Once Upon a Time

I just saw a report about a recent interview with Bob Dole, in which he reportedly said he could not have been elected in today’s Republican party.

Not much later, I opened a book I brought with me—It’s Even Worse Than It Looks, by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein (the latter someone I used to regard in the 1980s as extremely conservative)—and read the following:

[H]owever awkward it may be for the traditional press and nonpartisan analysts to acknowledge, one of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlierideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the center of American politics, it is extremely difficult to enact policies responsive to the country’s most pressing challenges.

 Last night at dinner, the lovely Swiss couple at our table for the first time gingerly broached that “third rail” of conversational amity, politics. They spend four months of each year in south Florida, where their son lives, and it has become obvious during the course of the cruise that they travel extensively.

The dinner discussion was triggered by reports of the bridge that had collapsed in Washington State; they wondered why Americans resented paying taxes that are necessary—among other things—for the maintenance and repair of infrastructure. When we didn’t bristle or become defensive—we agreed that allowing bridges and highways to disintegrate was incomprehensible behavior—they shared their distress over what they see as the appalling rancor, partisanship and short-sightedness of the current Republican party.

I remember when most Republicans were fiscal conservatives and social liberals—when fiscal conservatism meant paying for the wars you fought, and a commitment to limited government meant–among other things–keeping the state out of your bedroom and your uterus.

The next time I hear some yahoo in a tri-corner hat insisting that he “wants his country back” (presumably from the black guy in the White House, and the gay activists and uppity women who think we’re all entitled to equal rights), I’m going to tell him (sorry, but it’s always a him) that I want my party back.

Someone ought to sue the people who currently call themselves Republicans for unauthorized use of the name.


  1. Rachel had Steve Smith (of McCain/Palin campaign) on to discuss Dole’s comments on her show tonight. They discussed how Dole should be listened to and not condemned for his views of that party. If you have internet on your cruise, it might be worth the 10 min to view the conversation.

  2. I have to say that the only people to blame … are Republicans. If the party has run off to the fact-free alternate reality fringe it’s only because people have say quietly by and allowed extreme voices to drown out reasonable ones (ie, Mourdock v. Lugar).

  3. Good grief.

    1) Ornstein isn’t conservative, he’s a RINO. His book is basically a handbook for RINO’s.

    2) Bob Dole and Richard Lugar were RINO’s, both having championed ever-higher spending.

    3) The current Republican party is more liberal than JFK. Nobody on the R side of the aisle ever talks about eliminating the needless Department of Education, for example.

    4) The current Democratic party is ideologically led by statists. I won’t say communists or socialists, because those terms don’t capture the true sense of statism that has taken hold of the Democrats.

    Bridges ? Recently a woman in a small town in Oregon called 911 because a man she knew had threatened to come to her house and rape her. The call was answered, but because of a budget shortfall, there were no police on duty; the town had relied on federal grants to fund police, and when it didn’t get the grant this year, it eliminated night-shift weekend cops. SO the woman was in fact attacked, raped, and strangled, though she lived. Meanwhile, in that town, public schools have seen no cutbacks. What kind of society would rather continue paying teachers outlandishly high wages, at the cost of added rape ?

  4. Eugene, I would venture a guess that the budget shortfall in your probably not true example was due not just to reliance on federal grants, but a lack of local revenue due to you and your ilk’s ability to accept that services (including public safety) cost money and must be funded adequately WITH TAXES to perform adequately.

  5. Lies told often enough become the truth to those who do not question the person or the party spouting the lies. The Repubican party is now built on lies, inuendo, misquotes, out of context statements and money, money, money. Their lies are basically the same but worded differently by the various and sundry party members who count on their constituents to believe and reelect them time and time again. They are like a new form of deadly plague that spreads unchecked with no cure in sight. This is a massive problem that can only be resolved from the inside out by thinking, honest Repubican party members who will stand up for America and Americans. Education, public safety, repairing collapsing infrastructure and common sense has been taken over by sports venues, anti-women, anti-gay, anti-immigration reform and support of the “NO” Repubican platform. Are we doomed to be ruled by those like Pence and Ballard who enact bills giving themselves total control? Beyond here there be dragons!

  6. Bob Dole lost me when he started getting eye lifts, Botox and various other forms of cosmetic surgery so he could fit in with the freak shows shopping on Fifth Avenue and sipping their martinis in trendy Manhattan restaurants.

  7. Eugene, you are what the professor speaks of in this post. Claiming that Dole is a RINO is exactly what she’s talking about.

    And the story you told is true. I read it yesterday and yes, budgets cut the weekend police force and that woman was raped and strangled by an ex. The 911 dispatcher told her to tell the intruder to go away when she called because no one was on duty to come to her place and help her.
    But those budget cuts didn’t include a huge new sports stadium that was being built in town.

    And since when have teachers made so much money? Nowhere in the world are employees forced to get a master’s degree to do their job and make less than 50 grand a year. You are the problem Eugene yet every once in a while, I agree with you. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  8. Who died and left John McCain in charge? We get it that he is trying his best to show President Obama and the Democratic administration in the worst possible light. How dare McCain mess with world affairs? Who does he think he is?

    And bless Bob Dole for what he said about the doors of the republican party and a sign which reads “Closed for repairs”. To go a step farther, the whole party should be razed. Bulldozers need to just push the rubble off a cliff.

    ‘Outlandishly high wages’ for teachers? Hop the next shuttle to Crazytown, Eugene! My Master’s degree plus additional hours didn’t get me anywhere near ‘outlandish’. Over the years I actually lost money since I had to buy many of my supplies and much of the sports equipment for my students…right out of the meager little ‘outlandish’ sum in my pocket. The same is likely very true of Sheila and other teachers present here on her blog.

    As for my students, on their first days on the job, they started at a higher wage than I made on my last day after 40 years of service. Oh, please, Eugene…you’re really out of touch and you don’t even know it. As we say down heah…”Bless your little heart!”

  9. I checked on the woman in Oregon. Apparently the federal money was a timber subsidy that ran out, not funding for police, and the county in Oregon has the lowest property tax rate in the state. They had just turned down, by a narrow margin, a property tax increase that would have provided the needed police protection. Sounds like a county that doesn’t understand the purpose of taxes, but are outraged when they don’t get the services that taxes pay for. Moving toward a clan-based society is not in interest of the common good. Like the guy says, “That’s the rest of the story”.

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