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Sunday, November 23, 2014

R.I.P., GOP

The Republican Party, according to historians, was created in 1875. Its founders called it the Gallant Old Party, and it eventually got the nickname GOP. Around the same time, the party adopted the elephant as its symbol. Many of my Republican friends have dozens of miniature elephants on their desks. If they consider them to be symbolic of the national Republican Party, I suggest that they put them in storage until further notice.

The national Republican Party, for the foreseeable future, has unofficially gone to the Elephants’ Graveyard. Unlike the storybooks that described a legendary place where elephants go during their final days, in this case the death of the party occurred in Washington, D.C. It wasn’t a quick death. The party has been in terminal condition for at least five years. It started with the emergence of the Tea Party in 2008. A group of fringe activists very cleverly elected a small number of zealots to Congress.

The selection of candidates like Bob Dole, John McCain and Sarah Palin was a continuation of the bad choices the party had made. While the country was focusing on the race for the White House, more and more right-wing politicians were getting elected to the House and the Senate. With major elections coming up next year and another race for president in 2016, the Republican Party is a divided and moribund group that has no future on the national stage.

A quick look at its leadership tells the whole story. House Speaker John Boehner is a good man who over many years was a deal maker. He has voted for many progressive laws and knew what the word compromise meant. The John Boehner of today has been bullied, abused, embarrassed and harassed by a growing bunch of Republican Congress members. He lives in daily fear of losing his title and the power of the office of speaker. If you can imagine what it’s like to be a teacher in one of those rowdy inner-city schools, poor John is in a similar situation.

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