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Do Republicans Stand For Anything?
Toogood Reports ^ | Septemeber 16, 2002 | W. James Antle III

Posted on 09/16/2002 11:26:09 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen

Confronted with economic uncertainty, the congressional response is to promulgate new laws and regulations rather than cut taxes or exercise spending restraint. This is as true for the Republican-controlled House of Representatives as the Democrat Senate. When it was reported that the Bush administration was considering a tax package that would alleviate double-taxation of corporations and lower taxes on investors, some congressional Republicans were unenthusiastic.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) doesn´t want to bring these proposals up for a vote. Robert Novak wrote that Thomas was opposed to the administration´s initiative, while columnist Bruce Bartlett reported that the chairman actually was concerned about whether he could secure enough Republican votes to pass it. Either way, something is seriously wrong when Republicans cannot be counted on to support even such modest tax cuts.

Paul Weyrich and other observers have complained that Republicans have recently given grassroots conservatives few reasons to vote for them. Failure to pass a tax cut that would benefit the investor class, potentially a key GOP constituency, would seem to confirm this analysis. Nevertheless, the problem is bigger than the political ineptitude that leads Republicans to fail to reward their supporters. A more pressing question is whether the Republican Party continues to stand for anything.

The GOP is certainly not as bad as the Democrat Party and there is no disputing that the party has its share of conservative stars. But the contrast between Republican governance and the party´s rhetoric as expressed in platforms and campaigns is jarring. Trent Lott is hardly an inspiring heir to Barry Goldwater. The centrality of values and ideas that Goldwater and his supporters brought to Republican politics is missing today.

This isn´t just a problem because it leaves conservative voters less motivated to work and vote for Republican candidates, although that does make it more difficult for the GOP to win elections (an irony lost on the very people who claim perpetual surrender enhances the party´s electoral prospects). By refusing to stand on principle or take risks, the party fails to offer meaningful solutions to grave national problems. To avoid offending anyone or losing elections, Republicans risk robbing their party of its reason for being.

Politics seldom rewards people who tell difficult truths. This is why so many successful politicians traffic in gimmickry and platitudes. But statesmanship requires much more. Ronald Reagan pressed his case against Soviet communism abroad and big government at home for years before he was elected to the presidency; as a celebrity political activist, politician and commentator he relentlessly championed the free market over the welfare state. While always surrounded by a core group of true believers, when Reagan entered the marketplace of political ideas in the 1960s, his views hardly represented anything approaching majority opinion. At that point, liberalism had been entrenched since the New Deal. It was the responsibility of a relatively small brigade of conservative activists, politicians and intellectuals to seek to persuade the public to break from this consensus. Reagan led rather than followed.

This is not to suggest that Reagan was perfect – as president, he accepted New Deal and Great Society programs that he had denounced as totalitarian while campaigning for Goldwater in 1964 – but to point out a critical difference between him and many current Republican leaders. Reagan ran for office not for the sake of holding office itself, but because he wanted to do certain things in the service of a set of beliefs he held. In his presidential farewell address to the nation in 1989, he remarked that he wasn´t so much the "Great Communicator" many had referred to him as during his eight years in office. Rather, he said that he had communicated great things.

Even George W. Bush, the most intuitively conservative president since Reagan, is often adrift without a philosophical anchor. John O´Sullivan once described him as a Tory, the sort of conservative who believes that good government is achieved by having the right people in charge to manage whatever may come up. The problem with this sort of conservatism is that it tends to leave an administration at the mercy of events.

Recent primary results may have strengthened the GOP´s hand in several key races, but without correcting this problem. Dick Armey, Phil Gramm, Jesse Helms, Bob Smith and Bob Barr will all be leaving Congress. Republican primary voters have chosen people like Elizabeth Dole, John Sununu and John Linder to replace them. Many of these people will be reliable Republican votes and all of them are preferable to the Democrats running against them. None of them will bring the passionate commitment to certain ideas and values that animated any of the conservatives who are leaving. Say what you will about folks like Barr (I certainly had my misgivings about him) or Smith (much as I admired him and hoped he would remain in the Senate, it is difficult to look at his post-1998 conduct without concluding that he has only himself to blame for his primary defeat). The GOP needs people who believe in things regardless of their popularity and are willing to occasionally rock the boat.

