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GOP’s real problem isn’t Trump; it’s that the party’s primary theme isn’t true

All of the Republican candidates for president agree that our Barack Obama-led country is in a big mess, but Donald Trump has captured the issue with voters, announcing that he will make us great again.

But the real problem for the Republican Party is not Trump. It is that the party’s primary theme is not true. The stock market is volatile and ISIL rampages, but the U.S. is not in big trouble.

Our economy is one of the strongest in the world. We lead in world-class innovative industries like GE, IBM, 3M, Google, Amazon, Facebook, motion pictures, etc. Rising domestic oil and gas production is creating thousands of new well-paying jobs. Major foreign companies, like Germany’s chemical giant BASF, are locating new plants in the United States, helping to create nearly a quarter million new jobs per month.

The much-maligned Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is adding nearly a million uninsured people every month to the roll of those with health insurance. It is not the job killer that Republicans have claimed.

There are still many large unsolved issues that Democrats and Republicans ignore as they focus on stolen voter lists, shoe styles, and bathroom breaks. Social Security and Medicare need major fixes, as too few younger workers support an aging population. Our neglected infrastructure has a growing repair bill. Unequal income distribution and the related education accomplishment gap are not getting much campaign attention. The national debt rises by trillions per year.

We have the assets to tackle those problems if we have effective and focused leadership. Finding that leadership among the current crop of bickering candidates in either party is a challenge.

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 01/06/2016 - 03:39 pm.

    When the GWB administration came to its dismal close with historic and permanently significant failures, the biggest key to the survival for the Republicans was to make the the Democratic president into a bigger failure. Cue and play 8 years of exaggerated negatives, ludicrous claims and accusations–outrage turned up to 11.

    And now, here we are, with the current crop of Republican candidates beating the drums of the battles of the last 8 years–blind to the actual past and most certainly ignoring the real future that is dropping down on us.

    • Submitted by joe smith on 01/06/2016 - 06:47 pm.

      Neal, the GOP did little to undermine Obama, he did it to himself. With majorities in both Houses he brought us Obamacare, a disaster while being written, enacted in law by procedure vote and an embarrassing bad role out. The 1%,Obama rails against has done better than ever, the middle class, which he claims to love lost $3,000 of salary in the past 7 years, part time jobs are up and the number folks on welfare exploded. GOP just had to sit back and watch him mishandle the Mid East, call ISIS JV, claim Fort Hood was “work place violence”, fall for the “hands up don’t shoot” narrative.
      When in doubt blame GWB…. Oh, that was 7 yrs ago. Hillary today said the economy must get fixed, how good could it be?
      GOP has watched it for 7 yrs, along with the 70% of Americans who feel we are headed on the wrong track. I guess the theme may be true after all.

      • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 01/07/2016 - 12:27 pm.


        Except Obamacare hasn’t been a disaster. Millions more people have insurance for the first time in their lives and insurance rates, while still growing, are doing so at a fraction of the pace compared to pre-Obamacare.

        Is Obamacare perfect? Absolutely not. But that’s not akin to saying we should repeal it wholesale. Instead we should be working on universal single payer health care so everyone can go to the doctor without having to worry about ruinous bills.

        While the economy is doing well, like healthcare, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. People at the low end of the social scale still need help to make ends meet, which is why we’re working so hard to raise the minimum wage. It’s naive to think that all problems in the country will be solved in the span of a couple of years, especially after such a disastrous Republican president. Such widespread problems take decades, if not generations, to eradicate.

        Yes, the Republicans have been obstructionists every step of the way through Obama’s presidency. They vowed to make him a one term president, voted against TARP, voted against extending unemployment benefits during the height of the recession, and stonewall every appointment Obama proposes.

        How many times have they voted to repeal Obamacare? The President made this proposal because he thought it was the one thing conservatives would cheer for. It was a program that a conservative institute had proposed in the ’90s and had been actually implemented by a Republican governor of a state–the very person who was one of Obama’s opponents come election time.

        Apparently Obamacare was a good conservative agenda up until the very moment President Obama proposed it.

        Currently the Republican legislature is laser focused on…burying Planned Parenthood. Have they come up with ANY bills that will create jobs or help raise the standard of living of any Americans outside of the 1%? Maybe I’ve missed them, but the only thing I’ve seen come down the pike outside of Obamacare repeal efforts are tax cuts for the wealthy.

