Way back in the early 1980s, I was a Republican. I was persuaded to become a Republican by a local Republican politician who said this to me: “Imagine you have $100,000 and you need to put it in a bank. Across the street are two banks that are identical from the outside in every way. The only difference is that one bank has a sign that says Republican National Bank and the other says Democratic National Bank. Where would you put your money?” That seemed pretty clear to me.
I got involved in Republican politics. I worked with the state Republican committee and the national Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. I went to Republican campaign school to learn how to run a proper political campaign. I met a number of prominent Republicans, including Andy Card, who later became the Chief of Staff for George Bush. I was hooked.
It wasn't long before I became disillusioned about Republican politics. The candidates I worked with, for the most part, said all the right things and presented themselves to the public as dedicated civil servants. But not all of them were. Many of them didn't really care about serving the public as much as they cared about serving themselves. I did meet a couple whom I respected, and one of them I'm still in touch with, but in general, I didn't like any of them.
Back then, the Republican Party was not the same party it is today. It stood for fiscal responsibility and taking care of people at the same time. Less government is better than more government. Help people who need it, but don't give the store away. Maintain a strong economy and strong military. I agreed with all of that.
Then came the winds of change. While it started before them, the change became really noticeable when Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld appeared. When they worked for the first Bush, they were Okay—George H.W. was able to keep them under control, and he knew how to use them. Then along comes George W, and when they join his team he hasn't a clue how to control them, and the Republican Party starts to move away from its core principles.
Slowly it began to change, and I don't recognize the Republican Party today. It's a party that doesn't seem to care. It is obstructionist and convinced of its own infallibility. It seems to be moving backward and not forward. It nominated Donald Trump.
The final proof in my mind that the Republican Party had moved away from me came when Donald Trump won the presidential nomination. While I may understand a lot of the reasons behind the nomination, it scares the hell out of me.
I just saw that Ivanka Trump is traveling through Croatia while her father is running for president. If I were her, I'd get out too. Maybe the fact that she's not here helping to control her out-of-control father is significant.
If I just look at the Republican platform, I find that I agree with a lot of it. Much of it still makes sense to me. What doesn't make sense to me are the idiots they have running the joint.