Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Founder of Dartmouth Review: The Republican Party has Become the Stupid Party

Jeffrey Hart, founder of the Dartmouth Review, and speechwriter for Reagan and Nixon, proclaims the GOPthe 'stupid party':

So here we are in 2008. With its indispensable Southern and, more widely, evangelical base, the Republican Party has become the stupid party.

In the election, the McCain-Palin ticket received the highest percentage of votes in South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia. The Southern Strategy succeeded. It succeeded in facilitating a Democratic landslide. This can not be good for the nation. We need two viable parties.

Sarah Palin is now the heroine of the Republican base. Scary. During the campaign it became obvious that she is completely ignorant on the principal issues. It never became widely known that she is a religious nut: she believes in the imminent End of Days and the “Rapture,” in which the saved will be suddenly wooshed up to heaven—a notion that has no basis in scripture or anything else. She believes she was elected governor because of a laying-on-of-hands by an African clergyman who had run a witch out of town for causing automobile accidents.

This stuff makes William Jennings Bryan look like Martin Heidegger. I think the recent electoral disaster will energize reasonable Republicans to form a caucus with the party. Eisenhower was a prudential, common sense Republican, who loathed extremism and arrogant ignorance. He knew the New Deal could not be repealed. He once said that Senator William Knowland “tested the limits of human stupidity.” Despite Watergate, Nixon was a successful center-right president, and first-rate on foreign policy. Reagan too was a successful center-right president. It is no accident that in the election, Julie Nixon Eisenhower and David Eisenhower supported Obama.

In its embrace of the religious right under George W. Bush, the Republican Party became the stupid party. And committing suicide along with it has been the conservative movement. The party united around god, guns and gays is finished.

Hart rightly sees that the GOP is fighting on the wrong side of history on many issues such as women's rights, abortion, stem cell research, homosexuality, and many others. And in doing so, 'conservatism' has morphed to essentially mean 'ignorant rebellion against social progress'. The GOP is certainly finished as the majority party until it comes up with a way to attract newer voters without antagonizing those it has catered to these last decades. Given the support that Sarah Palin continues to get, that day doesn't look like it will be any time soon.

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