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October 2009
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GOP Can Do Better Than Betting Against America

The following is from the Chicago Tribune’s October 12, 2009 Commentary page. Titled “Petulance and the Peace Prize”, written by Garrison Keillor:

Some conservative pundit suggested that the presidents should’ve declined the prize. But it is not too gracious to reject a compliment. One should accept it with becoming modesty, as Obama did. The prize isn’t about you, its about Peace, or Literature, or Homecoming, or Champion Hog or male Vocalist of the Year, so walk up there and smile, say thank you and sit down.

The wailing and gnashing of teeth that you hear among Republicans is 68 percent envy and 32 percent sour grapes. Here is an idealistic, articulate young president who is enormously popular expect in the states of the Confederacy, and here sit the 28 percent of the American people who still thought Bush was doing a heckuva job at the end, gnashing their teeth, hoping and praying for something horrible to make the president look bad, which is not a good place for a political party to be, hoping for your country to slide into chaos. When you bet against America, you’re choosing long odds.

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Conservatism is a powerful strain in American life that ordinarily passes as common sense. Save for a rainy day. Don’t foul the nest. Don’t burn your bridges. Don’t sacrifice the future for short-term profit. But when it contradicts itself and becomes weighted down with bigotry and cynicism, then it doesn’t hold water anymore.

That, unfortunately, is the problem with politics. Recently, we have seen Republicans take an about face– things that were fine while Bush was in office– are now horrific and will collapse this country into socialism. How can Republicans criticize President Obama’s spending, considering the blank check a Republican Congress gave President Bush? You want to see Republicans vote yes on a spending bill: put a Republican in the Oval Office. In recent years, the only difference between Republicans and Democrats running the country is that Republicans borrow and spend, whereas Democrats tax and spend. Wake up Congress: neither is good.

Pointing the finger at Republicans like they started this is like tattling on your brother for hitting you after you hit her. Both parties have been more concerned about “winning the day” with the news media than the American people. Now, the media has picked sides and has entered the fray trying to win the day for their respective side. We’re now so far gone that we have the media becoming the story. Don’t believe me? See Glenn Beck.

Republicans and conservatives have good ideas. Our country needs those ideas. But so those ideas have credibility, Republicans must stop bashing the President for everything. Cheering when Chicago does not get the Olympics? Really, what is this, 1st grade? Whining when Obama gets the Nobel Peace Prize. I’m not saying he earned it, but consider this: we always say that America holds a grand, special place on the world stage, we’re that beacon in a dark, dangerous world. The world lost that beacon over the last administration’s implementation of the unilateralism of the Bush Doctrine. No, America does not need to ask Europe’s permission to defend its self-interests, but America also need not bully the world into submission. There is a recognition of that now in the White House. Maybe the prize was a acknowledgment of that recognition.

Republicans– and Democrats alike– need to come to the table and start working for the country again, rather than just winning the day and working for themselves. Lets start with Republicans. Want to win a majority back? Show magnanimity, applaud the President when appropriate. Yes, there are loons out there, but most people (i.e. a majority) do not think he’s the anti-Christ. Give him a little credit when due, say no when appropriate and offer alternatives, rather than betting against the people of the United States. The way the Republican party is current going– betting against America– is just bound to fail.

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