Vail Valley Voices: Mom would be appalled at these Republicans
Ryan Summerlin September 23, 2012
I come from a long family history of supporting and voting Republican.
My mother in particular saw it all — born in 1900 and lived to a100. Women’s right to vote and their actually getting out in numbers didn’t get going until the mid to late 1920s.
So let’s start with my mom supporting Republican candidate Hoover in 1928. Not a good time to get interested in Republican national politics, as election winner Hoover inherited eight years of the excesses fromthe Prohibition era and was in office only months when the stock market crashed in 1929, followed by the Great Depression.
Then we had Democrat FDR beating the Republicans in four elections, starting in 1932. Hey, I was the only kid in fourth grade who said his parents were not voting for FDR in the 1944 election!
Fast forward to the 1976 presidential election campaign. By then we did have four Republican and only three Democratic presidents elected since FDR.
The 1976 campaign really got my mom’s juices going with Jimmy Carter getting elected. From that point on, she was involved in local and national politics.
In her later years she was frequently recognized as the grand dame of the Republican Party in the Midwestern county where she lived.
Past her 100th birthday and during the 2000 presidential election campaign, she tirelessly was on the phone stumping for her “good friend,” George Bush.
Of course, she voted beforehand through the early balloting process. But then in the early morning of Nov. 1, 2000, she passed away, just days before the election.
So what happened then? You guessed it. A snake-in-the-grass Democrat pointed out that my mom had voted early — hence her vote should not count!
How would my outspoken mother have reacted to that? You guessed it, with a few choice words, and in the same way she would react to what has happened to her Republican Party in recent years.
It is fast becoming a party hijacked by a group of extremists, both within the party and the raw ideologues in the companion party. A case in point was the primary defeat of incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar, one of the most respected foreign policy experts in the Republican Party.
It appears the newest brand of Republican candidates can forget the motto of “governing in the way of President Reagan,”as he understood the notion of give and take and never let personal attacks come into play as we are now seeing.
The concern all traditional Republicans should have is things moving to a point that over-the-top ideologues gain control of the Congress, forcing the hand of any moderate Republican president to tow the line, including demanding stacking the deck of the Supreme Court.
I think we know enough from history to predict the outcome of that scenario, if you believe in any form of democracy.
Paul Rondeau is a Vail resident.