Peggy Noonan Finds Modern Republicans To Be Too Extreme For Ronald Reagan

In some ways I am really happy to see the rise of Huckabee in the Republican race as this is causing many conservatives to question the direction the party has moved. In the past Republicans such as Ronald Reagan have used the religious right to get votes but have typically only thrown them a few bones. Now that the religious right has become dominant in the party, many Republicans are questioning whether this is the direction they really want the party to move in. Peggy Noonan writes that the increased importance of religion in the Republican race is not progress. She writes:

Christian conservatives have been rising, most recently, for 30 years in national politics, since they helped elect Jimmy Carter. They care about the religious faith of their leaders, and their interest is legitimate. Faith is a shaping force. Lincoln got grilled on it. But there is a sense in Iowa now that faith has been heightened as a determining factor in how to vote, that such things as executive ability, professional history, temperament, character, political philosophy and professed stands are secondary, tertiary.

But they are not, and cannot be. They are central. Things seem to be getting out of kilter, with the emphasis shifting too far.

I’ve noted several times in the past that, while many conservatives see Barry Goldwater as the founder of their movement, Goldwater rejected the influence of the religious right. Noonan notes that the party has now gone too far even for the conservative hero Ronald Reagan:

I wonder if our old friend Ronald Reagan could rise in this party, this environment. Not a regular churchgoer, said he experienced God riding his horse at the ranch, divorced, relaxed about the faiths of his friends and aides, or about its absence. He was a believing Christian, but he spent his adulthood in relativist Hollywood, and had a father who belonged to what some saw, and even see, as the Catholic cult. I’m just not sure he’d be pure enough to make it in this party. I’m not sure he’d be considered good enough.

That’s what we now have. A Republican Party which as become so extreme that not only has it moved beyond Barry Goldwater, who called himself a liberal in his later years, but which has become even too extreme for Ronald Reagan to be welcome.

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  1. 1
    Jesus|Freak says:

    Though I am a Christian, I cannot defend much of the things the Republicans and some of the “Christian right” does. They give Christians a bad name. Some preachers on TV preach prosperity. Jesus said that our treasures would be in heaven, not earthly. I have a friend, who is a member of my church who was judged by one of these pharisees. A street preacher came to PSU, calling people “fag” and “sinners”. I feel that misrepresents Jesus’s message of hope and redemption. Jesus came to save the world, not to condemn it. The street preacher called my friend a “fairy” for the way he was dressed and he told another student that she wasn’t a Christian. Who is he to judge like that? Only God judges. The right do all this while ignoring the needy and the poor. The right also supports bills like the telecommunications industry, such as Comcast, gutting net neutrality. They want to create a tiered – access system where if a web content provider has more money, his content will load faster. If the telcos have thier way, this can throttle down blogs, open source software projects and other web traffic. I feel the Republican party is using sincere Christians for thier vote while lining the pockets of corporations. All of this while ignoring the poor, homeless and other problems in our country. As far as these TV preachers go, Jesus said there would arise false teachers and prophets.


  2. 2
    Rev Ray Dubuque says:

    Common Noonan!
    You wonder “if our old friend Ronald Reagan could rise in this party, this environment.”
    And you know full well that 40 years ago your Conservative Catholic & Religious Right friends turned on Jimmy Carter, the most pious Christian to ever occupy the oval office, and threw him under the buss in order to replace him with the very opposite, who as you say was “Not a regular churchgoer, said he experienced God riding his horse at the ranch, divorced, relaxed about the faiths of his friends and aides, or about its absence. He was a believing Christian, but he spent his adulthood in relativist Hollywood.”
    The same so-called “Conservative Christians” would embrace Adolf Hitler if he proclaimed himself the “Conservative, pro-Christianity, pro-family, pro-life, anti-homosexual” candidate, just as they did in the 1930’s.

  3. 3
    mary says:

    Barry Goldwater was one of, I believe 5, Republicans that voted no to the 1964 Civil Rights Act which ended Jim Crow in the southern US States. Christ taught, or so I am told by the Bible interpretations that is reported to be Jesus’ words, that the two greatest commandments were about love.

    Love God and love thy neighbor. How is lynching, tying people to railroad tracks, bombing churches and what they did to Emmett Till Christian? Kind of like what some of our troops have been doing to Iraqi men and women. Not to mention what our cluster bombs have been doing to innocent babies and children.

    That is not a Republican thing; Hillary, the former “Goldwater girl” voted yes to the war; said she gave it careful consideration (to Code Pink about two years ago) and voted for cluster bombs use in civilian zones.

  4. 4
    groth says:

    The Republican Party has been taken over by ditto-bot, neocon-gelicals. ‘believe in our conservative values or get out,’ is the message. There is no room for debate or differences of opinion. One thought, many minds. Going to a Republican Party is like going to neo-Nazi convention. Everything is anti-liberal, anti-immigration, anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-regulation–the only thing they’re for is guns, Israel and Christ. True Republicans should boot the hard core, neocon-gelicals back to their fringe group status and bring some order and common sense back to the party.

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