Today’s GOP Makes Nixon Look Good

Today’s Congressional Republicans are successful politicians but terrible leaders. Through gerrymandered districts and well-funded campaigns, they maintain power despite holding radical views that appeal to only a minority of Americans.

The Republican party has moved so far to the right that the great Republicans of the past—Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, George Bush, Sr., and even Ronald Reagan—would be considered too moderate to satisfy the Tea Party faction who want to dismantle the government.

It wasn’t always like this. Republicans used to be for economic growth and a social safety net that helped people who truly needed it but did not encourage sloth or perpetuate dependence. Republicans used to be for government investment in science and infrastructure, for civil rights, and for protecting the environment.

Who was the last progressive Republican president? Richard Nixon. He created the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Cancer Institute, expanded Social Security and Medicare, and proposed universal health care. He was neither a liberal nor a conservative, but a pragmatist (1). He ran a crooked campaign, but as president he really tried to do what was best for the country.

The current GOP has all of Nixon’s sleazy politics, but none of his pragmatic statesmanship.

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