"This is going to be a close election, but long-term, conservative principles, if they're to be successful and implemented, there has to be a concerted effort to reach out to a much broader audience than we do today."
-- Jeb Bush on Meet the Press this morning
I've never been an over-the-moon fan of Jeb Bush, but as I've said many times, with things being what they are I'm always willing to give credit to any current Republican willing to recognize, even quietly, just how insanely xenophobic the party has allowed itself to become. I'm not playing politics by saying that the GOP is now strictly and proudly the party of Christian white men -- I'm merely acknowledging reality.
I mentioned it on the podcast this week, and on these pages once or twice, but it bares repeating because I hope it puts my opinions on the current Republicans into perspective: I didn't lose my faith in the GOP before it completely lost its mind. I grew up if not always agreeing with the conservative mindset at least respecting it. Yes, guys like Republican icon William F. Buckley were pompous bores, but they were at least smart; they prided themselves on their intellects and knew that by ceding the Republican party to the lowest common denominator and allowing conspiracist psychopaths like the Birchers to gain a foothold in America's supposedly respectable political discourse, not only would the party suffer, so would the country. You could not only talk to guys like Buckley, you could debate them and have serious, important conversations about the best direction for the country without having it degenerate into shouts of "USA! USA!" and the threat of being slapped across the face with a pair of truck balls. I miss Republicans who held power within the party who weren't either staunch and embarrassing anti-intellectuals or who weren't willing to pander to the anti-intellectual crowd because they were that desperate to shore up the idiot vote.