January 19, 2013

Another View: Obstructing Congress is not the same thing as having good ideas

Republicans are getting in the way of progress on issues that matter to the American people.


A recent Another View editorial featured the opinion that the Republican Party is the party of ideas ("Republicans are the party with the right ideas in Congress," Jan. 18).

The editorial suggested that the best of these ideas is a refusal to cooperate with Democrats, who have bad ideas. I assume that the writer views the chronic fiscal cliff debate and lack of meaningful progress as good because it: makes the president look bad, frames the Republican Party as fiscally responsible (never mind 2000-2008) and enables some to show how darned mad they are about our slide to socialism.

However, notable Republican ideas like reduced women's rights, self-deportation, no limits on gun ownership, pandering to the wealthy and gutting social programs poll poorly and seem self-defeating. This writer revealed obstructionism as the grass-roots mark of a good party member. I used to think it was just poor politics, but now it seems people let politics define their views rather than letting views lead to politics.

For example, most feel we have lost control of guns. It's obvious, so let's pick the low-hanging fruit and limit magazine size and stop with the assault weapons. But no, the grand idea of obstructionism raises its head and without hope of bipartisan action, and a spineless silence by both parties, the president issued executive orders relating to gun control. The deluge was immediate. I do not like this situation. We need government to function.

The deficit will drop as the economy improves. Women are gaining power and represent the best hope for our government. Minorities are gaining stronger representation. People are wondering how to protect themselves from guns, not with them. To remain relevant in a complicated world, the Republican Party needs better ideas than making a refusal to have a conversation its platform. I think it will take some time.

Joe Delaney is a resident of Portland.


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