Some of the saddest people in my life today are longtime, practicing Republicans. Make that “most of the saddest people in my life today are longtime, practicing Republicans.”
The cause of such angst among those folks is the sorry state of affairs in their presidential primary. It has devolved into a name-calling, back-stabbing, dishonest quartet of caricatures I wouldn’t want in MY house much less the White House.
In the words of my Quaker grandmother: “The truth is not in them”
Neither party has a corner on the dishonesty market. It’s an equal opportunity character trait. In our political system, we’ve always tolerated candidates who were “fast and loose with the truth.” I’m hard pressed to think of a single presidential individual or pursuer of other major office who could pass a lie detector test on all statements in a campaign.
But while tolerating some truth-bending and a few overstuffed claims in our political game has been acceptable in the past, we now have four who are competing for first place in a race to the bottom of the barrel. After four primaries, as far as truth is concerned, it definitely “is not in them,”
Without direct intercession of the Almighty between now and midsummer, one of these guys is going to be the Republican nominee. There is no effective moderation in the party to head it off. So our choice at the polls will be to keep what we have – and what we know – or throw out baby, bath water and tub to take our chances with one of these opportunists who seems willing to say anything, do anything, be anything to get elected.
Not one- repeat – not one has enunciated a set of personal core values, taken a personal or political position and stuck with it, defined in any intelligent way what his principles are or laid out a proposal to deal with any of the critical problems facing this country. Not one. We know precisely what they don’t like and what they’re against. And who. But we have no idea what they like and what they are for.
The national media has aided and abetted this travesty of a campaign. All have allowed themselves to be misdirected rather than pursuing fact. While we need valuable information on character – or lack thereof – personal values – or lack thereof – we have been treated to repetitions ad nauseam of endless personal attacks and character assassination rather than what these people stand for and what their vision is for this country. And us. Following all this more closely than most, I have no idea.
Don’t look for anything to change any of this at the national GOP convention in a few months. The internal workings of that organization are in total control of the far right, fringe elements of the Grand Old Party. There will be no move to produce a candidate to appeal to anyone but them. There will be no talk of moderation, of compromise, of accommodating other views in an effort to widen appeal of the party. “My Way Or The Highway” will be the convention motto. Others need not attend.
This collision of dogma of a few versus interests and desires of the many has been festering in the party for a very, very long time. Since Barry Goldwater and his people threw Nelson Rockefeller and his people out of the 1964 convention. Moderates who’ve stayed with the national party have had no effective voice in its operation or direction – or philosophy – since that time. It’s been a long, steady procession to the right. With the possible exception of a Republican incumbent or two, nominees from an “open” convention have been “fringier” each time.
Now we have four candidates from “out there” to choose from. We are asked to pick one from the pack to oppose the sitting president in November. But what is the basis to be for our decision? Someone with a moral center of convictions? Someone with a career of accomplishment? Someone of character we’d be proud to have lead the nation? Someone with vision or a plan to deal with the ills that face this country and the world? Someone with patience and qualities of leadership that include compromise and cooperation?
Which one would that be? Which one?