I Didn’t Leave the GOP — It Left Me

elephant-walking-awayFor over three decades now, the GOP has courted the likes of Pat Robertson and his followers. In addition to 15-passenger van, denim skirt-wearing religious fundamentalists and snake handlers, they’ve also tried to appeal to alienated Dixiecrats who were absolutely repulsed by the Democrats’ move toward the left when it came to civil rights.

Throughout the years of Reagan and Bush Sr, the loons were confined to the back of the party bus. They were relied upon by the GOP for votes and pretty much nothing else other than allowing Ralph Reed or Pat Buchanan to address an audience at a convention here or there far outside the national spotlight.

Those were the days when I, as an impressionable teenager who was brainwashed by years of growing up in the religious right, mingled with the likes of Ralph Reed, Oliver North, Alan Keyes and others. I was even on a first name basis with people like George Allen and Bob Goodlatte while they slowly but surely injected the radical right ideology into the Grand Old Party.

As much as I grew to despise these folks as I got older, it has become ever more apparent that I didn’t leave the GOP – it left me. You know what? I’m grudgingly OK with a few corporations getting a little extra slice of the pie. I’m not against capitalism and the idea that a few individuals will make more in one day than I do in an entire lifetime, I’m just not OK with banks getting handouts to fix the crisis they caused in the first place – then using that money to pay for bonuses and to give further campaign contributions to the politicians who voted for the bailouts to begin with.

Guns? I own a couple, and I support sensible gun control as well as our Second Amendment right to bear arms. War? I get that it is an inescapable part of human history and that from time to time, we may have to kill a few really evil people without a formal trial. The death penalty? I’m opposed to it, but I don’t mind if once in awhile we execute someone who has committed an especially heinous crime – so long as there is absolutely zero doubt when it comes to their guilt.

But the Republican Party that I grew up with is no longer the Republican Party I see today. It has gone from a party that was moderately conservative and interested in lining the pockets of the rich, to a cesspool of gun nuts, conspiracy lunatics, and Bible-thumpers who were willing to take the country over the financial cliff simply because they do not want what Jesus would call “the least of these” to have access to affordable health insurance. This is a party that, 20 years ago, would have considered President Obama a moderate Republican and would have embraced most of the Affordable Care Act, because after all – it was their idea.

People often ask why I’m so hard on the GOP. Well, let’s see. I happen to have read the Constitution and understand how government actually works, unlike many members of Congress. Government shouldn’t be dictated by the blind ideology of a few radical politicians who would risk the credit worthiness of the world’s largest economy and force higher rates on future loans, just so they can throw a temper tantrum over the Affordable Care Act (which just so happened to be their party’s idea in the first place).

I didn’t stop being a member of the Republican Party because I was indoctrinated by liberal higher education. No, the GOP decided that stopping two people who love each other from getting married was more important than fixing crumbling roads and bridges. My former party decided that it was more important to spend trillions on bombing goat herders and mud huts into oblivion to avenge 9/11 than it was to make sure that other Americans could have affordable access to things as simple as a medical checkup which could save their lives. The GOP screams about how asking someone to consent to a basic background check to purchase a firearm is an infringement of privacy, yet they have no problem trying to stop a woman from getting something as basic as birth control.

I wasn’t born a liberal, I became one – because the party I grew up with ran so far to the right-wing fringe that there was simply no other choice.


Facebook comments

  • MLPgh

    If only a few more GOPers would/could comprehend this. Much truth here.

  • artisanr

    I’ve been an independent for 16+ years. According to this description, except the notion that “some corps should get a bigger slice of the pie” (no, because that’s how this whole thing started, they’ll just want more), I’d be right at home with what the GOP used to be.

    i’ve known this for a while. Both sides of my family are strongly GOP and i’d one be too…if the lunatic fringe didn’t infect the party with terminal, irreparable irrelevance as a whole.

    I won’t go there. i’d be embarassed at wearing that (R) after my name nowadays.

  • GabUm2

    I share the writers perceptions that the GOP has really gone too far now. And it equally seems that they are fixated only on their narrow point of view rather than the good of the US or rest of the World for that matter.

