The GOP’s sad descent from the General to the Donald

When I first became politically aware, around the age of 10, I liked Republicans.

I was too young to understand President Harry S Truman. I had some glimmers about him, but did not appreciate his command of the presidency until I was much older.

An American hero, Eisenhower, and Trump, something less

Dwight David Eisenhower became the Republican President when I was about 11. The World War II hero led America through its greatest expansion of wealth and freedom we ever experienced. 

I lived in New York, and the newspapers my parents read were against him, but I was not. 

One criticism was that he didn’t do much. He spent too much time on the golf course, his critics said. As a Republican, he believed less government was better and a rising tide was lifting most boats — although not all boats. Among the boats not lifted were those of Black Americans, most of whom were held in the metaphorical bonds of bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 1954 outlawed school segregation, something that swaths of America did not want. Some Southern governors, all Democrats, flouted the rule of law.

In September 1957, the Republican President did the unthinkable for an American military man — he ordered his beloved 101st Airborne into an American city to protect Black students, the courageous Little Rock Nine, who were integrating Central H.S. 

Most of America cheered. Eisenhower Republicanism was the coin of the realm, nationally. 

Around the same time, my two New York senators were Republicans — Kenneth Keating and Jacob Javits.

Today, they would seem like conservative Democrats. They were serious, smart men. 

When I got to Philly in the mid-60s, we had a Republican district attorney, Arlen Specter, who became a Republican U.S. senator, a moderate by any measure.  Thacher Longstreth was a Republican member of City Council, and I always voted for him, as well as Specter. I did not agree with all of Thacher’s political positions, but I knew this about him: He deeply loved Philadelphia and every action he took he believed would make things better, he was totally honest, and he had a self-deprecating sense of humor. 

Most Philadelphia-area Republicans are drawn along those lines — they are fiscally conservative, but socially moderate. They are men and women you can talk to. They certainly are not the same kind of Republican you would find in Utah, Wyoming, or Arizona.

Philly Republicans, by and large, are pretty centrist, but they are now a fringe of what was once the Grand Old Party.

Some 70% of Republicans say they believe the 2020 election was stolen, and they manage to believe this without a shred of proof.  They believe it — or say they believe it — only because Donald J. Trump said it. They are a Mao-like cult of personality. 

In the words of gone-to-bananas Rudy Giuliani, who once had the nation’s respect, “We’ve got  lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence.”

We just don’t have the evidence.

We just don’t have the evidence.

I am repeating that for the 70% who say they believe in the tooth fairy the election was rigged.

They believe the Big Lie despite dozens of recounts, despite scores of lawsuits rejected even by judges appointed by Trump. Why were they rejected? Because they didn’t have the evidence. You don’t get to have a trial because you’d like to. You have to have standing as a litigant — and have evidence to present to the court. 

In the case of an alleged nationwide fraud, how hard would it be to come up with something, some shred of evidence that enough votes were rigged to change the outcome? There was none and Trump’s inner circle told him so. 

In the mid 19th Century, there was something called the Know Nothing Party that polluted American politics.

At least some of their beliefs were anchored in fact.

They look like Mensa members contrasted with Republicans who buy the Big Lie that Trump won, without a shred of evidence.

Thursday night Fox’s Tucker Carlson bemoaned that Republicans had moved from leading in a generic preference poll over Democrats, to trailing them in a year that should belong to the opposition party, according to history.

He couldn’t figure out why, and went to his default of blaming GOP leader Mitch McConnell, stupidly suggesting McConnell didn’t really want to win. Without a shred of evidence, of course.

He mentioned that Pennsylvania was a fruit ripe for GOP candidates at the start of the year, but they are trailing in fund-raising and in the polls.

It’s not McConnell.

Another option is right before Tucker’s eyes: Trump has made the Republican brand toxic. Fair-minded people are fleeing from it.

Eisenhower would be in tears. 

35 thoughts on “The GOP’s sad descent from the General to the Donald”

  1. You’ve got me speechless my friend. I agree with every word you’ve written. I liked Ike too. And I mourn for what the GQP has become. Never in my wildest imaginings could I believe we would be at this point in history. I’m fearful and I resent that I have been put in a position of disenfranchisement because I have no choice but to vote against the cult.

