Not Your Father’s GOP…

Younger Americans don’t understand–probably cannot understand–how far the political pendulum has swung since 1980.

1980 was the year Ronald Reagan ran for President, and I ran for Congress. We were both Republicans, both excoriated as “too conservative.”

Today, Reagan would be too liberal for the “Freedom Caucus” and other far rightwing activists who have taken over the GOP in the intervening years. As for me, I haven’t changed my basic political philosophy at all (although I have changed my position on some issues after learning more, or examining accumulating evidence), and I’m now considered a wild-eyed liberal. At best.

Every once in a while, an old-time Republican decides to violate Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment (Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican), and publicly bemoan what has happened to a once-sane and responsible political party. Most recently, that person was Bob Dole. (I have a soft spot for Dole for a number of reasons, not least because his political action committee financially supported my campaign “back in the day.”)

In a recent interview on MSNBC, Dole bemoaned the current state of the Republican party, which he said had become “an extreme group on the right.” Dole harshly criticized Donald Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States, calling Trump “over the top” and saying that he “couldn’t understand” how people supported him.

Dole also opined that Ted Cruz is far too extreme, and not at all a traditional conservative. He criticized Cruz’ so-called Senate “achievements” of shutting down the government twice and calling Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) a liar on the Senate floor.

Dole, like many traditional and Reagan-era Republicans, represent an era that modern conservatives constantly idealize but is seriously disillusioned with the current extremism and ignorance of the Republican Party, which he’s said is “out of ideas.” Dole also said that he doubted Ronald Reagan would win the nomination if he ran in the current extremist climate of the Republican Party.

In the ultimate heresy, Dole also praised President Obama, calling him a “very good man.”

While saying that he probably wouldn’t support Hillary Clinton in a potential general election matchup with Trump or Cruz, Dole suggested that he wouldn’t be able to bring himself to vote for either of those Republican demagogues, saying with a laugh that he “might oversleep” on election day.

A good number of the remaining reasonable, disheartened Republicans are likely to oversleep on election day–or even vote Democratic.

After all, you don’t have to be excited about Hillary Clinton to recognize the gulf between competent and crazy.


  1. The Huffington Post quoted Trump and said “wow, he told the truth”. They were referring to Trump saying during the debate that we should have stayed out of the middle east and spent that 4 trillion on new infrastructure, new highways, airports, electrical grid, etc. When I saw that during the debate, I spoke to the TV and said “well that’s what Bernie Sanders has been saying for years!” That’s the fact folks. Can you imagine what we could be like had we not gone to war?

    I think it was Rubio who said that the middle east has been at war for centuries and they have to fight it out for themselves. But it appears that the MIC is doing all of the lobbying in Congress so we go to war despite protests from us, the little people. And then Christy said something about these congress critters acting like all of this happened behind their back (or so) but they were there! They voted for these things! Moments of truth from the GOP were refreshing to see.

    I was never into politics before 2006 so I had no idea how messed up our political process was but the more I read, the more I understand how our dear Professor could switch parties and be a sane voice in the midst of the internet. I’m just glad that I found her and can nod my head all of the way over here in Europe. I look forward to her posts every day (which are afternoons for me).

    Oh and global warming…we’re having lovely weather over here. It’s 54 degrees right now and its supposed to be in the mid-50s until after Christmas. I saw a mosquito today too. Have a great weekend everyone. Cheers.

  2. The Republicans in my neck of the woods are complaining daily about their clown car candidates, yet would vote for any of them over a Democrat. Judging by the subjects that they bellyache about, they have fallen hard for the propaganda that is put out there to control them and to convince them that Democrats are evil and out to destroy our country. Unfortunately, they are too closed minded to see how they are being manipulated.

    One of the most annoying things they complain about is being politically correct and apparently that is why Trump has been so successful. However, I fail to see the political correctness by other candidates that they complain about. Maybe they are directing all of those comments at President Obama.

  3. Ken Glass – provide us with the ability to access and review the Oregon University study that you cited yesterday, since you are accusing me of disagreeing with it out of convenience.

    If you cannot provide access to the study you referred to, then you absolutely should not be using it to criticize any of us or any of the insurance programs.

    I stand by the statements that I made yesterday and by how ridiculous your statement that being on Medicaid is worse than being uninsured. Come on!

  4. I couldn’t believe how many times the candidates spoke of ‘Obama and Clinton’ like they were married or something. It’s funny to me because Obama is a lame duck. He’s termed out and yet, they constantly compare their views with Fox News’ version of this administration.

