Readers Write: (Jan. 5): The GOP's internal battle, political gridlock, meteors and probabilities

  • Updated: January 4, 2014 - 4:28 PM

That the ‘establishment’ remained anonymous speaks volumes about their standing.


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Clues suggest that the game is already over

The sports analogy used for the headline of Lawrence Jacobs’ Dec. 29 article (“Halftime for the GOP”) assumes that there are two teams on the field. One team is presumably the GOP establishment, and the other the GOP libertarian wing, also known as the Tea Party.

This assumption may be totally wrong. The Wall Street Journal, arguably the most traditional media flagship of the GOP establishment, in an editorial in October, declared that there is no longer such a thing as the “GOP establishment.” Jacobs, in his informative piece, quotes in succession these five anonymous individuals: A party insider of the GOP establishment, a well-placed national Republican, a leader in the Minnesota business community, a party strategist and an influential Republican.

Why is it that not even one of these five individuals was willing to offer comments with a name attached to them? Could it be that these five people speaking on behalf of the “GOP establishment” are somehow afraid of possible repercussions if their identities were known? Or could it be that they expect that the libertarian wing will win the second half of the GOP political game just like it has won the first half?

So far, to the best of my knowledge, only the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove have spoken openly against having libertarian “fools on the GOP ticket.” Are they the only “GOP establishment”? If the Wall Street Journal editorial was right and there is no longer such a thing as a GOP establishment, then there will be no second half. The game is over.


• • •

Jacobs wrote that President Ronald Reagan was “ferocious in cutting spending.”

Is it unkind to ask if being director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs entitles Jacobs to, well, make stuff up?

Reagan increased spending every year of his presidency. Federal outlays in President Jimmy Carter’s final year were $591 billion. In Reagan’s last year, 1988, they were $1.06 trillion. That is an increase of 96 percent over eight years. He didn’t cut the rate of growth, either; it rose a little faster in his administration than in Carter’s. Quite a record for a “ferocious” cutter of spending.


• • •

Jacobs posed the question of whether the party’s nominees should staunchly defend their principles even if it results in negative consequences (i.e., a government shutdown) or if they should accept compromises. Here’s the problem that neither party is willing to listen to: Once they are elected, politicians represent all the people in their district, not just those who voted for them or those who agree with their ideological principles. Compromise should be the order of business at all levels of government. It should not be about forcing one group’s ideologies on everyone else. I realize that’s idealistic and will never happen … but wait a minute. It has happened before.

If we continue to wage this internal war over ideologies, we will cease to be a great nation. It’s time to put a stop to it and start talking — and listening — to the other side.




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