Republicans Need A Rebirth At Ripon

The Republican Party, born in a Ripon, Wisconsin on March 20, 1854, has this year fielded candidates so conservative on social, economic, and foreign policy issues, the only chance they have of winning this fall, is if they could somehow move the election date back about 158 years, into the 19th Century.

This year, the GOP introduced Donald, “the carnival barker,” Trump, whose elixir cabinet had a cure for everything. They subjected us to the insufferable Gingrich, a virtual barking dog, whose racist tones would have angered Abe Lincoln. They presented Santorum, the Catholic Crusader, whose efforts to turn America into a Christian Nation, would have offended Thomas Jefferson. They gave us Ron Paul, a man whose absolutist lassie fair economics are so radical, the great Wisconsin Progressive, Sen. Robert La Follette, would have turned in his Republican grave. Finally, we watched Mitt Romney change his position so often, his head surely must be ready to spin off his body, like what happened to the creepy doll in the Exorcist movie.

The Republicans are dying, along with the old schoolhouse in Ripon, where their anti-slavery plank was first adopted in 1854. If America wants to preserve the two-party system, the Republican Party must be reborn. They should save the millions they will spend this year on negative advertising, and instead build a new platform. To put it in words Rick Santorum might understand, they need a “second coming.” They need a rebirth at Ripon.

Ripon College, 75 miles northeast of Madison, and 87 northwest of Milwaukee, should become the birthplace for the “second coming,” that is, after they first open a branch campus in Waukesha County, between Milwaukee and Madison, where most of the state’s wealthy Republicans live. From this new suburban venue, Ripon’s campus of 1,036 students, should launch a moderate Republican curriculum, and bring the party back to life.

Every Republican politician should just stop campaigning right now, and for the next four years, study 40 courses worth 3 credits each, before being allowed in 2016 to return to the campaign trail. The courses the Republicans would be required to take at the “new Ripon,” will be posted on my site over the next 4 days, beginning with the first installment of 10 classes for freshman:

First Year–First Semester

SOC: 101: POPULATION GROWTH: Learn the theory espoused by Thomas Malthus that unrestrained population growth leads to greater food demands, inadequate supplies, and either starvation or war. Can we rationally debate China’s one-child policy, and the problems caused by large families? Can we accept contraception for birth control? Course required for religious fundamentalists.

BIO 110: ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT: Learn the dangers to the environment from coal, gas, oil, and nuclear energy, and the value of alternate sources like wind or solar. Study climate change evidence. Consider the problems that would arise if Republicans actually could abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.

HIS: 150: HISTORY OF U.S. MILITARY INTERVENTION: Learn how America made a wrong turn at the end of the 19th Century under Republican William McKinley’s foreign policy. Study 20th Century U.S. interventions in the Caribbean, Central America, Asia, and elsewhere. Understand we were not always the good guy portrayed in John Wayne films. Know that we took Guantanamo Bay from Cuba. At least understand why Cuba wants it back. Set Puerto Rico free. See the world from their view.

PS: 160: CAMPAIGN FINANCE & ELECTION REFORM: Solve the persistent problem of gerrymandering. Adopt a comprehensive primary election plan. Promote campaign debates instead of TV commercials. Push a constitutional amendment to remove money from campaigns so elections become democratic. Repeal voter photo ID laws implemented to suppress turnout. Where voting machines are used, require a paper trail for recount purposes. Consider adopting term limits for the House and Senate. When should “recall elections” be held?

EC: 170: BANKING AND FEDERAL RESERVE: Should the Wall Street financial district have been bailed out? Should the big banks now be busted up under antitrust laws? Should consumers be protected against abusive bank charges? Why was the gold standard abandoned and replaced with Federal Reserve Notes? What is monetary policy, and how is it used to combat recession?

First Year—Second Semester

SOC: 110: CIVILITY IN SOCIETY: Politicians must learn to be civil, particularly with persons of other races. Why accuse a President of being from Kenya, when no facts support the claim? Why shout “you lie” at the President at a formal State of the Union? Why accuse Obama of being Muslim, when he is not?

PHIL: 120: PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION: Learn the number of centuries between the time of Christ and the era when the New Testament gospels were first written. Understand the Bible is not a reliable literal historical source. Know the difference between religious beliefs and scientific knowledge. Be able to accept as probable the absence of a supernatural being. Is there really anything out there? Avoid pandering to religious groups.

HIS: 160: HISTORY OF EQUAL RIGHTS: Understand the constitutional amendments passed after the American Civil War. What Southern laws were imposed on blacks between Reconstruction and WWII, to effectively extend slavery by another name? What led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Do you really believe the issue of racial injustice has been solved? What unique challenges do women face in the workplace? How should sexual harassment, like the cases against Herman Cain be resolved? Should gays move beyond civil unions into marriage? Learn to be Abe Lincoln Republicans.

PS: 170: IMMIGRATION POLICY: Learn the long history of immigration law. What should our policy be? Know the meaning of citizenship by birth. Don’t pander to Mexicans and other Latin Americans. Just say it is good public policy for all immigrants to speak English. Employers should be forced to subsidize English language classes. Be open about the fact employers pay cash under the table to avoid SS taxes, unemployment, and workers comp premiums. Just fix the naturalization process already.

EC: 190: ECON: CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM: Learn the words “capitalism” and “free market” are no where to be found in the U.S. Constitution. Stop calling Obama a socialist; it makes Republicans sound stupid. Stop referring to the U.S. as a capitalist country, as the Founders never said that. We have a democratic system in which we can choose more or less capitalism or socialism. Study capitalist and socialist principles. Understand that it was an unregulated capitalist system that led to the Great Depression.

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