Where have all of the Republicans gone, long time passing? If Barry Goldwater and even Ronald Reagan were alive they would have a hard time recognizing today’s Republican Party. To be conservative is to seek to preserve what is good and to change when necessary in order to maintain a civil society.
Whether it was Barry Goldwater, standing up for the separation of church and state or Ronald Reagan, who recognized that the economy needed to have help by raising taxes in his second term, conservatives of a different era were not fixated on the view that you do it my way or take the highway.
Americans of the Depression Era and World War II, viewed the national interests as being more important than mere partisan gain. Republicans of that era shared foxholes with Democrats. Some of them left part of their bodies on the battlefields of Italy and other parts of the world. Their idea of patriotism was to prevent what caused World War II from happening, again. Although, they had differences with Democrats, they could disagree but not be disagreeable. Whether it was the G.I.Bill or the Interstate Highway system, our elected officials in Washington sought to prevent the causes of the Great Depression from ever happening, again. Most of the World War II generation knew how important it was to do the best they could for all Americans not just the top 1 and 1/2 percent. Even in the arena of Civil Rights, Republicans stood tall in realizing the need to right the wrongs of the past and bring equality to all.
Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, Everitt Dirksen, Claude Aiken, Bob Dole, Bob Michel, and others were politicians and conservatives not ideologues.
Today’s so-called conservatives are really reactionaries. Instead of saving what is good, they react in a knee-jerk way to the important issues of the day. They deny facts and create issues out of whole cloth. Out right lies have become common place. They insist on having an ideological purity test on social issues in particular, and you better be really, conservative enough or we will find an opponent to run against you. If you don’t believe as we do, we will drum you out of the party. We see this purity test in many states this primary season as once again we see incumbent Republicans have primary contestants from their own party seeking to remove them because they are not allegedly conservative enough. They have rejected compromise as being a sign of weakness. The extremists such as Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have scrapped bi-partisanship and insist on standing on principle. Ideology is not what our founders stood for.
The Republican Party has moved in a hard right direction. They have embraced extremism and an ideologically based brand of politics. In the process they are endangering the future of the Republican Party, by making the party too extreme for most Americans. It is not healthy for America to not have a strong two-party system. Demographics have shown that the face of the electorate is changing. Instead of doing what other political parties have done in the past, in order to stay relevant, Republicans are doubling down on more and more extreme positions. Instead of recognizing that we are a nation with a separation of church and state they are doubling down with an insistence on more religiously based doctrines. They really want to do away with any safety net for the less fortunate. Whether it is food stamps, unemployment insurance, pensions, Medicare vouchers, or the privatization of Social Security, they are out of step with mainstream Americans.
As we move forward into the 2016 Presidential season it is my prediction that the followers of the Tea Party and those who do the bidding of the Koch Brothers will see America reject extremism. We shall see if we have a Republican Party left strong enough to be anything other than a regional party.
We need that old style, Republican Party of less regulation, less government. Please give me a Republican who believes in government, who takes responsibility for ensuring that the public’s money is protected from waste and abuse. What we don’t need is a political party willing to close down government and put the sanctity of the dollar at risk. What we need most is a Republican Party that does what is best for the country, not what is best for themselves or what is perceived to be best for partisan political gain. Give me real Republicans, who don’t wear the flag on their chest or sleeve but who are patriotic in their hearts. We would all be better off with that old Republican Party.