It surprises people who know my political leanings that I have a necktie that proudly celebrates the history of the Republican Party. The print is a collection of campaign buttons, stretching from the 1880s through “I Like Ike.” I wear the tie often, perhaps twice a month. I like to wear it.
The surprise comes in that it’s a Republican necktie. I seem not to strike people as a Republican, and people who know me will ask about it. “What are you thinking? You despise the President and everything he stands for. So, why a parade of Republican history?”
See, I describe myself as a Roosevelt Republican, as in Teddy Roosevelt. Sadly, Roosevelt Republicanism went out of style circa 1920, and the Republicans became the party of the xenophobes, the isolationists, the corporatists, and the intolerant. I’ve always said it’s an historical oddity that the Republican Party and the Democratic Party have essentially flip-flopped in their outlooks, in their philosophies. I am, at best, a RINO, a Republican In Name Only.
Garrison Keillor’s latest editorial takes aim at the problems facing the Republican Party today. The President, Denny Hastert, their failings as a “Party of Ideas,” their intolerance. And most of all:
It is painful to look at your father and realize the old man should not be allowed to manage his own money anymore. This is the discovery the country has made about the party in power. They are inept. The checkbook needs to be taken away. They will rant, they will screech, they will wave their canes at you and call you all sorts of names, but you have to do what you have to do.
Keillor’s editorial isn’t great, and it’s not especially new–he has too many ideas he wants to cover, and not enough space to develop them. But even if there’s nothing new in Keillor’s ideas, it’s always important to say them, because if even one person gets the idea, someone who didn’t have it before, then Keillor’s made his point.
Perhaps the Republican Party can become a Party of Ideas again. If they can’t, then perhaps the country needs to end the party and turn out the lights.