The Republican Party was once a force to be reckoned with.
For years, the Democrats ruled both houses with a substantial majority. Then came ex-Hollywood-actor-turned-politician from California named Ronald Reagan. During his tenure, he led his “Reagan Revolution,” changing the political landscape for years to come.
He followed the basic Republican beliefs of tax cuts for all, having a strong military and opposing abortion. He was considered one of the greatest Republican presidents of all time. Though after Reagan’s departure, the party still endured the presidency with George H.W. Bush.
Even when they lost to Bill Clinton in 92, the Republicans came back with Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America” and took the house with a large majority over the Democrats.
Today, the Republican Party seems to have lost its will and strength. With an unpopular war raging in the Middle East and an even more unpopular president, the once-great party is now a minority in both houses. It was during the 2006 election that the Democrats took over the political landscape in Washington, with their anti-war votes and anti-Bush supporters.
However, most of the blame should be put on the Republican Party as a whole. For one thing they weren’t really doing anything positive when they took over both houses. Most of time, they were involved in the typical partisan bickering with the Democrats, which led to nothing getting done.
Plus, another thorn sticking in the side of the party was the countless scandals. Whether it was Jack Abramoff’s bribes, Mark Foley’s sexual messages towards young boys, or more recently, Larry Craig’s toe tapping in the airport bathrooms – scandal after scandal plagued the party. These and many other scandals have lost the trust of many voters across America.
Today, the Republicans are in dire straits, more than 28 members in the house are retiring and another six in the Senate are not running for re-election, leaving the Democrats able to pick up a larger majority in both houses. Now with John McCain being the likely choice as the Republican nominee, the conservative wing of the party is planning on staying home with their votes this November.
They see McCain as an R.I.N.O (Republican in Name Only). The conservatives would rather see their party go down the drain than vote for a moderate wit in their party. Now with primaries in full swing, the only hope the Republicans have is that Hillary Clinton wins the Democrat nomination. The Clintons are still public enemy no. 1 to the Republican Party and a Clinton victory would certainly bring a fiery re-emergence within the right. Though a wrench has been thrown into the machine, with the profound surge in popularity of Barack Obama, both the Clintons and the Republicans are sweating it out, hoping a change in their direction will bring back the good old days, when both the Republicans and the Clintons ruled.
Brian O’Neill Senior Political Science