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A Package of Public-Policy Proposals for “Progressive” Republicans
by William McGaughey, Jr.

If people are satisfied with the current politics, they can do nothing. Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Boehner, on the Republican side, and Sen. Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and President Barack Obama, on the Democratic side, have it all figured out, with the help of more than a few special-interest lobbyists.

A third party which mounts a grassroots movement to win high political office could send the nation in a different direction. However, third parties in the United States have a hard time electing candidates to public office. The media won’t take them seriously, and neither will the big donors.

The Republican Party, however, is in flux. Even life-long Republicans are fleeing from policies supported during the administration of George W. Bush. Tea Party populists, not necessarily friendly to Republican incumbents, are demanding another kind of change. What will it be?

We used to have moderate or progressive Republicans who were elected President and served our nation well. Three of the more illustrious ones were: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Maybe we should be thinking once more along the lines of running this type of Republican candidate.

For progressive Republicans to make a comeback, they will need to create a grassroots movement in support of certain policies. It will have to be a package of policies to address people’s core concerns: war and peace, jobs, taxation, national indebtedness, help for working families, trust in government, and freedom. Although particular proposals may offend certain party members, there is no way around hammering out a comprehensive platform of issues that will appeal to voters.

The platform should be developed with certain considerations in mind: First, its proposals should be generally consistent with past Republican traditions. Second, the proposals should be sufficiently different from policies associated with the Democrats and from those associated with conservative Republicans. Third and most important, the proposals should help ordinary people, not only in the United States but around the world.

Let me suggest a set of policies, some of them controversial.

With respect to the Democrats, that party since the 1960s has been the party of the Civil Rights movement and its political offshoots - the movement of feminist women, of gays and lesbians, and of undocumented immigrants. The residual population has been cast in the mold of historic oppressors or privileged persons. It’s time for progressive Republicans to challenge this hateful and divisive type of politics. Political correctness is an abomination. All people deserve dignity and respect. The rights of free speech and free thought must be maintained.

Since the New Deal, the Democratic Party has also stood for Keynesian economics or the idea that government should borrow money to provide countercylical stimulus during recessions and, if necessary, go to war to grow the economy. Republicans, on the other hand, have historically been willing to fight joblessness caused by technological advance through shorter hours of work. In the current noncyclical recession, we need to support job-sharing programs and ultimately cut the standard workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours - making the four-day week a reality as Vice President Nixon proposed during the 1956 national campaign. We also need adequate vacation time for working people, paid sick leave and maternity leave, and flexible hours for working parents. Welfare is not our preferred option.

Progressive Republicans should give preference to private-sector employment and to businesses that use their own money to finance their enterprise rather than to public-sector employment or employment in the non-profit sector that depend on “other people’s money” from government or foundations. They should respect property rights, keep taxes as low as possible, and not harass business with unneeded regulations or inspections abuse. Progressive Republicans should also maintain a level playing field between large and small business and be skeptical of proposals brought to them by campaign contributors and lobbyists. The government should enforce anti-trust laws.

With respect to conservative Republicans, progressive Republicans do not regard government as the enemy if it serves the people’s interest. We would not be unwilling to raise taxes under certain circumstances. We are opposed to tax cuts that produce increased deficits. We believe in tax equity; high-income and wealthy persons should pay their fair share of taxes according to a schedule of progressively increasing rates. Investment income should not be taxed more lightly than income from wages. The burden of taxation should not be shifted from the income tax to the Social Security payroll tax. Neither should the Social Security trust fund be raided for other purposes.

Progressive Republicans are internationally minded. They support the United Nations and collaborative efforts among nations to keep the peace and solve problems on a global scale. That includes environmental problems such as Global Warming. Americans should seek to cut back on greenhouse-gas emissions, promote renewable energy, and reduce our footprint in use of natural resources. The United States needs to dismantle its huge military machine, close foreign bases, and secure access to natural resources though contractual arrangements rather than military intimidation. The role of the world’s only superpower is no longer affordable. We need to get out of Afghanistan at our earliest convenience. We need to treat our injured soldiers fairly.

Evidence is mounting that the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001, were not entirely the result of aircraft hijacked by Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaeda. The twin towers of the World Trade Center, as well the neighboring “Building Seven”, collapsed because of controlled demolitions. Evidence suggests that a conspiracy existed between the building owner, persons who planted explosives in the building, and agencies of the U.S. government, perhaps extending all the way to the top. See 9/11-related evidence.

The 9/11 Commission report was thoroughly dishonest. Progressive Republicans should call for a new independent investigation of the 9/11 tragedy with full power to subpoena witnesses. Our democracy cannot long endure when events of this magnitude are kept secret and Americans suspect their own government of having been complicit in heinous crimes.

This set of policy proposals has an edge to them. Progressive Republicans should not be afraid to talk about anything but instead be willing to fight for their convictions, for the interests of the American people, and for the future of life on this planet.

Fighting RINOs, unite!

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