On the EDge: RIP, GOP

Photo by Chiyacat iStock / Getty Images Plus; St. George News

OPINION — RIP, GOP. It was an interesting run, but now it is over.

Your roots were an odd mix of social viability to big-business cheerleading, establishing the Republican Party in 1854. As such, you truly were the party of Abraham Lincoln basing your tenets on standing against slavery and encouraging an all-embracing rectitude rather than the exclusionary self-righteousness of today.

But, 163 years down the road, you have lost your moral compass, your economic integrity, your heart, your soul.

The unraveling of the Republican Party began during the Reagan Era, when conservatism took a turn for the worse. Oh, there were loose wheels previously. Barry Goldwater and his libertarian flavor of conservatism comes to mind. But even Richard Nixon, his felonious activity aside, was a true, red-blooded Republican.

The neo-conservative movement, today called the Alt Right, can be traced to the Ronald Reagan era.

He looked presidential, he acted presidential, he sounded presidential, but that can be traced to his B-movie Hollywood training. As far as his acumen and ability at free thought, well, his former simian co-star Bonzo could deliver a better ad-lib.

But, Reagan knew how to stick to the script and his handlers crafted a shiny façade that secured his image as The Great Communicator.

There was more of the same with Dubya, who had more hands up his backside moving his lips than Kermit the Frog. His credibility was fractured by the presence of Vice President Dick Cheney and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, who really called the shots for the dimwitted leader who always seemed like he’d rather be taking in a Three Stooges film festival than running the country. Despite this, I’d rather have him in office than what we are saddled with today.

The fatal blow to the traditions and ideology of the Republican Party came when the GOP decided it needed to be more female friendly and pushed Sen. John McCain into picking Sarah Palin, the ne’er do well governor of Alaska, as his running mate. Suddenly, there was a living, breathing politician who believed in the burgeoning neo-conservatism of the drifting right wing instead of simply mining it for campaign donations and votes.

Before we knew it, the party rallied behind Palin, Joe the Plumber and Newt Gingrich, who redeemed himself after some foul sexual scandals. The party rushed to embrace Jesus, white nationalism and the demands of the investor rather than the men and women who fueled the economic machine.

In Utah, we saw that manifested when lifelong Republican loyalist Sen. Bob Bennett was ingloriously sacked in favor of Mike Lee, an ultra-rightist who would make John Birch blush. Rep. Mia Love was swept into office on that wave. Jason Chaffetz, who caddied for former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. during his campaign, then tenure, also emerged and was elected to the House of Representatives. The feeling here is that he is waiting in the wings quietly before taking on Mitt Romney to take over the seat that will be vacated when Sen. Orrin Hatch calls it a career.

Hatch wisely decided to go out of his own volition, rather than be KO’d in the late rounds by some upstart. You see, according to the new rule, Hatch is a RINO – Republican in Name Only – whose history of bipartisan negotiation didn’t sit too well with the disgruntled neo-conservatives. Of course, at the end of his run, Hatch was ticking off everybody from the left and the right and will leave office ingloriously after his hometown paper, The Salt Lake Tribune, wrote a scathing editorial demanding that he step down.

For what it’s worth, although I was miles apart from Bennett and Hatch in political ideology, I respected their traditional Republican positions. It’s from such fundamental differences that we grow and learn.

There was a certain statesmanship to guys like Hatch and Bennett, regardless of your political persuasion. They were savvy politicians, to be sure, but they were sincere in their conservatism. I spent a lot of time with both of them and we frequently had ideology sparring matches. But, they were always gentlemanly, always courteous and always passionate.

They were throwbacks to a time when politicians held more respect.

They were neither rancorous nor bombastic, although Hatch did take on a bit of an antagonist pose these last few years.

But, they were clearly old school and I always had the feeling that despite all the bluster and arrogance that comes with the territory of being an elected official, deep down inside somewhere they were more concerned with the welfare of the American people than in padding their own bank accounts or the wallets of the fat cat investors who give outrageously to political campaigns.

They were the guys in shiny suits and dull ties with wives in beehive updo hair styles and modest dresses.

They had bad haircuts and drove Plymouths.

Their kids attended private schools and held real jobs.

Now, of course, Armani has replaced J.C. Penney, stylists have replaced the neighborhood barber and trophy wives are de rigueur.

