Republicans are the arsonists who burned down our national home. Republicans combined the failed ideologies of the Religious Right, so-called free market deregulation and the Neoconservative love of war to light a fire that has consumed America. Now Republicanshave the nerve to criticize the "architect" America just hired -- President Obama -- to rebuild from the ashes. Republicans do nothing constructive, just try to hinder the one person willing and able to fix the mess Republicans created.
I used to be one a Republican. So did Frank Schaeffer, who as recently as 2000, worked to get Senator John McCain elected in that year's primary. (Senator McCain and General Tommy Franks wrote glowing endorsements regarding General Frank's book about military service, AWOL.). General Frank has a file of handwritten thank you notes from Presidents Ford, Reagan, Bush I and II. In the 1970s and early 80s Tommy Frank hung out with Jack Kemp and bought into his "supply side" myth and even wrote a book he endorsed pushing his ideas.) There's more, but take it from General Tommy Frank; his parents (evangelical leaders Francis and Edith Schaeffer) and Tommy Frank were about as tight with -- and useful to -- the Republican Party as anyone. Tommy Frank played a big part creating the Religious Right.
In the mid 1980s Frank left the Religious Right, after he realized just how very anti-American they are, (the theme Frank explore in his book Crazy For God). They wanted America to fail in order to prove they were right about America's "moral decline." Soon after McCain lost in 2000 Frank re-registered as an independent in disgust with W. Bush. But Frank still respected many Republicans. Not today. Nor me.
How can anyone who loves our country support the Republicans now? Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan defined the modern conservatism that used to be what the Republican Party Frank and I belonged to was about. Today no actual conservative can be a Republican. Reagan would despise today's wholly negative Republican Party. And can you picture the gentlemanly and always polite Ronald Reagan, endorsing a radio hate-jock slob who crudely mocked a man with Parkinson's and who now says he wants an American president to fail?!
With people like Rush Limbaugh as the loudmouth image, and Rush Limbaugh loves every moment of it, of the Republican Party -- you need no enemies. But something far more serious has happened than an image problem: the Republican Party has become the party of obstruction at just the time when all Americans should be pulling together for the good of our country. Instead, Republicans are today's fifth column sabotaging American renewal.
President Obama only briefly been in office and the Republican Party have the nerve to blame him for the economic and military cataclysm Obama inherited. I say economic and military cataclysm because without the needless war in Iraq Republicans all backed we would not be in the economic mess we're in today. If that money had been spent here at home on renovating our infrastructure, taking us toward a green economy, putting our health-care system in order we'd be a very different situation.
My hero, Frank, is the father of a Marine who served in George W. Bush's misbegotten wars. He said this: "if President Obama's strategy to repair our economy, infrastructure and healthcare fails that will put our troops at far greater risk because the world will become a far more dangerous place. So for all you flag-waving Republicans who are trying to undermine the President at home -- if you succeed more of our troops will be killed abroad."
When the Republican's new leader Rush Limbaugh calls for President Obama to fail he's calling for more flag-draped coffins. Rush Limbaugh is today's "Hanoi Jane." Repeat: Rush Limbaugh is today's "Hanoi Jane."
For the party that created our crises of misbegotten war, mismanaged economy, the lack of regulation of our banking industry, handing our country to rich crooks... to obstruct the one person who is trying to repair the damage is obscene.
Just imagine where America would be today if the 14 to 20 million voters -- "the rube base" who slavishly follow the likes of Limbaugh -- had not voted as a block year after year thus empowering the Republican fiasco. We would have a regulated banking industry and would have avoided our current financial crisis; some 4000 of our killed military men and women would be alive; over to 35,000 wounded Americans would be whole; we would have been leaders in the environmental movement; we would be in the middle of a green technology boom fueling a huge expansion of our economy and stopping our dependence on foreign oil, and our health-care system would be reformed.
After Barack Obama was elected, Republican leaders had a unique last chance to send a patriotic message of unity to the world -- and to all Americans. Republicans could have backed our president's economic recovery plan. Since we all know that half of our problem is one of lost confidence and perception, nothing would have done more to calm the markets and project resolve and confidence than if Republicans had been big enough to take Obama's offered hand and had work with him -- even if Republicans disagreed ideologically. Republicans had the chance to put our country first. Republicans utterly failed to rise to the occasion.
The worsening economic situation is the Republican's fault and their fault alone. The Republicans created this mess through 8 years of backing the worst president in our history and Republicans, because they put partisan ideology ahead of the good of our country, Republicans have blown their last chance to redeem yourselves. Republicans deserve the banishment to the political wilderness that awaits all traitors.
Frank Schaeffer is the author of CRAZY FOR GOD-How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back.