"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!" - Barry Goldwater
This is our touchstone of modern Republican thought"crazy is good.
Dwight Eisenhower was a political milk toast, he was a war hero. Truman had tried to lobby him as a Democratic candidate, but he chose Republican. As a way to get California into the Republican electoral camp Ike picked Richard Milhouse Nixon as his Vice President. Nixon needs his own theme music or something like the Batman theme. He is the Fascist Moses, every rock you kick every dirty trick started here first. Drug wars, secret bombings, secret wars and shadow government. Lies, burglaries, enemies list and the view of the national press as an enemy to be destroyed.
Nixon's hubris and plain mean-spirited temperament was his downfall. Yet Nixon met with anti-war protesters and created the EPA. He took a ride with Hunter Thompson his most vocal left-wing critic. Nixon's 1972 health care initiative was downright luxurious when compared with Obama care. When Oliver North began trading weapons for cash he was following in the footsteps of Nixon's Richard Secord. Guns and money, drugs and money, money and drugs with Watergate, Nixon's henchman were cast to the four winds.
They congealed and regrouped under Ronald Reagan, a Horatio Alger story where any boob could be President. Reagan had been president of the screen actors guild as a Democrat. He was hired by General Electric to be a spokes puppet. To make fiery speeches advocating American democracy, Gawd & country patriotism"more is less and less is more. He was elected Governor of California in the turbulent 1960's and became the reactionary Jesus. If students were protesting in California schools, he suggested their scholarships should be cancelled! He called them beatniks, radicals and filthy speech advocates. A Barry Goldwater - Henry Ford hybrid. We hate them because they are not us and we won't listen to them because extremism in the dense of liberty is no vice.
Divide and conquer, name calling is the soup of the day. Lee Atwater, a Republican operative makes race-baiting a political strategy. No more intellectual arguments just call them names and tell them they're going to take your guns. Scare em good, warn them about those bad people. The low level Nixonites were now given new jobs, cabinet positions. Backdoor negotiations with the Aitolia for the release of hostages? We wouldn't do that, and you can't prove it. Treason is only what you can prove, its results that count. And as had been the case before, monkey see monkey do, monkey scandal.
In his run for the White House Reagan was forced with a choice for a running mate. The white supremist, tobacco chewing fire breathing Jesse Helms or the former director of the CIA George W. Bush. Less than ninety days into his presidency the Secret Service walks the President of the United States out the front door of a Washington Hotel and the President is shot. The President's limo driver a Washington native, can't find the hospital and Reagan nearly bleeds to death. The Vice President chairs a cabinet meeting and decides it was a lone gunman, it's always a lone gunman.
Bush had been active in the CIA since the 1950's overtly or covertly. Bush was the backdoor man whether dealing with the Aitolia or Iran Contra. So, it is at least possible he was angling for the big seat with a work of shall we say" finesse? Whether you or I think it is possible it is true the relationship between the Bushes and the Reagans cooled appreciably. Sometime during his second term of office Reagan checked out for the wide-open plains of dementia, aides putting blank pieces or paper in front of him to sign.
The Democrats had their own problems. Jimmy Carter had run on an anti-Washington campaign. Washington adopted an anti-Carter stance. Congressional Democrats saw Carter as a usurper, he wasn't one of the Washington establishment. The congressional Democrats hamstrung the administration as much as Republicans, leaving the Democrats exhausted and rudderless. Ted Kennedy helped elect Ronald Reagan.
George HW Bush was a business man and a millionaire oil man, former bank president and former head of the CIA, former head of the Council on Foreign Relations. Do you notice anything missing in this Resume? He was elected to Congress for only four years. He was a boss man used to giving orders and had problems running the machine. He created the first Gulf War out of blunder and whole cloth with the name April Glasby saying enough. "No new taxes," saying even more. He broke the holy covenant, he tried to do the right thing, but the party is not about the right thing. The Party is about greed and access, about no new taxes and more new tax cuts.
The Reagan Revolution shattered upon the rocks of its moral emptiness. But the Republican majority held sway, do you know what we need"I mean, do you really know what we need? We need New Democrats! Sure, that's the ticket, Democrats who are more like Republicans. Democrats who embrace Republican ideas of more is less. Democrats who embrace tax cuts and welfare reform. Me too Democrats!
Bill Clinton paid down the national debt due in large part by the explosion of the Internet. More credit is due John Kennedy than Bill Clinton. But this opens a new chapter in the Republican Party, the Man of Lamancha Party. Tilting at windmills, everything is a scandal if you investigate long enough. Clinton's inability to keep his fly closed is more than a moral failing. It is a political failing, he didn't just fail his marriage vows, he failed us all. To have all that power prestige and respect and the possibility to do good and to squander it all away for a blow job.
It is traditional for the Vice President of a two-term presidency to get the next shot at the big chair. Al Gore wasn't a bad candidate, he wasn't boring, but he wasn't awe inspiring either. It is that we can't unite around a candidate unless he's perfect thing that infects the Democratic Party. Gore didn't make many mistakes other than coming along at the end of eight years of Clinton. It made it possible for the first time in memory to see a Presidential election stolen by Republicans and the Supreme Court. All powers not listed in the Constitution reside in the state, meaning how elections are handled are up to the State of Florida. The party of States Rights and smaller government, the party of law and order out to thump the noses of activist judges. Seeks relief from the law and Constitution. This was a new low or new high depending how you judge such things. Roger Ailes promised a permanent Republican majority. Then 9-11 but what's a little treason when there's a lot of money to be made?
There is irony in all this blood carnage and tragedy, you get what you deserve. The William F. Buckley's and Pat Buchanan's replaced as obsolete by Jim Jeffries and Duncan Hunters. A ghostly shell making threats and innuendos at witnesses. Digging their nails into steel trying to hang on without ideas, policies or promises.
Trump is the end, the end of all that the Republican Party has stood for, individualism, self-reliance and a big fat trust fund. After forty years of Republicanism, we have crumbling infrastructure, equity inequality rivaling the Gilded Age. Our streets are filled with homeless and the mentally ill and our cities are crumbling. We have fought endless wars for nebulous ideas for misguided principals of a unitary power. Their veterans and they are THEIR veterans wandering the streets committing suicide at an astronomical rate. The Republican plan"divide and conquer.
We have seen treason and illegalities, graft and corruption or what the Republican's would call forty years of unbridled success. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer. The richest man in America wants three billion dollars upfront to provide low paying jobs"had enough?