Instead of the diplomatic language and quaint customs of the House, Senate and White House, we have grunters and grumblers tweeting out monosyllabic threats and utter nonsense. The elements of truth that once were vital to legitimate campaign and leadership have been reduced to a few very fine grains of veracity and we are more liable to hear one of our Republican leaders describe an opponent as an SOB rather than “my friend across the aisle.”

The party has also become vindictive. If you disagree, you should be locked up, hung in the town square, have your lights punched out. It’s a good thing dueling was outlawed long ago, otherwise the steps of the nation’s capitol would be blood-stained.

No, this is no longer the party of Lincoln.

Not by any means.

The social conscience that was at the heart of the GOP’s anti-slavery stance has disappeared. Instead, Republican stalwarts are more liable to build walls, take steps to ruin your nation financially or condemn your religious beliefs than to embrace a burgeoning world community and its many differences.

When the change went down, the Republicans, who started out all touchy feely and into social advancement, swapped ideology with the Democrats, who, yes indeed, supported slavery and the Klan in the early days but evolved into the bastion of the fight for civil rights; took a firm, hard stance on building treasure instead of treasuring its nation. But, when the roots of modern politics were sewn, we still had a common goal.

Not now.

Of course, Democrats remain their own circus, an unpredictable, rowdy bunch more apt to roll in the mud cuss each other on the way to consensus. But, that’s the Democratic Party and, hopefully, it will remain so. The loss last year was shattering to some, still stings for the rest of us. But, it is not surprising. Remember, the Dems brought us Michael Dukakis, Jimmy Carter, Bernie Sanders, who may technically be independent, but in all other respects, is a solid Democrat.

But, I doubt the party will get all slick and pretty as it prepares for the 2018 mid-terms. They’ll wrestle around, duke it out and come out swinging at their opponents in unison this time.

The damage done to Republicans meanwhile, which has escalated dramatically in the last year, will result in a party that is DOA in the mid-terms as a result of self-inflicted wounds.


You will be missed.

Sort of.

No bad days!

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • holger January 9, 2018 at 7:39 am

    What do you call someone who yearns for one part rule?

    • mesaman January 9, 2018 at 9:48 pm

      Mr ED? The best news of 2018 would be to read that Goldilocks had returned to his casa in Baja.

  • tcrider January 9, 2018 at 7:49 am

    good article Ed,

    the gop is going to be toast, and it will start happening next year.
    The dems need some real leadership and there is no way in hell
    I would vote for either berny or hillarious. It will be interesting
    to see what Oprahs policies will be, but if they are anything like
    bernies, I don’t think she would have a snowballs chance in hell.
    the dungle trump,
    never my stinking pile.

  • Real Life January 9, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Anyone else here get the feeling that Ed is not a fan of the Republican Party?

    • high5 January 9, 2018 at 8:26 am

      @realife- We don’t know who Eddie is writing to and neither does he. LMAO

  • Lastdays January 9, 2018 at 8:02 am

    Oh yea. We’ll RIP “ Dam oh Craps “
    Take that Gma Ed

  • dogmatic January 9, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Nowhere are prejudices more mistaken for truth, passion for reason and invective for documentation than in politics.
    John Mason Brown
    The GOP is alive and well, don’t be blinded by your prejudices Eddy Boy.

  • Craig January 9, 2018 at 8:12 am

    So sad to mischaracterize as you do.

  • John January 9, 2018 at 8:27 am

    Ed always leaves one thing out of his opinion pieces, REALITY!

  • Jim January 9, 2018 at 8:43 am

    “If you disagree, you should be locked up, hung in the town square, have your lights punched out.”

    Ed, it took you that many words to show us just how a vociferous liberal really feels ? You took a topic and made it so those possibly in agreement must turn their back to you. Better to stand alone, than become part of the uncontrollable mob.

  • Kyle L. January 9, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Ed you describe yourself so well:

    “grunters and grumblers tweeting out monosyllabic threats and utter nonsense”.

    Couldn’t have described you better myself!

  • Utahguns January 9, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Keep your powder dry. The enemy is not at the gates….They’re already inside.