  5. Bob Dole could play political hardball with the best, but he always understood that there was a job to do–run the country. That responsibility seems to be off the radar screens of too many candidates these days.

  6. Nancy; I stand with you on your comments and stand by my own. I questioned Ken Glass as to how many decades old his statistics were in that comment. Generally; I don’t consider his comments worthy of response but…the current situation regarding annual deductibles in the thousands, with health care now required by law, I had to add my 2 cents worth. My son and daughter-in-law have one son (they have 3) with a disability, she was injured (permanent injuries) three times on her job due to unsafe conditions so they are donating $450 monthly to Anthem/Blue Cross Blue Shield and paying all medical expenses due to their $9,600 annual deductible. Their monthly premium goes up to $520 in January.

    Haven’t seen any further news about the possibility of a major provider in ACA dropping out due to low enrollment. This is of course due to the Republican states not allowing residents to apply directing to ACA unless and until they have been denied coverage by the dozens of providers in the state system. This is unAmerican at least and illegal at most.

  7. There is a warped sense of entertainment watching many of the the R presidential candidates. “I laugh, lest I cry”. – Shakespeare. The two or three proven capable of governing are single digit in polls. The observation that a Reagan or Dole would not appeal to the new R party is unfortunately too accurate for the health of reasonable governance.

  8. Did you notice that when talking about the Mideast, the GOP debaters include in their mantra that the Arab states need to fight terrorism but almost never mention another Mideast state, Israel? Do the GOP debaters fear losing Jewish-American votes? With all the F35 planes and other U.S. war materiel supplied to Israel let Israelis do the carpet bombing of Syrian targets

  9. JoAnn, regarding your statement “This is unAmerican at least and illegal at most” : I must politely disagree with you – I believe that this is now the American way and maybe always has been.

  10. Nancy; I don’t remember ever seeing anyone denied the right to apply for whatever health care – or any form of insurance coverage – we opted for. They all wanted our business and our money.

  11. JoAnn, what I was referring to is the GOP’s efforts to make obtaining insurance through the ACA as difficult as possible – part of their plan to destroy the ACA or at least make people hate it.

  12. Anne Bolyen, showing a great deal of prescience, said of Catherine of Aaragon: ‘I am her death and she is mine’ realizing the status quo was what kept her on top, and with out the pressure returning Catherine to the throne Anne was toast. Same can be said of the true left. Sheila, while you are mourning the Nixonian Republicans, I have the same comment. After decades (starting long, LONG before the 80’s) of marginalizing, impoverishing, and killing any potential pushback from the left, the Republicans were left the field. Too bad you were so thorough in your purging.

  13. Yes, the GOP is so far left they have no appeal to Americans anymore. That must be why they have won a record number of Governorships, state legislative bodies and hold historic majorities in the US House and Senate, all accomplished since 2008. But, hey, let’s instead listen to Bob Dole. He was such a terrific candidate…not.

  14. Another day, another topic. But we haven’t finished the last one yet. Ken Glass is still explaining the magic of ACA. How common sense doesn’t apply in the world of conservatism such that ACA which does nothing about health care costs other than getting people to pay their own, and does nothing to health care insurance other than insist that it actually covers health care cost risks, is causing the problems that Hillary was prevented from solving 25 years ago.

    Ahh today’s topic – how is the wealthy people’s Union trying to screw us today? By being extremely extreme.

    Ronnie was nothing but a two bit cowboy actor who let others run the country. A really nice guy but for one famous line in his script. We’ll never know who put it there. (My) government is a problem, not a solution. True, but solvable by not electing any more unqualified Presidents. Alas and alack (or is it ALEC?) we did not heed Ronnie’s fatherly advice and put Bushes in power (well that’s who we elected. We actually put Halliburton Inc in power)

    Imagine the celebration at the aristocrat’s picnic!

    We are, as AA graduates often opine, “recovering”.

  15. Republican discomfort with Republican politicians is a reality within Indiana politics as well. Hoosier Republicans used to be outspoken supporters of excellent public schools and sensible education policies. They opposed aid to private schools as a foot in the door to government regulation of private schools and an unconstitutional drain on the public treasury. They felt school boards should be accountable to local taxpayers and that public school financial and business matters should be transparent with accountability to local voters. They believed that government closest to the people should make governmental decisions.

    Now state (and national) legislative Republicans, Mitch Daniels, ex-State Supt. Tony Bennett and Gov. Pence embraced federal mandates for local schools. What the federal government didn’t already micro-manage, the state government would decide for local school communities. State government has continually grabbed power from local school and municipal governments.

