THE BLOG
11/27/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Republican Party Needs Leadership Laxative

This isn't my Republican Party, neither Bush nor McCain.

I was a Rockefeller Republican. At least that's what I thought: socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Encourage entrepreneurs and free markets to do their best. Keep sensible oversight to curb abuses. Help fund the most important projects that make education affordable, geographies livable and the environment healthy. Maintain a safety net to help those who truly cannot help themselves. And live by a set of ethical values that include integrity, civility and tolerance.

The Republicans in power have been anything but Rockefeller-like. True, the current crisis is a product of Congressional failure, homeowner overreach, financial executive recklessness (and greed), borrowing beyond the means of the borrowers (individual and corporate).

Sure, cronyism has been a problem since the founding fathers. But the angry man at the McCain rally has the wrong target (Obama and the Democrats). He should be mad as hell at his Republicans (in the White House and in Congress) who unhitched regulation from Wall Street, allowed a banking system outside the banking system, made borrowing so easy a cave man could do it (even one with a bad credit record), encouraged Fannie and Freddie to play fast and loose with taxpayer money, brush aside warnings by their own staffs and create a climate in which Federal agencies were delinquent (think Product Safety or FDA) or worse (think oil regulators). This is not to mention the my-way-or-the-highway diplomacy and blunders in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There is still all too much intent by Republicans to have a privatized, unregulated market for health care, potential for too much economic gain by those institutions and executives who over-ate at the table of risk at the expense of the taxpayer, an avoidance of dealing with the unregulated financial markets in which derivatives and swaps put us all at risk and an avoidance of transparency in balance sheet reporting. And the party is still creating a climate which condones (if not encourages) public mean-spiritedness and intolerance.

Do I worry that Obama, Pelosi and Reid, Inc. may swing the pendulum too far the other way? You bet. But it looks like the system needs a laxative to flush out the excesses and the power of groups who drove us where we are -- on the edge of a cliff.

I am ready for new leadership. That's just my view.