To survive elections, GOP should consider lobotomy

By WilliamPrentiss

The Republican Party is an elephant with two brains. To the far right of the political spectrum, conservatives think with one brain while the small-government moderates use the GOP’s other. With the 2010 elections on Nov. 2, the party will have to figure out which one to listen to if they want to win at the polls.

Moderate Republican Dede Scozzafava dropped out of the race for a New York Congressional seat after losing support from her party. Both former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty backed the more conservative Doug Hoffman. The split isn’t a good sign for the GOP. If the party can’t decide what they stand for, they can’t expect to win upcoming elections. A fractured party means a fractured vote.

According to a Sienna Research Institute poll conducted on Oct. 29, Scozzafava was actually beating Hoffman by a percentage point. After Palin gave her endorsement to Hoffman, Scozzafava’s approval dropped to 20 percent. Virginia, which President Barack Obama won in the 2008 presidential election, voted a Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, into office. McDonnell said he’s both a Conservative and Republican and promised he would not participate in a government-run health plan. Of those people who voted, 59 percent said the health plan would be bad for

their state.

From a historical perspective, the shift to the right has precedent. Think of all the hatred that former President George W. Bush managed to develop during his eight years as president—Democrats arguably won in many states following his tenure because of Bush’s low approval rating. According to a New York Times article released on Jan. 16, he left office with a 22 percent approval rating. Obama’s campaign was based on hope and change because many people thought Bush was dragging the U.S. into the dark ages—someone even threw a shoe at the man.

Republicans and Conservatives are going to react the same way as Democrats when their beliefs are challenged. Outrage is outrage, no matter which political alignment it comes from. No one will really move to Canada when their candidate loses—especially Republicans. Canada has free health care. They’ll just seethe for the next four or eight years like Democrats did during Bush’s eight years in office.

All jokes aside, a significant portion of the U.S. population call themselves either a Republican or a Conservative, but not all Republicans call themselves Conservative. For the GOP to vote a candidate into office, Conservatives and Republicans have to find a platform they can all stand on together.

The problem, however, is that the terms don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. Republicans are supposed to be the party of less-government, but that ideal seems to have shifted with Bush’s eight years as president. Creating more intrusive surveillance, increasing the country’s budget deficit and trying to force a marriage amendment into our Constitution isn’t small government. Yet, he was picked again in the primary elections to represent Republican ideals and was voted president for a second term.

The Republican Party can’t ignore their angry base, which puts them at a crossroads. Hanging too far to the right would alienate moderates, but taking a moderate stance on social issues like gay marriage and abortion will push away Conservatives. According to a Gallup poll released on Nov. 11, 52 percent of registered voters said they would prefer a Republican congressional candidate, compared to the 30 percent who prefer a Democratic candidate.

The election for the seats in the House of Representatives is still about a year away, so that number will most likely change. Whether it goes up or down depends on how elected officials handle their jobs, including Obama.

The era of hope and change hasn’t rewritten the rules of politics. The strength of any party depends on the ineptitude of the opposing party. If the GOP doesn’t react as one party, they’ll lose the ability to harness any opposition sparked by the governing power. They have to pick a brain.