In recent years the Republican Party has fallen under the control of extremists who would never had been considered viable candidates in the past–and who are too extreme for most other countries. The Osterley Times compares Republicans to British conservatives:
There simply is no British equivalent to the Republican party, unless one reaches towards the BNP and other extremists. The Tories might sound like them on matters like tax cuts and deregulation, but when it comes to social policy they simply wouldn’t dare make the arguments that are regularly made by the American right wing.
Any British politician who proposed teaching creationism in schools would instantly be regarded as on the outer fringes of intelligent debate, but Bush argued for that very thing and was seen as playing to the base, rather than as someone who had blatantly lost his mind.
The notion that David Cameron could hope to get elected by opposing abortion is silly on it’s face, and yet the Republicans put forward Sarah Palin as a candidate for Vice President precisely because she held such views.
Imagine what the Republican base would do if McCain, or any candidate for the Republican ticket, said this:
“I stood up in front of a Conservative conference, my first one as leader, and said that marriage was important, and as far as I was concerned it didn’t matter whether it was between a man and a woman, a man and a man or a woman and a woman,” he said.
“No other Conservative leader has ever done that. I don’t think any Labour leader has done that. Even since then. The good thing was that they applauded.”
And yet that is precisely what David Cameron did. The sky did not fall in and there were no calls for his head. Indeed, the Conservatives realised that they needed to change their stance on a lot of these issues in order to have any chance of ever getting re-elected, which is why they applauded.
In the US, the Republican party appears to have been kidnapped by radical extremists.
And, it’s only when one compares them, as Greenwald has done, to right wing political parties in a country like Britain, that one can clearly see just how wacky these buggers really are.
Being controlled by extremists is responsible for the Republicans being thrown out of office. Any degree of a rational foreign policy has replaced by the “wacky buggers” promoting neoconservativism and the war in Iraq. The dominance by the religious right has turned the party into one which cannot handle the twenty-first century world or appeal to modern voters.
The extreme social conservatism of the Republican Party is a recent change. Barry Goldwater rejected the religious right and in his later years considered himself a liberal in response to the changes in the conservative movement. Secular Right has also pointed out that the battle lines of the culture war are a recent development:
Remember that Ronald Reagan signed a bill which loosened abortion laws in California in the late 1960s. George H. W. Bush had supported abortion rights until 1980, and his father had close ties to Planned Parenthood. This is not to say that I deny that those who oppose abortion do so sincerely. Rather, my point is that the “Culture Wars” which we see around us today may seem clear, distinct, and natural, but their shape was far different even a generation back.