Get High on Life

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 16, 1998

By HAROLD KELLER / L’Observateur / November 16, 1998

To think that last week’s election returns were anything but a defeat for the Republican Party, in my opinion, would be classified as not being realistic.

I am a registered Republican. Do I vote blindly for Republican candidates?No. In fact, if I lived in Baton Rouge, I would have voted for Ms. McKeithen,the Democrat, over Richard Baker, the incumbent Republican. Why?Because I think he is a reflection of, and the reason for, the weakening of the Republican Party.

The Republican Party in Louisiana is all but dead. Yes, I know Gov. Fosteris a Republican. He conveniently converted to win the last governor’s race.In the last few years, the Republicans threw away chances to have two U.S. Senators, Henson Moore and Woody Jenkins. They were in a position towin and were the favorites, but both blew their elections. I sometimeswish the upper crust in the party could come to the River Parishes and attend a seminar by some of our Democratic public officials, past and present. (The moderator could be Lester Duhe Jr., of South Carolina, apolitical consultant.) They could learn something.Are there any bright spots in the national party? Yes – the Bush boys, sons of former President George Bush, who were recently elected governors of Florida and Texas. One of my favorite congressmen is J.C. Watts ofOklahoma. Another Republican whom I admire is Allen Keyes, who ran inthe last presidential campaign.

What happened to Newt Gingrich on the way to the mountaintop? My opinion is that the real killer was pride. I liked Newt and everything forwhich he stood. After his victory as House Speaker, and given the creditfor the passage of most of the Republican-sponsored legislation, he was not humble. There’s an old saying the success will spoil more people thanfailure. Newt didn’t handle his success very well.The Bible says that pride comes before the fall and that the secret to greatness is humility. Newt, like most of us, was his own worst enemy.The Republican Party is now scrambling for answers. It appears that thefirst move is to elect our own Bob Livingston as the new Speaker of the House. Is this part of the answer? I think not. I think Livingston is anopportunist, but a weak leader. I believe he thinks the solution to the illsof the Republican Party is to move from the right to the center. PresidentClinton, who has no convictions, tried to move to the center a few years ago and it was a disaster. He was smart. He went back to the liberal left.Many people blame the so-called religious right for the problems of the Republican Party. I’m considered one of them, but I really believe theyhave been given too much credit.

First of all, the majority are not informed, they don’t care (like most of the voting public), and believe me, a big percentage of them do not vote.

The one advantage the Democrats have is that most of them have strong convictions. I don’t agree with their agenda, but I’m impressed with theirstrong commitments.

On the other hand, the Republican Party, not all but far too many, want to move to the center to appease their enemy. The results have been nil.The Bible says that God prefers us hot or cold. It also says that if we’relukewarm, God will spit us out.

The Republican Party is lukewarm and the voters have turned them away.

They are striving to get in the middle of the road where the only things that are there are a yellow line and dead armadillos.

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

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