Saturday, October 29, 2005

A BIg Tent Divided Cannot Stand

The Republican Party likes to say it's a big tent. But the problem with a big tent is that it gets mighty crowded. With the setbacks in the past week (Miers, Libby), I'd say that the Republican big tent stands only with weakened poles.

In the Miers Supreme Court nomination debacle we've seen the big tent divided. The "true" conservatives were against her because of her lack of qualifications, the religious conservatives were against her because she couldn't provide an anti-abortion stance, but the average Republican voters or moderates were not against her. Now that she has withdrawn her nomination the true conservatives and religious right are beginning to demand Bush nominate their type of person. Those in the party that still want Bush to be a uniter want a moderate to "heal" the country.

In reaction to the Libby indictments, many Republicans must be soul searching about the original Bush campaign promise to bring back honesty and integrity to the White House. Those who hunger for these type of attributes must wonder if their party is the place to find it. Libby is accused of two counts each of making false statements and perjury, plus obstruction of justice. His crimes are about being a liar.

Certainly polls are now showing that a portion of Republican voters now believe that we went to war in Iraq based on lies and deception. Can a political party hold together voters who believe they were lied to and voters who either are faithful to the party no matter what or are in denial.

Post-Katrina, many African-Americans that were beginning to give the Republicans a chance have now abandoned them. What of those Republicans that desire diversity, do they believe that they can ever bring them back to the party?

I've always wondered how the big tent Republicans could have both those who oppose gays and gay marraige from the religious right and as well the Log Cabin Republicans (gay Republicans).

What of Republicans that believe that science is good? Can they still remain in their party as a different faction insists on creationism? Or think that stem cells might be a cure for diseases as others in their party prevent any possibilty use of them?

I've never understood how fiscal conservatives could sit silently by as the both the federal debt and the federal budget get ballooned with debt from the policies of the Republican controlled Congress and the White House.

I've not figured out how those Republicans that want less government can stomach the greatest expansion of government since the New Deal.

There are so many contradictions within the Republicans I can only wonder when the big tent will collapse. As Abraham Lincoln once famously quoted the Bible as the nation was on the cusp of civil war, "A house divided cannot stand." We are in somewhat of a similar situation on two or three fronts. The nation is highly divided politically, partisanship is the name of the game. The Democrats are in a divide between moderates and progressives. But the party in power seems rife with divisions.

I have to paraphrase Lincoln, "A big tent divided cannot stand." The only question is when that will happen.


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