Monday, October 09, 2006

Republicans who've had it

Surfing on into Kos, I was pleasantly surprised to stumble on this editorial from the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, New York. From the aforementioned editorial, by business editor Douglas Cunningham:

I've had it. The Republican leadership in the House, beginning with Speaker Dennis Hastert, has got to go. As in now. I'm thinking we need to plow through four or five people right below Hastert, too. If the Republican members of the House had any guts, they'd have ousted these people last week. If the Republican leadership had any shame, they would have quit last week.

Apparently, not very many people these days have either, at least in Washington. Anyone who knew anything about the scandal, I want them gone. If the Republicans come to be known as the party that protects gay sexual predators, we're finished. I am not ready to abandon the party of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater to the likes of Mark Foley.

The Hastert storyline is one in which there's no percentage. The most degenerate gambler wouldn't place a bet on Hastert and the rest surviving. The Hastert line is this: I take responsibility, but I've done nothing wrong. This is no worse than Democratic sex scandals. We, personally, have done nothing wrong.

Well, to start with, you did nothing about Foley. Do we need to know more? The Republican sex scandals are suddenly pure and virginal? Foley, to the pier. Hastert, to the bench.

Some of you then trot out, Oh, sure, it's a sex scandal that gets you upset. Everything else was A-OK.

No, it's not just that we understand this sex scandal, though it is awfully easy to understand. Pretty much everyone knows, on a visceral level, that what has gone on with Foley is deeply wrong.

The reason Republicans are bent out of shape is that this Foley scandal is the proverbial last straw. We've had it. The out-of-control spending. The earmarks. The graft with the lobbyists. The arrogance. The abrogation of principles that Goldwater, Reagan and others worked decades to spread.

I saw this crackup coming in 2004, even as the GOP were doing their victory dance. That was the year, after all, that John Eisenhower, son if Ike, announced that he'd switched his voter registration to independent and was voting for Kerry. "The fact is that today’s 'Republican' Party is one with which I am totally unfamiliar," he wrote. The Log Cabin Republicans and Republicans for Environmental Protection refused to endorse the president for re-election. The most surprising Kerry Voter was one Mary Lou Halliburton, whose cousin formed that Halliburton.

Republican dissatisfaction was already there. One disillusioned Republican was Jazz Shaw, who explained his decision to leave the party:
The fact is, what I feel more than anything else is embarrassed. There really isn't a better word. I am, at this point, simply embarrassed to tell anyone that I'm a Republican. I can't even recognize the party anymore, and the damage that the GOP is doing to this country on more levels than I could possibly enumerate in one post is quite simply more than I can stand.

Again, this was in 2004, folks. Right after the election hailed as such a victory for the new, not-so-improved GOP. The GOP that no longer stood for restraint, fiscal responsibility, or individual freedom. Some Republicans were happy to go along for the ride with the "new" GOP. Others didn't.

The rift really wasn't such a long time coming, was it?

Last year, another ex-Republican summarized his disgust as follows:
We're poisoning our planet through gluttony and ignorance.

We're teetering on the brink of self-inflicted insolvency.

We're selfishly and needlessly sacrificing the best of a generation.

And we're lying about it.

While it has compiled this record of failure and deception, the party which I'm leaving today has spent its time, energy and political capital trying to save Terri Schiavo, battling the threat of single-sex unions, fighting medical marijuana and physician-assisted suicide, manufacturing political crises over presidential nominees, and selling privatized Social Security to an America that isn't buying. We fiddle while Rome burns.

Enough is enough. I quit.