As a country with a rather horrific civil war in its past, its no easy to thing to bat around a concept like secession. It's filled with evil reminders of an unjust past that sought, amongst other things, to preserve slavery. And yet, sometimes the body from which a political party springs is so filled with bile and corruption that its healthiest components should seek to go their own way. A case in point is today's Republican Party.
This is supposed to be the party of Lincoln, but its two loudest voices are those of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. At worst, these gentlemen are unrepentant racists; at best they are crass, self-serving race-baiters. Under either circumstance, they have become the 'credible' voices of leadership in a party that has denuded itself of anything approaching centrism, rationalism or moderation.
The Republicans are also supposed to be the party of strong, conservative family values. And yet, this same party insists on standing by Governor Mark Sanford, an adulterer who almost certainly broke state law by letting the state fund trips to visit his mistress. He only refunded the money after getting caught. And while the governor's personal life is really none of my business or anyone else's but his family's, he has certainly behaved like an ass ever since. In doing so, he has robbed his state of credible leadership in a time of crisis. Refusal to resign has tangibly hurt the people of South Carolina. Despite this, Senator Lindsey Graham, as recently as today, defending Sanford just today.
Finally, the Republicans are also supposed to be the party of fiscal conservatism. That's why they don't want to lower the carbon footprint, reform the health care system, overhaul the financial system or invest in American education. And yet, these same people are all too happy to invest in Iraq and Afghanistan, the cost of which dwarfs anything that the current president is proposing to save the country. John Boehner seems to positively relish the idea of sending 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Apparently, he believes that supporting the corrupt government will allow us to stabilize the country, defeat Al Qaeda and quell the violence in Pakistan. (Representative Boehner apparently isn't a big fan of reading military history.)
In the midst of all this hypocrisy and nihilism, the ideals of responsible limited government, practical fiscal conservatism, and progressive values (of the sort embodied by Lincoln) are nowhere to be seen. That why I suggest that all the sound thinking, sane Republicans consider seceding from the GOP in favor of a new party, maybe the New Republicans.
To make this work, sane Republicans simply need to find themselves new and credible leadership capable of espousing ideas that rational conservatives can embrace. Liberal that I am, I nevertheless recognize that there are many smart, thoughtful political conservatives who are deserving of credible representation in government. Moreover, the country needs all kinds of smart ideas from across the political spectrum. It's hard for that to be possible when Rush Limbaugh is your mouthpiece.
So secede, regroup and then when you're finished, sue the puny rump of what's left of today's Republican party for your name back. This way, almost everybody wins.
Follow Michael B. Laskoff on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mlaskoff