The Republican Party is fractured, and can’t seem to find an idea or candidate able to unite the majority of the party. The primaries are reflecting the same conflicting dynamics that are ruling the Republican caucus in Congress.
This collision between purist conservatives and pragmatists has brought the transportation spending bill to a standstill in Congress. Meanwhile, the rivalry among Tea Party populists, religious conservatives and the business sector has turned the election of a presidential candidate into agony.
Super Tuesday’s election results distributed states among three of the four candidates, with Mitt Romney obtaining a larger margin of delegates. However, they also maintained alive challenges by Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich as representatives of conservative populism and religious conservatism.
The GOP is in this situation because they have little to show after governing for 20 of the past 30 years. The only thing that remains of the Republican utopia is the idyllic vision of Ronald Reagan from the early 1980s, which survives along with the fantasy that tax revenues can be increased and budgets balanced by cutting taxes. The three presidential terms of Bush father and son seem to have never existed.
From the beginning of Obama’s presidency, the Republican strategy has been to block his legislative agenda. Also, they demonized the president’s image among the party base, creating the fragmented Tea Party movement-the same movement that today doesn’t trust Mitt Romney.
Nevertheless, all of this doesn’t mean that the GOP presidential candidate will be helpless against the president in November. Opposing Obama and everything his government represents is a formula that can make them successful.
From the conservative perspective, there are reasons to be upset at Obama. But when these arguments aren’t enough, there is the foolishness of comparing health insurance to slavery and calling it a threat to freedom as if we were in a dictatorship-or sinking even lower, raising suspicions about the president’s nationality or religion. The worst part is that this message resonates with a significant portion of the Republican base.
Republicans in Congress have shown that the only thing uniting them is their opposition to Obama. The situation is the same in the primaries with voters and candidates. Apparently, candidates still have not realized that being anti-something is not a political proposal for progress.