As most of my friends know, I have been an active Republican for almost all my adult life. My greatest hero, politically and intellectually, was Abraham Lincoln. In political philosophy, my great exemplars were Burke, John Adams, Michael Oakeshott and Tocqueville. I have read National Review, fairly faithfully for nearly forty years. I was always quick to defend Dwight D Eisenhower and even Ronald Reagan. I was offended when facile liberal mocked conservative politicians and commentators. I was, in short, a loyal conservative Republican, and I had no problem voting for most Republican candidates. I even held my nose and supported 'Dubyah "..
However, all that is now changed, changed utterly. A disillusioned Republican has been born. The party I once loved has become alien to me. The reasons for this are complex. For one thing, the teaparty members have driven the party crazy. Their Ayn Rand worshiping Libertarianism leads most to despise Teddy Roosevelt . Worse, it leads most of them to despise LINCOLN. Other party factions are just as bad. I am a Christian; at least, I often try to be one. Increasing members of my party espouse a pharisaic biblical literalism. Some are obsessed with fundamentalist readings of Biblical prophecy; others think the world was created in six days slightly over six thousand years ago. Then there are the neo-conservatives geniuses who devised our misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When we turn from the party's rank and file to its erstwhile leaders, matters become even worse. Look at the would be Presidential candidates. We begin with two reality TV stars: Donald " Where's the Birth Certificate" Trump and Sarah "Caribou Skinner Blues" Palin. Then there is Tim "Mr Excitement" Pawlenty, Mike " My successful diet qualifies mne to be President" Huckabee, and the distinguished historian and Bible scholar Michelle Bachman. The closest thing to a qualified candidate the GOP possesses is Mitt Romney. Granted, he has administrative skills, some intelligence, and a handsome profile, he is also profoundly mistrusted by many of his own party.
All is not yet quite lost for the party, but it will require mature and responsible leadership, and a rank and file that has learned to eschew a sterile biblical and constitutional fundamentalism. Sadly, neither of these things is on the horizon anytime soon.
Having said this, do not think that I have become a Democrat. I have lost my faith; I have not lost my reason.