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.
Coal has kept Kentuckians warm this winter
This winter, temperatures across the country dipped to historic lows. Here in our home state of Kentucky, the near-arctic climate caused increased power demand which resulted in an incredible strain on the electric grid and rising energy costs.
Protecting citizens’ data is a no-brainer
Target Corp. is learning the hard way: The price is steep for retailers who don’t protect customers’ sensitive financial information.
Target’s profits fell a whopping 50 percent during its fourth quarter of 2013 as the result of a massive security breach involving as many as 110 million of its customers’ credit- and debit-card accounts, which began the day before Thanksgiving and extended throughout much of the holiday shopping season.
Making plans for spring planting
My brother Keith (Keeter) probably planted peas on one of those warm days last week, and I would not be at all surprised to find out that brother Steve did likewise to try to be the first two fellows in Letcher County to actually be digging the soil in their 2014 gardens.
Keeter’s father-in-law, the late Dock Mitchell, used to get my brother to drive him a 50-mile round trip to get pea seeds and potting soil for early February planting. Dock raised mammoth melting sugar snow peas and sugar snaps around every fence on the place.
Cynicism, optimism both on display in Frankfort
Those who spend little time in Kentucky’s Capitol and who read columns by cynics who cover it should be forgiven their disillusionment about how the people’s business is conducted.
Even Scrooge would enjoy library mystery
Saturday afternoons and evenings are usually down time for Loretta and me.
We simply don’t get out much after we’ve used up the movie gift certificates the kids gave us for Christmas. That means we mostly go to the movies to avoid guilt trips because our kids do work hard for their money.
Funding education is critical for Kentucky and its communities
Kentucky’s latest budget outline makes it clear that our leaders in Frankfort plan to go to great lengths to find more money for education. For communities throughout the commonwealth, this effort to restore funds for our schools is very welcomed news.
Who benefits from ‛AT&T Bill’
Senate Bill 99, the “AT&T Bill,” is a great deal for the telecommunications giants AT&T, Windstream and Cincinnati Bell.
It would allow them to abandon their least profitable customers and service areas as well as public protection obligations. But it is a risky and potentially dangerous bet for Kentuckians. Kentucky House members should turn it down.
End of the Line for the Welfare State?
The Congressional Budget Office did not exactly say Obamacare would cost the nation 2.5 million jobs.
But what it did say is vindication of what conservatives have preached since Barry Goldwater stood in the pulpit 50 years ago:
The more liberal the welfare state, the greater the disincentive to work and the more ruinous the impact upon a nation’s work ethic.
Beshear’s timid proposal versus Tar Heels’ tax-cutting tenacity
Raising the specter of hiking cigarette taxes is – for cash-starved politicians, big-government health nannies and their opinion-page enablers – the policy equivalent of ringing Pavlov’s bell.
Seeing “cash trays” rather than ashtrays, these big spenders experience racing heartbeats and sweaty palms while dreaming of raking in millions more into government coffers for pet projects.
Governor’s plan doesn’t go far enough
Gov. Steve Beshear deserves recognition for bringing forward this week a specific tax reform proposal for consideration. His plan contains some good ideas, especially in that it would raise new revenue and includes modest assistance to families struggling to get by on low wages through the creation of a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
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- Coal has kept Kentuckians warm this winter