I knew Ronald Reagan, I voted enthusiastically for him twice. That's probably not the best opening for a diary on the Dkos to get tipped & rec'd, but bear with me. In 1980 I felt the country was going horribly in the wrong direction and I joined the opposition to fight back. I voted a straight Democratic ticket for the first time in my life in 2004 and registered as a Democrat when I moved to Arizona in 2005 for exactly the same reason. I'm fighting harder than ever today to make sure we don't head back in the wrong direction, that we continue full speed ahead in the right direction by reelecting President Obama, kicking John Boehner out of the Speaker's chair, and increasing our majority in the Senate.
As a former Republican it particularly pains me to see how low former "Grand Old Party" has sunk. There has never in the history of our great country been such a group of pompous, lying, self serving bastards as there is now in the Republican Party. I highly recommend the April 27 article in the Washington Post by Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, Let's Just say it: The Republicans ARE the problem.
Mann and Ornstein write:
We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.Emphasis is mine. And brother, did they get it right. Back when The Gipper was President and the Democrats held large majorities in Congress, they played the political game and called each other liars & thieves by day. But in the evening Reagan and Speaker Tip O'Neil would share a glass of whiskey and plot how to get things done for the good of the country. Today, Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader O'Connell don't give a rat's ass about the good of the country, they care only about power, their political power. But at the heart of the problem is a dweeb named Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform. As Mann and Ornstein note, 238 of the 242 House Republicans and 41 of the 47 GOP senators have signed Norquist's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge", which binds its signers to never support a tax increase. But the "pledge" goes far beyond what rational people would consider a tax increase, it even considers closing tax loopholes as "tax increases". Anything that increases a single dollar of income to the federal government is a "tax increase". With such vast majorities of Republicans in Congress bound lockstep into this lunacy it's no wonder compromise is impossible and nothing gets done.
The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved 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 mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.
Let's revisit what actually happened during the Presidency of the great Republican hero, Ronald Reagan. While fondly remembered as an "anti-tax hero", Reagan actually raised taxes eleven times over the course of his presidency. That would include the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, which was the largest peacetime tax increase in American history. And the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984. In fact, from 1981 to 1987 Congress passed and Reagan signed into law tax increases of some nature in every single year. Why would Reagan do such a thing? He explained it in two simple words: Fiscal Responsibility. Choke on that Mr. Norquist.
While he was no champion of gay rights, it was actually Ronald Reagan who helped defeat the hideous Briggs Initiative in California that would have banned gays, lesbians, and even straight supporters of LGBT rights from working in public schools in California. Reagan's opposition to the initiative was instrumental in its landslide defeat by Californian voters. And of course it was President Reagan who signed the law requiring every hospital, including privately owned for profit hospitals, to treat every patient regardless of their ability to pay. And he signed the law granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. In short, any candidate promoting Reagan's policies would be labeled by today's Republican Party as a "tax & spend librul", a "socialist" who want's to take over free enterprise and healthcare, someone who doesn't share the values of "American families", and is an "open borders" advocate. The conservative icon would be too liberal by today's standards of the GOP. To be blunt, today's Republican Party has lost their fucking marbles.
Want to help the Republican Party? Vote the bastards out of office, maybe they'll finally get some sense into their thick heads. Want to help the American people? Get off your ass and get out there and work to reelect President Obama, elect a Democratic majority back in the House, keep our Senate seats in ND, OH, MT, etc., and take back GOP seats in MA, NV, IN, and even one right here in bat shit crazy Arizona!