I know I have “bad mouthed” those Republicans frequently and sincerely over the last three years. I have been appalled by many things Republicans have said and done. They have espoused some really extreme positions that are completely at odds with the laws we have lived by over the past seven decades.
When Republicans started talking about small government I was slow to catch on to their plan to end social programs for the poor, the disabled, and seniors. I didn’t imagine that they suddenly wanted to privatize everything, although now I see that this is their goal.
But not everything the Republicans have to say can be ignored. They have forced every one of us in America to face some hard financial truths. We can all, for example, see that the deficit is too big. I think we can all see that some belt tightening must occur and that, in order to be fair, we all will have to give a bit.
When Republicans first attacked our social safety net I just could not accept that they would go there. However, the longer they have argued, the more we have had to accept that, given our current economic realities, our safety net may not be sustainable at current levels of support.
I still find the entire Republican platform extreme and reactionary, but they have made some of their points well enough that I think I could move closer to looking for ways to save money on social programs. They have not made me give up on the safety net completely. Any enlightened government looks after its less fortunate members and its seniors because if they don’t it increases the misery factor for everyone.
What I cannot give way on is some movement from Republicans on revenues, some acknowledgement that they might break the pledge they signed with Grover Norquist. Certainly there is safety in numbers. If all the Republicans broke the pledge together it would be difficult to destroy them all, wouldn’t it?
So I guess I can give the Republicans credit for making all of face some nasty realities and making us all a bit more open to compromise (ironic given that they refuse to compromise). When Obama was ready to sign the “Grand Bargain” it was clear that he had already accepted some of these harsh realities. Perhaps the rest of the Democrats had not caught up with him yet. Of course, in the end it didn’t matter because the Republicans are really the ones who are unbending.
Republicans need to entertain the notion that some stimulus will be needed to add jobs and that jobs are the way out of this whole mess. Democrats are far more willing to compromise than Republicans. Given their extreme positions and their unwavering and arrogant insistence that they want everything their way with no flexibility allowed, I can only continue to hope that Americans will not sent the Republican candidates to Washington in 2012.