Walsh: Civil War brewing in Republican party

Walsh: Civil War brewing in Republican party

Posted by Kerry Lester on Mon, 02/18/2013 - 15:41

While many Republicans are blaming Democrats, and Democrats are blaming Republicans, for the country's economic turmoil, former Congressman Joe Walsh is taking a swipe at his own team in his latest blog post .

"The country is broke. We have a government that we can’t afford. It’s a government that does too many things for too many people, and we have a private economy which is stuck and unable to grow … And Illinois is even worse off. We arrived here because the Republican Party - traditionally the party of freedom, limited government, and individual responsibility - lost its way a long time ago," Walsh writes on his Walsh Freedom site.

"Democrats are the party of big government," he continues. "They want everyone dependent upon government because they believe once they have a voter dependent upon big government, that voter will always vote for their party. Republicans, too lazy to make the case for freedom and too afraid to lose elections, have quietly gone along over the years and done their best to sound ”Democrat lite”, arguing that they can manage big government better than the Democrats.

So we’ve been without a true freedom and limited government party for years. That is changing. There is a civil war brewing in the Republican Party, both nationally and in Illinois, and it will be a good, necessary, and often ugly thing. The base - the Tea Party movement, conservatives, and independents - woke up in 2008 and said, “Stop! Quit growing government. Quit running up these terrible deficits and bankrupting future generations. We’re taxed too much, and we’re regulated to death.”

So...what do other party members and analysts say about this?

“I don’t see any sort of tearing asunder as being imminent,” State Sen. Matt Murphy, of Palatine, said.

Key to the party’s growth, Murphy said, is “listen to the voters themselves. Particularly people that you haven’t been doing particularly well with, and try to figure out what it is that they want, what they’re nervous about. Try and take what you believe in as your core and figure out how to better explain how you can address people’s hopes and fears with your solutions.”

Speaking what Murphy describes as “inarticulately” on social issues doesn’t help.

“It’s a barrier to us reaching persuadable voters who care about having their state and their country fiscally sound," he said. "Some in our party have given the Democrats fodder to distract from what has been a dismal record on economics for them. We need to focus on what we need to do for voters if we’ve given a chance."

State Central Committeeman Gene Dawson, of Barrington, described Walsh as “being a little harsh.”

“Commentary of this nature can only be a detriment and a hindrance to the party and whether you’re conservative or moderate we need to work together to come to some kindof an understanding of the direction of where the party needs to go,” he said.

And David Yepsen, of Southern Illinois University’s Paul Simon Institute added a touch of history to the debate, noting this happens to every party that loses a presidential election. They have an argument about their message and about their procedures. There’s a group that says, we’re not moderate enough. We’re not strong enough. It’s we’re too liberal or we’re not too liberal. There is a war going on, but it happens every four years.”

Walsh, who promises to announce his future plans soon, has been touring the state holding a number of town hall style meetings gathering opinions with what's wrong with the party.
Has he got a point? We'd love your thoughts.

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