    We can always count on you for the truth, sometimes slanted but still the truth.
    It’s hard and almost impossible to discuss 70 years of Republican partisanship in such a limited space and time.
    Eisenhower was ripe for the time. The Grand Olde Party was run by rich fat guys sitting back smoking their cigars. They had loyal qualified people filtering down into the ranks. Some of that mentality exists today. Rich guys at the top, but no loyal change of command. Meanwhile, the loyal followers down here in the trenches are drowning and looking for a life raff or even a rope. I think what we get is an anchor !
    That is the problem with us republicans that want to follow Trump. The country has been spiraling down for decades. Never mind the two party system of democrats and republicans. They were replaced years ago by GRAFT, GREED and CORRUPTION. The inner circles of the party united the Washington D.C. elected against the public. In so doing, the working civil servants were left rudderless and found ways of fending for themselves.
    Trump came along at the right time. He not only picked up the republican party but he also gave a big boost to ALL of America. Then somehow, Trump got caught up in himself. Understandable in a way. Geniuses and the sort operate in a far different world. He was king in the business world and wanted to continue to be king. In real business, just as in the military, you asked for something you get it. You give an order, it gets carried out. Not so in our world and definitely not in the swamp. ( nor in Philly civil service )
    I said many times and will continue to do so. We, the republicans gave the election away. We sat back and laughed at the democrats as they tried to get a foothold on the election. The big joke was that biden was in the basement. Depending on whom I was talking to, I would say that he’s in his war room, plotting how to win the election and you all are falling for their game, hook, line and sinker. Biden won and is on the path to being the worst President ever ! I have never disrespected the office of the President of the United States until biden. Sorry to say, Trump couldn’t take the defeat and basically cracked. I think that by going nuts and doing all that he did, he destroyed any chance of being re-elected.
    Republican party. RINO. Yes Stu, we are in a tail spin. The turtle ( mcconnell ) sits on a rusty gate. He’s been in the swamp for so long that he is completely useless to the American public. Once again, my war cry, chant or just an annoying repeat. DRAIN THE SWAMP ! and VOTE THEM ALL OUT ! is meant for ALL of OUR elected officials. Most of them are part of the problem. Get rid of the old and work with the new young blood. Maybe – Hopefully, they can restore our faith and trust in our political system.

    1. Tony, you sound like a broken record. I’ve read some version of this nonsense in everything you post. Anything original to add?

      1. Wanda
        I try to take the high road when I talk to the pubic on these medias. You should try it.
        You are just another ‘professional’ who loves the democrats because they catered to you and people like you. As that was taking place, the rest of the tax payers – including you – were paying for those ‘gifts’
        You’re like the rest that don’t get it. When you put out your hand and get you little grants, everybody pays.
        Do yourself a favor. Since you are a MD, take yourself away from pressure. Go back in your little hole and don’t come out till after the elections. ( or you can keep moving further away and away……)

        1. I’m not an MD Anthony but a PhD. Another ill informed post on your part. But original. I’ll give you credit for that.

          1. my bad. There is a MD here on occasion. Without going back through the blog, I guessed wrong.
            So that makes you an ill informed liberal masking as a what? dim rep ind.?
            From your mouth only comes arguments, mostly are I hate Trump ! Congrats to you and all of the other Trump haters. After you get over yourself, try and look at what he accomplished – mostly on his own. Maybe he isn’t President material. Pick a name. I’ll wait. Who out there is ‘qualified’ to run this country. Not in the ground, as it has been for decades, but to run it as an independent nation, capable of standing alone but able to choose who should be our partners. Who can see beyond the graft, greed and corruption as to how to distribute aide to these many countries with their hands out.
            Wanda, try and be a positive role model.

          2. Wanda, I have to give you credit. Tony is laying it on thick with his insults and innuendo and you are able to keep calm.

            Although I do realize he is not worth getting aggravated over I still give you credit.

    2. So, according to Mr. Clark (Trump) Reagan was a RINO. Really!!! I belong(ed) to the party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, & Reagan. Mr. Clark belongs to the cult of Trump.
      Trump is NOT a Republican. He is NO patriot. He puts himself FIRST, America SECOND. HE supports KGB murderer Putin and counts him as a friend. Trump consort with America’s enemy & Clark supports him. Trump is a traitor to the Constitution; if you support Trump that could make Tony a traitor, too.
      P.S. reserve your condo at Trump Towers Moscow now. Real cheap, too!

  3. Su, just when I thought you could not get any better, you do. What you have said cannot be disputed by anyone with a working brain.

