Many years ago, Walt Kelly, creator of the comic strip Pogo, coined the phrase, "We have met the enemy, and he is us." Those words have been true more times than we can count. And, as we start the engines in preparation for the next presidential election, they may be on the verge of coming true again.
A day or so ago, the news reported that media personality Glen Beck announced he is no longer going to be a Republican. Locally, we have had prominent citizens tell us that if Jeb Bush is the Republican's choice to run for president, they will not vote, they will stay home. Others are insisting if the nominee doesn't comport with their absolute view of things, they too, will walk away.
My way or the highway! That message describes the image of a circular firing squad, with everyone pointing inward, and all the targets being other Republicans. That message brings joy to Democrats who are currently struggling to overcome one scandal after another concerning their anointed nominee.
President Ronald Reagan said, "Somebody who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is an 80 percent friend not a 20 percent enemy." He believed in the "big tent", bringing in under that tent as many people as possible and respecting their viewpoints, just as he expected them to respect his. And, as his quote shows, he didn't expect everyone to march in lock step like a bunch of robots. He wanted them to unite as a party in order to win the election. History shows he was right.
Some Republicans, or former Republicans like Glen Beck, seem willing to cede the upcoming election to their Democrat opposition. Staying home and not voting essentially casts a vote for the opposition. Supporting a fringe party or individual that is more closely aligned with one's views, dilutes the process and, again, paves the way for the Democrat to win.
Opportunity knocks . . . but is anyone listening? The presumptive Democrat nominee, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, has been less than forthcoming concerning her e-mails while Secretary of State. Shannen Coffin, former Assistant Deputy Attorney General and former counsel to Vice President Cheney, has stated on Fox News' Kelly File and in an article in the National Review, that regarding Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail system, she broke the law in a number of ways. Judge Andrew Napolitano, currently the senior judicial analyst at Fox News and distinguished professor of Constitutional Law at Brooklyn Law School, and former New Jersey Superior Court judge, has cited a number of violations of the law that have been made by Secretary Clinton.
In addition, the former Secretary of State has yet to answer or provide documentation about her role in the Benghazi tragedy, or provided any information concerning the acceptance of millions and millions of dollars from foreign governments into the Clinton Foundation.
We have endured six plus years of President Obama's my way or the highway approach. He has shown a willingness to violate the Constitution and virtually destroy the separation of powers if he doesn't get what he wants. Our founders gave us a system that, if followed, makes essential the cooperation among the elected representatives in the Legislative Branch and, subsequently, the Executive Branch. One thing we don't need is a continuation of the my way or the highway approach as that can only lead to a dictatorship.
Republicans have an opportunity to restore our constitutional form of government and, importantly, to develop laws and/or amendments that will prevent the abuses of Executive Branch power that we have experienced. That opportunity will be lost if Republicans are unwilling to get rid of the my way or the highway approach and replace it with President Reagan's Big Tent. A Glen Beck, or a local citizen, can only bring harm to the Republican Party, and to the nation, by becoming so rigid in their positions that they essentially hand the Presidency to the opposition party.
There are many fine candidates who are seeking to lead the party. A number of them have a history of achievement in public service. Governors Kasich, Perry, and Walker have excellent records, as does former Governor Bush. Senator Cruz is both bold and brilliant and Senator Paul has attracted a group of followers because of his straight talk about putting America first. Former CEO of Hewlett -Packard Carly Fiorina has not been a politician but brings a record of managerial achievement in the business world to her campaign. The various candidates have a variety of issues that stimulate them in their desire to run for the presidency. They all think they can bring an improvement to the office. Give your vote to the one who most closely agrees with your positions. However, Instead of beating up candidates, with whom you don't agree, accept the will of the people when the ultimate candidate is chosen, and work towards his or her election.
Unless, of course, you want Ms. Clinton to continue the policies we have endured for over six years . . .
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
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