  • glebec

    The most important part of this essay is that it accurately lays the total responsibility for today’s mess where it belongs, at the leadership of the GOP 30 years ago. This, of course, means Ronald Reagan and his “brain trust.” What it leaves out is the fact that Reagan’s behind the scenes foreign policy thrust was to encourage the dictators of oil rich countries to pursue a similar approach and to encourage the fundamentalist imams to “control” the masses who might otherwise notice that they were being enslaved. Those – and all – Republicans who have pursued power at any price with the goal of having a privileged elite who rule the world while reducing everyone else to chattel are responsible for all the evil fruits they planted – from 9/11 and the ongoing battle with fundamentalist muslims, to the economic crisis and its battle with fundamentalist capitalists, to our divided, uneducated, and uninformed country due to fundamentalist religious zealots. We are following Reagan and his muse, Ayn Rand, straight to a hellish future (complete with hot temperatures).

    • strayaway

      The author of this article cited 20 years ago, not thirty: “This is a party that, 20 years ago, would have considered President Obama a moderate Republican and would have embraced most of the Affordable Care Act, because after all – it was their idea.” Twenty years ago, Clinton became President but I agree more with the author that Republicans took a worse turn more recently with the Party takeover by neocons who kept the religious right loyal by offering them rhetoric and mostly failed promises. Corporatism was always the priority of neocons as it is with the Obama administration today, not religious scruples. I think that we would have to go back to Eisenhower though to find a Republican President who enthusiastically built highways albeit using the premiss of national defense to be consistent with the 10th Amendment.

      I think that the Heritage Foundation developed the framework for Romneycare as a state health program rather than a federal program; not that the same 10th. Amendment ever got in the way of Democrats.

      • crepuscle

        The first line of the piece is “For over three decades now.”

      • strayaway

        I was responding to Glebec who made a point about “30 years ago”. So what’s your point?

      • Wingborn

        The 10th Amendment never got in the way of the Republicans either.

    • Pjs8200

      Great point! And something that gets overlooked way too much. But being a former Republican myself, it’s easy to sit here today and pick out some real turning points over the past 30 years. One of those for me is if Phil Graham had never been reelected in Texas, would we have had the Glass-Steagall repeal and a derivatives market…and consequently, would the economy still have tanked in 2008?

      • Valerieann Kiser

        i think if that was in place we would of not crashed as hard as we did in 2008 and took the world with us. Lets hope senator Edwards can get some progress in this area


    Any time I hear or see someone stating this point of view, it is immediately responded by someone staunchly supporting the GOP with “You were never a Republican, you’re lying.” It never ceases to amaze me how far these people will go to avoid a rational discussion of their irrational behavior.

  • sadfasdfasd

    oh my God what a joke, this article is a steaming pile of bullsh*t.

    • Angela Walker

      Thanks for your factual reply. It’s nice to know some people will always be around to confirm our stereotypes of the Tea Party types.

    • Charlie Patin

      I’m with Angela. You proved the authors point very nicely, sadfasdfasd.

    • meatwad_SSuppet

      Why were the Romneyitres so afraid of the Paulites to the extent that they were ready to start riots over their inclusion? Pity your thoughts have been occupied for some time.

  • B.David

    Your worm’s eye view of the U.S. and it’s Constitution as well as the Republican Party is laughable, if it weren’t for the fact that you have some simple minded followers.

    1st: “denim skirt-wearing religious fundamentalists and snake handlers”… how enlightened you must feel to resort a generalization of Christians down to what is obviously a pitiful few of a party. Take a look at some of the democrats’ shining examples, e.g.- Sheila Jackson Lee and the constituency that keeps electing her.

    2nd- “Dixiecrats who were absolutely repulsed by the Democrats’ move toward the left”, allow me to remind you, Republicans started the civil rights movement, in the South, along with the likes of other Republicans, like Martin Luther King.

    3rd- ” brainwashed by years of growing up in the religious right”, being raised as a Christian is hardly brainwashing. Your parents were obviously honorable people with moral values that this country needs and passed them on to you. Some how, between the clearly liberal influence of your education years, or drugs, or true brainwashing, you have lost these values and the insult to your parents is complete. Nice.

