The Republican party is playing Scrabble with lousy letters and should sit out the November election, says New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.
He said that the party’s inability to come up with a candidate who in his view does not offer constructive conservative proposals on the key issues and is ready for strategic compromises” has left it without any reason to even try to dethrone President Barack Obama.
Writing the day after Governor Mitt Romney won in the party’s primaries in Maine, Friedman stated, “You know how in Scrabble sometimes you look at your seven letters and you’ve got only vowels that spell nothing? What do you do? You go back to the pile. You throw your letters back and hope to pick up better ones to work with. That’s what Republican primary voters seem to be doing. They just keep going back to the pile but still coming up with only vowels that spell nothing.”
He charged that the GOP, initials for the Grand Old Party, “has let itself become the captive of conflicting ideological bases: anti-abortion advocates, anti-immigration activists, social conservatives worried about the sanctity of marriage, libertarians who want to shrink government, and anti-tax advocates who want to drown government in a bathtub.”
President Barack Obama seemed destined to be a one-term president early last year when the economy appeared it was going from bad to worse and his Middle East foreign policies chastised Israel and praised Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Republican party candidates have caught the headlines in their support of Israel, but have not won over voters on the number one issue – the economy.
Herman Cain, whose candidacy was shot down late last year after reports of previous sexual harassment of female employees, said last week that the appearance of an improving economy is making things difficult for the Republican party.
The former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza said that the dropping unemployment is an illusion when taking into account that 3 million unemployed people are not included in the statistics, because they have given up looking for work. In addition, several million are “underemployed.”
“If you add those back in, the real unemployment rate is over 15 percent,” Cain told CBS MarketWatch.
He said that “President Obama deserves no credit” for the lower jobless rate, which has dropped from 9 percent to 8.5 percent in several months. “The unemployment rate is moderating in spite of the administration, not because of the administration,” he said.
Sen. Rick Santorum, former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and Romney are the front-runners for the GOP nomination this summer, with Romney leading the pack. Cain agreed that there is no “consensus candidate” yet, an underlying assessment that led Friedman to suggest that the party simply forget about the elections.
Friedman wrote Sunday, “What we definitely and urgently need is a second party – a coherent Republican opposition that is offering constructive conservative proposals on the key issues and is ready for strategic compromises to advance its interests and those of the country.”
His omission of Israel as a major issue reflects the American public’s concern for domestic economic and environmental problems. Friedman charged that the Republican party has become “a radical party, not a conservative one, and for the candidates to wrap themselves in a cartoon version of Ronald Reagan – a real conservative who raised taxes, including the gasoline tax, when he discovered his own cuts had gone too far – is fraudulent.”
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