Rand Paul took the stage Wednesday and led a filibuster that should have had both sides of the aisle applauding. Unfortunately, only the GOP...
Finding Waldo by Ira Schwartz
âYOU LIE!!â sliced through the Congress like a knife forcing everyone into stunned silence. âYou lieâ, two words that took Republican Joe Wilson less than two seconds to say but will haunt him for a lifetime. Two words that did more damage to a struggling Republican Party than Joshuaâs trumpet did to the walls of Jericho. In those two seconds the Presidents Health Care Reform speech ceased to be the lead news story, now Joe Wilson was.
Republican John McCain on CNNâs Larry King Live said, âHe (Wilson) was totally disrespectful for yelling out âYou lieâ and continued, âHe must apologize for it immediatelyâ. Shortly after the speech Wilson did just that and called the White House and apologized for his âinappropriate and regrettable commentsâ. The next day President Obama told the cabinet meeting he accepted the Congressmanâs apology. End of story right? Well not quite.
Republicans and Democrats alike have said the apology by Wilson was not quite good enough. They wanted him to do it in the place where the crime occurredâŠCongress. Democrats delayed a House vote last Thursday so Wilson could issue his apology but none took place. No one in the Republican Party made Joe Wilson understand that his remark not only slighted the President but Congress and the Republican Party as well. The truth be told George W. Bush faired much worse than President Obama against his democratic opposition over the eight years of his term. But no one stood up before congress and the American people and insulted the president to his face. So my question is thisâŠ.whoâs running the Republican Party?
Margaret Thatcher said, âConsensus is the absence of leadershipâ. It appears todayâs Republicans have taken that to heart. Since the election of Barack Obama to the presidency the Grand Old Party has become the Grand Invisible Party. Most of its members content at staying in the background and waiting for the Democrats to self destruct so they can fill the void. They hope the American people will have a very short memory; they hope the American people will forget the last eight years of Republican rule. They are making a serious error.
Lately GOP Chairman Michael Steele has stepped out of the shadows and into the light. His latest video, âBill of Rights for Seniorsâ is aimed directly at the Democratic Healthcare Reform bill and has been getting a large number of hits on âYouTubeâ. This needs to continueâŠin spades. Though he is the party Chairman can he be considered the leader? Usually the party leader is the most viable candidate for the presidency. That being the case Mike Steele is out.
So letâs see if we can find Waldo in that consensus the honorable Margaret Thatcher was talking about. To start with there is Piyush âBobbyâ Jindal, Republican Governor of Louisiana. Jindal was on the fast track to become the next golden boy of the Republican Party till his sad rebuttal to President Obamaâs first speech to Congress was unilaterally panned by both Democrats and Republicans.
Next we have Ex vice Presidential Candidate and ex Governor Sarah Palin. Still in the news but the press she is gathering is more suitable to a game show host then any real viable candidate. He numbers have been dropping steadily. A CNN poll shows her popularity dropping from 46% to 39%. A new USA/GALLOP poll shows 19% of Americans would vote for her 41% would not. Among Republicans 35% said they would, 37% said âmaybeâ. Not good enough donât yaâ know.
Third is Tim Pawlenty, current two term Governor of Minnesota. He managed to erase his stateâs 4.3 billion dollar deficit without raising taxes in his first year. Since Governor Pawlenty has been in office Minnesota has ranked first in overall quality of life for its citizens, first in percentage of residents with a high school diploma, and first in residents over 25 with a bachelors degree. Minnesota is also ranked among the “Healthiest States in America.” He was also in the running to be John McCainâs running mate in the â08 elections.
Eric Cantor, a two term congressman from Virginia who was unanimously voted to the position of Republican Whip in 2008 is also on the short list. During his first term Cantor served as Chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. Later in his career he was a member of The House Financial Services Committee, the House International Relations Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. Like Tim Pawlenty, Eric Cantor name was also tossed into the ring as a possible running mate for John McCain in â08. Instead the Republicans picked Sarah Palin and lost the election.
But coming up fast on the outside is none other than Mike Huckabee, who managed to gather 29% of the votes in the latest straw poll taken this weekend. His closest competitors only managed a paltry 12%. At that same convention Mitt Romney had the quote of the week when he said, âI’ll bet you never dreamed you’d look back at Jimmy Carter as the good old days.” Sad but true.
At a time when the Republican Party is shrinking (AP polls indicate 42.6% of registered voters are Democrat, 32.5% are Republican and 24.8% are independent) someone needs to step forward and light a fire under the sleeping Republicans. Mike Steele is trying but he canât do it alone. There needs to be one voice. A voice capable of silencing the shrill cries of Sarah Palin, a quitter and Joe Wilson, an embarrassed Congressman. If these are the true faces of the New Republican Party then I think most of us will continue to search for Waldo.
Â© 2009 By Ira Schwartz