    4th- “I’m just not OK with banks getting handouts…”, you mean the Obama bail outs, not Bush, who proposed TARP, but the democrats’ bail out program that only went to cronies and no oversight whatsoever. Hardly the Republicans’ fault. Remember the Obama “too big to fail” speach.

    5th- The death penalty. The whole country is divided over this issue. You will obviously be surprised to find that the Tea Party is against it, but not for the reasons you might want to think. The appeals process is so expensive and lengthy, it is simply cheaper to lock them away, forever.

    6th- 20 years ago, the democrats would have considered Obama a radical socialist. Which he was (check his history). The Republicans would have considered him a criminal.

    7th- Gun control. You have again not payed any attention to a bunch of ugly facts. Virginia is the latest example, more gun carry equals less crime. Guns prevent, not cause crime. Chicago is a shining example of what more gun control does.

    8th- I too, have read the Constitution. I was a history major, not a political science major (the ‘indoctrination’ of which you speak). The Constitution was not written in code (contrary to Obama’s remark about “must be a lawyer to understand it” [paraphrased]). You clearly have never made the references as to the Founding Father’s additional writings to further their plan and intentions for ‘ The Great Experiment’.

    9th- The ACA was not the Republicans’ idea. Medical reform was. This bastardization of that concept is a direct violation of the Federal Commerse Clause and was only approved by the Supreme Court as a TAX, which, incedentally, also makes it unconstitutional, because it orginated in the Senate.

    Lastly- Homosexuality is simply a perversion like sado masicism or blow up dolls. No one is saying you can’t fall in love with a wood pile, if that’s what turns you on, just stop trying to teach children it’s a ‘normal life style’. ‘Homophobic’ is just another made up word to try to make normal people sound wierd. And birth controlhas NEVER been an issue with Republicans. Abortion is not birth control. It is murder to anyone who understands the sanctity life.

    • Angela Walker

      Wow. Lotsa right wing fantasies cobbled together with a handful of outright lies, all prepared for the cut and pasting with a few alterations whenever you run into one of those evil RINO’s who dares to question the sainthood of Ronald Reagan 😀

      • Charlie Patin

        Angela, Couldn’t have said it better. B.David is so plainly wrong on almost every issue he brings up. He also gives himself away in his last argument when he calls homosexuality a “perversion”. He’s a fundie and fits right in with today’s GOP. He’s represents exactly the kind of party that the author of the piece has rebelled against.

      • B.David

        angie- no fantasies, no lies. All can be sourced with the governments’ own web sights and a history book. Check it out. Any questions feel free to ask!

      • Your belief that growing up in a right-wing fundamentalist household constitutes a Christian upbringing is total fantasy.

      • susan g

        “Your belief that growing up in a right-wing fundamentalist household constitutes a Christian upbringing is total fantasy.”

        Boy, truer words were never spoken!

      • robertallen1

        I remember you from “The Cancer Sell.” How was your trip? I’m flattered that you have decided to follow me, but I am no longer posting on TD. I would like to hear from you. Please try to contact me on this site.

      • susan g

        Hi Robert,
        Trip was great. Three weeks exploring the Amalfi Coast.
        Sorry you have left TD. 🙁
        Rational, intelligent comments are so needed. Please reconsider. Is there another site in particular that you post on? I really enjoyed and appreciated your comments on the topic of alternative medicine and the quacks that peddle it.

      • robertallen1

        I got kicked off because I told a few people what I thought of them. Idiocy, stupidity, ignorance, lying and cheating deserve no respect. I still communicate with Docoman and Jackmax, the guys from Australia. I would really like to keep in touch with you. Is there a way I can provide you with my e-mail address or perhaps you can provide me with yours.
        With bated breath,

      • robertallen1

        Just thought of a better idea. You’re obviously at your computer. My e-mail address is [email protected]. Please contact me there. This message will destruct in half an hour.

      • Guest

        You don’t know me, but my wife and I loved reading your comments on TDF. Sorry to hear you are no longer posting there.

      • robertallen1

        Thank you. If you sign in with a name other than guest, I will be happy to provide you with my e-mail address.

      • Terry Knepper

        what’s a “web sight”??

      • meatwad_SSuppet

        That was no typo… the brain drain proved.

