I've been wondering and becoming more and more concerned about whether the once Grand Old Party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan has really lost its way and is on the path to being completely irrelevant to most Americans.
A political party that once came up with ideas that were reasonable solutions to the country's problems and was at least open to compromise with the loyal opposition now seems to lack the vision to do more than dig in its heels and say no to any proposal from the Democrats, even if it began as a good idea from their side.
I've lost count now, is it 42 or 43 times that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has voted to defund the health-care program affectionately called Obamacare? The Senate will restore the funds, since the Democrats hold the majority in that house, and the battle will continue.
I can't remember if it's insanity or stupidity that is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. In either case, the Republican leadership in Congress is exhibiting those traits in dealing with that program.
Sen. Ted Cruz, backed by Sen. Mike Lee, last week staged a "speech-a-thon" in the Senate chambers in order to try to sway some of the formerly party faithful to return to the fold and vote to cut off the funds for the health-care act. Unfortunately for him and the rest of those who will do anything, including shutting down the government, even if it would be only a temporary shutdown, to get their way, many Republicans are shifting toward the more moderate and maybe pragmatic position, accepting the program and moving on to more important matters like the budget and the debt ceiling.
Cruz and those who believe as he does are acting like unruly children who stomp their feet and hold their breath until they turn blue if they don't get their way. Instead of this intransigence, why not come up with an alternate proposal?
Even if the GOP leadership is against everything that the Democrats propose, even if it might just be a good idea, why just rail against it and try to defeat it in committee or on the floor? How about coming up with a reasonable alternative, even if it's not the best solution, and being open to civil negotiations on its merits?
Now, I'm not sure if it's just me, but I can't remember the last time the Republicans came up with a fresh idea as to how to make the country as a whole better. I have only seen proposals that are designed to make the rich even more wealthy and lower their tax rates, increase corporate profits and reduce their taxes, all the while cutting programs like food stamps, Medicare, Head Start and others like that which actually do some good for those who qualify for and need those programs by having incomes somewhere near the federal poverty line.
The gap between the haves and have-nots is widening, and the number of have nots is growing. It looks to me that the leadership of the Republican party has forgotten what made their party grand in the past. If they don't regain their balance the party may be going the way of the dodo.
Unfortunately for the country, the Democrats have begun to exhibit some of the same stubbornness, and if they don't heed the signals from the public, they, too, could find themselves in trouble. What this country needs is a viable third party with a more moderate viewpoint that would attract those who aren't comfortable with the extreme positions of the two current parties.