GOP earns sympathy

By John Kanelis /

It pains me to say this, but here goes anyway.

What has become of the Republican Party — a once-great political organization that has been hijacked by cultists — makes me miss the Grand Old Party we all used to know.

I say that as a card-carrying, true-blue good-government progressive who tends to favor Democratic Party policies over those proposed by the GOP. I have acknowledged on this blog that every presidential vote I have cast since 1972 has gone to Democrats … although the 1976 contest between President Ford and Jimmy Carter gave me pause to consider voting for the GOP incumbent.

What used to be normal among Republicans has become abnormal. GOP officeholders take the same oath of office as their Democratic colleagues. They swear to protect and defend the Constitution. They merely approach their defense and protection differently than Democrats. I accept those differences.

These days, that loyalty has shifted to an individual, to the former president who alleges vote fraud where it doesn’t exist. They stand with him and his idiocy. They ignore the actual oath they took to defend the Constitution. They call themselves “patriots” but their actions are far from patriotic.

The future of the Republican Party that I used to know remains clouded. I don’t know where it goes from here. Or how it rebuilds itself into a political party that can speak intelligently — as it used to do — about the differences it has with Democrats.

These days we see seasoned politicians giving way to a former president who cannot speak intelligently on the issues that matter. He blathers and bloviates. He spreads The Big Lie about vote fraud. The former POTUS cannot parse a single policy with the kind of clarity we used to hear from his fellow Republicans.

His base loves him nonetheless. They have taken the Republican Party hostage. Will the party leadership shed their bondage and escape? For the sake of sane and reasonable public discourse and debate, it must.