      • stxflyer

        He is not blaming Christians for anything.
        He blaming tealbillies for hiding behind Christianity.
        A valid claim.

      • meatwad_SSuppet

        Yeah, Reagan the “we do not negotiate with terrorists” crack cocaine inventor. The numbers do not lie and he was the tax creator also.

    • Dr. Pommels

      you….. are an idiot…… I would love to debate you point for point, but it would be a waste of energy. I will point out 1 minor little flaw…… saying that the GOP started the civil rights movement is like saying the Whigs started the gun rights movement. It is simply not a relevant argument as nothing resembling the parties in effect at the time still exists.

    • crepuscle

      The Republicans may have started the civil rights movement, but as soon as the Civil Rights Act happened and alienated all those Dixiecrats, they jumped right on the racist train and blew that dogwhistle like their lives depended on it. It’s called the Southern Strategy. It’s a thing. Google it.

    • Jake Criss

      Hard to swallow the truth isn’t it? Until 8 years ago I was also a Republican. Never looking back!

    • notarepub

      I have no time to reply to all of this nonsense…but

      “being raised as a Christian is hardly brainwashing” ahahahahaha, that’s a good one! Omg, oh, wait, you’re serious?

      • meatwad_SSuppet

        I regret that I can only give one approval mark.

  • Elizabeth Blumberg

    I don’t know where you ever got the idea that if you wanted a road fixed or a crumbling bridge repaired or any help for people who need it the GOP was the party to get it done…glad you came around though.

  • Dissenter13a

    I’m still officially a member. I stay mostly for the fundraisers, which provide no limit on sheer mirth.

  • Shakin’ My Head

    This whole article is a very sad generalization. The fact is that neither party really cares about the American people anymore (regardless of all the hoopla about providing affordable healthcare. Affordable? Right! Check again! In case anyone has forgotten, the Administration is bound by law to submit a budget to Congress, but the President chooses to subvert the process and still has yet to submit one in order to hide his spending initiatives. Why is that? Could it be that if the American people saw how he was actually spending their tax dollars everyone would be up in arms? Democrats love to point the finger at Republicans and claim they are in the pay of Big Business, but hell, they take money from them too. Do you seriously think that all that lobbyist money only goes to Republicans??? Big Business plays both sides equally to get their agenda passed. Congress – all of it – is dysfunctional and blaming all of that on the Republicans alone is absurd.

    • Jake Criss

      Wow, aren’t you popular?…LOL

      • Shakin’ My Head

        “Don’t bother me with the facts – my mind’s already made up.” 🙂

  • Jemma

    I’m not a Republican, probably for similar reasons. Unlike you, I can’t become a Liberal. Even though they claim to be inclusive, they are only inclusive when you agree with their ideas and how they are implemented. And while I do believe in helping and taking care of those less fortunate- I’m not a good team player.

  • jerod m laver

    The people jesus would refer to as the least of these has next to nothing to do with money. He is referring to people without him. People who are criminals and need forgiveness. People who CAN be helped. Somebody who does not try to help themself get along should not get health care. If they dont try to change their lives, go to church, get baptized then jesus will not bring them to the kingdom of his father. It is sad, but very true.

    • SadieLechner

      And when do you get off deciding what Jesus meant? “The least of these” means exactly what He said: the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, those with no clothes. Your comment is a prime example of fundamentalism at its worst. God himself said those of pure heart will be welcome. Jesus said nothing about Christians. He was a Jew. You, Jerod, are brainwashed and selfish.

    • Charlie Patin

      There is no jesus, no father, no kingdom. Quit preaching and learn what’s real, not what’s written by some illiterate shepherds 2000 years ago or longer. And more writings that were written about a man who probably never existed of if he did never met the writers. It was all political. Get real jerod.

      • Chris Bronson

        Fact check there is historical evedence that Jesus did exist in the time and place that the bible says. He was executed in the time and place the bible discribes. If the Shepherds were Illiterate how did they write the books?

        The priests and ruling classes or the Roman world were well educated and litterate speaking two or more languages. The Roman world had a litteracy rate over 95% compare that to our Own USA, where we have trouble speaking to our own people.