  • dons8120 January 9, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Good article Ed, I totally agree, but I am not feeling to good about the democrats right now. Everyone is pushing Oprah for 2020, seems we should first concentrate on 2018 and waiting for Mueller to put Trump in jail. Then we can talk Oprah.

    • John January 9, 2018 at 11:14 am

      Hahahahaha! you too lack REALITY in your inane liberal dreams…Hahahahahaha! How do you ever fit all that stupid into one head?.. Keep it up! We like winning…And with sheep like you and special eddy, it’s going to be very easy.

      • dons8120 January 9, 2018 at 3:06 pm

        You always tell me I’m stupid or insane and that I live in mommy’s basement, but your not even smart enough to realize when your getting trolled. If you don’t know what that means then google it (trolled) with 2 L’s. Your opinions mirror what Trump and his band of idiots say so much I often wonder if you even have your own opinion or if you just copy from pro trump Facebook post and Fox and Friends. Keep on waving your MAGA flag and as your idol self destructs, just remember that the liberals always have a place for you in our sanctuary cities right next to an evil family just looking for a better life for their children. You know the ones that commit voter fraud and fail to pay taxes, and make us good tax paying citizens pay for their children’s education and healthcare, as you Trump supporters like to say. Turn off the Fox News and read a book for once in your life, they are free at our library, I’ll even help you get a library card. Keep the great articles coming Ed, these Trump people need to be enlightened to what more than half of the voters from November already know.

        • John January 9, 2018 at 3:14 pm

          Actually you are the one being played, I’m not chasing unicorns you fool !

          • dons8120 January 9, 2018 at 4:16 pm

            Bravo, you were able to come up with a school yard come back, what’s next “I know you are but what am I”. You are a perfect example of the ignorant white trash that voted for Trump. Have you ever left the bubble of Utah to see how the world really works? I bet not!

          • John January 9, 2018 at 4:51 pm

            don, you are just a tool of the left, you chase imaginary schemes just like the liberal democrats and you are just too brainwashed to see the folly. Unlike you, I get my news form many sources and can make an informed decision and not just recite the talking points of the day. Get over yourself little donny, think for yourself sometime, you look like a fool just like special eddy. I actually feel a little sorry for you in that your family is not getting you into rehab for that Trump Derangement Syndrome. But until they do the rest of the world will be entertained by your mindless rantings. You are too dense to see what’s really going on and you just let the media play you.. HAHAAHAHAHAHAHA!

          • dons8120 January 10, 2018 at 10:09 am

            Well John I would love to hear your many sources? I bet they are all right wing propaganda, My favorites are BBC, CNN, and yes Fox news. I never make a decision without getting info from both sides. Thank you for your concern about my TDS, as soon as I get that big tax break Trump promised I will get into a therapist to cure myself. Thanks for watching out.

    • DB January 9, 2018 at 3:54 pm

      BTW, Oprah is as big a narcissist as Trump. She just coats her attitude in honey when in public.

  • Who January 9, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Some of the time you actually make a little sense. But most of the time, like this article for example, you are bent on proliferating hatred. The Democratic party has a lot to offer, but has put all it’s efforts into trying to make what they don’t agree with into some kind of evil.

    In the words of Thomas Jefferson;
    Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.

  • bikeandfish January 9, 2018 at 10:53 am

    Pundits made similar arrogant claims several years ago when Obama was in office. Such assumptions took the focus of the disfunction of the DNC and resulted in one of the most devestating losses in modern American politics. The RNC is changing but in reality that has been a historic constant for both parties. Neither is static. But if left leaning pundits don’t start focusing on the real problems in their own camp then I think we are in for another era of disfunctional lopsided federal politics.

    I agree on missing the old statesmanship of Hatch and Bennett. Politics has gotten dirtier some how. But make no mistake that comes from right and left, not just one side. Sanders is a broken record of bitter antagonism as much as the purists yelling “RINO” from the other aisle.

    We need these old men to retire though. Hatch, Sanders and their ilk had their time to influence our government. We need new blood who better represent our nation. We need fewer Biden’s and Clinton’s who think they have earned their turn and more candidates who come from the spirit and content of core America. And that means broad America, not just classic left or right caricatures. That is one of the primary lessons from the populist wave the left so perilously ignored while Trump exploited.

