Monday, February 13, 2012

Thomas Friedman: Perhaps The GOP Should “Sit This Election Out”

Why are Republican primary voters unable to settle on a presidential candidate? Thomas Friedman writes that their party is “out of date,” unable to address today’s challenges. Until the GOP breaks away from its rigid and reactionary positions, he suggests that it should “just sit this election out.” Selections from “We Need a Second Party”:

The party has let itself become the captive of conflicting ideological bases: anti-abortion advocates, anti-immigration activists, social conservatives worried about the sanctity of marriage, libertarians who want to shrink government, and anti-tax advocates who want to drown government in a bathtub.

Sorry, but you can’t address the great challenges America faces today with that incoherent mix of hardened positions. I’ve argued that maybe we need a third party to break open our political system. But that’s a long shot. What we definitely and urgently need is a second party — a coherent Republican opposition that is offering constructive conservative proposals on the key issues and is ready for strategic compromises to advance its interests and those of the country.

...when all the Republican candidates last year said they would not accept a deal with Democrats that involved even $1 in tax increases in return for $10 in spending cuts, the G.O.P. cut itself off from reality. It became a radical party, not a conservative one. And for the candidates to wrap themselves in a cartoon version of Ronald Reagan — a real conservative who raised taxes, including the gasoline tax, when he discovered his own cuts had gone too far — is fraudulent.

...energy efficiency and clean power will be the next great global industry. Real conservatives — like Richard Nixon, the father of the Environmental Protection Agency, and George H.W. Bush, the author of the first cap-and-trade deal to curb acid rain — believe in conserving. The current Republican candidates are so captured by the oil and coal lobbies that they can’t think seriously about this huge opportunity for energy innovation.

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