This is Not Your Father’s Republican Party…Oh Wait, It Is.

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Dennis Sanders

Dennis Sanders is the Associate Pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Minneapolis, MN.  You can follow Dennis through his blogs, The Clockwork Pastor and Big Tent Revue and on Twitter.  Feel free to contact him at dennis.sanders(at)gmail(dot)com.

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30 Responses

  1. Avatar NewDealer says:

    The problem (as a non-Republican observer) is that Reagan seems to have been elevated to a level of unquestionable patron saint among the Republican Party. And as a non-Republican, I really do not understand the level of Reagan worship that seems to be in the GOP bloodstream.

    Even among Republicans who were really too young to know Reagan go back to him as a patron saint for some reason.

    I don’t think a comparable thing exists among the Democratic Party. We live FDR, LBJ, the Kennedys, the Clintons, and Obama but are aware of their faults. There are plenty of things I am willing to criticize any of those people for. Paul Wellstone is now forgotten. Elizabeth Warren holds the current liberal mantle but also has her critics in the party and on the left.

    Even the relative young guns in the Republican Party like Ryan and Cantor still seem to live in awe of the Reagan mythology. Chait had a good column about this several years ago. Key passage is at the end of the first link:

    http://www.newrepublic.com/blog/jonathan-chait/75568/scenes-the-reagan-cult#

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/politics/75570/still-his-partyReport

    • Avatar MikeSchilling says:

      And the Reagan they worship is a mythical one that could never have been a genuine admirer of FDR [1] nor negotiated with Gorbachev to eliminate wholes categories of nuclear weapons.

      1. When the idolatrous idiots in Congress wanted to put Reagan on the dime, Nancy had to tell them that he wouldn’t have wanted to replace Roosevelt.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        I like Ike!

        “I don’t think a comparable thing exists among the Democratic Party. We love FDR, LBJ, the Kennedys, the Clintons, and Obama but are aware of their faults.”

        I don’t know. I’ve known some pretty die hard FDR fanatics before. And certainly Kennedy’s stock’s always been overinflated. More to the point, I’m not sure that 20 years from now Obama won’t be something like Reagan for Democrats.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

          I’m not sure that 20 years from now Obama won’t be something like Reagan for Democrats.

          Hell of a demotion from his pre-election Jesus status.Report

          • Avatar LWA says:

            I want to make a painting of Jesus handing the Affordable Care Act to Obama, while Bill Ayers, Bill & Hillary, Roosevelt and MLK look on adoringly. In the background Reagan and GWB will turn their faces in shame, and Wayne LaPierre will be comtemplating the business end of his pistol.

            What? Too much?Report

        • Avatar NewDealer says:

          Well Ike did appoint Earl Warren and William Brennan to the Supreme Court. He can’t be all that bad.Report

        • Avatar trumwill mobile says:

          We’re also closer to Reagan than to FDR. Reverence to FDR was likely more significant in 1970-something than it is today. And stronger today for Reagan than it will be in 2030-something.Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      It’s all about the money, ultimately. Someone’s decided Reagan makes a good idol. They decided the same for Lee, ya know?Report

  2. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Even heretic conservatives like David Frum and Andrew Sullivan go through moments of Reagan and/or Thatcher nostalgia that is odd to me.

    I basically see Andrew Sullivan as a former conservative who has become a libertatian-leaning/economically free market Democrat. There is no place for him in the Republican Party and he knows it. Yet every now and then he does two things which are absolutely baffling to me and I think psychological validation that he is still a conservative. These are:

    1. Sentimental nostalgia posts for Reagan and Thatcher.

    2. Make a swipe at liberals for a point he considers condescending and elitists. These are posts that match Sarah Palin’s resentment with pride. A recent example was how he felt the need to attack Timothy Noah for critiquing management for emotional labor practices for low-wage laborers. Or how he calls Tony Kushner pretentious for writing long plays.

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112345/andrew-sullivan-pret-porter-fawning-american-virtue#

    I grew up in the NYC area and now live in San Francisco. I am from the professional/liberal class. My dad was a lawyer, my mom was an education administrator. My parents took me to events like Young People and the Orchestra when I was young. I like coffee places like blue bottle, local restaurants, and other typical NPR-city liberal stuff. As far as I can tell this makes me a bete noir among conservatives and a target for resentment.

    Why is the conservative movement so threatened by the existence of upper-middle class liberals who like these things? Why is someone an elitist if they went to a Seven Sister or other Liberal Arts college and is trying to be an artist of some sort while the Koch brothers are not?

    I think once the Republican Party answers these questions. They will do better in elections.Report

  3. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    As an ex-Republican, here’s the GOP’s problem in a nutshell: though it opposes many things in principle, it stands for nothing in fact. And hasn’t since the era of Eisenhower.Report

  4. Avatar James Hanley says:

    I was talking about this at another blog today. One of the persistent conservative attacks against Obama is that he’s an “Alinskyite.” Alinsky? Who the fish is Alinsky?

    Seriously, Alinsky died in 1972. He was born in 1909! He was prominent in the 1960s–I’m 47 fishing years old and even I don’t remember the ’60s! Do any of these geriatrics (and geriatrics-in-training, by all appearances) really think any voters under 35–the demographic that’s effectively handing them their asses in presidential elections–is going to be scared off by mentions of Saul Fishing Alinsky?Report

  5. Avatar DRS says:

    Think of it this way: the Republican Party today is high school where the majority of students are really insecure geeks. They’ve heard their older siblings and parents talk about this really cool kid named Reagan that they hung out with, and they’re painfully aware that there are no equivalent cool kids in their team colours right now they can hang with. They’re bitterly jealous of the current coolest kid who wears the Other Side’s team jersey. They’re convinced all the other kids are laughing at them so they get in their snide insults and put-downs first to show that they’re above it all and just don’t care. They have no plans for after high school and in fact are frantic about making it through this year’s prom. All the teachers despise them – they’re convinced of that – and so they spend a lot of time in class monitoring comments and physical actions carefully so they can report the teachers to the authorities for bias or propaganda. Then they go home at the end of the day and retreat to the basement to play War of the Worlds on their computers and devise new invasion plans that will allow them to dominate other countries.

    Only to go upstairs and find out mom made liver and onions for dinner – again.Report