Your Turn, NH: Republicans need to stop listening to the conservatives
The first order of business should be to take the party back from the conservatives. Republicans are the minority party, and the party's success depends on appealing to independent voters and conservative Democrats. The radical Tea Party and the Rush Limbaugh/Ann Coulter faction do not appeal to these voters.
What have the conservatives done to us? The Bush/Cheney administration was a disaster and led to the presidency of a most unqualified man. The Republicans in Congress, instead of negotiating with the Democrats and presenting their own agenda, simply said "no" to any proposals. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, should be impeached for making his legislative goal the one term presidency of Barack Obama. He failed in that goal, and he at least should be stripped of his leadership role.
Sen. McConnell should read the Constitution. The purpose of the Congress is to represent the people in governing the country. For the last four years, we have had no governing, just partisan gridlock. Is this how the Republican Party will govern, if given the opportunity? No wonder the voters rejected our party.
Why did the party allow eight uninspired and uninspiring candidates to run in the primary elections? Why did the party allow the negative campaigning that emerged? It only came back to haunt us. It made Mitt Romney a political chameleon, constantly changing positions, which led to President Obama's quote in the general election, "Governor Romney has changed positions so often we don't know what he stands for."
Gov. Romney and the Republican Party ran a terrible campaign. In June, we had a beaten President who suffered from a failed economic policy. Gov. Romney then lost control of the conversation. He attacked Obama's record, but never told us what he would do. He merely told us he had a better plan.
Gov. Romney told us he would repeal Obamacare, but he never told us what parts of the law he would keep, because even he admitted the Affordable Care Act is not all bad. Gov. Romney told us he would repeal Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley, but he failed to tell us how he would regulate Wall Street. A casual reading of a newspaper shows that Wall Street and major banks cry out for more, and better regulation. How did social issues become such a major factor when the economy continues to fail?
The problem extended to the governor's race. The party selected a nice guy, but as Leo Durocher so famously said, nice guys finish last. Was Ovide Lamontagne picked because he waved the conservative flag? Our state Legislature has reverted to Democratic control. Is that a commentary on the way the last legislative body conducted itself? In the height of a budget crisis they found time to allow guns in the capitol building. They lowered the cigarette tax at the same time they cut higher-education spending. This is good government?
Frank Guinta lost to the most unqualified person in the election. How did that happen? Carol Shea-Porter lied about Guinta's stance on entitlements and lied to the voters that entitlements can continue as they are. No intelligent observer believes that, but the lie prevailed.
So, back to the beginning. Here's what the Republican Party, in my opinion, has to do.
On a national level, the party needs to develop an agenda. This agenda should included repeal of Obamacare, and a detailed listing of what items will be retained. The same with Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley. The party needs to admit that regulation usually stems from abuse, and Wall Street and the nine major banks have certainly been abusive. Next is an admission that spending cuts alone won't balance the budget, accompanied by a detailed revision of the tax code. In Congress, select new leadership that will actually lead. Above all, recognize that the word compromise is not an obscenity. Our country emerged from colonialism because of compromise.
At the state level, cooperate with the Democratic governor. Yes, there will be differences, but those are to be negotiated away.
As for Carol Shea-Porter, we have twice elected an unqualified person to Congress. She is totally unqualified to manage the country. Create a committee to dog her. Make a record of each committee vote and debate. Do the same for floor debates. Attend all her public functions and make a record of the lies she tells. Develop a candidate with no baggage (Frank Guinta is not the guy). Avoid a primary fight in 2014. She will be beatable by that time.
John B. Heroux lives in Bedford.