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What's Wrong with the GOP?

by Phil Menges

Before we delve deeper into this question, it has already been answered. Patrick Buchanan already gave us the answer, back during the presidential primary campaign of 1996.

According to some, “he ran on a platform of immigration reduction and social conservatism, including opposition to multiculturalism, abortion, and gay rights."

While Buchanan was a serious threat early in the primaries, winning 38 percent of the seminal New Hampshire primary, his campaign quickly fizzled—somewhere between New Hampshire and Florida.

 But where it all went flat, and his fragile house of cards came tumbling down, in my opinion, was when he came out swinging on abortion.  Even as a long-time conservative, I shuddered with surprise when instead of campaigning on the central issues of the day, this extremely sensitive and personal issue became the focal point of his campaign stops.  In my opinion, abortion, which is uniquely a female issue, has no place in national politics.  I in no way endorse this highly personal decision, but I am also in no position to condemn the action in all situations.  This a concern that is highly subjective to individual circumstances and his better left to the woman, her doctor or her God.


But the point of this writing is not intended to vilify Mr. Buchanan, nor make him the focal point of a broader problem with the Republican Party.  There were others before, and after, who would lead the nation down a narrower scripture-based path—that does not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the masses.  In fact, it was not the intent of the Constitution to endorse any individual faith, nor limit the beliefs of any.  The framers of this document were intentionally vague in this respect.

 I had admired Pat Buchanan over the years as the tough, hard-line conservative voice on Crossfire.  He articulated the conservative side of the issues like few others, and his ideas were in earnest, unlike the usual brand of rhetoric that one has come to expect from the typical politician.

 So, you can imagine my surprise when this man left some of his better conservative views on the desk of his nationally televised political show, to turn a presidential race into something that more resembled a church pulpit.  And the issue of abortion was obviously not mainstream American’s first concern.

Fast forward to the GOP primary campaign of 2008.  I was an admirer of Michele Bachmann…until she took hiatus from her pit bull position in Congress, to take up the hunt for the presidency.  As a staunch proponent of fiscal responsibility, there was none better at the job.  If we don’t find a way to

reign in this crippling National Debt—and soon—we may all go the way of Greece.

 But, individual social choices—or inherent conditions such as homosexuality—should never have been allowed to enter the forum, throughout those debates.  True, the topic of personal choices was inevitable.  The moderators brought it up—or even instigated at times—but that is no reason that the individual candidates had to fall for the trap. 

 Michele, as well as her colleagues behind the podium, should have turned the tables on the baiting.  Had Mrs. Bachmann simply responded with something like, “I am running for president, not the pulpit,” she may have been the first woman president today.  She should have continued with, “My personal views are just that—personal—and should never enter the realm of national politics.  Some things are just better left to the individual communities and the individuals themselves.  The president of the United States is the president of all the people…not just some of the people.”

 But, instead, Michele stated, in no uncertain terms, that abortion was not acceptable under any circumstances—to include the case of rape, or even the mother’s health itself.  And she has made it publicly clear that “homosexuality is a dysfunction and reversible by prayer.”  This, of course, is a personal view—a faith-based—view, and is more socially divisive than useful. (read more...)