  4. Nice shot, William Tell. I have watched both parties become extreme parodies of themselves, and as each moved farther and farther Left and Right, we poor few schmucks in the middle, who weren’t dragged to the extremes, were left to wonder who the hell was in charge. Think of JFK (not of his gymnastics in the bedroom, but his work in the White House): would ANY Democrat today stand up and say what JFK said at his inauguration about ‘bearing any burden and paying any price ‘ to assure our freedom? Say it and MEAN it? Not a chance. Would any Republican president today put balm on our nation’s political burns instead of fanning the flames? Not a chance. The loony Right and the loony Left are running things, and things are going to get worse, you can count on that. If I sound bleak, I am. I’ve been around since FDR (but really remember only the presidents from Truman onward) and have been proud of the actions so many good men took to address the issues that made us, Americans, sinners seeking to be saints. Truman integrated the armed forces; Eisenhower began the deconstruction of Jim Crow in the South; JFK gave us the desire and belief that we were special, and we worked at being special, which took us to the moon and back. But he also took us into Viet Nam, and thus began the unraveling of the nation. But why retell what is so obvious? We are a sick nation, and we are getting sicker. I suspect what we are living through today is equivalent to what the nation was suffering through that eventually led to the shots being fired on Fort Sumter. God forbid that we take up arms against each other again. Watching the anger that has been building over the past few years, it is not that farfetched a fear.

  5. The election was not stolen. The Democrats hustled and registered more voters particularly mail in voters. Trump discouraged his election workers from promoting and using the mail in ballots. Both his campaign managers requested he promote and encourage mail in voting. He ignored their advice. He lost a fair election with special circumstances because of the Covid virus. He is a loser because he would not take advice from his own election experts. Hopefully he will not be involved in future elections and new leaders with good will ideas help the US live in liberty and peace.

  6. Giving up our energy independence and open borders. How is that helping the country. I ask my democratic friends and all I hear are crickets. All this Republican bashing while the democrats destroy our country. Will someone please give me an answer to these democratic policies. I’m sure all of the Republican and Trump haters who post here will enlighten me.

      Don’t hold your breath waiting for an intelligent response from ANY and ALL of the dims. Although, you will hear an occasional squeak out of a liberal. Obviously, They are Trump haters period. They pretend to bring about change but you’ll never see anything positive. They all forgot that President Donald Trump made us energy independent as he attempted to close the southern border. They don’t like our Presidents to be matter-of-fact or foul mothed, but then who does ? Mostly, they don’t even acknowledge that Trump had virtually no help from congress for those four years. If it wasn’t for executive orders, it would have looked like a dimocrat president was in office.

      1. The democrats are now a bunch of intolerant closed minded haters.the nation is being destroyed right before our eyes and They are so full of hate they can’t see it .

        1. So concise, so succinct, yet so utterly, so entirely, so absolutely, and so unfortunately and unbelievably true. Actually, indescribably true.

      2. Mr. Clark, You are the DIM-WIT! I bet you couldn’t score 75 on an IQ test!
        Trump took money out of the defense budget that was to improve squalid military housing to pay for his wall (with holes in it). You are a typical Trumpizoid: all disinformation and no facts.

    2. I am a Democrat. Ask me. I have written against illegal immigration for almost 2 decades. Obey the law.
      I am for sloooooow conversion to electrics, but in the meantime we can’t survive without fossil.
      I am for merit and oppose willy-nilly releases from prison — if I can still say “prison” and not “camp.”
      Democrats have allowed the crazies to control the conversation.

      1. With elections coming up why don’t we ask our democratic elected Congress people what they think about open borders and getting rid of our energy independence. If they are against these policies why aren’t they speaking out against them. You can start with senator Casey, Dwight E vans and Brendan Boyle. STU I’m sure you have enough clout to get us answers.

  7. Excellent analysis, Stu. Thank you for sharing. I hope that your many right wing followers will actually think about this, since they can’t dismiss you as “fake news”.

  8. The answer, my friend, is blowing in the humid Florida air. The answer is Ron DeSantis. My guv’nor since 2019, proud to say.

  9. This column could have as easily been titled “The Jackass’s Party sad descent from Harry to Sleepy Joe.” Yeah, the GOP is a mess, but so is the Jackass Party, which should scare the shiznitz out of all of us. Our nation is leaderless. In our ignorance we have allowed both political parties to force us to choose between horrible and terrible. Out of a nation of 300 million-plus people, THESE clowns are the BEST we can come up with? Imagine if you can such men (or women) leading us in battle. Would anyone follow DT or Sleepy Joe when they said, “Follow me!” I think I would run as fast as I could in the opposite direction. God save the USA.

  10. We need a 3rd party for the common sense, middle-of-the-road part of the populace. We could call it the “Stu-niverse Party”, for all decent, honest Americans, free of political B.S.
    No Trump/Biden/Clark 🤡’s allowed!

    Mr. Barger,
    I always scroll through the blogs, looking for the latest replys. I start at the oldest and work my way up to the newest blog. So far, it looks like we have a relationship building. I’m sorry to say, you just don’t measure up yo my standards and I certainly won’t go down to yours.
    I can hardly wait for the next blog. Maybe you’ll be cursing like some of these other English majors.
    Mr. Clark

    1. Tony, you just have to continue with your insults of anyone who does not agree with you.

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