Recently, I've written in the Washington Post and been quoted in the Detroit Free Press about my views concerning the political logjam between Democrats and Republicans. Since I happen to be a Republican, my frustration is that the Republicans who could be the party of change and solution have instead relegated themselves to being the party of stomping feet and victim-hood.
One intellectual heavy-weight (actually, I don't know how heavy he is…just that he used an awful lot of words) chased me down through various emails to tell me that I was one of the "weak-kneed moderates" that "we" (whoever "we" might be) are purging from the party. While I'm still pondering how this person knew I had medial-meniscus surgery recently, I would like to clarify that my issue isn't "why can't we all get along?" My issue is with the fact that the purpose of debate is to come to a resolution that is in the best interest of all parties involved. Or at least a decision that is informed by the relative viewpoints of an issue. There is a place for strong party platforms and one would expect that these platforms would represent a wide range of diverse opinions on topics like finance reform, big business, big government and the like.
For me, the problem is that the platforms are not clear and, as such, are no longer representing anything but the concept of opposition. Personally I have been fascinated with President Obama as a person and I had high hopes that he would drive the conversation to a higher level. I don't see that happening. Granted, he can't do it by himself, but he can set the tone.
At the same time, the Republicans seem to have no voice at all. This was my point in the Post article. Rather than engaging the debate with the view of the minority opposition, Republicans have taken to arguing pure ideology and framing the debate based on the negative view of the Democrat's approach. It is as if the GOP has decided that the only position is a defensive one.
There are examples where perhaps this may not be the case. But the reactive perspective of the Republicans will only carry them so far. There needs to be strong and new leadership within the party that allows the American people to truly see the basis of contention between Democrats and Republicans. Until that leadership emerges, the Democrats will continue to set the ground-rules for the discussion and the Republicans will have a hard time establishing a voice.