Can moderate Republicans take back party?

Published 8:26 am Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Column: My Point of View, by Ted Hinnenkamp

Civility is the foundation of the social contract between our American government and its people.

An Aug. 18, 2012, editorial opinion by the Sun Sentinel newspaper in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., — winner of the 2013 Pullitzer Prize for public service — writes: “Throughout its recorded history, mankind has accepted the social contract, i.e. an agreement between the government and the governed to maintain a just equilibrium, so civilized communities can function in peace.”

Ted Hinnenkamp

Ted Hinnenkamp

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Dr. Paul Krugman (formerly on President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers staff in the White House) recently wrote an article which enlightened us all by explaining this new Republican Party leadership’s quest is to destroy our American social contract.

The Sentinal newspaper’s opinion continues: “The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who in 1652 described life in a ‘state of nature’ as ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.’ Those are the five best known and most cruel adjectives to warn mankind against selfishness and intolerance.”

Writer Kurt Vonnegut called this Republican Party selfishness and intolerance: “sociopathic indifference.”

In other words, I’ve got mine, you get yours, and to heck with everyone else.

Republican Party leadership cannot be truthful about their quest to destroy the social contract because to do so would be a political suicide. To destroy public education, the New Deal of FDR, the Great Society programs of LBJ, or pick any government program such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, middle class tax breaks and all are targeted for destruction by GOP leadership.

Krugman opines that this Republican Party madness is the central issue of our time.

Amazingly, in Minnesota, moderates could take back their Republican Party from this madness. The next Republican Party caucus to select delegates to their state convention comes up sooner than you think. You do not need a lot of moderates to take control.

Might I suggest that a Freeborn County moderate Republican announce her Arne Carlson walking subcaucus. The moderates could then choose moderate leaders for their party and go from there.

For example, Chad Brown, the former Republican Party co-chairman from Polk County, Iowa, recently left his post and joined the independents because no one from his party’s leadership stood up to the “hateful comments” by Republican Party congressman Steve King. Brown said his party’s “war on science and common sense,” coupled with Congressman King’s calling young immigrants drug mules, just became too much. I guess he just could no longer tolerate this madness.

Dr. Krugman describes the “wonk gap” coming from Republican Party leadership: “The GOP’s near-complete lack of expertise on anything substantive … the dumbing down extends across the spectrum, from budget issues to national security to poll analysis.”

Krugman remembers it was actually the conservative Heritage Foundation that devised a plan for universal health care, better known today as Obamacare.

Krugman writes: “Modern conservatism has become a sort of cult, very much given to conspiracy theorizing when confronted with inconvenient facts. … This runaway cult controls the House, which gives it immense destructive power — the power, for example, to wreak havoc on the economy by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. And it’s disturbing to realize that this power rests in the hands of men who, thanks to the wonk gap, quite literally have no idea what they’re doing.”

A return to civility by a new Republican Party leadership would be a great benefit to all Americans. Even a great benefit to us Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party progressives.


Albert Lea paralegal advocate Ted Hinnenkamp is a member of the Freeborn County DFL Party.