I am sad and concerned about this for a number of reasons.
First, I used to consider myself as moderately conservative - and usually voted Republican, though I now regret some of the votes I cast in the past. But through no particular effort, or move of my own I find I am now defined as 'liberal'. My past 'moderate conservative' identity has now been shoved emphatically to the left and redefined by the so-called conservatives of today. All things moderate or progressive are now decried as 'left wing' or 'liberal' by the people who have appointed themselves as defenders of conservative values and who define themselves as conservative these days. But sadly, what now masquerades as conservative is conservative in name only. There is nothing conservative about it. Radicalism by definition can never be considered conservative in any context.
The conservatives of today are not even fiscally conservative anymore. No where near so. Just take an unbiased look at the legacy GW Bush left us all to see that. Barrack Obama now shoulders the entire responsibility to correct things. But, there is no shame among those who define themselves as conservative. None whatever. They pile on, denounce, block, obfuscate, deny and vociferously lay all the problems for the past decade at the poor man's feet. They even denounce Obama for the Nobel prize which he did not ask for and which he himself says he does not deserve. No matter - he's still the target of choice. I am now convinced that even if full prosperity returned overnight, and the unemployment rate dropped to 2% they would still find things to complain about. In fact, based on observations to date, I know they would. The biggest lollipop in the world would not rate even a smile from conservatives of today.
In their eyes, George W. Bush could do no wrong, ever, no matter what, or how stupidly or badly he ended up trashing the country and so many of its institutions. That may truly be their doctrinal blindness, but it is also incredibly obtuse denial. Do those people really think no one pays attention?
Another reason is I believe we must always have a strong opposition party - at least one - to keep the party in power as honest as possible. There is an absolute truth that 'Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely'. I don't care which faction is in power, no matter how good their original motives, left unrestrained the inevitable result is corruption. But restraint should not mean absolute opposition to any act, good or bad, that the party in power tries. There's a lot to the idea of the 'loyal opposition', but very little evidence of the fact today.
We have seen this before in both parties. But today, under the control of today's 'conservatives' the Republican Party is marginalizing itself, more each day. If the trend continues, the party may go out of business in the near future. Historically, this has happened many times before with parties of the past when they made themselves irrelevant. Incredibly, there have been over 95 political parties in the US which are now defunct. Several of them elected candidates to the highest office in the land:
- (Federalist) John Adams;
- (Whig) Wm. H. Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore;
- (Democratic-Republican) Thomas jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Q. Adams
- (Democratic National Union) Andrew Johnson
- (Republican National Union) Abraham Lincoln
Will today's Republican Party be next?