I am sure that when Pete Seeger wrote his hit folk song in the late 1950s, "Where have all the flowers gone?" he never dreamed that it would have such an impact on political attitudes, especially during the Vietnam War era. If I may paraphrase his lyrics, "Where have all the moderates gone" has particular meaning in today's political climate.
It is commonly understood that extremists from the left and right sides of the political spectrum cause the public to emotionally react to their claims. Unfortunately, we seem to be satisfied with their analysis of a situation rather than our objectively dissecting an issue for positive and negative outcomes. Somehow, in the last forty years, we have lost faith in the moderates of this world and we are letting the vocal extremists dictate what is best for the American people. In the past, moderates have been the necessary force to bring issues to acceptable compromise solutions.
I guess that is why I was so disappointed in Senator Marco Rubio's Republican response to President Obama's "State of the Union" speech. The American people were ready to hear objective criticism to counter the points made by the president. Unfortunately, I did not hear a conciliatory effort to work with Democrats for the mutual benefit of the American people. If Senator Rubio is considered to be the savior of the Republican Party, it looks like it will be a long tenure for the Democrats. At this point in his political career, he is not a polished orator, which was evidenced by his nervous quickness of speech and his need for drinking water to eliminate the cotton in his mouth before continuing his "just say no and do nothing" message!
Is the charismatic Senator Rubio being used by the Republican hierarchy to win the support of the Hispanic community? Or is he truly the new face and voice for all Republicans? If so, let us hope that Latinos as well as other Americans carefully scrutinize the ideological message provided by the Republicans in comparison with that of the Democrats.
Has the popularity of the Tea Party run its course in American politics, or will it continue to be a dominant influence in Republican dogma? The question that remains unanswered is: Will the support of the Tea Party for Senator Rubio be a positive or a negative influence in the eyes of most Americans? Is he really the person to lead the Republican Party back to the White House, or should there be a resurgence of effort to bring back a moderate Republican leader? The Republican leadership decided to overlook Jon Huntsman, an intelligent moderate statesman, to lead the crusade to the 2012 presidency.
The last line in Seeger's song, "When will they ever learn?" has particular meaning for Republican leaders. Perhaps now they will reassess their strategy and be looking for a moderate candidate who appeals to all socioeconomic groups at the 2016 election.
Moderates are the doers in this world and Lord knows we badly need moderates to lead Congress and the president to work together for the mutual benefit of ALL classes. Where have all the moderates gone? Let's hope it is not to political extinction!