The times call for tough-mindedness. The United States today has a welfare state that will either have to be dismantled or allowed to exert an ever-increasing drag on productive Americans as the baby boomers retire. The financing of such entitlements as Social Security and Medicare grows more precarious by the year. The income tax burden has been shifted to a minority of Americans easily caricatured as "rich," creating the unpalatable possibility that tax rates will someday climb back to destructive, pre-Reagan levels. Fiat money debases our currency. One year after September 11, our immigration system is largely unchanged, our borders are still vulnerable, no one knows who is coming and going and the only policy on this Republican administration´s radar screen is an amnesty for a subset of illegal immigrants. Our military may be under-supported and overextended. Our national sovereignty is being eroded. The Constitution is effectively a dead letter.

Republicans, at least the mainstream ones who hold the most sway over public policy, don´t appear ready to do anything about any of the above. Yet if they won´t, who will?

Of course, being tough-minded about any of those issues would probably come with high political costs. The dilemma of politics is this: You can´t accomplish anything if you don´t win elections, yet there is no point of winning elections if you don´t accomplish anything once elected. How does one weigh principle against political viability? Howard Phillips has very strong beliefs and is very committed to dealing with some serious issues. He is not ever going to be elected to anything, even dogcatcher, in this lifetime. Republicans scored a New York City mayoral victory with Michael Bloomberg, but other than the nifty "R" that appears next to his name when he is on television, the GOP is no better off from a policy perspective than if the Democrats had beaten him. Can a proper balance be reached?

Perhaps it is expecting too much of the Republican Party to expect that it provide Herculean leadership. After all, political parties exist to win elections and they can do that just as easily with bad ideas as good ones. But eventually some of our problems will need to be solved, probably by someone who isn´t afraid of a solution that might offend somebody or encourage a Democrat attack ad. Will the Republicans then find a leader who is up to the challenge?

Nor does this leader have to be someone with an answer to everything. From abortion to multiculturalism, Rudolph Giuliani was a squish of Arlen Specter proportions. Yet on the issues he could actually make a difference on, he was an extraordinarily tough problem-solver and excellent leader.

Many of the West´s center-right political parties are faced with the challenge of either making themselves relevant or finding themselves displaced – often by parties espousing platforms that were beyond the pale only yesterday. The GOP will someday find this day of reckoning upon it. It will either rise to the occasion or go the way of Canada´s Progressive Conservatives – or perhaps even America´s own Whigs.



TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: barrygoldwater; billthomas; elizabethdole; georgewbush; johnlinder; johnsununu; michaelbloomberg; ronaldreagan; trentlott

1 posted on 09/16/2002 11:26:09 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
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To: Stand Watch Listen
The only difference between the Reps and Demos is that when I see a Republican, I think "Reagan," and hope there's any hope at all; when I see a Democrat, I think "Clinton," and I want to puke.
2 posted on 09/16/2002 11:35:08 AM PDT by warchild9
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Do Republicans Stand For Anything?

Generally we stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.

3 posted on 09/16/2002 11:39:54 AM PDT by TrappedInLiberalHell
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Do Republicans Stand For Anything?

No. Next question.

4 posted on 09/16/2002 11:53:38 AM PDT by TBP
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: TBP
>>Do Republicans Stand For Anything?

Of course they do...they stand for getting re-elected..in that they beleive firmly..all other beliefs are secondary and negotiable (of course this also holds true for dimo-crats)
6 posted on 09/16/2002 12:02:00 PM PDT by freeper12
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Some do, some don't. Our job is to hold their feet to the fire.

Responses like "no, "getting re-elected" and other such mindless generalizations demonstrate only ignorance, and contribute nothing to the debate.

