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Republicans divided among themselves

March 6, 2013 |

As a lifetime Republican I have become increasingly concerned about the very survivability of the Grand Old Party. First, during the fiscal cliff crisis the Republican House of Representatives would not endorse Speaker John Boehner's "Plan B" solution, and when he was asked what he would do now, he murmured in frustration, "God only knows." Boehner's Plan B had conceded that tax rates should be raised on those few wealthiest of Americans, but he was humiliated by his own House Republicans who turned him down because the plan contained a tax increase. Perhaps his colleagues may have thought they would be seen in disfavor by those fat cats who drive the campaign-contribution gravy trains. One of his colleagues even accused him of showboating and using empty symbols, as though that's not what politicians do. Attacks such as these reinforce the public perception that the Republicans are only interested in preserving and protecting those who Obama calls the "well-off and well-connected." Second, when Obama reached across the aisle and nominated Republican Charles Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, who were the first to voice the critique? His own party, the Republicans, who accused Hagel of being, among other things, anti-Semitic. Should Charles Hagel automatically be labeled as anti-Semitic just because he acknowledged (gasp) that there is a powerful Jewish lobby in Washington, D.C.? Denying the power of the Jewish lobby is denying reality, like the Iranians denying the holocaust. Third, and finally, when Hagel dared to suggest there might be some room to cut spending by looking at the bloated (remember the famous $500 hammer?) military budget, it was treated by McCain's Republicans as virtual treason. (He was also criticized for his opposition to the billions spent on the Bush war in Iraq). And this despite the Republican mantra to "cut spending, cut spending and then cut spending again." Charles Darwin once said that the clearest signal of the demise of any species is when its members start eating each other. Has the feast begun? Richard C. Sprinthall Longmeadow

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