ALLENTOWN (TNS) — Longtime Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent was among 120 Republican officials who participated in recent talks about forming a new political party or an independent faction within the GOP.
They’re unhappy with the direction the GOP has gone — down the toilet — under former President Donald Trump. Conspiracy theorist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia doesn’t reflect well on the party, either.
“Clearly, there are a number of Republicans like myself and other Republican leaders, who want a clean break from President Trump, and we are kind of rallying around some core founding principles like truth and honesty, and democracy, and rule of law,” Dent, of Allentown, told CNN last week.
They discussed the possibility of forming a “center right” party, CNN reported.
That would be wonderful.
America needs more moderates. If it takes forming another party or party faction to give them a voice, sign me up.
I dumped the GOP last month because it left a bad taste in my mouth, and I’m looking for a new home.
The two-party system was a mess before Trump got elected and it’s only gotten more despicable since, on both ends. Far-left Democrats aren’t doing the country any good, either, pushing us toward socialism.
In an ideal world, a new party would be built on the best principles from the Ds and the Rs. Some of this may be too left for a “center right” party, but here’s an outline of what some of its priorities should be:
BALANCED BUDGETThis traditional Republican belief in fiscal conservancy has long been cast aside.
Before the national debt ballooned under the Trump tax cuts that disproportionately benefited the wealthy and corporate America, it rose under the administrations of former presidents Ronald Reagan (tax cuts, supply-side economics) and George W. Bush (War on Terror, start of the Great Recession).
There are a lot of factors that go into deficits, and presidents don’t control all of them. But government spending has gotten out of control. It’s time to reign that back in. And it’s time to restructure the tax system to make sure everyone pays his fair share. Everyone, from those at the bottom to those at the tippy top.
ENVIRONMENTClimate change shouldn’t be a partisan issue. The days of debating whether it really is happening should be far behind us. It’s time to address the problem.
Teddy Roosevelt was an environmentalist, establishing national forests and parks and wildlife preserves. Why can’t other Republicans be supportive, too?
Forget about the Green New Deal. It’s unrealistic. We should start small and work our way up, and give the business sector an opportunity to take a leadership role, instead of pitting business interests against environmental interests.
There’s room for both. General Motors, whose chief executive previously endorsed Trump’s rollback on fuel efficiency, has pledged to stop making gasoline-powered passenger cars, vans and sport utility vehicles by 2035.
PUBLIC EDUCATIONA system of schools funded by taxpayers was an idea floated by Thomas Jefferson. It took decades for the idea to take hold. Two centuries later, Republicans are bailing on the concept, favoring charter schools and trying to steer public money to private educators.
It’s time to rebuild traditional public schools by investing in them. Instead of competing, partnerships could be crafted with charter schools.
ENFORCE BORDERSCountries have borders for a reason. For too long, American government looked the other way when it came to illegal immigrants. This is one area where I agreed with Trump, though he undoubtedly took it too far.
Enforcing borders means building some walls, but it doesn’t mean building a bubble. Immigration is how our country was founded. We can’t forget those roots.
We also can’t forget our duty to offer asylum to those fleeing for their lives. There has to be a balance.
GUN VIOLENCEThere is middle ground to build on. At the federal level, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Center Valley and Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Bucks County are among those who have called for universal background checks.
In the state Legislature, Republican Rep. Todd Stephens of Montgomery County and former Sen. Tom Killion of Delaware County, a Republican, wrote legislation to enact a red-flag law. Also known as extreme risk protection orders, they allow household members and law enforcement to ask a court to temporarily take guns from people who have shown they are a danger to themselves or others.
Like climate change, reducing gun violence shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Changes can be made while still honoring the Second Amendment.
(Paul Muschick is a columnist for The Morning Call of Allentown.)