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U.S. Republicans — At Their Zenith?

Is the Republican Party ready to hold on to power?

August 30, 2004

Is the Republican Party ready to hold on to power?

The Republican Party has come together in New York to nominate George W. Bush as its presidential candidate. Republicans — who control the White House, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives — will strive to present a united front. But having presided over a huge increase in the budget deficit and the size of government, has the party lost its way? Our Read My Lips examines the state of the GOP.

What makes the Republican Party unique?

“The Republican Party in the House is the most ideologically cohesive and disciplined party in the democratic world.”
(U.S. Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), November 2003)

Should the Democrats try to be more like the Republicans?

“Republicans stand for things — and have passion. Democrats have to learn how to oppose, how to organize — and how to inspire.”
(E.J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post columnist, November 2002)

Why do Democrats find it hard to cooperate with Republicans?

“They have no intentions of playing fair. They want what they want when they want it.”
(U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), November 2003)

What is the Republican perspective?

“We said 40 years of one-party rule is enough. Now, they’re saying 10 years is enough.”
(Former majority leader Richard K. Armey (R-Tex), July 2003)

Should Republicans be more concerned about staying true to themselves?

“The danger for Republicans is that voters will start to see them the same way they did the Jim Wright Democrats of the 1980s — concerned only with keeping power for power’s sake.”
(Wall Street Journal editorial, January 2004)

But does such ideological rigor make the party less attractive to middle-of-the-road voters?

“There are times when I think that my views are not welcome.”
(Mike Castle, centrist Republican and member of the House of Representatives)

Do leading conservatives agree that moderates are being shut out?

“We still have moderates in our party.”
(Tom DeLay, majority leader in the House of Representatives, August 2004)

What about Republicans’ domestic policies?

“Republicans at least have an excuse for not running on a coherent domestic vision: They don’t really believe the purpose of government is to solve problems.”
(Bruce Reed, president of the Democratic Leadership Council and former Clinton advisor, December 2003)

How have Republicans traditionally viewed the role of government?

“If you cherish your freedom, don’t leave it all up to big government.”
(Former Republican presidential candidate Berry Goldwater in 1962)

Does President George W. Bush agree?

“Mr. Bush seems to have no problem with big government — it is just big Democratic government that he can’t take.”
(Editorial in The Economist, July 2003)

Which development worries even ardent conservatives?

"Republicans are swiftly forfeiting that they are especially responsible stewards of government finances.”
(George F. Will, Washington Post columnist, February 2004)