The wistful lament in many quarters of the country last week over the passing of Kansas Senator Bob Dole has contained, sublime within its woeful melancholy, a corresponding tearful longing for the days when Republicans weren’t such meanies and could “reach across the aisle” to compromise with earnest, virtue laden Democrats.
It was a standard litany among mainstream media surrounding the swan song for the pragmatic Kansan who was wounded in war and pledged to public service thereafter: Gone are those days of understanding, settlement and concession among Republicans, we were told by those who despised most of what Dole’s public life had stood for. The passing of the Great Lion himself signifies it, they said – his end punctuates the transition of the GOP from the party that helped save Social Security in 1980 to the froth-mouthed crazies who elected Trump and then did his diabolical bidding on January 6.
Yes, Democrats and the leftist-embracing media repeatedly handed Republicans a hanky last week to wipe their eye at the news of Dole’s passing – and celebrated the sharp stick concealed within it.
Of course this longing for the civility of old was a point made by the left while their flagship racial justice organization, Black Lives Matter, was resting up from burning and looting American cities and calling for boycotts of White-owned businesses this Christmas season.
Indeed – is it really modern Republicans most in need of civility?
The dirge we sing for Dole comes with an undeniable companion – also dead and gone is any semblance of the tempered but rational Democratic Party of decades ago, with whom Dole and other Republicans in congress were able to find common ground. After all, it’s hard to find common ground with people who raise bail money for criminals who burn American cities in honor of a dead thug.
While it’s true the core of Dole’s Republican Party has edged more to the right, the glaring slide of Democrat leadership off the ledge of political and cultural sanity is apparent in every new initiative Democrats announce.
The core ideals of Republicans today are pretty much the same as when Ronald Reagan salvaged the party from Nixonian disgrace in 1980– pro-business and private job creation, pro-individual rights and accountability, pro-Bill of Rights, strong national military positioning, pro-law enforcement, anti-fetal murder, anti-government regulation, anti-taxation and anti-government growth. The precepts were true for Bob Dole in the 1970s and they’re true for the GOP today.
Dole may have on occasion leaned a little further on important issues like Social Security, but only because he could see leadership among Democrats leaning his way from the other side. The difference? While modern Republicans have maintained their footing on issues, modern Democrats are so far left of center they don’t even seem to be on the same planet anymore.
The Democrat Party of our fathers and mothers favored government that helped the working man – operative word (itlaic) working (end italic). Would they have embraced policy for taxpayers to provide “Universal Basic Income” to everyone? Would the Democrat Party of our parents have embraced a blatantly racist, militant, Marxist-inspired organization that burned American cities, murdered their residents and declared “autonomous zones” where existing law has been suspended?
Would those Democrats recognize their party’s modern obsession with anti-white hate, the embrace of Critical Race Theory in education and the re-writing of history and its markers along racial lines? Would they support a medical mandate mentality from the federal government that violates individual civil rights? Would they endorse the outright attack on female athletes with policy that gives preference to men who want to compete as women in women’s sports?
When the culture and values of one side of a political continuum are that distant not just from the arguments of its opponents from also from the mainstay of traditional American culture, compromise becomes social and cultural suicide.
Bob Dole started out as a soldier who recognized what was right and defended it against the scourge of those who would have replaced it with tyranny. Hopefully, Republicans will continue to do the same thing.
– Dane Hicks is publisher of The Anderson County Review in Garnett, Kan.