Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Republicans in disarray?

Tuesday and so naturally I’ve had my senior fitness session this morning. I came home a little more exhausted than usual today. I added a little time to the exercise bike and I think that’s what did me in. The main roads were clear and dry, but the side roads had some ice when I left. The parking/walking area at the new physical therapy center doesn’t have the same great cleaning service the old place had.

There was some ice there but I can park right next to the door so I went in. Normally, as you know, I don’t venture out on ice, but there were only a couple steps this morning, so off I went. By the time I left, though, the sun had come out and all the ice had been melted.

The Republican Party appears to be going through a redefinition process, both in Maine and in the nation. I wouldn’t be surprised if other state parties are also taking a close look at themselves.

The examination of the Maine GOP probably began shortly after the elections in November. The Republicans didn’t fare too well. There were Republicans contesting several races, both for national offices and state and local ones. They didn’t do too well in any of the efforts, either.

At the top of the ticket was Sen. Susan Collins who sought and won her third term. There were also candidates for both the First and Second Congressional Districts. She’s a registered Republican but there are many Mainers questioning her party loyalty. In fact, many of us thought she was running as an Independent in the last election rather than as a Republican, a name often left out of her campaigning.

A conservative Republican ran against incumbent Democrat incumbent in the Second District, while a near-moderate Republican ran against a very liberal Democrat in the First District. They were hoping to claim the seat being vacated by the incumbent Democrat. I wouldn’t be too surprised in the seed for change wasn’t planted during the Republican Primary last June. That’s when the moderate candidate beat a conservative for the Republican First District nomination. Both Republicans lost in the general election.

Please note here that I’m not an insider in the Republican Party. In fact, I’m probably as far out as one can get. Therefore, all my comments and observations are the result of opinions formed through reading and listening. I just wanted to get that disclaimer in before anyone takes my thoughts as total fact. (They may be, though.)

Now the Maine Republican Party appears to be splintered. That conservative I mentioned a moment ago, his name is Dean Scontras, incidentally, has formed a group he calls The Republican Project. Its goal is to get Republicans, primarily conservative Republicans, elected to various offices.

The state party, the official one, has elected a new leader, one that many people believe has the ability to bring the party together once again. He has already begun that task by getting several prominent Republicans to join his cause. The big question is whether the party will remain splintered or can the two groups come together.

There may be a third, unorganized splintered group and those people consist of many Maine Republicans who are angry with our two Senators, two of only three Republicans in Congress to support the massive spending package of President Obama. They also have their supporters, both within the party and primarily in the Democratic Party.

Meanwhile, the National party is under fire as well; and, like in Maine, both from within and without. It is fascinating that a comment by radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh is the center of that controversy. Limbaugh said he hoped President Obama’s Socialist Agenda would fail. The main stream news media has reported only “Rush Limbaugh hopes President Obama will fail” without including the specific area mentioned.

The Democrats have lashed onto that statement calling for an apology from Limbaugh. Fox News yesterday brought out an old FoxNews/Opinion Dynamics poll from 2006 Guess what that poll showed. The liberal Democrats hoped President Bush would not succeed. Oh, my! I guess they don’t like the shoe on the other foot.

Nevertheless, as a result of all hoopla, the news media and Congressional Democrats are calling Limbaugh the titular head of the Republican Party. Limbaugh calls himself an entertainer and, even though he delivered what conservatives acclaim as a great speech at a conservative convention last earlier this month, points out he isn’t even an elected official. I don’t know of any Republicans who have elevated him to the leadership position.

Meanwhile, there has been some from within the national party for the chairman to step down. So the drama continues. When it all shakes out, many of us long time Republicans, even those of us who don’t really get involved in party politics, hope the trend will be toward a more conservative ideals for the party.

I’d even go so far as to say that probably people like me should stop sitting back complaining and join the fray for what we would consider positive change.


No comments: