Grand Old Party Convention 2008
We all know the story of the Republican National Convention of 2008 held in Minneapolis, Saint Paul. It looks in retrospect as if all the signs were there that it was not going to go well for Presidential Candidate Senator John McCain and his running mate Governor Sarah Palin.
The convention was unusually held in September instead of the traditional August date because of the Summer Olympics 2008. And then on top of that the convention had to be cut short because of Hurricane Gustav. This natural disaster meant keynote speaker incumbent President George W. Bush was unable to take the podium. The ensuing lack of sound bites from the then President for the media probably was another ill omen for the John McCain campaign. Another bad sign were the protests outside the convention. Hundreds of arrests were made, but most of the charges were later dropped. This again resulted in bad press for the 39th nominating convention for the Republican Party.
As we all know Barack Obama won the following election fairly comfortably. It was an historic win because he was the first African-American to take control of the Whitehouse.
It is interesting to note that shortly after the 2008 GOP a fissure developed in the Republican Party created by the rise to prominence of the 'Tea Party'. This loose affiliation of Republicans counts Sarah Palin among its supporters. The present 2012 Presidential race has seen the rise of the 'Tea Party'. It is a party that demands reduction in public spending and a cutting of the federal budget deficit. These are fairly standard Republican policies. More extreme, the Tea Party wants to end the Federal Reserve System. This is part of a long tradition that American political parties and leaders have had fighting with a privately owned bank to wrest the power back to print money in the USA. From this point of view, the Tea Party looks radical and slightly anarchic in wanting to tear down systems of polity that have in place since 1913 (although Fed-like predecessors go back much further in history to the printing of the first US money).
Another of the Tea Party's stated aims is disengagement with foreign policy. Although the Tea Party doesn't go as far to say that the present involvements in Iraq and Afghanistan were secretly motivated by a hidden oil agenda, the implication is there for anyone to read below the lines. Both the stance on the Fed and on foreign policy makes the Tea Party far from a conservative party with a small 'c'. They propose dramatic changes to the official direction of the Republican Party and the way things have traditionally been done.
It was in December 2007 that Ron Paul started to galvanize the Tea Party into an influential group within the Republican Party. This was less than a year before the 2008 Grand Old Party Convention. The fissures present in the 2008 convention are now cracks in 2012. The present candidate Mitt Romney has stated he is not a follower of Tea Party ideas and yet he has continually sought to court their support.
On the other side of the political fence, the Democrat position seems weak. Despite Obama successfully capturing Osama bin Laden and forcing through changes in the health system the current President is unpopular. To the left he has seemed too moderate ? failing to change the health system enough and dragging his heals on removing the troops from Afghanistan and Iraq; and, to the right he has seemed far too liberal. Moreover, his support base in the African-American community is disillusioned with a man who has not done enough to help the black and Hispanic communities. On top of this Barack Obama talked the talk about punishing the banks for their incompetence in 2008 but has enacted no serious legislation to regulate the banking industry. It seems the left in America is disillusioned and more than likely many of them will stay home come election-day.
So the signs for the 2012 Presidential election look much better for the Republican Party than they did in 2008. However, all of us Republicans value the right to freedom of speech and we would love to hear your opinion about politics in the USA today.