GOP governors need to be the new leaders of the party because they have a record of success in governing that no one in Washington has. Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal and others are trying to explain it to them. Poor fall election results have softened the party’s hard head and opened its ears.
They tried the Tea Party ideological no-compromise route and it is leading to the party’s destruction. They lost what would have otherwise been senate seats in Nevada, Missouri and Indiana by nominating ideologues and are on track to lose control of the U.S. House in two years if they stay committed to the course they have been on.
The GOP has broken between business and ideological factions. The GOP now sees tax reform as a tax increase so it will oppose reform. That is a stupid box to get backed into. The GOP self-deportation attitude on immigration reform is killing them politically. They don’t know how to relate or talk to gender, ethnic and racial minorities giving the impression that they really don’t like them and wrote off more than the 47 percent. Mitt Romney alluded to in his infamous video tape recording.
Everybody that is not a Republican is seen as a “taker,” whom they despise. Their political problem is that those minorities they don’t relate to now add up to a majority of the electorate.
They are also losing the youth in this country which is starting to vote in larger numbers. The GOP powerbase of old white guys and gals is literally dying. The party base is isolated regionally looking like the Confederate south with a few new recruits from northern plains states.
The politics is rural versus urban, while the demographics are shifting from rural to urban. The South lost last time and it is going to lose this time, too. The shift in population from rural to urban was evident in Iowa counties in data from the last decade.
Several rural counties lost 15 to 17 percent of their population, while Pocahontas County shrank 24.6 percent in population. Urban counties grew with the four around Des Moines growing 26.4 percent to 133.4 percent. Only 16 percent of the country’s population now lives in rural America. And do you really think that we can pass a farm bill without SNAP included?
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack was correct in saying that rural is going to have to make alliances with urban or become irrelevant.
It is ironic that as we watch Washington sink lower in popularity than cockroaches, we have state governments that have successfully governed. Iowa is an example. Our state takes care of what state governments are supposed to take care of regarding education, transportation and social needs and the Iowa economy is producing a surplus. We have no debt crisis in Iowa and our economy is on a sustainable fiscal path. I fear that the growing demise of the GOP is a threat to the interests of rural America. But when I see a Congress that can’t pass a farm bill with instructions written on it that a fourth grader could follow, it is an understatement to call it alarming.
House Ag committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okl;a., said that he has no idea when the farm bill will get brought back up. This was not Democrats that screwed the farm bill up … it was the same ideologues that have been undermining the whole functionality of the Congress.
I don’t think that it is in our rural interests to have Democrats in complete control in Washington. In fact, I think that would produce some very bad policy for rural America that Republicans now hold back.
I am not impressed, however, with how the GOP has treated our rural representatives. Extending a farm bill with the decisions made by party leadership in a closed room as was done did not represent our interests.
Opposing biofuel while carrying water for Big Oil as the GOP has done is not in our economic interest. They have been taking advantage of rural conservative support while governing in a manner that does the opposite of benefit our rural economic interests.
We are not their favorites, but we are being played. President Obama is making renewable energy one of his five or so big policy objectives in his second term.
Clean Line Energy has a $2 billion transmission line project planned, starting in O’Brien County that will connect the wind turbines in the region to the grid in Chicago. It will create 5,000 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs. It is a big deal here.
Yet Mitt Romney opposed wind energy subsidies. The ethanol blender’s credit is gone, but the Big Oil subsidies baked into the tax code are still there and the GOP defends them at every turn. They are on the wrong side of the energy policy and have missed an opportunity.
Republicans seem surprised that they can’t win in what they see as a conservative state as Iowa. Maybe it is because they keep screwing us on biofuel and farm bills.
Right now the Democrats are hoping that the GOP keeps on doing exactly what they have been doing, not changing a thing as it will be just a matter of the next election or maybe two that the GOP will be as irrelevant as they are making rural America out to be, taking our interests down with them.
David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.
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