Abraham Lincoln was not the first Republican presidential candidate. The honor belongs to Gen. John C. Fremont, a more radical emancipator of slaves than Mr. Lincoln. From the outset, the GOP started out fundamentally ideological. It’s been that way all of its history.
After the Civil War, Republicans donned “bloody shirts” to punish the defeated South. With the exception of Grover Cleveland’s divided terms, they held on to the White House until Virginia-born Woodrow Wilson interrupted their tenure. When formerly blue-clad veterans died out, the party clung on to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, as the party that supported the boom. The Great Depression followed and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Made famous by the Ziegfeld Follies and early talking pictures, Oklahoma’s Will Rodgers was noted for political prattle that accompanied his rope tricks. The comedian-philosopher once observed that he belonged to no organized party, he was a Democrat. That position survives in me.
As I’ve written before, I’ve supported and voted for more than several Republicans. Not in the recent presidential election: I backed Barack Obama. A son of his GOP opponent recently let the media in on to a “secret,” saying his father did not want to be president. Good! Because he lost the popular vote and the electoral college by big margins.
House Republicans don’t seem to realize their party was “skunked” in November. Last week Speaker John Boehner (OH) was quoted as mistaking the basis; he simple mindedly insisted that the election went his way, looking around the lower House on Capitol Hill. The melodrama in Washington proves how the people don’t vote for the House of Representatives based on national standards. The congressmen get to Washington on state and local issues, except in Mr. Obama’s instance. The first African American president deals with lots of issues. As I’ve written before, racism is but one.
In economically hard times, it makes no sense to fight for the wealthiest two-percent of all Americans. Republican George W. Bush plunged the nation into heavy debt; rather Vice President Dick Chaney pushed the president to it. Argument can be made that the whole collapse started under Jimmy Carter, before Ron Reagan’s eight years, George H.W. Bush’s single term and Bill Clinton’s double hitch. But that doesn’t fly with most Americans. The New Year’s Day fight was really centered by the Bush/Cheney decision to lower taxes on the super-rich.
Mr. Boehner has been quoted as using highly inappropriate language on the Democratic leader in the Senate and a congressman from his own party who needled him about refusing federal relief for the Hurricane Sandy’s destruction. He said to them both a variation of “F... You!” The tensions and strains came through.
Mad-dog Republicans may bring about the political death of their political party: George W. Bush, from where I sit, could be the last GOP White House resident. I don’t like the idea. But still facing reality, it could be true.