Just like you get to throw in your tiles when Scrabble gives you seven useless vowels, so too do Republican voters keep picking again—and coming up with the same useless tiles, says Thomas Friedman in the New York Times. That's because the GOP is an out-of-date "captive of conflicting ideological bases," including anti-abortion forces, anti-taxes, anti-immigration, libertarians, and more. What America really needs is a second party in its two-party system—ie, "a coherent Republican opposition" that is able to respond realistically to the true problems facing the United States. "We need a 'Different Kind of Republican' the way Bill Clinton gave us a 'Different Kind of Democrat,'" writes Friedman. And maybe that means a crushing defeat in this election to force a hard reboot.
As Friedman sees it, the current GOP is simply incapable of responding to the big three issues facing America today:
- Globalization and the growth of high tech. "We need strong government, but limited government, which enables our companies and individuals to compete globally," says Friedman, "the kind of public-private partnership that Republicans like Dwight Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush embraced."
- Debt and entitlements. Sure, Republicans make a lot of noise about the debt, but as long as they keep talking about cutting revenues rather than the debt, it is impossible to take them seriously.
- Population growth and the environment. "Real conservatives ... believe in conserving," he says, noting Richard Nixon was the father of the EPA and George H.W. Bush was the author of the first cap-and-trade deal. And with 2 billion more people being added to the Earth by 2050, sustainable development will be more important than ever.
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