      • Charlie Patin

        Actually, Chris. They didn’t write the books. The so called books were written by scribes who took plenty of freedom with what they wrote in both the old and new testament. You pretty much backed me up when speaking of the “priests” and “ruling class” of the Roman world. They very likely wrote, or had written, the Gospels for political reasons.

        As for the “evidence” of the existence of Jesus at that time and place, it’s very flimsy. There is nothing said about him in Roman history and the Romans as you eluded to yourself were extremely accurate record keepers. Even if he did exist he was simply a messianic preacher and no way the son of God. The story of his life is simply a retelling of a story that existed in several religions of earlier times. Even that he was born of a virgin impregnated by a god and born on Dec. 25th. All of it borrowed from earlier religions.

      • “There is nothing said about him in Roman history”. I take it you’re not familiar with Tacitus then.

      • Mr. Two

        Tacitus wrote about the burning of Rome being pinned on the Christians, and includes a bit of background information on the origins of the Christian religion. He had no way of knowing whether Jesus was real or not, and in fact didn’t seem to know the name Jesus, only that one called “Christus” was supposed to have been executed by Pontius Pilatus. The was written in 116 AD, and based on an understanding of the cult’s claims, not, apparently, on official records.

      • Chris Bronson

        So you have moved from he never existed to there is little “evidence”. “nothing said about him in Roman history” except the roman emperor giving permission for the new religion to exist and mentions by the Jewish historian Josephus. Also it is well known that Jesus was not born on Dec 25 but rather in the spring of the year. The date was moved in the 5th century along with several others. As for the Roman government writing the Gospels for political reasons they had bigger things to worry about like the riots the Christians were causing and the recurring civil wars the empire was going through. lastly scribes were paid to make accurate copies of documents not change them, much as typist do today.

      • meatwad_SSuppet

        The only evidence comes from those desperate to make it fit.

      • meatwad_SSuppet

        Explain why religious archaeologists have been looking for anything to confirm those stories and they keep coming up short. Because it was lies made up by controllers. Have you ever noticed they keep making the bold pronouncements that they have found a new piece of evidence for those stories claims, only to be shot down when thoroughly investigated. Well you probably have not learned those truths, because the typical one like you places fingers into ears and chants LaLaLaLaLa-I can’t hear you-LaLaLaLa,,,

    • crepuscle

      “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

      “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

      “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

      “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

      Matthew 25:41-46

      Says nothing about deserving help, only needing it. And it certainly says nothing about going to church and getting baptized to qualify. Your line of reasoning is EXACTLY why these things should not ever be left up to churches and charities.

      • meatwad_SSuppet

        A woman called into a radio program last night in a desperate position. She called about 20 different religious groups asking for help and each one turned her away. This is what the Reaganites claim will be there for those in need. The catholic church was among those she called for help, and told by them where the nearest FULL shelter was located.

  • Valerieann Kiser

    i could not of stated this better myself
    my feelings exactly

  • jeffromac23

    what I fell to understand is how we let corporations make billions of dollars in profits off the defense industry. Essentially the make money off of our government protecting their intrest around the world and then pay dividends to the people that hold stock in them corporations. Take Haliburton for example before Iraq their stock sold for around six dollars a share and went up to over a hundred dollars a share. There are people becoming very rich from these wars and I have a problem with that and would like to belive most Americans would too.

    • Pjs8200

      Jeff, I’ve pondered the same thing for years and here’s what I see. For quite a few years now, the general public has become less and less interested in politics, while at the same time complaining that Washington is broke, and not paying attention to who broke it and more importantly why.
      Combine that with the long held notion in this capitalist nation, people who are wealthy automatically are thought of as really intelligent. Over the past 30 years Washington has become comprised mostly of wealthy people, and as it turns out, have had an agenda for a long time, it’s just become overtly visible in the past couple elections. Rich people looking out for themselves (while professing to be there to help the little guy) hand in hand with the public voting for someone to go worry about all that nonsense so they don’t have too.
      While things are getting better in regards to more of the public really taking note of what’s going on, too many more are either oblivious, or consciously still want no part of the process. Millions are affected by FOX’s outright lies and fabrications which doesn’t make getting the truth out any easier.

