Tag Archives: 11th commandment

Ronald Reagan would be aghast at GOP’s internal strife

I wasn’t a fan of President Ronald Reagan. I voted against him twice, in 1980 and 1984.

As the years have gone on and as I look back at the late president’s legacy, I am struck by one element of the manner in which he governed. He governed with a measure of good will toward his foes.

Yes, he could blister liberal Democrats with the best of ’em. He did so with a touch of humor. You’ve heard as well about his personal friendship with the late Democratic U.S. House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill.

President Reagan also crafted what he called the “11th Commandment,” which was that “Republicans shall not speak ill of other Republicans.”

That “commandment” has been tossed into the crapper, onto the scrap heap, burned, torn to shreds. You name it, today’s Republican Party has abandoned the 11th Commandment with a vengeance.

Don’t misunderstand: I don’t have a particular interest in seeing Republicans lock arms, hug each other’s necks, sing from the same hymnal page. I’m just amazed as I watch GOP officials lambaste each other how irrelevant their idol’s admonition has become in today’s climate.

The most glaring and daring example of Republican cannibalism involves Roy Moore, the Alabama candidate for the U.S. Senate. He is accused of making improper advances on underage girls. Congressional GOP leaders want nothing to do with this guy. Moore in return as all but declared political war on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; other senators are backing McConnell, with many — if not most — of them withdrawing their endorsement of Moore. They believe the accusers’ account of what Moore allegedly did.

What might the former president think of all this? What might President Reagan say to his fellow Republicans? Indeed, would the president stand with the Alabama candidate or would he choose to believe the man’s accusers?

This isn’t The Gipper’s Republican Party. Of that I am certain. Indeed, my strong hunch is that President Reagan’s affection for the likes of Speaker O’Neill might subject this once-beloved political figure to much of the intraparty condemnation he once banned.

The Gipper would be a sad Republican today

Ronald Reagan once coined a well-known commandment for fellow Republicans to obey.

“Thou shalt not speak ill of fellow Republicans,” according to the former president’s 11th commandment.

Wherever he is, the late president would be mighty steamed at what is transpiring within his beloved Republican Party. Present-day GOP members have turned on each other. They are attacking each other with teeth bared, knives drawn, with bloody brass knuckles.

Who, do you suppose, is the lead attack dog? I believe I would hang that label on the president of the United States, Donald John Trump.

The president has thrived in this contentious intraparty environment. His so-called “base” sticks with him through thick and thin, even as he trashes the party leadership. This Republican vs. Republican mentality has seeped down through the political ranks.

The recent Alabama special GOP primary election provides a clear example of GOP cannibalism. Roy Moore, the winner of the primary runoff, took dead aim at congressional establishment Republicans; he aligned himself with Trump. So did the man he defeated, U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, who Trump backed in the primary; Strange held up Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as an example of what is wrong with the party.

All across the land, we’re seeing Republicans attacking Republicans. Right here in the Texas Panhandle, for instance, the Randall County GOP wants to oust Republican Texas House Speaker Joe Straus because Straus isn’t “conservative enough” to suit the zealots who comprise the Randall County party leadership.

Tennessee U.S. Sen. Bob Corker is savaging the president for lacking the “competence” to lead the nation; Arizona U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake has excoriated the GOP president for his lack of core conservative principles; former Trump political strategist Stephen K. Bannon vows to go to war with any Republican who challenges his former boss’s agenda.

What do you suppose President Reagan — who today’s conservatives hold up as their paragon of political purity — would think about all of this? My guess is that he would have none of it.

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OK, I’ll answer a question that might be on the minds of some readers of this blog: Do I really want the Republican Party to make peace within itself?

To be totally candid, umm … no.

What happened to the Gipper’s 11th commandment?

regean71615

Republicans these days fall all over themselves to wrap themselves in the mantle of the late Ronald Reagan, 40th president of the United States and one of the truly “transformative figures” of 20th century American politics.

OK, so the benefits of the transformation can be debated, and they certainly have been since Jan. 20, 1981, when the Gipper took office after thumping President Jimmy Carter in that historic landslide.

But why have we forgotten one of Reagan’s most cherished mantras? It’s the 11th commandment, in which the president urged his fellow Republicans to “not speak ill of other Republicans.”

Welcome to today’s reality, Mr. President — wherever you are.

One of your political descendants, Donald Trump, has tossed the 11th commandment into the crapper.

He’s trashed Jeb Bush for being a “lightweight,” Lindsey Graham for being an “idiot,” Mitt Romney for being a “loser,” John McCain for not being a real war hero, Rick Perry for wearing glasses in an effort to “make him look smart.”

There will be others who’ll receive verbal grenades from Trump.

And yet …

With all of that embarrassment spewing out of Trump’s mouth, he continues to enjoy relatively high poll ratings among all the GOP candidates running in 2016.

I find it impossible to believe that the Trump supporters actually want to disinherit the legacy that President Reagan left behind. However, by continuing to support this clown, that’s precisely what they’re doing.

Ronald Reagan sought to build a stronger Republican Party, partly by encouraging GOP pols to refrain from tearing down their fellow Republicans. He wanted a positive image to carry them through.

The strategy worked, more or less.

Now comes Donald Trump to rewrite the rules as he sees fit.

It’s a new day, yes?