I am beginning to wonder if the Republican Party will survive this election season. There are reports now of splits on a few issues, such as gay marriage, that are creating a growing rift between McCain and Palin. In addition, Palin feels she is being mishandled by the McCain campaign. Today, she said she definitely wants to remain a figure in national politics.
I would characterize myself as a left-leaning independent. A lot of people would probably say that I am a Democrat. I have voted for Republicans in the past, but some of the reasons that I would have voted for a Republican are just no longer there.
For example, the Republicans have always said that they are a party of fiscal conservatives. I can't see how they can claim that any longer, at least not with a straight face.
They also claim to be more ethical and to place more value on family values than the Democrats. Just look back at the last several years, and you will find that there are a lot of Republican names on the list of unethical or unfaithful congressmen, right alongside the Democrats.
They also try to pass themselves off as the party that takes care of the military, but I don't necessarily agree with that. In fact, the biggest jump in my quality of life in the military came due to changes made by Admiral Boorda during the Clinton administration.
McCain refused to endorse the new G.I. bill that Webb sponsored. He said that he had come up with a superior bill, but his initial reason not to support it was that it was too generous and would induce people to leave the military early. There was no push by the Republicans to improve care for the war veterans until the media started to show the inadequate conditions that prevailed at many of the VA hospitals. Bush last year gave the military a pay raise that was 1/2% lower than the one approved by congress, because that extra 1/2% was unnecessary. The rationale was that it would take money away from other programs that benefited the military. He also supported raising Tricare fees for retirees. Rationale for that was essentially the same, saving Tricare money so that it could be used for other military programs. Kind of a redistribution of the troop's money, in my opinion. Take it out of the pockets of military members, because the government can spend it better. This is decidedly not a conservative view point.
McCain has never really looked all the comfortable to me while he is trying to appeal to the far right members of the Republican party. Palin definitely appeals to this group. There is a far right component in the Republican party that seems to push a lot of people away from that party. I think as long as this group charts the course for the Republican party, they will remain out of power in Washington.
There seems to be a lot of difference in the party based on the region of the country that they are from. Here in Washington state, some of the Republicans are really distancing themselves from the national party. In 15 partisan offices up for grabs, 4 of the Republicans, including our Republican candidate for governor, refused to use the word Republican to describe themselves, opting to state their party preference as G.O.P. on the ballot.
I think there is a real possibility of the Republican party splitting into two parties. President Bush still has about a 25% job approval rating. Palin is extraordinarily popular with the far right wing. On the other hand, I think that politicians like Bush and Palin alienate a lot of moderate Republicans and scare off independent voters as well.
I also think that there are a lot of moderate Democrats that do not fully support their own party, because a lot of senior Democrats are too far left for comfort. Unfortunately, the alternative is to vote for McCain/Palin, and they would rather support their own party.
The only way a third party could ever form is to have viable candidates that are already well established in the political arena. Right now, a vote for anyone other than a Democrat and Republican is considered to be a wasted vote by most voters. Do you think that moderate Republicans might split off from the rest of the Republican party? If they do, do you think that some moderate Democrats would be willing to join them and form a true third party?