The Death of the Eisenhower Republican
(This post was from my old blog and written in 2011. I’ve decided to repost it here today for others to read since the old blog is no longer active.)
There was a time, barely remembered today, when the idea of bipartisanship really seemed reasonable. There was once a kind of Republican, now driven to the verge of extinction, called the “Eisenhower Republican.” Today, the equivalent beast would be called a “Moderate Democrat.” The Republican Party itself has largely purged itself of Eisenhower Republicans like myself in its radical shift to the right.
I have always been a Republican. But even the earliest President I remember, Ronald Regan, though a crazy old actor with a penchant for placating the religious, wasn’t as bad as some of the Republicans of today. It was Nixon though, probably unintentionally, that began the decline of the Eisenhower Republican. Some of those he brought into government are the very same “barking crazy rightwingers” who have systematically started destroying our nation under Bush. That, combined with Nixon’s spectacular and televised downfall, discredited the reasonable, moderate Republican. The Democrats, then more liberal than now, were ready to take advantage of Nixon’s downfall, and the far right wing Republicans, then marginalized but poised to strike, were ready to begin their plans to take over the nation through lying, stealing and cheating.
One man had a small chance of saving the Eisenhower Republican: President Gerald Ford.
Gerald Ford had been a well-respected Congressman, someone who could work with both parties to get things done. As criminal charges consumed Nixon and his administration, Gerald Ford was the last chance Republicans had of restoring respectability. Centrist, traditionalist and all around nice guy, Ford might have been the only person who could have saved the Republican Party from being taken over by extremists or lapsing into obscurity.
Pardoning Nixon and the stagflation Ford inherited from Nixon pretty much made it impossible for Ford to succeed. In the end, a moderate Democrat (Jimmy Carter) defeated Ford for President, and the right wing fringe of the Republican Party swept in to destroy the Eisenhower Republicans and take over. Those right wing nutcases have not only gone to great lengths to destroy our Constitution and to run up the biggest budget deficits in hitsory, but have also by now alienated moderate Republicans. The death of the Eisenhower branch of the Republican Party was one reason why Democrats won the last presidential election.
Just because the Republican Party is now nearly completely dominated by anti-democracy, right wing fools, and the Democrats are winning by appealing to American moderates, don’t think that the Democrats are doing fine. As you can tell from the last mid-term elections, Obama has done a good job of alienating many of those moderates because of his extremely left policies.
America has always been and should remain a two-party system. Why? Because we, as a culture, divide pretty solidly into Federalist and State’s Rights camps…strict interpretation vs. loose interpretation of the Constitution… These are very real ambiguities within our system, left ambiguous by those who formed our government, and it is the give and take between these two views of government that has made our nation strong. The big danger now is that one party, the Republicans, have been taken over by a group that believes in neither of these philosophies of government except as a way of fooling voters. Instead, the barking crazy rightwingers have, in essence, thrown the whole Constitutional dichotomy out the window and have tried instituting a one-party, Soviet system of crony capitalism, corruption and war profiteering.
I have always been a Republican and almost certainly will remain a Republican for life. Why? Because I like the fact that the Republican Party represents America’s diversity in almost every way and, by and large, is more representative of the average American than the more leftist, pro-socialist Democrat Party. I’m not talking about Sarah Palin’s America either.
I want a healthy, moderate Republican Party, the Eisenhower Republicans, to balance the two-party American system. That is why Ford’s failure to hold the line against the right wing extremists within the Republican Party is a shame and why I was saddened by Ford’s death the day after Christmas in 2006.
Since Ford’s presidency, the entire track of the Republican Party has been towards more and more extremism, more and more lies, more and more greed, and more and more corruption. Almost every traditional, Eisenhower Republican ideal has been thrown out by the barking crazy right-wingers, as the three largest deficits in our history came from Reagan, the elected Bush and the little Bush and as the idea of “small government” has been thrown out the window in a greedy rush to publicly fund the corrupt military-industrial-religious extremist complex.
I can only hope that the Republican Party can rediscover its Gerald Ford/Dwight Eisenhower side and reject the extremists who currently control our Party.