Wednesday, January 28, 2009

R[epublicans]. I[n]. P[eace].

On the Limbaugh-Obama "tête-à-tête": Is this a symbol of Rush being the de facto head of the GOP? People recognize Obama, now, as the voice of the Democratic Party, but who listens to Boehner-McConnell?

In the latter half of the 1970s, going to graduate school in Providence, Rhode Island, I remember Senator John Chafee. (His son, [former Senator] Lincoln, had been my undergraduate classmate at Brown [1971-75], but I didn't know him at the time. I was "mathematics", he was "classics"—our paths didn't cross.) Those were the days when there were identifiable progressive Republicans in Congress. (Jacob Javits comes to mind.) Today there may be a few odd-balls like Susan Collins and Olympia Snow, but for the most part, the GOP today has all the appearance of the Ghetto of Palin.

"Ike" had some faults (slow in ending racial discrimination, the Mosaddeq business, which we have been paying for since 1953, etc.) but I think he needs to be re-viewed: The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways is the largest public works project in history. Eisenhower warned of the dangers of the “military industrial complex”. He was contemptuous of the Palinism of his day: Joe McCarthy.

A modern progressive Republican (if one existed today) could help bring a National Health Insurance System. (John Chafee was one who was leaning this way in 1993-94.) That is just one example of how Republicans once understood that great governments can do great things. Such visionary, progressive Republicans are faint, distant memories, destroyed by the fraternal bad-ass twins of Cato libertarianism and Christian evangelicalism — gone with the wind.


(2009/01/29) Speaking of R.I.P., what timing: David Kuo administers last rites to Culture11. [my flower on the coffin]