richardmcculloch2web.gifI have always thought that the best way to describe my political affiliation is to simply say that I am a registered Democrat, but an independent thinker. In all fairness, however, there are elements of the Republican philosophy that on the surface seem somewhat attractive.

For instance, I do not believe the federal government should represent a national ATM machine, indiscriminately handing out money to every citizen with his or her hand out, but not willing to accept a hand up through education or vocational training. 

Though I can appreciate the GOP tenets that focus on controlling the government’s financial and regulatory intervention on free enterprise, the Republican machine as we know it today bears little resemblance to the “Party of Lincoln” from days gone by. 

The Republican Party emerged in 1854 in direct opposition to the proposed Kansas-Nebraska Act which would have allowed the expansion of slavery into the state of Kansas.

The founders of the Grand Old Party felt that the political value of  “republicanism” represented an adherence to civic virtue while maintaining an unwavering opposition to aristocracy, corruption and slavery.

In the rear view mirror of history, we see a Republican Party which once stood for the modernization and forward progress of our nation through the promotion of higher education and the continued enhancement of the country’s infrastructure.

Based on this historical framework, I would be the first person to say “Sign me up.” But something went terribly wrong.

Fast forward to 2009.

The Blunder Years of the George W.  Bush era were like a horrible Republican reality show that was finally canceled, only to be immediately replaced by the McCain/Palin show;  another less than notable Republican milestone.

While the GOP leadership should be using this time to regroup and maybe even marinate on the missteps of their recent past,  instead,  two of their top dogs have decided to engage in a media scrap that puts their party’s lack of cohesiveness and vulnerability on a national stage for all to see, and many to enjoy.

On Jan. 16, when asked what he would offer as his hope for the Obama presidency, Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio icon stated, “I hope he fails.”

In that four-word quote, Limbaugh borders on treason while stepping yards over the line of ultimate selfishness to promote a political agenda.

For a man so vociferous in his concern for the country to hope that the leader of the country fails is to wish that the country itself fails. I wonder, if that had been a sound byte from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright about George W. Bush, what Limbaugh would have said on his show.

Michael Steele, the first-ever African-American,  Republican National Committee chairman, commented on Limbaugh’s statement on CNN by calling Limbaugh an “entertainer” and by labeling the statement “incendiary” and “ugly.”

Just as I was about to be proud that this brother “ain’t havin’ it,” two days later, Steele told Politico, an online journal, that he had been “maybe a little bit inarticulate.”

The fact that Steele’s about-face came after Limbaugh “accused” him of actually supporting the efforts of our president shows the level of Limbaugh’s stupidity and the cowardice of Steele for capitulating.

If an egotistical radio loud mouth who endorses the failure of our country – and a party chairman who seems to be running scared from that same radio buffoon – represent the leadership of the Republican Party, being a Democrat never felt better.