      • meatwad_SSuppet

        The “trickle down” lie. If you want total growth to an economy, you have more people from the bottom buying a wider variety of goods that then more businesses would then provide. When the economic demands are from the top few, you have a very limited business structure to provide it. Funny that the trickle down phrase was started all all, the pee-ons get the yellow flow.

      • vivian

        Reagan also did away with a lot of FCC regulations that, I feel, have had dire effects to our society. Reagans lifted the ban on one person owning too many media outlets, there used to be a limit. He lifted the ban on advertising aimed at children. He lifted the ban on advertising prescription medications. He also lifted some regulations dealing with the definition of “news”, and what is and isn’t allowed in a news broadcast.

      • Pjs8200

        Reagan was all about deregulation. I remember distinctly back in the mid 80’s when he was pushing cable TV deregulation. I happened to be working in that field at the time and was paying particular attention. Those who opposed it claimed it will dramatically increase what we as consumers are going to end up paying. He stated that the deregulation would allow competition to regulate rates in the market place. I called bullshit. So the industry was deregulated and all of a sudden you saw operator after operator merge and get bought up by their competition until you arrive at what we have today. Where there used to be hundreds of cable operators, there are now 9 major players for the whole country. Where I live in Tennessee the only choice I have is Comcast…period. My cable bill back then was about $20 a month even w/ premium channels. Today, it’s about $170 without any premium channels. All the deregulation allowed was the creation of monopolies and encouraged price fixing…..period.
        And this is why it’s only the right who are all about deregulation…they’re only interested in profits, not people

  • Jim Brown

    I can see where the GOP will soon split into two parties. One will be a party of moderatyes, and the other by the far right wing, religious, corporate loons.

    • joe

      So you mean the Democrats and the Republicans?

      • Jim Brown

        No, I mean a party of right wing, hate filled, Bible thumping, money grubbing, war mongering, homophobic, women deriding, fascists, and another of more level headed REAL Republicans.

  • der spud

    Me too. Voted Republican until the second term of Dubya (I’m 66 yr old).

  • Andrea Jones Torres

    Excellent. Common Sense, as Thomas Paine would say.

  • Guest

    Thank you for your sane message. Hope more feel this way. There are some decent Republicans, even Colin Powell who was bamboozled into giving that UN speech that got us into Iraq. McCain is fairly decent, but he agreed to have palin as running mate, and I sm not sure that is forgivable. He went against his own conscience on that deal, I think.

    The type of Republicans we need are NOT the types would go around shooting off their mouths and wavig guns and being stupid. They DO have to start being the STUPID PARTY, the stupid and ARMED party. The shoot themselves in the foot party, not even realizing. The abject cruelty of this cell of the Republican party is just not to be tolerated.

    I was a Republican…a middle school Nixonette. I guess I kinda got over it when Kennedy seemed like a decent and inspiring person. Then Texas killed him…and damed if Texas isn’t doing it again. I know there are decent folks there, and wish them all the best to regain the humanity again. Johnson was from Texas, remember…and he got through all those civil rights measures.

    • meatwad_SSuppet

      Powell was not bamboozled, he was a willing liar. McCain is insane and a traitor that should be bunking it in Leavenworth for the rest of its miserable existence.

  • Carol Wright

    Thank you for your sane message. I am sure other Real Republicans feel this way as well. I am not sure you should switch to Democratic right now, plenty of time to do that before elections. But every day Republicans should speak out against this tyranny of the tinheads… The moderates must not give up.. now the minority in the senate can call the shots with their filibuster threats. The 40% are ruling the true majority. it is a revolting situation.

  • (applause) This is pretty much why I say that old political terms (and establishing solidarity on them) are fairly useless now; none of them mean what they did twenty, ten, or even five years ago. Now it’s just Crazy vs Sane.

  • mueizzathecat

    I miss the old days of Bean counters and accountants in the Republican Party…now they all need to be committed for the safety of the United States,,

  • Neighbor55

    I agree completely.

  • Hill Bill

    Contrast conservatism with neo-conservatism. What most of you are railing against isn’t conservatism. The GOP isn’t what it used to be, no sh!t, how about you sharpen up and detect why. Then instead of running away all disappointed and dejected, how bout you try resuscitate it.