7 posted on 09/16/2002 12:04:22 PM PDT by mountaineer
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To: Stand Watch Listen
It's my opinion, that they do not stand for protecting our borders or our sovereignty, and they seem to have no desire to reform our out of control immigration "free for all", even during war time.
8 posted on 09/16/2002 12:12:28 PM PDT by Joe Hadenuf
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To: Stand Watch Listen
How can you tell? They say one thing and do another.

I think the Reps have way too many moderates. Moderates don't stand for anything and therefore are not leaders. If the wind blows this way they lean with the wind. We need great leaders who lead not follow. An uncommitted person cannot be trusted in office.
9 posted on 09/16/2002 12:37:16 PM PDT by jwh_Denver
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To: mountaineer
Our job is to hold their feet to the fire.

When I first joined this forum, many forum participants did just that...to congressmen on both sides of the aisle. Now, I'm not too convinced of that.

Sure the Clinton scandals, fraud and deceit drew us all together. The 'target' easily defined. The focus was much clearer. But, then the Clintons left pretty much unscathed. Special Investigators were shut down, Bob Ray closed up shop. The forum was experiencing a vacuum.

IMHO... too many 'RINOs' in the present administration have received too much support, too many excuses. Now it appears dissent will be quashed, differing opinions ridiculed.

President Bush has wasted so much of his political capital. The lack of 'support' for his judicial nominees has been a great letdown. President Reagan would have least presented his views, his rationale to the American populace. Congress may have been pressured to act upon the President's requests. But Bush has allowed his judicial nominees to dangle for >400 days. Now with his approval, job performance ratings slipping...it certainly will not happen now. A wasted opportunity.


10 posted on 09/16/2002 12:40:23 PM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
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To: Stand Watch Listen
It doesn't matter. Just vote in every election and vote for the major party (DEM or REPUB) candidate that is the least Socialistic. You'll feel good about it and you won't have to worry about party labels.
11 posted on 09/16/2002 12:47:10 PM PDT by Consort
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Its a physical impossibility for a lot of Republican pols out there to stand due to the lack of a spine. Particularly in the senate.
12 posted on 09/16/2002 12:49:17 PM PDT by Jagdgewehr
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To: Stand Watch Listen
We have a responsibility to get after any politician of either party, including the president, for failing to do the right thing. If we disagree with what they've done we should make that clear to them. Bitchin' and generalizin' on a discussion forum doesn't really accomplish anything, though. Write letters, call radio talk shows, and let the politicians know we won't stand for RINOs, appeasement or spinelessness.
13 posted on 09/16/2002 12:57:43 PM PDT by mountaineer
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To: mountaineer
Write letters, call radio talk shows, and let
the politicians know we won't stand for RINOs,
appeasement or spinelessness

You don't have it exactly right.  Whatever is
necessary to get elected and to hold onto
power, that is what Republicans are and
will do.  The only RINO I know of is
Ron Paul.  He is a Libertarian elected as
a Republican.

What you are thinking of is a politician
who violates the principles on which he
claims to stand for electoral purposes.
In this case that would be a CINO,
or conservative in name only.  Conservatism
has solid principles that seldom change.
Republican principles change on a dime if
that is what it takes to take or wield power.

14 posted on 09/16/2002 4:09:46 PM PDT by gcruse
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To: Joe Hadenuf
It's my opinion, that they do not stand for protecting our borders or our sovereignty, and they seem to have no desire to reform our out of control immigration "free for all", even during war time.

The problem is that there are two basic divisions in the Republican Party:

Conservatives who support a smaller government, secure borders, American culture and ideals, job and community security, English as the only national language.

Business interests who are interested in profit, global corporate interests, cheap labor, little restriction on their profit-making capabilities.

The two groups are often in natural conflict with one another. GWB seems to be more in tune with corporate interests than with social conservatives.

It might become essential to choose which is the most important issue for each individual, and vote for who best supports that. For me, that issue is the borders...if we don't do something about people coming into the country (legally and illegally), there won't be anything of the US left to preserve.

