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Hurricane Sandy rescued our democracy?
by David Farside
Jan 21, 2013 | 3044 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The best thing that has happened to the Republican party in the last eight years, besides putting a G.W. Bush in the political closet of obscurity, was the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. Hitting the pristine beaches of the New Jersey shoreline, the disaster provided an opportunity for New Jersey Governor Chris Christi to demonstrate his personal leadership skills, political acumen to rise above the vitriolic rhetoric of the extreme conservative right and propel himself to the top of the list of presidential candidates in 2016.

Of course, Gen. Colin Powell, Sen. Rand Paul and ex-Governor of Florida Jeb Bush, the only branch of the family tree with an IQ higher than the room temperature in my refrigerator, will have something to say about that.

Powell, will set the tone for the New centrist Republican Party strategy. During an interview on Meet the Press, he said his Republican Party has a “dark vein of intolerance” running through it. Claiming the GOP is “still looking down on minorities,” he said the party needs to change, or it’s “going to be in trouble.” The demographics of our country are changing. In the next generation, racial and ethnic minorities will constitute the majority. He said, Republicans “can’t go around saying we’re not gonna have a solid immigration policy. We’re gonna dismiss the 47 percent. We are gonna make it hard for these minorities to vote, as they did in the last election.” He claims that a shift to the extreme right produced “two losing presidential campaigns.” And he’s right.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) sees the handwriting on the wall. He is already taking political shots at Christi. Paul was one of the first to criticize Christi for praising President Obama for his efforts getting hurricane relief for New Jersey just weeks before the election. Claiming Christi “backed down” on gun rights, Paul criticized Christi for challenging the hallowed doctrine of the NRA in his effort to protect the safety of our children. He claimed his defiance of the NRA would hurt Christi in a future presidential Republican primary.

But Christi, the son of an Irish father and a Sicilian mother, is already one step ahead of Paul or anyone else seeking the next Republican presidential nomination. He was the key-note speaker at the Republican National Convention last August. As a Republican Governor of a state that has 700,000 more Democrat voters than Republicans, he was elected because he knows how to get things done. That’s more than I can say about Rand Paul. And don’t forget, an unknown Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, presented the key-note address at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Eight years later he won his second term as President.

In  the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Christi should use his national celebrity as an opportunity to lead other moderate Republicans in a common sense approach for compromise. Taking center stage as a target for Republican extremists like Rand Paul will give him a national voice in discussions with Democrats during debates on gun control, immigration, entitlement programs, jobs and the economy. How ironic would it be if the disaster of Hurricane Sandy in some way saved the Republican Party and our political system of Democracy.

David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist.
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