Opinion

What has happened to the Republican party | Wally's World

Contrary to what you may suspect, some aspects of the Republican party used to appeal to me. On occasion, I even voted for Republican candidates, especially in state elections.

But this was before the extreme conservative wing of the Party co-opted and seemingly expelled most cultural and economic moderates. A recent Wall Street Journal poll indicates, during the past 10 years, the number of Republicans who describe themselves as moderates had declined from 31 percent to 23 percent. The number who call themselves "liberal Republicans" has nearly vanished.

It appears as though much of the GOP base has turned into an ultra-conservative assortment of fringe groups like the Tea Party, Christian fundamentalists, creationists, warmongers, anti-science zealots, racists and narrow-minded billionaires.

You doubt that? Well then, let's examine some of the proposals of candidate Rick Santorum. Rick is against the "factories we call public schools" and suggests mothers shouldn't work outside the home, but instead should stay home and home-school their children.

He's against colleges, branding them "indoctrination mills that destroy religious faith."  He's also against daycare centers because, as noted, mothers should stay home and raise their kids. He thinks global warming is "phony theology" and "junk science." He'd keep our troops in Afghanistan until they achieve "victory" – however he might define that term – even, apparently, if it takes 20 years. He's against contraception because "it's a license to do things in the sexual realm that are counter to how things are supposed to be." Of course, he's against pro-choice and feels abortion should be completely and absolutely outlawed, even in cases of rape and incest.

So, how about Mitt Romney? Of the present Republican presidential candidates, isn't he a bit more moderate? Yeah, a bit.

Still, Mitt would actually expend all the time and work necessary to pass a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage and that proposition, in and of itself, has lost him the gay vote, which is roughly 10 percent of the electorate. Furthermore, he'd eliminate unemployment benefits and give more tax cuts to the rich. He'd also reauthorize the use of torture. Being Mormon, he's not particularly fond of birth control, so he'd do away with the government's Planned Parenthood program.

Many, if not most, Republicans don't like Mitt; first, because he isn't conservative enough and, second, because they don't think he can win the November election.

I agree with the second point. His personality just seems too flat and robotic. I don't think he could win a local mayoral race, let alone the presidency.

Though Ron Paul no longer seems to be a viable candidate, he still commands a significant following in Republican circles – and he's the most radical of all. He calls himself a "libertarian" Republican and, as such, he would legalize drugs, everything from pot to heroin. (This might be an idea that's worth exploring, but it certainly isn't a position that will get him elected president.) He'd scrap many cabinet posts, including the departments of Interior, Education and Commerce. Then he'd do away with the Federal Reserve, Social Security and income tax. (Talk about a reactionary!)

I mean, really friends, what the hell's happened to the Republican Party?

What few moderate Republicans are left have asked the same question. They're as shocked and appalled as I am. Rudy Giuliani observes that the GOP "looks like it isn't a modern party." No lesser politician than Jeb Bush, youngest of the Bush Dynasty, wonders if he's still in the same party.

"I used to be a conservative," he recently said, but apparently he isn't sure anymore.

So it goes.

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