15 posted on 09/16/2002 4:19:43 PM PDT by grania
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To: grania
if we don't do something about people coming into the country (legally and illegally), there won't be anything of the US left to preserve.

And I completely agree with this.

16 posted on 09/16/2002 5:49:25 PM PDT by Joe Hadenuf
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To: grania
"For me, that issue is the borders...if we don't do something about people coming into the country (legally and illegally), there won't be anything of the US left to preserve. "

Absolutely!!!

I feel the immigration, both illegal and 'sort-of legal' reaches into all aspects of our lives.

It is a social issue.

It is a legal issue.

It is a defense issue.

It is an economic issue.

We (the taxpayers) will pay the price for so-called cheap food and goods. We can pay at the check-out or we can pay when the government presents us the bill for all the hidden costs of our folly. Personally, I would rather know exactly what I am paying for an item. Some will make a profit because they do not pay as much out of pocket for these workers, but the rest of us will have to subsidize his windfall.

Not only do we pay in money, we pay in the destruction of our cultural, in the demise of the middle class and in the sovereignty of this nation.

17 posted on 09/16/2002 6:09:13 PM PDT by nanny
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Yes, apparently they stand for getting bashed by those who are supposed to be conservatives to the point that socialist democrats end up getting elected and destroying the country. Makes wonderful sense doesn't it?
18 posted on 09/16/2002 6:12:18 PM PDT by ladyinred
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To: Joe Hadenuf
About the only thing I've seen the Republicans stand for is the US flag. Poppy Bush tried to pass an amendment about it, but it flopped as it should have.

It made good screen play though.
19 posted on 09/16/2002 6:15:12 PM PDT by Fred Mertz
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To: Fred Mertz
I meant the unified Republican party in my previous post.
20 posted on 09/16/2002 6:16:21 PM PDT by Fred Mertz
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To: Fred Mertz
So Fred

How do you feel about the new developments regarding Iraq now?
21 posted on 09/16/2002 6:19:24 PM PDT by cmsgop
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To: nanny
This is an e-mail that I sent to the RNC after receiving a letter from the White House.(Others have stated they received the same letter.)

What do the Republicans stand for? Certainly not the citizens of the United States.

Maybe we all should send this message to the Republicans.


Dear Sirs:

Please send my thanks to the President for his letter. But I’m afraid that his letter did not reassure me at all.

I thought that the primary duty of our government was to protect and secure our borders. This has not happened.

Even after Sept. 11, the Republican party and President Bush still have not secured our borders. In fact just the opposite. You are still allowing people from the Mid East to come over here. Who do we blame for another terrorist attack? The terrorist or our own government.

As for as 245i, I have read it. It is just another amnesty program for the illegal immigrants. Do explain to me why the citizens of the United States should have to pay for schooling, health, housing and food for these people. They are breaking our laws.

I would like for the President to tell me which federal laws that I now have to follow. And which ones that I will be given amnesty for. Will I be allowed to break into houses or banks to take money or things that I don’t have? After all, I just want a better life for myself and family. To me this is no difference than what the illegals are doing. You are selling your country out for a few votes and money from the Business people.


Because of your inability to follow the Constitution, to protect our borders and to have smaller government I regret that I will no longer be able to vote for a Republican candidate. I will either not vote or vote for the independent. I will also urge all of my family to do this and my friends.
22 posted on 09/16/2002 7:06:21 PM PDT by georgiabelle
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To: Stand Watch Listen
The guy's political agenda (one needs to read between the lines to get a sense of it since the article is more about whining than offering concrete alternative proposals) would be hard put to pull 25% of the vote, even under the GOP tradename. This thread is a perfect zero for me. I don't agree with the article or much of anything said in the ensuing 21 replies. You all have a good time. I know I am a party crasher and shall exit.
23 posted on 09/16/2002 7:11:39 PM PDT by Torie
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To: Torie
The guy's political agenda (one needs to read between the lines to get a sense of it since the article is more about whining than offering concrete alternative proposals) would be hard put to pull 25% of the vote,...

