Americans wanted to keep the country they know, and said so Tuesday.
Now it’s time for responsible Republicans to take their party back from the fringe that loses them elections.
It’s not true that Republicans needed better candidates. They had excellent contenders.
The problem was that the electable ones couldn’t leap the lunacy barrier erected by the right wing.
They couldn’t clinch nominations. Or they withdrew from races in the face of the party base’s social nastiness, scientific ignorance and fiscal irresponsibility.
In Indiana, Republicans had the superb Sen. Richard Lugar – a sure shot for re-election.
Lugar was a statesman who refused to transform himself into a right-wing gargoyle during the primary.
The party replaced him with a tea-party favorite, who like the Republican loser in the Missouri Senate race, made weird comments about rape during the campaign.
In Connecticut, the totally unacceptable Linda McMahon lost her second quest for a U.S. Senate seat after spending $91 million of her own money – but not before having managed to defeat two plausible Republican moderates this year and in 2010.
In this round’s Republican primary, the wrestling magnate with a yacht named “Sexy Bitch” swept away the much-respected former Rep. Chris Shays on a tide of cash.
Another admired Republican, Jon Huntsman, withdrew from the race for the presidential nomination rather than debase himself with arguments that the Earth was formed 5,000 years ago.
The former conservative governor of Utah provided the most noble tweet of the campaign: “I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”
You knew he couldn’t survive the sort of primary race that included threats against Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. (“We would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry actually said.) By catering to this mentality but seeming just a bit saner than the others, Mitt Romney won the nomination and lost the election.
The morning after, Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist turned MSNBC commentator, minced no words: “We have given away five U.S. Senate seats over two election cycles by nominating loons. I mean, people who are fundamentally, manifestly unqualified to be in the United States Senate.”
Lest we forget, Republicans put out some very strange senatorial candidates two years ago.
In Delaware, Christine (“I’m not a witch) O’Donnell lost to the Democrat – after defeating the revered Republican Rep. Mike Castle in the primary.
In Nevada, Sharron Angle (“Sharia law” has taken over Dearborn, Mich.) lost to a struggling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
So entranced was the right wing by its own propaganda that it persisted in framing Republican Sen. Scott Brown’s surprising 2010 win in Massachusetts as local hostility to Obamacare.
Brown got away with promising to help defeat the Affordable Care Act only because the electorate already had a state version of it. His luck ran out on Tuesday.
In olden days, when moderate Republicans freely roamed New England, Brown would have enjoyed stronger odds for re-election.
And in nearby Maine, Republican survivor Olympia Snowe would have probably gone back to the Senate had she not retired, exhausted by attacks from the right.
The tea party didn’t build this alone. It had help from the punditry-industrial-complex – the radio mouths and book-peddling professionals who make a fine living telling the troops that they’re always right and they’re always winning.
Republican analyst Schmidt also said on Wednesday that the likes of Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh need to be “shut down.”
What he undoubtedly means is that mature Republican leaders should stop trying to ingratiate themselves with the publicity bottom feeders.
Conscientious Republicans do want their party back. May they get it.
To find out more about Froma Harrop, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at
© 2012 THE PROVIDENCE JOURNAL CO.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM
Americans wanted to keep the country they know, and said so Tuesday.
It is that time of year again.
Some years ago, I was invited to speak at the graduation ceremonies of a liberal arts college. Later, many in the audience told me they expected a very political speech. Some of them were relieved; others were disappointed. I don't do politics at graduation.
Graduation is about life.
My high school graduation was OK. I gave a speech. My family was there, intact, probably as happy as they ever were (But did I know?). We went out for Chinese food afterward.
Coal problem worth tackling in Washington and Frankfort
Despite hysterical cries from radical environmentalists, neither Sen. Rand Paul’s Defense of Environment and Property Act nor Sen. Mitch McConnell’s Coal Jobs Protection Act would allow activities that bring harm to Kentucky’s wildlife or waterways for the sake of propping up the coal industry.
Peter Perlman — Life lessons from a lawyer’s lawyer
One of the great moments of my life was sitting next to legendary Louisville attorney Frank Haddad at a luncheon when he learned he had received the first Peter Perlman Outstanding Trial Lawyer award from the Kentucky Academy of Trial Lawyers.
As they started his bio, the surprised Frank started crying like a baby. A sudden heart attack took him less than a year later. Winning the Perlman award was the crowning achievement of his career.
Credit score insanity
Frequently, people stop me and ask me personal finance questions.
The most common is how to improve their credit history score.
If you need to improve your credit score, it means you have lousy credit. Before fixing the score, people need to ask how their credit got so bad to begin with.
‘Tells’ about who will blow their money
Kentucky Derby week is one where gambling takes a forefront in my life. Along with the non-stop activities in my home state, I am speaking at a dinner for the Society of Settlement Professionals in Las Vegas and a film crew from Italy is flying in from Rome to interview me for a documentary about lottery winners.
Viewpoints change when critics gain power
Scandals like those roiling Washington often look more or less nefarious as time and facts unfold. After all, what at first looked like a third-rate burglary turned into Watergate.
I doubt the scandals around Benghazi, the IRS and subpoenas of Associated Press phone records reach Watergate status — but we must await more information and time to know.
Trouble’s last ride
When announcing my retirement, I made reference to letting “Trouble” having one last ride.
Going from school to work requires preparation, faith
(Editor’s Note: After graduating from EKU on Saturday, Seth Littrell came to work Monday at the Richmond Register as a reporter/photographer.)
This past Saturday weekend I graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with my bachelor’s in journalism.
It was the single goal I had been working toward for the past four years, and as I walked across that stage I realized I was the first person in my family to do so.
Report on former EKU Center for the Arts director called 'biased, unfair'
I am writing in response to the Richmond Register’s May 3, 2013, article concerning the former Executive Director of the EKU Center for the Arts. The article I reference appeared on the front page of your newspaper with the headline “Sexual harassment, other offenses alleged in Hoskin’s records in 740 pages of documents.”
Recognizing those who provide care
How fitting it is that the beginning of National Nursing Home Week is Mother’s Day, May 12.
- More Viewpoints Headlines
- Graduation Day