Despite its clearly disappointing performance over the past several years, several republican 2016 presidential hopefuls dusted off their party’s old script for their CPAC speeches this week in the hopes of increasing their political stock value. The theme of repeatedly diminishing President Obama’s accomplishments and blasting his leadership skills as a means to promote the Republican Party platform is not new, nor has it proven effective historically, however it continues to be the thread that unites.
This year’s CPAC Convention seemed to be a rerun of recent years with the usual cast of characters big and small, and none more widely anticipated than New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie. In spite of a variety of scandals presently surrounding Governor Christie, he emerged on stage confident and prepared to tow the party line, stating at one point during his speech, “We gotta start talking about what we’re for and not what we’re against”, only to be followed by “Our ideas are better than their ideas and that’s what we have to stand up for.”
Following a string of speeches, it became clear that the Republican Party made the conscious decision to use their old CPAC script. One would have to believe that during a time in the world where there is unprecedented civil unrest, extraordinary economic crisis, high unemployment, climate change, and a greater need for clean energy, that there would be no shortage of great ideas to discuss in the interest of identifying real solutions. Well, in the case of this year’s CPAC, one would be wrong. Attendees were greeted with generalities and ambiguous catch phrases, which will no doubt be used as talking points during the upcoming mid-terms. The problem: no real solutions were presented.
Just days after the Republican-controlled house attempted to repeal Obamacare for the fiftieth time, several of their top contenders for 2016 spoke of their desire to gut, or at the very least, derail Obamacare. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell called on his fellow republicans to fight Obamacare with “Everything we’ve got.” Others focused on the powers of federal government and what can be changed in order to reel in federal authority, with the intent of providing the individual states with a broader base of power and responsibility. During a roundtable discussion, columnist George Will, who sat down with Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, stated “Our country was founded in reaction to executive overreach with King George and the British,” he said. “This has been an enduring problem in American history.” Coburn was quick to echo this sentiment and followed it up with the comment “We need to reconnect with the Constitution when we legislate and ask ourselves where in the enumerated powers of the Constitution we get the authority to pass a specific law,”
The problem that the Republican Party continues to misidentify, but could ultimately get to work in their favor if they came to realize it, is that the United States is going through a significant demographic shift. This shift is marked by a more liberal and accepting thought process that is sweeping the nation, thanks to Generation X & Y. We are seeing the results of this exposed with the passage of several marijuana legalization laws, as well as laws in support of gay marriage. So while the general populous is less concerned now than ever before with what party you represent, and far more concerned with finding who can deliver results to some of the greatest problems plaguing our society, they insist on spending precious time and resources pedantically litigating the constitution, among other topics, which will no better serve to solve this nation’s current problems. The Republican Party continue to use their old script, which will only alienate those who would gladly support them if they would just accept the changing face of our society and work to make it great, rather than fervently resist its inevitable course.
Written by Christine Schlichte