Thus demonstrating that the two viable political factions in this country are the smart liberals and the stupid liberals. The GOP has the latter franchise sewn up.

...the GOP tradename.

You said it.

24 posted on 09/16/2002 7:36:12 PM PDT by Romulus
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To: Romulus
Somehow I never thought of myself as a stupid liberal. But I am sure some others have. :)
25 posted on 09/16/2002 7:41:19 PM PDT by Torie
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To: Torie
It does beg the question though. What is the point of the article? I see a lot of vitriol but no alternate solutions being presented. Was this just posted as therapy or was there something more substantial in mind that "there are too many Rinos in the GOP" There are also two few conservatives in the GOP because they cannot abide the un-pure.
26 posted on 09/16/2002 7:51:18 PM PDT by Texasforever
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To: Torie
Somehow I never thought of myself as a stupid liberal.

Smart liberal then? 'Cause the smart conservatives sure as hell have no place to call their own.

27 posted on 09/16/2002 7:55:18 PM PDT by Romulus
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To: ladyinred
You mean instead of Socialist Republicans?
28 posted on 09/16/2002 8:21:12 PM PDT by yuleeyahoo
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Even George W. Bush, the most intuitively conservative president since Reagan, is often adrift without a philosophical anchor. John O´Sullivan once described him as a Tory, the sort of conservative who believes that good government is achieved by having the right people in charge to manage whatever may come up. The problem with this sort of conservatism is that it tends to leave an administration at the mercy of events.

Very true, and worth repeating.

A party isn't a train going in a given direction or moving along an established track. It's more like a car -- no, wait -- an SUV that you can take where you want to, if you're in charge. That's what Goldwater did, with little success in the end, and what Reagan did very well.

It's certainly true that the GOP isn't living up to conservative expectations. But part of the problem is that conservatives themselves are so unclear about what they really want. There's what people would want in their dreams or in a perfect world, but what people want to achieve in the here and now is less clear. Set attainable, real world goals and work for them, and the party will have to take you into account.

Three reason why conservative goals are unclear: the Gingrich "revolution" fizzled out and with it the idea of great changes, the late nineties prosperity dampened the discontent that is the motor of reform, and right now, foreign and military policy are the focus of the big conservative periodicals.

29 posted on 09/16/2002 8:50:02 PM PDT by x
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Do Republicans stand for anything?
I used to think so, then I heard one of my all time favorite Republicans Dick Armey commit the most disgusting act of demagoguery I have ever heard from our side, speaking on illegal immigration Armey slammed anyone who wanted orderly immigration as "anti Mexican". Not the defend the law stance I expected from a man I had always considered to be principled. I am used to this BS from the left, but a Republican? Mexican illegals are 80% of the illegal alien problem, but he slams me and those like me and defends people that don't give a damn about our sovereignty. Dick, you are well named but completely wrong when you think your cheap labor will vote Republican. You too Gearge.
30 posted on 09/16/2002 9:54:22 PM PDT by R Sole
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To: R Sole
sorry...make that George, or Jorge..whatever.
31 posted on 09/16/2002 9:55:44 PM PDT by R Sole
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To: Stand Watch Listen
The strongest steel in the world is called "soft" steel and will bend before it breaks. The alternative is cheap and brittle.

In the sophisticated politics of today, when America is fatter and happier than any nation in all of history, being unwilling to bend is as great a liability as it is a defect in steel. But that doesn't mean that the path to success is compromise. Success will come from Republicans promoting the principles at our foundation, by studying them, educating people about them, living them, and enacting them whenever opportunities arrive. It's a battle.

An a principle that must be embraced is that battles must be carefully selected, even if they require a tactical withdrawal from occupied ground. This has proven essential to militarily success, and it needs to be recognized so for political success, depending on the circumstances. Anything less would be to deny that our politics really is war, or to believe that deception and maneuver, command and control are not essential in battle.

