The GOP Has Lost Its Way

In today’s AJC, Martha Ezzard says something I’ve been wanting to say for some time but never got around to: it isn’t Democrats who’ve lost their way, it’s the GOP:

If the Democratic Party is the captive of the “loony left,” as [Zell] Miller claims, the Republican Party has sold its soul to the radical right and divorced itself from the First Amendment to marry church and state. Institutionalizing such extremism, the Texas GOP even has a plank in its platform pledging to dispel “the myth” of church and state separation.*****************

With the election of Ronald Reagan, the GOP turned its back on a long history of defending individual liberties and environmental preservation. Oil rigs now replace antelope. Party members pledge anti-abortion allegiance. Affirmative action must end.

I’m so old that I can remember when a moderate could be Minority Leader, when Republicans were against deficits and for less government interference in people’s ordinary lives. Now moderates are driven out of the party for insufficient intolerance and zealotry, Republicans have created the biggest deficits in our history in their effort to starve govt to death, and the right-wing radicals who now control the GOP have insisted that (their) govt have the right to control people’s private lives to a degree undreamed of when I was a kid, from which books we’re allowed to read or not to read to who we can sleep with and which positions and activities are acceptable if we do. As Ezzard points out from personal experience, it’s a long, painful way from the GOP of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt to the GOP of George Bush and Tom DeLay:

When my husband’s career took us to Colorado, I took a position as press aide to one of the nation’s last liberal Republican governors, the late John Love. Later I was elected as a Republican to the state Legislature, just in time to bump up against the Coors’ funded Reagan revolution in the West.”Isn’t this the party of Abraham Lincoln?” I’d ask my GOP colleagues as I marched with Democratic women for equal rights and abortion rights. No, came the answer, this is the party of Phyllis Schlafly and the cookie-baking Eagle Forum.

“Isn’t this the party of Teddy Roosevelt?” I’d ask, as I watched my environmental initiatives shot down by my own party. No, came the answer, this is the party of James Watt, the GOP interior secretary who was finally forced from office after opening wilderness areas to energy exploitation.

“Isn’t this the party of Dwight Eisenhower?” I asked as Republicans spent billions on a flawed Star Wars defense system that only kept safe the pocketbooks of the military-industrial complex.

In each case, Ms Ezzard, the answser is, “No.”

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