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The Myth of the Progressive Republicans

2011 January 30
by WCR President Linda Stanton

I received a disturbing e-mail a few weeks ago that has continued to bother me and which I have decided to share with all of you. This e-mail promotes the myth of the progressive republicans, a true oxymoron. Here it is:

“The recent compromise tax bill shows why the American people are disenchanted with both the Democratic and Republican parties. The Democrats purchased another year of unemployment benefits for laid-off workers while the Republicans got continued rate reductions for upper-bracket taxpayers.  The federal deficit will meanwhile be increasing hundreds of billion dollars more.

Neither major party has any idea of how to create or maintain high-quality, productive, permanent jobs. They only know how to keep borrowing large sums of money to paper over immediate problems whose solutions they refuse to consider.
Here in Minnesota a third-party candidate, Tom Horner, again made a serious bid for Governor, but again fell short. And we Minnesotans are relatively hospitable to third parties.
So, what can people do who are dissatisfied with the current state of politics?  It seems to me that one of the more promising options would be to strengthen the moderate or progressive wing of the Republican Party. Make this party look more like what it was in the days of Lincoln, Eisenhower, and Theodore Roosevelt. Republicans need to show more sympathy for working people and the poor and embrace the spirit of international cooperation rather than war. President Eisenhower’s policy of “peace and prosperity” would be a big improvement over what we have now.
I ran for Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, with Bob Carney, in this year’s Republican primary.  With little outside support, we finished second in the primary with 9,800 votes or 7.5% of the total. Bob presented himself in the campaign as a “moderate, progressive Republican”. We have since been discussing what this means.
I have put together a website at that proposes how the progressive wing of the Republican Party might become revitalized. The basic idea is that it must be issues-driven.  Its platform, however controversial, should include enough issues (and the right ones) to be capable of assembling an electoral majority. My list includes the following points of decision:
1. for more international cooperation and less unilateral use of military force,
2. for job creation through reduced work hours rather than government deficit spending,
3. for tax increases targeted to the wealthy if needed to keep the federal budget in balance,
4. for the deficit problem to become a priority,
5. against the dualistic world view of the Civil Rights movement in its contemporary manifestation which blames “racism” and “white society” for our common problems,
6. for federal legislation to increase paid leave and maintain standards of humane treatment in the work place,
7. for environmental protection as a new economic imperative,
8. for a compromise policy on illegal immigration suspending deportations while requiring registration and requiring employers of such immigrants to pay a surtax to help cover the increased social costs,
9. against the abusive use of building inspections by local governments,
10. for a new, independent investigation into the events of 9/11,
11. against political correctness and its violation of free speech,
12. for ending the war on illegal drugs and funding more treatment programs,
13. for a greater federal role in insuring or providing health-care services,
14. for greater regulation of the financial-services industry, especially hedge funds and derivatives,
15. against free trade and for the use of tariffs to promote improved labor and environmental standards around the world,
16. against the cruel deception of young people who are being urged to take out student loans to go to college and prepare for nonexistent jobs,
17. for a crash program to reduce traffic congestion in urban areas, and
18. for a crash program to develop technologies that will help sustain human life in outer space.
Not everyone will agree that these positions are “progressive”, “Republican”, or even desirable.  Many are outside the mainstream of conventional political thinking.  But that only means that the many Americans who are concerned about such things and have previously been marginalized can have a political home.
The conservative Republican politics of Goldwater and Reagan, after so many years of ascendancy, has spent its creative force.  It’s time for the “RINOs” – Republicans in the mold of Lincoln, Eisenhower, and Theodore Roosevelt – to come charging back into today’s political arena and take a fresh look at problems that dominant factions within the two major parties seem unable to address or solve. Both the Republican party and the American people will be stronger for it.”

What does this way of thinking mean to the Republican Party? What is the message that these so called “progressive” Republicans are trying to convey? This e-mail shows that the RINOs that are hiding out in the Republican party and falsely promoting themselves as conservatives have felt the recent shift towards true conservatism that has been happening over the past two years and are very afraid. Republicans proved at the last MNGOP State Central Committee that we are tired of RHINOs running our party and we aren’t going to take it anymore. Delegates started pruning the party of its dead branches by banning former Republican-elected officials who used their status within the party to publicly support and promote Democrats and third party candidates, essentially trying to take down the party from the inside. This e-mail is a call to action to stop the conservative movement. Well, I hate to break it to you closet liberals, but true conservatives are back in the Republican Party and we are here to stay. You have shown us your true colors and it is time to for you to ship out. The time for conservative Republican politics is not over, the Ron Paul Revolution and Tea Party takeover have shown us that it is truly just beginning.

One Response
  1. Mike Hug permalink
    May 12, 2011

    There is a profound arrogance to this blog. I totally consider myself a Republican and there is nothing scary about this email about Progressive Republican views. What is scary is the fact that you believe there is no room in the Republican party for Moderates. Your statement that Progressive Republicans are closet liberals is not only false, but leaves no room in the party for anyone but the far right! This kind of thinking will ultimately marginalize the party and sink the Republican ship.

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