Senators Mike Mansfield (left) and Dirksen conversing in 1967
My Former Republican Party - The Democrats left my parents. Trump’s GOP has left me.
To see how far it’s fallen, let’s remind ourselves of where it once was.Comments: Images: Top, Middle, Others via Google images. Everett Dirksen was a Republican whom I admired: a champion of civil rights, fiscal and social conservative. We need to rediscover and promote conservative ideals!
- Immigration: At a 1980 Republican primary debate in Houston, candidates George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan were asked whether the children of illegal immigrants should be allowed to attend public schools for free. Mr. Bush said they should. “We’re creating a whole society of really honorable, decent, family-loving people that are in violation of the law,” he lamented. Reagan agreed. Instead of “putting up a fence,” he asked, “why don’t we . . . make it possible for them to come here legally with a work permit, and then, while they’re working and earning here, they pay taxes here.” For good measure, Reagan suggested we should “open the border both ways.” Where, in the populist fervor to build a wall with Mexico and deport millions of human beings, is that Republican Party today?
- Trade: “It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy,” wrote Adam Smith in 1776. “If a foreign country can supply us with a commodity cheaper than we ourselves can make it, better to buy it of them.” Two centuries later, Milton Friedman noted that trade protectionism “really means exploiting the consumer” by artificially limiting choice and raising prices for the benefit of domestic producers. Adam Smith and Milton Friedman were once canonical conservative figures. Free trade was once a Republican conviction. In one of his final radio addresses as president, Reagan warned “we should beware of the demagogues who are ready to declare a trade war against our friends—weakening our economy, our national security, and the entire free world—all while cynically waving the American flag.” Where, in the tide of Tea Party opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and all those other “disastrous trade deals” that Donald Trump never fails to mention, is that Republican Party today?
- Foreign policy: In 1947 Harry Truman asked Arthur Vandenberg, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to support his efforts to shore up the governments in Greece and Turkey against Soviet aggression. Vandenberg agreed, marking his—and the GOP’s—turn from isolationism to internationalism. Since then, six Republican presidents have never wavered in their view that a robust system of treaty alliances such as NATO are critical for defending the international liberal order, or that the U.S. should dissuade faraway allies such as South Korea and Saudi Arabia from seeking nuclear weapons, or that states such as Russia should be kept out of regions such as the Middle East.