        Looking at the past fifteen years, it appears to me that if you want to trash the economy, then vote R. If you want to lift up Americans, then vote D.

        • Submitted by joe smith on 01/07/2016 - 02:31 pm.

          Millions of folks LOST their affordable healthcare plan with Obamacare not to mention that they lost their Doctor, promised not to happen. If you want more of the same vote Hillary but it appears 70% of the regular every day folks don’t agree with you.

  2. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/06/2016 - 10:31 pm.

    The fact free GOP

    Remember the good old days when Republicans were the cautious, fact based, steady as she goes side of the political equation? Mr. Smith, please put emotion aside and use actual results to tell us in the past 8 years, compared to the 8 years before them have we improved or fell back on these actual, measurable, key indicators: jobs, the markets, war cost in lives and treasure, domestic terrorism deaths, uninsured people? Yes, facts are a flexible thing to today’s GOP. The rise of Donald Trump, the most truth challenged candidate in recent history, to the pinnacle of Republican leadership is further evidence that emotion and ideology are far more relevant than truth and actual facts to today’s Republican voters. And that 70% “wrong track” rating? When 50% of politicians have made it their primary mission to tell us, day in and day out, how bad it is (regardless of actual facts) we will create a self fulfilling prophecy of accepting and reflecting their relentless negativity. The GOP priority of party needs over governing needs borders on treason: Just imagine in 2009 if the GOP leaders looked at the Affordable Care Act and said: ” this is the Heritage Foundation’s idea, Gingrich’s alternative to 1991 Hillary Care and Romney’s main claim to fame, let’s take credit, claim it as our own, throw a few nice words towards Obama and move on”, how much better off we would be today: We would have fixed many of the ACA issues because they would have been owned by both parties. Instead it’s just another election time wedge issue with the 45th vote to defund Obamacare.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/07/2016 - 08:24 am.

      Zero republican votes

      The reason Romney could get away with imposing mandatory health insurance in Massachusetts is because the only people enslaved by the idea were people living in that one state. Even then, one of the reasons four million conservatives stayed home on election day in 2012 was because of our suspicion that Romney doesn’t get it.

      I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed but one of the guiding principles of conservatism is the opposition to all government-imposed mandates, especially on the federal level where people can’t escape the tyranny by simply moving one state away.

      We said all along conservatives would have supported Obamacare if was voluntary, not mandatory, but of course that would never fly with the democrats because all leftist ideas require them to be mandated because given the choice, some people would opt out, like social security, for example, and that doesn’t fit their ideology.

      When the republican nominee promises to over-turn Obamacare it will mean he’s promising to give the people back their freedom. Then we’ll see if that’s still a popular concept in this country. If not, then you’ll get the government you all deserve.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/07/2016 - 12:42 pm.


        I thought the Civil War settled the issue that one state could condone slavery and another could not. I also thought the Heritage Foundation was a primary source for your guiding principles. And the idea that “we conservatives would have supported Obamacare if it was voluntary” is also ridiculous. Here are the Heritage Foundations words on this matter:

        “If a young man wrecks his Porsche and has not had the foresight to obtain insurance . . . society feels no obligation to repair his car. But health care is different. If a man is struck down by a heart attack in the street, Americans will care for him whether or not he has insurance. If we find that he has spent his money on other things rather than insurance, we may be angry but we will not deny him services . . . .

        A mandate on individuals recognizes this implicit contract. . . . [E]ach household has the obligation, to the extent it is able, to avoid placing demands on society by protecting itself.”

        Are we in agreement here? The mandate was the conservative solution to universal healthcare. The liberal solution was single payer.

        You won: declare victory and move on…

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 01/07/2016 - 03:09 pm.

          You see, that’s the kicker

          The TP types no longer recognize such a “social contract”, they honestly believe ” freedom” is the sick and injured rotting in the street if they haven’t the means to afford care. I understand that such a concept defies logic, and throws the entire narrative of “civilization” into question, but unless we recognize the opponents of civilization as what they are, they will continue to play act as rational actors in good faith negotiations on societal concerns. They are not, and cannot be treated as such.

  3. Submitted by rolf westgard on 01/07/2016 - 04:27 am.

    GWB’s Giant Blunder

    The Bush Iraq invasion was in the past but its effect will hurt us for decades.

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