Robert Reich, a political economist and former United States Secretary of Labor, sums up in just three paragraphs what happened to the Republican Party that put it in its current state. His eulogy begins:
‘I’m writing to you today to announce the death of the Republican Party. It is no longer a living, vital, animate organization. It has been replaced by warring tribes of rightwing zealots – evangelicals opposed to abortion, gay marriage, and science; libertarians opposed to any government constraint on private behavior; market fundamentalists convinced the “free market” can do no wrong; corporate and Wall Street titans seeking bailouts, corporate welfare, tax cuts, and deregulation; right-wing billionaires wanting more of the nation’s wealth than they own already; and white working-class Trumpoids who love Donald and hate Muslims, blacks, and Mexicans.’
Here, Reich perfectly describes the various factions into which the Republican Party has split. All these zealous groups are fighting against each other, forcing moderate, reasonable Republicans — if there are any left at this point — out.
After his description of the divisions within the party, Reich continues:
‘Each tribe has its own organization, its own sources of campaign funding, its own ideology, and its own candidates. What’s left is a lifeless shell called the Republican Party, but the Grand Old Party inside the shell is no more.’
Reich is 100 percent correct in what he says here. The Republican Party is nothing more than an umbrella term used to encapsulate all these different factions, but it seems that term is not going to hold up for much longer.
Finally, Reich signs off his eulogy by expressing his sadness to see the Republican Party go. He wrote:
‘I, for one, regret its passing. Our nation needs political parties to connect up different groups of Americans and to sift through prospective candidates. Without a Republican Party, nothing stands between us and a bunch of liars, bigots, egomaniacs, and creeps who decide on their own to seek the Republican nomination for president.’
Reich is correct in his assessment that the United States needs the varying points of view that different political parties bring. The Republican Party has often been on the wrong side of history, with wars, tax breaks for the rich, and the denial of civil and voting rights. But, the Republican Party also was once run by people who were, at least, rational humans.
As President Obama said in his interview with POLITICO’s Glenn Thrush, “When I ran against John McCain, John McCain and I had real differences, sharp differences, but John McCain didn’t deny climate science. John McCain didn’t call for banning Muslims from the United States. … [The] Republican vision has moved not just to the right, but has moved to a place that is unrecognizable.”
With its primary representation now coming from the likes of Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz, the Republican Party has become a mere caricature, the original being replaced with something garish, greedy, and completely devoid of sane rationale.
Good work, Robert Reich, on your eloquent farewell.
Featured image via ATIS547/Flickr