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Randy Alcorn: Missing Ike Amid the Toxic Brew of Today’s GOP

Republican Party hijacked by intolerant evangelical Christianity, elitist economic fantasy and perverse patriotism

Although never a disciple of either the left or the right of the ideologically charged political spectrum, nor a supporter of either major political party, I do miss the Republican Party of Dwight D. Eisenhower. In recent years, particularly since Barack Obama won the presidency, the right has become so poisoned by a toxic concoction of intolerant evangelical Christianity, elitist economic fantasy and perverse patriotism that it has transmogrified the GOP into a political party Eisenhower would not recognize.

Those folks who feel compelled to vote only for the lesser of two evils, Democrat or Republican, have rarely had a more distinct choice. The Grand Old Party of Abraham Lincoln has become the Goofy Old Party of loons increasingly unhinged by the Obama presidency, which they, not unlike fanatics in Iran, regard as the Great Satan.

Because of this column, I am on the mailing lists of many political groups all plying their particular propaganda. Most of it, whether from the left or the right, is hyperbolic exaggerations, half-truths, sophistries and outright lies. But, the stuff that the right has been posting the last three years is indicative of clinical paranoia providing suitable content for grocery-store tabloids with headlines such as; “OBAMA’S PLOT TO DESTROY CAPITALISM”, “OBAMA SEEKS CALIPHITE IN THE U.S”, “OBAMA BORN ON THIRD MOON OF SATURN”. They’ll never find the birth certificate for that one.

While such hysteria captivates the credulous, like kids telling each other ghost stories, it also betrays a desperate desire by the toxic right to seize, at any cost, total political power across this nation. And, if successful, what would they do with it? That possibility is disturbing since these people behave like a fevered mob of unquestioning true-believers ignoring their own contradictions, illogic and hypocrisy.

For example, their resolute objection to both abortion and to universal health care is self-contradictory. If it is wrong to abort the life of the unborn why is it OK to allow the born to perish because they cannot afford adequate medical care under a system controlled by for-profit intermediators? If they fear government death panels, why are for-profit insurance company death panels less frightening? If government-sponsored health care is government tyranny imposed on individual choice, why would laws prohibiting abortion, as proposed in this year’s Republican platform, not be the same big-government tyranny imposed on women?

The right is appropriately concerned about excessive government spending that has brought this nation to dangerously unsustainable levels of debt, so while attacking expenditures on social welfare programs, why has it supported massive, notoriously wasteful, defense spending, and subsidies to mega-multinational corporations? Excessive spending is excessive spending no matter who gets the money.

And, talk about wasteful, excessive spending, what do we pay Congress these days? A more appropriate question might be why?

If government regulation of the free market is hampering economic growth, why does increasing wealth concentrate at the top of the food chain no matter the level of regulation? With no regulation we get mercenary multinational cartels controlled by the few. With regulation we get mercenary multinational cartels controlled by the few, only with government assistance via a veneer of surveillance and manipulative tax codes. The true believers on the right have to awaken from their economic fantasy and face the truth: John Galt is a storybook character and “trickle-down economics” is a proven fiction more aptly described as “table-scraps economics.”

The overreaching of the left that perverts progressive change into oppressive social micro-managing is not any more justified because of the current loonyness of the right, but liberal excess can get worse without a sane conservative counter weight to balance against it and provide reasonable alternatives. I fear we may lose that wise counter weight to the toxic coalition of right wing-nuts who have body-snatched the Republican Party and made it more an obstreperous obstruction to any compromise than a bulwark of cautious rationalism.

If the right wing-nuts come to power they, like their radical counterparts on the left, would use the apparatus of big government to impose their notion of how we all should live and what we should believe. In Texas, the meth lab of the toxic right, a Republican-controlled school board has called for eliminating critical-thinking curriculums because such classes might cause students to question the logic of what their parents and pastors have taught them. A kid’s intellect must not be developed to supersede his or her indoctrination. So, in that school district, Johnny can read, but he can’t think logically.

This brand of conservatism is not going to make America a better country. It will only preserve it in a jar sealed in the 17th century.

— Santa Barbara political observer Randy Alcorn can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here to read previous columns.

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