Being divided is not good in politics.
Politics is never boring.
Guile and intrigue fill every move and each decision that our leaders make. Every vote is the result of a carefully contrived plan from the victor. Even the side that loses had a plan. Their plan just didn’t work.
But both parties on the national stage are facing a crisis right now.
The Democrats have a leader but no future. Obviously, President Barack Obama is leading the charge for the Democrats. But his clock is ticking.
In about two more years, his opinion will matter very little as his lame duck status affects the way he can lead effectively.
Who will take control of the party? Hillary Clinton? Probably not. Joe Biden? Hopefully not. Nancy Pelosi? Definitely not.
Someone will have to rise up to lead the next chapter in the party’s history.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
I often say you can tell who the leaders are because others are following them.
Neither party has identified that consensus molder whom others will follow.
The Republicans have a similar but currently worse problem than the Democrats.
The GOP problem is “currently worse” because right now they are divided. The TEA Party and Libertarian wings are separating themselves from the so-called establishment – Republicans who aren’t seen as holding true conservative ideals but have a foothold in Washington D.C.
Being divided is not good in politics. Division leads to failure within campaigns, parties and legislative bodies.
And the Republicans have no leader. Mitt Romney tried and failed miserably. He is still trying to figure out why he lost in November. He won’t lead the party forward. John Boehner is the Speaker of the House but he has come under fire by the conservative wing of his party for how he has handled various situations. Not only is he not building consensus, his leadership style is developing rivals from within his own ranks.
The Senate leadership for the GOP isn’t even leading. Mitch McConnell (R-Kent.) is the minority leader but the young lions are just waiting for a chance to push him out of the way. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has already pushed his way to the front. He was tapped to give the response to the State of the Union address and his star dimmed a bit.
Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is a TEA Party favorite who has a real opportunity to develop into a leader of the party but he seems to be too much of a leader of a faction to lead the entire party.
Rand Paul (R-Kent.) has the same issue. His recent filibuster got him 13 hours of fame but does that recognition really mean he can lead the party? I doubt it.
Both parties are waiting for the right person to take the stage to lead them into the future. The 2014 elections for Congress will be policy based and Obama will still be a force to help Democrats and a target for Republicans.
After those elections, history shows that his impact will begin to slowly burn out. Someone will have to step up to lead the fight. The Republicans need a leader soon. The divided party needs to be restored. They can survive 2014 by focus on smaller races and still have some success.
But if the party is still divided into conservatives versus establishment when the 2016 Presidential Primary comes around, don’t expect the GOP to have any more success than they did in 2008 or 2012.
Kent Bush is the publisher of the Augusta Gazette, the El Dorado Times, and the Andover American newspapers. He can be contacted at: email@example.com