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Republican resurrection takes compromise

Republican resurrection takes compromise

President Barack Obama greets New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie upon his arrival in Atlantic City, N.J. during the aftermath of last year's Superstorm Sandy. Photo courtesy AP

Republican resurrection takes compromise
June 06
12:39 2013

Since last November, when the promise from Republican hopefuls of making President Barack Obama a one-term president fell short, the GOP has done some soul-searching.

The fear of Obamacare and government overreach wasn’t enough to hand Republicans the White House or the Senate. After the election, the GOP was left with one option: pick up the broken pieces of a party with constituents stuck in a libertarian fantasy, a fantasy where government can sit back and relax.

Americans love freedom and individual responsibility, not government caretaking and handouts, right? So what went wrong?

Since the elections, the people of the United States have experienced a series of dramatic, heart-wrenching events: the Sandy Hook massacre, the Boston Marathon bombings, the twister in Moore, Oklahoma and countless other stories that have gone unnoticed.

These were all calamities that would eventually have to be addressed by the federal government. The shooting served as a political catalyst for advancing gun control measures to expand the universal background checks on gun buyers, ban assault rifles and restrict magazine sizes. But the measures fell short of the needed 60 votes in the Senate, with most of the opposition coming from the right. The Republican Party’s unwillingness to compromise left the families of the Sandy Hook victims with nothing more than 20 child-sized coffins buried six feet underground.

The bombings led to the immediate involvement of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency and the prompt but destructive capture of Dzhokar Tsarnaev. The twister in Moore led Obama to pledge national resources towards rebuilding the affected area.

Maybe in a parallel reality where states are left to deal with their own emergencies, the U.S. government would be praised for doing nothing to address those three major events. But if the government had done nothing in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, Boston or Moore in our reality, the national outrage would be unfathomable. Political heads would roll.

We live in a country that is permanently connected through television and the Internet. Regardless of political or religious affiliations, when something horrendous occurs, we expect action from our governing bodies. That is what the Republican Party must come to terms with.

Fortunately for the GOP, it has some mavericks leading this charge. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appeared on MSNBC back in April to speak about Obama’s commitment to the people of New Jersey. Christie received much criticism from his own party after he appeared to almost praise Obama after Hurricane Sandy destroyed the New Jersey shore.

“I say the same thing to all my critics no matter where they are on the spectrum, and that is that I’ve got a job to do.” Christie said during interview.

Some Republicans have even come around to endorsing one of the most controversial aspects of Obama’s presidency: the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder have all endorsed the expansion and are actively attempting to persuade the remaining Republican governors to do the same.

Politics exist in government to find the best solution. What Christie, Brewer, Kasich and Snyder have realized is that government action and involvement is the best solution for a specific woe their states are facing.

Rather than withdraw entirely from policy debates because it sees government aid as blasphemy to the Constitution, the GOP should offer a real solution instead of always playing the same card.

The Republican Party should find the middle ground. It does exist.

 Obed Manuel is a journalism junior. He can be reached at ObedManuel@my.unt.edu.

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