Republicans cannot reject change by principle alone

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By Bennett Fuson
<bfuson@hilite.org>

I’ve been trying to cut back on my political columns as of late (see previous issues), but with President Obama’s administration plunging headfirst into the economic crisis recently, I think it’s time to pick up an old habit.

I don’t know how many out there listened to Obama’s “address to the joint sessions of Congress” (also known as the unofficial State of the Union), but I’m guessing/hoping it was a decent amount. What probably flew slightly further under the radar was the Republican response by GOP wunderkind Bobby Jindal, current governor of Louisiana and aspiring Messiah to the elephant party. If Jindal is the second coming for the GOP, Republicans had better not plan on a bright and shiny future.

It’s not that I have a problem with Jindal. He’s affable, well-spoken and genuinely sincere. But he has the air of communication most people reserve for speaking to third graders. Don’t believe me? Go back and listen to his speech and tell me you don’t feel slightly patronized when he says, “As Americans, we can do anything.”

Listening to Jindal, I couldn’t help but think the GOP is out of tricks. In a party now apparently ruled by Rush Limbaugh, higher-up Republicans have decided the best way to help regain favor with the American public is to fire out the same hate speech from new and improved “politically acceptable” puppets. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always thought the best way to rebound off an embarrassing oust in Washington was to change your game plan, not just your players.

See, it’s kind of like football, a game I have been intimately familiar with for years. If you can’t beat a team with your players, beat them with your tactics. The Republicans, after losing pretty much everything but the Lone Star state, could have taken full advantage of their loss to reevaluate their tactics. Instead, they continue to fight literally everything the Democrats do, with very little room for compromise. I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but the only time House Republicans recognized Obama’s efforts was when he arose the prospect of anything military. They sat through health care, they sat through economic stimulus, they sat through education. Three subjects that would obviously benefit all Americans were shunned because the Republicans had to protest out of principle.

This has to end. We are far beyond the time for petty arguments over principle. At this point, it is the civil duty of the Republican Party to cast aside its petty gripes and pursue change with the rest of the country. Right now is when we need unity the most, and nothing, especially not quarreling, should stand in its path. Bennett Fuson is an Entertainment editor for the HiLite. Contact him at bfuson@hilite.org.

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