The GOP had better get serious
By Jim Ramstad
Last update: March 6, 2009 - 6:16 PM
My former Republican colleagues in the U.S. House are headed to the wilderness for another 40 years if they continue their current path.
Following the lead of extremists like Rush Limbaugh is a prescription for disaster. But that’s the course Republican leaders set when their whip declared the House Republican strategy will be to “Just Say No” to President Obama.
To see the folly of their strategy, Republican members need look no further than the Third Congressional District of Minnesota, which I was proud to represent for 18 years. In 2004, former President George W. Bush won our district by three percentage points. And then, base politics from the Karl Rove playbook became even more pronounced.
Four years later, President Obama swept our district by six points, a nine-point swing.
Thoughtful, discerning voters are sick and tired of the politics of division. They want both sides to work together in a bipartisan, pragmatic and common-sense way on the critical problems facing our country.
It’s time for my former colleagues to put right-wing base politics aside and work with the new Administration to grow the economy, create jobs, reform health care, education and energy policy, as well as successfully prosecute the war on terror.
Otherwise voters will continue to trust President Obama by an astonishing 35 points more than they trust congressional Republicans on the most pressing issues of the day.
That can only portend a long stay in the wilderness for the loyal opposition.
Jim Ramstad, who represented Minnesota’s Third District from 1991 to 2009, is now a resident fellow at the Kennedy School at Harvard University.
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