There was a time when I could support potential Republican candidates. Bob Dole was the last of the true fiscal conservatives. Reagan ran up very large debts in building a massive military presence but he raised taxes 11 times to pay for many other items. The same was true with George Bush senior and Bob Dole. Former Missouri Sen. John Danforth was one of the most honorable and intelligent Republicans who served this country. That time has passed. Danforth could not be elected today.
Like a lobster boiling to death in a pot most lifelong conservatives seem oblivious to what has happened to their party. The truth is that the Republican Party has been hijacked 100 percent by the super-rich. More than any politician in office, Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist call the shots for the party. No individual Republican can buck this juggernaut. If you do, the wealthy will fund a massive campaign against you. To be a Republican today requires you to give up any pretense of critical thinking on the issues. The issues have already been pre-assessed. A trained monkey could do the job of a Republican in office. It would be cheaper.
The No-Tax-Pledge put forward by Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform is the perfect example of the ideological straitjacket that Republicans find themselves in. I dislike former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson who relentlessly attacks Social Security. But on Grover Norquist Simpson wisely agrees with David Stockman (Reagan's OMB director) who blames Reagan for unleashing this "fiscal terrorist" on the Republican Party.
Now we are at the most recent divide, the payroll tax cut. The Republican leadership is trying to defeat the measure by requiring the gutting of more federal jobs to pay for it. How did G.W. Bush pay for tax cuts to the ultrawealthy? He didn't. So, Republicans will squash a payroll tax cut for working Americans ($1,500 per family) rather than enact a modest tax increase on a few thousand very wealthy citizens.
David Frum of "axis of evil" fame has split from the current madness. Read his article in the Nov. 20 New York magazine as to how the GOP has lost touch with reality. A lifelong Republican Frum is frustrated by the extremism. A responsible and compassionate party is what he misses.
I await a barrage of letters in support of the super wealthy from average Missouri citizens. Rush demands it.