    These politicians seek to turn as many public schools as possible into a boon for private, for-profit school management companies in charter and private schools whose boards are not elected by voters. The public is not invited to their meetings, and for private schools, the public has no right to inspect their budgeting or finances. Students who have mental and physical disabilities that make them more expensive to educate are turned away by many charter and private schools despite these schools’ acceptance of public funds from the families whose children are turned away.

    Very visible evidence of the break with the GOP of the past is the Republicans for Glenda Ritz Facebook network. When an observer commented that the group were not Republicans at all, it unleashed torrents of self-described, life-long Republicans who were only too happy to detail how the current GOP has LEFT THEM. Sheila, you have lots of company with former Republicans who no longer recognize their party.

  16. Look at Michael Moore protest/letter to Trump: “We are all MUSLIMS.” Oh Lordy, I don’t want war.

    My parents became GOPs too but as someone pointed out, the GOP of Ike’s time wasn’t today’s GOP. What strategy you have to stop Cruz who is a True Believer, a Dominionist?

  17. Pete; I posted this sometime in the distant past on Sheila’s blog but your comments about Ronnie deserves this addition to your view of his acting “skills”.

    Ronald Reagan’s first speech to the public after inauguration began with this statement, “It is the best of times, it is the worst of times; as Charles Dickens said in his novel, ‘A Christmas Carol'” I have often wondered when the symptoms of his Alzheimer’s first appeared.

  18. Muslims are to a large extent the ones on the ground in Syria fighting the Taliban. We (The US, France, Russia maybe) support them hoping that, like the Russians in WWII, it will be their bodies, not ours, that wear down our common enemy, who are the leading threat to us only in terms of extremely unlikely, but devastating to fearful people, terrorist attacks here.

    The GOP thinks that we ought to ban the relatives of those freedom fighters from escaping the total devastation of their environment in which to raise children by coming here.

    The question is who is the biggest risk to America? Republicans, the families of Muslim freedom fighters, or Taliban terrorists?

    I’m afraid that in this situation our domestic enemies way out weigh our foreign enemies.

  19. I well remember the days when I as a Democrat was tempted to vote for a particular Republican since it was sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the two platforms. Republicans comprised a version of FDR’s New Dealers up until the clueless Reagan, who invited trickle downers and neocons (read fronts for defense contractors) in to run our economic and international shows, and wages, for instance, have been stagnant ever since. Nixon is best remembered for Watergate but he was a liberal by many measures, including one that modern-day Republicans would regard as anathema. Nixon, in trying to cope with complaints about welfare (human, not corporate) proposed a GAW, i.e., a guaranteed annual wage! That was probably a bit too socialistic for even liberal Democrats of that day, and it withered on the legislative vine. Today with a Bernie on the stump and younger people talking like socialists, perhaps the GAW will be re-inaugurated as a serious policy proposal, but don’t hold your breath what with a gerrymandered House likely to remain Republican until the next decennial count.

    Thus while I liked Ike, I voted against him twice. He presided over a government with a tax of over 90% at the top and never once sent a proposal to the Congress that it be lowered. As a military man and accustomed to government spending along Keynesian lines, he spent a bunch on infrastructure (read the interstate highway system), did nothing to contain unions or their right to organize etc. Both he and Truman were exponents of FDR irrespective of party and America enjoyed a golden age in their administrations where the income and wealth turned out by the economy was fairly and equitably shared between labor, investors and corporate managers. The result? Aggregate demand zoomed and millions of Americans were added to the middle class, as opposed to today’s tepid demand and the exodus of millions of the middle class into poverty.

    But back to the point, voting for a Republican by a Democrat and vice versa was not unknown in those days, but the Republican Party has become a hostage of extremism these days whose sole purpose seems to be ruling and not governing, the very antithesis of the democratic values the Founders had in mind when they started this “experiment in democracy.” The theory Jefferson and Madison (via John Locke) had as applied today would tell our senators and representatives that they serve at our pleasure (consent of the governed) and are to represent our interests (not those of Wall Street, the Kochs and other deep-pocketed campaign contributors).

    Indeed the Republicans of today are not anything their fathers would recognize, even adjusted for different issues and intervening events. Their “fathers” correctly surmised that government should work for all of the people, not narrow interest groups who use government for purposes of self-enrichment. As a lifelong liberal Democrat, I agree with the fathers of today’s Republicans, whose vision of America and its people did not have to go through an ideological funnel as their progeny require today. Father did know best!

  20. Jerry, as usual, very well thought out and put.

    A large percentage of both parties will never vote anything but. The effect of this, as the GOP has moved from middle of the road to right extreme, is that dragged many more unthinking votes with them for the sake of the ill considered extremists who took them over.

