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Republican leaders must rein in tea party

In former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s new book “Stress Test,” he mentions that in responding to the financial crisis of 2008, many decisions had to be made that were very politically unpopular because everything they needed to do to keep the economy from collapsing ran counter to the calls for Old Testament-style recriminations against the Wall Street financiers.

Humorously, he mentions that the team assembled to respond to that crisis always seemed to find the “sweet spot” where their policy recommendations managed to equally offend everyone on both sides of the political spectrum.

Fortunately for the country, at the time there were enough pragmatic Democratic and establishment Republican legislators who were responsible enough to reach past their partisanship to allow the passage of the legislation that was needed to avert the total collapse of the financial sector that would have ultimately plunged the nation and world into a severe depression.

If the current crop of tea party bomb throwers had been in the same position of influence within the Republican Party then as they are now, the economy would have tipped into a depression that was only narrowly averted. As it is, their programmatic opposition to any and all policy proposals that came later only managed to slow down the recovery on Main Street.

In spite of their best efforts to the contrary, the economy is slowly returning to its pre-recession levels anyway while these same bomb throwers are now off spending all their time and energies on peripheral issues no matter what the cost or consequence to the nation will be. When is the leadership in the Republican Party going to reassert itself again to restore some semblance of probity and responsibility in this once great party that has been abdicated in deference to the howling demands of the extremists within its ranks? Hopefully this can happen before the country faces another crisis of similar dimensions.

Rick Bridenbaker

West Seneca