Americans wanted to keep the country they know, and said so Tuesday.
Now it’s time for responsible Republicans to take their party back from the fringe that loses them elections.
It’s not true that Republicans needed better candidates. They had excellent contenders.
The problem was that the electable ones couldn’t leap the lunacy barrier erected by the right wing.
They couldn’t clinch nominations. Or they withdrew from races in the face of the party base’s social nastiness, scientific ignorance and fiscal irresponsibility.
In Indiana, Republicans had the superb Sen. Richard Lugar – a sure shot for re-election.
Lugar was a statesman who refused to transform himself into a right-wing gargoyle during the primary.
The party replaced him with a tea-party favorite, who like the Republican loser in the Missouri Senate race, made weird comments about rape during the campaign.
In Connecticut, the totally unacceptable Linda McMahon lost her second quest for a U.S. Senate seat after spending $91 million of her own money – but not before having managed to defeat two plausible Republican moderates this year and in 2010.
In this round’s Republican primary, the wrestling magnate with a yacht named “Sexy Bitch” swept away the much-respected former Rep. Chris Shays on a tide of cash.
Another admired Republican, Jon Huntsman, withdrew from the race for the presidential nomination rather than debase himself with arguments that the Earth was formed 5,000 years ago.
The former conservative governor of Utah provided the most noble tweet of the campaign: “I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”
You knew he couldn’t survive the sort of primary race that included threats against Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. (“We would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry actually said.) By catering to this mentality but seeming just a bit saner than the others, Mitt Romney won the nomination and lost the election.
The morning after, Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist turned MSNBC commentator, minced no words: “We have given away five U.S. Senate seats over two election cycles by nominating loons. I mean, people who are fundamentally, manifestly unqualified to be in the United States Senate.”
Lest we forget, Republicans put out some very strange senatorial candidates two years ago.
In Delaware, Christine (“I’m not a witch) O’Donnell lost to the Democrat – after defeating the revered Republican Rep. Mike Castle in the primary.
In Nevada, Sharron Angle (“Sharia law” has taken over Dearborn, Mich.) lost to a struggling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
So entranced was the right wing by its own propaganda that it persisted in framing Republican Sen. Scott Brown’s surprising 2010 win in Massachusetts as local hostility to Obamacare.
Brown got away with promising to help defeat the Affordable Care Act only because the electorate already had a state version of it. His luck ran out on Tuesday.
In olden days, when moderate Republicans freely roamed New England, Brown would have enjoyed stronger odds for re-election.
And in nearby Maine, Republican survivor Olympia Snowe would have probably gone back to the Senate had she not retired, exhausted by attacks from the right.
The tea party didn’t build this alone. It had help from the punditry-industrial-complex – the radio mouths and book-peddling professionals who make a fine living telling the troops that they’re always right and they’re always winning.
Republican analyst Schmidt also said on Wednesday that the likes of Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh need to be “shut down.”
What he undoubtedly means is that mature Republican leaders should stop trying to ingratiate themselves with the publicity bottom feeders.
Conscientious Republicans do want their party back. May they get it.
To find out more about Froma Harrop, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at
© 2012 THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL CO.
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Americans wanted to keep the country they know, and said so Tuesday.
Starting over at Head Start
All I ever wanted to be was a journalist. Having worked on my high school and college newspapers, I knew it was the career for me.
I love talking to people, listening to their stories, being creative every day and experiencing new things. But as you know, news happens outside the hours of 9 to 5, and my job here at the Register rarely stayed within that time frame.
They don’t make strawberries as they did back in the old days
I’m not inclined to go through my archives at the moment, but it almost feels like the column I’m about to write has almost become an annual thing over the years.
At least I know for sure that that this is not the first time that memories of picking strawberries there on Blair Branch on hot days in June has triggered this keyboard about this time of year.
I grew up on a little subsistence, hillside farm deep in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, among the coalfields near the Virginia line.
Baby boomers have let technology rob their grandchildren of the joys of youth
When I was growing up, it was not uncommon to see fathers and sons along creek banks fishing together or in the woods hunting squirrels or pitching horse shoes or even shooting marbles late in the afternoon in the cool hours before dark.
Dads were teaching kids to play the games they grew up with. Little girls, learned from mothers,how to skip rope, play with jacks or play hopscotch.
No Lincoln or Douglas in this debate
Remember the famous slap-down in the 1988 vice presidential debate when Republican Dan Quayle compared his youth and limited government experience to those of John Kennedy’s when Kennedy ran for president?
His Democratic opponent, Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, acidly replied: “I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”
Senate campaign already in full bloom
Any hope for a respite in the U.S. Senate campaign following Tuesday’s primary disappeared immediately.
Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes came out swinging in victory speeches which sounded like campaign kickoffs.
McConnell commended Matt Bevin on “a tough (primary) race” and appealed to Bevin supporters to unite behind his re-election bid. That will be hard for Bevin and those who backed him.
‘Taxpayer-eaters’ meet ‘self-serving politician-eaters’
What some candidates could gain in this year’s election – beyond just winning office – is a stark reminder of how wrong political leaders were when declaring last year they had adequately addressed Kentucky’s public-pension crisis.
Instead, legislators with serious courage deficiencies failed to agree on reforms beyond what they believe are “politically feasible.”
Step Out, Step up for Diabetes Association
Six weeks ago when I wrote here announcing the 2014 Edition of Team TKO’s American Diabetes Association, Step Out Walk Team, several dozen of you readers sent generous donations to sponsor grandson Tyler Kane Ochs (TKO) and me in the walk that takes place, rain or shine, in the mud or not, at Keeneland on the morning of May 31.
Another several dozen of you either called, emailed or dropped a card in regular mail and asked that I remind you again “after the holidays” (Easter and Mother’s Day).
Hitting the campaign trail
The most watched race in the country ? the battle for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Mitch McConnell ? has so far produced a bevy of charges and not much substance.
We haven’t seen that much of McConnell or his likely Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes out on the campaign trail.
McConnell’s primary opponent Matt Bevin has been much more active and visible, but his performance hasn’t enhanced his chances.
The case of the scary black cat
If Margie didn’t believe that black cats were the harbinger of bad luck, she certainly believed it when a black cat brushed against her leg while she was leaning over a large trash can burning garbage one late afternoon.
Startled by the sudden appearance of the feline, Margie opened her mouth wide and let out a blood-curdling scream that could have awakened Count Dracula himself.
Basking in the spring sunshine
If you had asked me, as recently as two weeks ago, to make a list of things I expected to see on the first Monday in May of 2014, two of the things that I actually did see would not have been on the list, even if you’d required that it contain at least 500 items.
I’d have been a bit skeptical about Ralph’s purple asparagus and his gorgeous snowball bush, both of which came through most admirably. And I would have had my doubts about the poppies that have been in our back yard for several generations and the bearded German Iris that Jeanette Todd gave us more than two decades ago. It faithfully stuns us there at the corner of the front porch every spring, but there they were, basking in absolute glory as the sun set Monday afternoon.
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