    The net effect is a small minority that can be mistaken for a majority.

    My personal opinion though is that scam has been revealed to the public now thanks to climate change, immigration, and the pitiful quality of the GOP ticket for President today.

    Will the never vote otherwise switch now? Most won’t, some will. Enough I’m thinking.

  21. Ogden’s earlier comment is correct concerning the various Republican Triumphs at all levels except for Presidency. The Republican Party is different than the one that existed in IKE’s day. I cannot imagine any of the current crop of Republican Candidates like President Eisenhower did to send federal troops to enforce integration in Little Rock. That said the Republicans have been on a ride.

    A big part of that ride IMHO is the Democrat Party is not what it once was either. Bill Clinton had a lot to do with it’s destruction. Would Clinton have been elected if he told the voters in 1992, I am going sign on to NAFTA, Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China, (and send your jobs off shore) the Telecommunications Act (Which allowed the conglomeration of the Media into the McMega-Media), DOMA, eliminate Glass-Steagall. You might have well as voted for Bush the Elder. The Democrats take organized labor’s money but do nothing for them. Well I guess payback from Wall Street is all the speaking fees collected by Bill and $hillary.

    No wonder the Gorebot lost to Bush the younger with all the Clinton baggage. Remember the Gorebot’s Veep Joe Lieberman. Joe Lieberman!!!! The Gorebot even lost his home state.

    Here in Indiana it appears John Gregg will challenge Mike Pence- Wow John Gregg is really going to fire up the Democrats and Independents???

  22. Louie; how much more pathetic can we get in Indiana with Gregg, whom we hardly see or hear from regarding his supposed bid for the governor’s job, or Donnelly whom we can’t count on to vote for much to support Indiana residents? Where are the Democrats of Birch Bayh stature? Are there any in the state? Certainly not Evan; I can’t even think of the name of any Democrat other than Andre Carson worth electing.

  23. @JoAnn Green, I’ve made the comment to my husband and to close friends on more than a few occasions that John Gregg reminds me of a member of an old-time barbershop quartet with his handle-bar mustache. Of course, I’m wrong to judge a man by his appearance; however, appearances do make for perceptions and perceptions more than occasionally are stronger than facts, whether right or wrong.

  24. Speaking of our governor’s office, does anyone think Bill Oesterle might announce a run for this office next year? He has organized a PAC. I don’t know much about him politically since he was a CEO at Angie’s List, but if he runs he could potentially beat Pence. At this point in time, I think even another Republican would be better than Pence.

  25. @Nancy, Pence reminds me of a television evangelist with his perfect hairdo and his Boy Scout squeaky clean scrubbed appearance. Obviously, I’m a victim of appearances for better or for worse.

  26. BSH; regarding Pence’s appearance, since last summer he has looked very tired, more lines in his face and his once Colgate smile now looks forced…if he smiles at all.

    I agree with you about Gregg’s appearance and he doesn’t even seem interested in putting forth the effort needed to be elected. Pence, on the other hand, is appearing more and more in the media and suddenly job and progress announcements are cropping up in the news.

    Nancy; as for Oesterle, he was wishy-washy about which side of the aisle he stood on when he resigned from Angie’s List to put his efforts elsewhere so I wonder about his loyalty. But…I wonder even more about Gregg; does he have the stamina this state so desperately NEEDS at this time?

    My guess is we will end up with Pence staying right where he is; maybe he can “fix” that RFRA again during his next term.

  27. Nancy, my response is a little late in this game, but the New England Journal of Medicine did publish an article addressing Medicaid and uninsured, albeit not exactly yesterday. It was in 2013:

    The article was one of those “randomly selected participant” studies fraught with problems that made it vulnerable to cherry picking, with limited conclusions. The Georgetown University Health Policy Institute states that of course better medical care leads to a better life (, but any study that only looks at a few variables over a period of two years will not be broadly generalizable.

    If you really want to understand the ins and outs of the study, you might go to factcheck ( or ( As usual, most people say that the president cherry picked his data, but Cruz twisted it (surprise! surprise!). In any case, like most studies, this one has its limitations and strengths, but it’s not strong or broad enough to make sweeping negative conclusions. In fact, any group that tries to use it to show that Medicaid is actually better than being uninsured has missed the point of the study and is using it for an ideological agenda. People who are interested should actually read it and learn something.

  28. Louie. Here’s something to think about. Clinton and Obama made the country successful. Bush darn near sunk us. Results count in my book.

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