Our representatives are of course littered with those who have forgotten this or are in denial that the war exists. It's probably a result of overload on the job and too much fraternity with the opposition. Our job, as citizens, is to remind them that the war still exists and to keep them focused on their role as our wartime leaders. Tell them that they don't have to win every battle
or make enemies of every opponent, but they must always operate strategically to promote our principles.
32 posted on 09/17/2002 7:39:40 AM PDT by elfman2
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To: Stand Watch Listen; Jim Robinson
IMHO... too many 'RINOs' in the present administration have received too much support, too many excuses. Now it appears dissent will be quashed, differing opinions ridiculed.

I assume you mean that the quashing and ridicule will happen here, on FR. I guess I will have to agree.

First of all, I ask that you take heart and have patience. As one of the "researchers" of the web, consistantly bringing articles from diverse places to the forum's attention, for year after year, you are truely essential. Your persistance will triumph in the end.

I think that Jim feels that the more strident posters always can change a forum's appearance just through their persistance and doesn't want the platform to become something that leftists can selectively use to stay in power. That it could be if it became too much a rant-platform for anti-Bush or Anti-Republican sentiment.

He has always said that just and reasoned criticism from the conservative side can be, and should be, applied to Bush or the Republicans in general.

Unfortunately, reasonable discussion on an anonymus internet board is hampered by those who wish to rant. Therefore, those individuals that wish to blindly follow Bush and/or Republican policy wherever it may go, are far too ready to castigate the reasoned discussion along with the Ranters, all the while thinking that they are just "following Jim's" desires.

Jim wants the leftists defeated, first, last and always. I think that Jim expects there are reasoned posters, like yourself, that can see this bigger picture, and still keep the drum-beat of conservatism providing the cadence to help those at the oars stay on a true path.

I still remember the comment he made to Don Morgan et. al. after they had over-played to cadre stance when asked why he didn't say something to them. It was along the lines of being too embarrased.

I think there are some here that he hopes he doesn't have to explain things to, in too much open detail. He expects us to figure it out and keep up the true fight for a constitutional republic.

As far as the Atlee article, I won't even comment on it as your thoughts are far more important than this one little article.

If I have too incorrectly characterized Jim, I'm sure he will straighten me out, LOL.

33 posted on 09/17/2002 9:09:56 AM PDT by KC Burke
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Mostly the republicans stand in the same line with the democrats. The big government line.
34 posted on 09/17/2002 9:13:55 AM PDT by cynicom
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To: Stand Watch Listen
The grass-roots Republicans generally are still pretty principled. Sadly, most of the entrenched elite Republicans stand for little more than cheap nannies, getting a good tee time at the country club, and keeping the sailboat in good condition.
35 posted on 09/17/2002 9:32:33 AM PDT by jpl
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To: Stand Watch Listen

bttt


36 posted on 12/08/2012 7:36:29 AM PST by First_Salute (May God save our democratic-republican government, from a government by judiciary.)
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To: First_Salute
Do Republicans Stand For Anything?
The question was posed in 2002. Seems ten years later the question has been addressed...no they do not. No message, nor adequate messenger.

37 posted on 12/08/2012 10:45:59 PM PST by Stand Watch Listen
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To: Stand Watch Listen

I listened to Mark Levin this evening. He is correct; the Republican Party keeps arguing issues, when it really needs to have people in the public eye, who are articulate and passionate about our worthy American foundations and heritage -— both Ronald Reagan strong suits.


38 posted on 12/13/2012 12:06:16 AM PST by First_Salute (May God save our democratic-republican government, from a government by judiciary.)
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To: First_Salute
...the Republican Party keeps arguing issues, when it really needs to have people in the public eye, who are articulate and passionate about our worthy American foundations and heritage ....

Seems the performane (public eye) of Senator Cruz (R-TX), in the first month of his Senate term, has shown himself as one Conservative that 'stands for something'.
I'll take whatever encouragement that's out there.

39 posted on 02/01/2013 12:19:00 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen
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