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Opinion: Right wing criticized for Republican losses

In his concession speech, John McCain called upon Americans to extend goodwill to president-elect Barack Obama, and asked voters to offer "earnest effort" to bring the nation together.

If only the rank and file of the Republican party would take stock in McCain's words.

The Republican party took it on the chin in many states, districts and sectors across the nation.

Thanks to the right wing minority; moderate, centrist and independent voters scrambled toward the ideological middle. They voted for Obama; they helped the Democrats gain five U.S. Senate seats, and also contributed to Democrat victories at the state level.

One didn't need to look further than Perham to understand why this was occurring.

Faces were glum at a local Republican gathering. From the looks of it, they could have been listening on a Victrola radio to reports of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. Instead, they were watching McCain deliver his concession speech on a big-screen TV.

"Hey guys, cheer up; it's not the end of the world," I said. It was a feeble attempt to inject a little levity into the situation.

"It's the end of the world as we know it," said one Republican, grumbling about the Obama victory.

"God help our country," said another, grimly shaking his head.

"We're at war with the Muslims, and now we elect one as president," was another comment.

Meanwhile, the Republicans were yucking it up over a gimmick fake currency depicting Obama as a Communist revolutionary on the bogus bill.

Yes, we have freedom of speech and expression. And certainly, political figures are fair game. But as long as the right wing continues with this divisive, often juvenile, attitude toward anybody who thinks a little different than they do, the Republican party will continue to drive moderate and independent voters to the middle.

Remember in 2000 when John McCain described some of the far right, specifically conservative Christian leaders, as "agents of intolerance?" He was right. That was the "maverick" John McCain I remember. Not the campaigning McCain of 2008, who buckled to the right wing and was forced to accept a totally irresponsible vice president selection.

Thankfully and honorably, McCain's gracious concession speech restored some dignity to the Republican party and helped reclaim his stature as a statesman and an American hero.

It's time for the Republican party to listen to the wisdom of the post-election John McCain of 2008--and start distancing itself from Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the far right shriekers.