In this morning’s New York Times, former Reagan Administration OMB director, David Stockman, rips Republicans a justified new you-know-what. The cause of Stockman’s righteous rant? How about the fact that Republicans – and a few foolish, craven, pandering Democrats – are calling for continued tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, even as our nation’s public debt “will soon reach $18 trillion.” According to Stockman, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s stance on this issue “puts the lie to the Republican pretense that its new monetarist and supply-side doctrines are rooted in its traditional financial philosophy.”
In other words, so much for traditional, Republican, balanced-budget, fiscal conservatism. Instead, according to Stockman – and he’s absolutely right about this, of course – today’s GOP has subscribed to an approach that involves “little more than money printing and deficit finance – vulgar Keynesianism robed in the ideological vestments of the prosperous classes.” And that, in Stockman’s view, has both “made a mockery of traditional party ideals” and “led to the serial financial bubbles and Wall Street depredations that have crippled our economy.”
I strongly urge that you read the entire article, including Stockman’s appeal to Republicans that “the old approach – balanced budgets, sound money and financial discipline – is needed more than ever.” It’s a refreshing and important reminder that today’s Republican Party wasn’t always the crazy hybrid that we see today: theocrats, anti-science and anti-reason “know nothings” like Ken Kook-inelli, foreign policy super-hawks like Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich, supporters of enormous corporate welfare (to whatever their favorite industry happens to be – oil, agriculture, etc.), and supply-side/la-la “Laffer” land loonies on budget matters (translation: spend and borrow, cut taxes for the rich, launch wars that aren’t paid for, repeat until we all go bankrupt).
Along with the takeover of the Republican Party by Jerry Falwell’s “Moral Majority” theocrats, it was the adoption of Laffer-able “supply-side economics” (so much for balancing the budget!) by the Reagan Administration that led me straight out of the Republican Party (yes, I was a “Teenage Republican” in the late 1970s in Connecticut, went to a rally with Ronald Reagan and campaigned for Gerald Ford) and into my first voter for president in 1980 – for independent John Anderson. Since 1980, I’ve waited and waited for the old, sane Republican Party of Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, John Chafee, Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javits, John Heinz, William Cohen, Prescott Bush, Mac Mathias, Lowell Weicker, and many others – to return. Sadly, it never has. Not only that, it’s actually moved further and further off the deep-end right, in which they actually have top officeholders and party leaders who flirt with secession; who call BP’s $20 billion escrow fund a “shakedown” (and even “un-American”); who are outright, unabashed, anti-Muslim bigots; and who launch “witch hunts” against scientists because they don’t “believe” in it.
Enough of this lunacy. It’s time for sane Republicans to speak out and to take their party back from the crazies. This morning, one of those sane Republicans – former Reagan Administration OMB Director David Stockman – did so on taxes and the budget, and he should be commended for it. Now, we need more Republicans to do the on other issues, foreign and domestic; to boot out the Sarah Palins and Newt Gingriches from their party; and to restore the GOP to what those letters stand for – “Grand Old Party.” Right now, it’s far from “Grand;” “neo” has taken over from “old;” and it’s not much of a party, unless you’re a multi-millionaire or a Fortune 500 corporation, perhaps.