The Republican Party Should Be Renamed The Tea Party

The Tea Partiers, a small percentage of the Republican Party, is running the show.

The Republican Party was created in 1860 when its first presidential candidate was Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln won that election and from then until 1932, the Republican Party dominated American politics. The Republican Party tended to be a relatively conservative party during this period. The one noteworthy exception was the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt which was quite progressive. He was the first president to advocate national health insurance. (like several of his successors, he failed to obtain that goal.) Historians rate him as “near great”.

In 1932, as a result of the Great Depression and Franklin Roosevelt’s highly effective campaigning style, the nation’s political alignment changed dramatically. For the next 20 years, the Democratic Party controlled the presidency and usually the Congress. The electorate shifted from heavily Republican to predominately Democratic. In 1952, the nation’s electorate shifted again. The great war hero, General Eisenhower, who could have had the nomination of either party, chose to be the standard bearer for the Republican Party. He won easily, thereby changing the political landscape again.

Since then, the Democratic Party has tended to be center – left while the Republican Party has been center – right. The United States tends to be politically centrist. Thus, Republican Barry Goldwater, an extreme rightist, lost in a landslide in 1964. Similarly, Democrats George McGovern and Michael Dukakis, extreme left wingers, lost in landslides in 1972 and 1988 respectively.

When the White House and the Congress have been controlled by different parties, they have usually compromised to pass legislation that was good for the country. For example, Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democrat Speaker Tip O’Neill had a legendary relationship to the benefit of the country. Similarly, Democrat President Bill Clinton and Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich cooperated to reform the welfare system and pass free trade legislation that was good for the economy.

The Change in the Republican Party

From 1860 to 2008 – a period of 148 years – the Republicans had politically different types of Presidents and Congresses. The liberal administration of President Theodore Roosevelt differed sharply from the conservative administration of President Calvin Coolridge while the efficient administration of President Ronald Reagan was in sharp contrast to the impotent administration of President Herbert Hoover. Similarly, the degree of cooperation between Republican congresses and Democratic presidents has varied widely. But one critical factor remained constant for 148 years i.e. Republicans have always been Americans first and Republicans second. Tragically for the country, this factor changed when Barach Obama became President. For the first time in their long history, Congressional Republicans have been Republicans first and Americans second, especially since the Republicans captured the House of Representatives in the 2010 election. Barach Obama became president when the nation had been in the deepest recession since the Great Depression. The new president, using the same anti – recession tools that every president since President Roosevelt has applied, proposed a stimulus package. Every Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives voted against the bill while only 3 Republicans voted for it in the Senate. If that stimulus plan had not passed the Congress, the country would almost certainly still be in a severe recession. But the evidence that the Republicans were no longer the Republican Party of 1860 to 2008 was the debt ceiling crisis of this year. The debt ceiling has been raised almost 100 times since the law required that action. It was raised 13 times under President Reagan and 7 times under President George W. Bush without any conditions. The Republicans, controlled by the Tea Party, used the threat of a default to extract concessions from the President and the Democrats – in violation of the principles of the U.S. Constitution. Every reasonable compromise was vetoed by the Tea Party. In the process, the economy of the nation was severely harmed because businesses were afraid to invest and consumers were afraid to spend. Since the Tea Party determines the agenda of the Republican Party and since the Republican Party of 1860 – 2008 no longer exists, there name should be changed to the Tea Party!