analysis of America's economic situation. Ron Paul is the Ranking Member - Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology and is arguably the most well-read and informed of all the candidates on economic matters. He doesn't rely on 'advisors' as John McCain does to feed him talking points about what is happening in the economy. Financial traders and business leaders enjoy Rep. Paul's regular grilling of the Fed Chairman in testimony before his committee.
Voters watching the last debate saw Ron Paul ask John McCain a very basic question about Presidential economics and the role of a key extra-constitutional advisory group, the Working Group on Financial Markets. The only thing scarier that the look of utter confusion and bewilderment on Senator McCain's face as he attempted to comprehend the question, was his answer (or lack thereof!)!. Rather than responding to the question, he rattled off a laundry list of his friends in the Banking and Investment industry, saying he would rely on their advice. He never even answered the question put to him (which the moderator failed to point out), and it certainly wasn't the answer of a man well-versed in economics. Instead, it appeared to be the desperate scrambling of a candidate who didn't understand the question, and felt he could bamboozle the audience with a canned non-response. It apparently worked with the moderators, who failed to perform their most basic function of pressing the candidates for answers, and quickly moved on to the next question!