Sunday, March 27, 2005

NE Republican Standard-bearer Wises Up

by Kyle Michaelis
Harold W. Andersen, long-time publisher and current contributing editor of Nebraska's king-maker the Omaha World-Herald, made a surprise announcement today in response to the Right's political exploitation of the Terri Schiavo tragedy:
For Republicans who consider their party a captive of the religious right on matters like medical research and right-to-die legislation and now legislative intrusion into the judicial system, there is a way to at least feel more comfortable with their political consciences.

That way is to leave a party whose leadership is currently attempting to leave behind in the dust of American constitutional history the principle of separation of powers that has served this country well for more than 200 years...

I would think that I'm not the only Republican who feels the party's leadership has engaged in an irresponsible and perhaps unprecedented effort to subvert the traditional separation of government powers. How to express our disapproval?

I'm going to the Douglas County Election Commissioner's office on Monday to change my political registration from Republican to Independent, while continuing to feel sympathy for Terri Schiavo and her parents and believing that the most compassionate course is to free her from her sad existence, Republican Party politicians to the contrary not withstanding.

What does this mean? Not much in and of itself, but as a symbol of things to come Andersen's defection may be very telling. A very obvious crack is beginning to show in the Republican Party, whose success has been entirely predicated on the bridging of ideological conservatives and Christians, as if they were a single political force. Now, the enormous weight of the Republicans' success is causing that bridge to crumble as these different masters each expect their own reward.

By emphasizing common sense and fiscal responsibility before ideology and religious fervor, a very obvious window of opportunity has opened for the Democratic Party, even in Nebraska. We can't expect mass conversions like Andersen's, but voters are going to be looking for a message that actually brings us closer together rather than falling prey to hot button hysterics.

Of course, Andersen himself is still wrong on damn near everything and a change in labels isn't going to change the general approach of his work. But today at least I welcome his temporary moment of enlightenment with open arms and invite all those of an open mind to follow suit.

For 10 years, the Republican Party has ridden a wave of viciousness to victory, never thinking twice before zealously tearing their opponents to pieces. I can't imagine how ugly it might get if the Greed-Heads and Holy Rollers openly turn against one another. The Almighty vs. the almighty dollar - I'll bring the popcorn, but we'd all better be ready to welcome the flock home with a better message and new vision for America.


Post a Comment

<< Home