After the thrashing Mitt Romney took in November, and the repeated rejection of politicians like Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin, you’d think the GOP would get the message — running candidates who espouse beliefs that the majority of Americans outside the backwoods and hollers of the Bible Belt find repulsive is a losing strategy. What’s so hard to comprehend about that?
Instead of moving toward the political center and taking more moderate, common sense positions on issues like preventing mass shootings, the GOP has instead decided to double down on stupid. Like a desperate, drunken gambler slumped over a seedy dog track poker table at 1 AM, they keep pushing all in with a 2-7 offsuit in the hopes that somehow they’ll catch a lucky hand.
The problem for the GOP is that for too long now, they’ve relied on the votes and support of religious fanatics, UN takeover conspiracy theorists, gun nuts and the Dixiecrats who came over at the beginning of the “Southern Strategy.” What was initially a symbiotic relationship has now become a hostage situation they cannot get out of without becoming politically irrelevant sooner rather than later.
As a former member of the GOP, I have no sympathy for the bind they are now in. The party decided to sell its soul for political power and corporate dollars. Gone are the days of Eisenhower and the 1956 Republican platform. Seriously, just look at these snippets of what Republicans used to support, as stated in that platform:
Support for equal rights:
“We shall ever build anew, that our children and their children, without distinction because of race, creed or color, may know the blessings of our free land.”
“We recommend to Congress the submission of a constitutional amendment providing equal rights for men and women.”
Support for a social safety net:
“We are proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs—expansion of social security—broadened coverage in unemployment insurance —improved housing—and better health protection for all our people. We are determined that our government remain warmly responsive to the urgent social and economic problems of our people.”
Support for the minimum wage:
“The record of performance of the Republican Administration on behalf of our working men and women goes still further. The Federal minimum wage has been raised for more than 2 million workers. Social Security has been extended to an additional 10 million workers and the benefits raised for 6 1/2 million. The protection of unemployment insurance has been brought to 4 million additional workers. There have been increased workmen’s compensation benefits for longshoremen and harbor workers, increased retirement benefits for railroad employees, and wage increases and improved welfare and pension plans for federal employees.”
The Republican Party of the 1950’s was also pro-labor:
“Revise and improve the Taft-Hartley Act so as to protect more effectively the rights of labor unions, management, the individual worker, and the public. The protection of the right of workers to organize into unions and to bargain collectively is the firm and permanent policy of the Eisenhower Administration.”
These are but a few of many examples of what Republicans used to stand for when they were indeed, “The Grand Old Party.” However, it’s not a “Grand Old Party” anymore. The big tent that once covered the middle class is now tattered and torn. What was once “grand” now resembles a bizarre carnival of snake oil salesmen and snake-handling End Times preachers. If the moderate Republicans don’t take their party back soon, it’s game over for the GOP.
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