Judging by its candidates, the Republican party seems determined to commit seppuku. Witness the lowly-esteemed candidate Rick Santorum. From a CBS story:
"In his remarks Monday, Santorum went beyond his usual discussion of the importance of increasing domestic energy production to deliver a blistering attack on environmental activists. He said global warming claims are based on 'phony studies,' and that climate change science is little more than 'political science.' His views are not 'anti-science' as Democrats claim, Santorum said. 'When it comes to the management of the Earth, they are the anti-science ones. We are the ones who stand for science, and technology, and using the resources we have to be able to make sure that we have a quality of life in this country and (that we) maintain a good and stable environment,' he said to applause, and cited local ordinances to reduce coal dust pollution in Pittsburgh during the heyday of coal mining."
Even such a highly-esteemed conservative writer as Garry Wills has this to say:
”Rick Santorum is a nice smiley fanatic. He does not believe in evolution or global warming or women in the workplace. He equates gay sex with bestiality (Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum). He equates contraception with the guillotine. Only a brain-dead party could think him a worthy presidential candidate. Yet he is praised by television pundits, night and day, for being “sincere” and “standing by what he believes.” He is the principled alternative to the evil Moderation of Mitt Romney and the evil Evil of Newt Gingrich. He is presented as a model Catholic. Torquemada was, in that sense, a model Catholic. Messrs. Boehner and McConnell call him a martyr to religious freedom. A young priest I saw on television, modeling himself on his hero Santorum, said, “I would rather die than give up my church’s principles.” What we are seeing is not a defense of undying principle but a stampede toward a temporarily exploitable lunacy. Acton to the rescue!”
(The reference to Acton concerns this lovely quote: When Pius IX condemned democracy and modern science in his Syllabus of Errors (1864), the Catholic historian Lord Acton said that Catholics were too sensible to go crazy every time a pope does.)
For more of Mr. Wills's insight into the almost-certain self-destruction of the Grand Old Party, see his piece in the New York Review of Books:
From this Northerly side of the 49th parallel, what seems most to be lacking in the American political landscape is a genuinely Left party. Obama and the Democrats don't even come close. They have been so cowed that even they are afraid to be accused of liberalism. Both sides of the American landscape would seem to require what Leftist politics is all about.
The short answer is, No Single Thing; no coherent set of proposals across nations and continents; it's shaped by context. In Canada, for example, the vast majority of voters, by province, by region, by party, by almost any measure you could name, believe in the principle that health care should be free.
That's merely one measure of a society which I would most emphatically not describe, not even remotely, as Socialist. I'm still a stalwart NDP voter and volunteer, but only because that party is closest to what I would like to see. Not only did I vote and campaign for the late Jack Layton and his wife Olivia Chow, but I also wrote the original campaign-management software for both, way back when they were City Councillors in Toronto. My political slant is clear. I go a lot further than the party I vote for, but that's understandable: I'm a grey-radical and they are strategists. I get that. Politics is the art of compromise, in which one chooses the least of evils.
I'll write another blog soon on why I view the NDP as far to the right of what I deem Left; this one has gone long enough. For now, let it be said that I am very distant from the Marxist schools of thought, but primarily because they have strayed from the sources, Marx and Engels, whose thoughts on capitalism remain mostly cogent 150 years later. To this I might add that the current readings of Adam Smith are seriously selective, not to mention prejudicial.
I would hope that this missive finds at least a few readers on the GOP side of the equation. It would be most enlightening for me at least to read your responses.