  • NickDanger January 9, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    And I’d just like to add, R.I.P. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It was all fun and games for a long time, you were on top of the world, Dwayne – highest-paid actor in Hollywood, one hit movie after another. Yeah, everything seemed to be going just great, but now look at you. It’s over. You’re nothing. Your body is shriveled up like a baby possum, your public approval rating is in the basement, you couldn’t get your wretched self into even the most tawdry of “B” movies these days…

    Wait, what’s that? The Rock is still an enormous superstar. Still an A-lister? Stronger than ever? Box office gold? Still 6’5″ and totally ripped? Oh. My mistake.

  • Mesquite January 9, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    The “dimwitted leader” that you are trashing here has a BA from Yale and an MBA from Harvard. In fact, George Bush is the only President to have earned an MBA.

    You are certainly welcome to your opinion, but claiming George Bush is “dimwitted” makes you sound like a fool.

    • bikeandfish January 10, 2018 at 1:13 am

      Ed throws around such insults regularly. I would be hesitant to call anyone “dimwitted” who succeeds at becoming president.

      But to be fair, both Obama and Clinton officially had equal or higher levels of education given a Juris Doctor is considered a professional doctorate degree. And I think Wilson had a terminal degree as well.

      Granted, college education wasn’t the same or as readily available for presidents in the first half of our national history.

  • commonsense January 9, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    Not so fast my liberal friends. Everything I can measure says Trump and the GOP are doing well.
    Full employment, record setting stock markets, new job creation, immigration reform, lower taxes, military strength, business optimism and a sense of American greatness will win many voters. What’s not to like?

  • Kevin Hentges January 9, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    This hippie out of touch liberal again has it wrong. He’d be a good writer in Russia but in the United States he’s all washed up. One can expect this kind of tripe from these liberal Stooges. These people absolutely amaze me they’re so out of touch.

  • jaltair January 10, 2018 at 1:32 am

    You are wrong,  the GOP is pretty much united and is now stronger and more behind our Populist President these days.  So much has happened in this first year of President Trump’s time in office.   

    The economy has risen to much better levels,
    Record highs in the stock market.
    Great things are hapening for our Amrrican Vets!
    Unemployment rates are down lower than anytime in these past 17 years..
    About half of all regulations put in by Obama that have choked business have been rescinded.
    Numerous new bills have been signed into law providing room for business to grow, just as the new tax bill promises to help those middle class workers keep more of their money. 
    The mandate on Obamacare has been repealed.
    Great, allstar cabinet, Supreme Court, Federal Court picks.
    ISIS almost demolished.
    President Trump has been working hard to keep his promises to the American people.

    What President Trump has accomplished is not being reported by the liberal news networks, facts don’t fit their narrative.  It’s as though mainstream media is working in unison to report one thing at a time,  banging away on the topic until the pool of media like fish goes to another topic to feed on.

    First, it was the Russians – that one backfired.
    Next one, the “Me Too” and women were going bananas over being harrassed, and men were fleeing jobs. 
    Then … Trump isn’t fit to run the country, impeach him!  Rumors of Impeach Trump rallies. 
    Now, a book that prooves Trump is mentally unfit!  However the original sources are showing how fake it is. 

    Anything to get Trump out of office has been the underlying cry / theme, hearing echoes of, “The ends justify the means.” (Salilinski)  The alt left will do anything to get President Trump out of office.  Remember, …. extreme liberalism is a form of mental illness.

    • NickDanger January 10, 2018 at 6:09 am

      Good post. I do disagree with you that extreme liberalism is a form of mental illness. I think it’s just a sign of a deficient intellect.

      Liberalism is easy to accept. Start giving things away to people and it sounds good. Free medical care, housing, and food for the needy? Sounds perfect, until you realize you aren’t really doing those people any favors by allowing them to live on the dole.

      Gay marriage, easy access to abortion? Seems fair until you stop to consider that it flies in direct contradiction to the Christian values that got us where we are in the first place.

      Easy immigration? Racial and gender equality? Again, it sounds fair. Unfortunately it does not account for the fact that white males are the rock-solid backbone of the U.S. economy.

      I could go on. The point is, a liberal is merely a conservative who hasn’t given the matter enough thought. Whether that’s due to intellectual laziness or outright intellectual deficiency, I’m not sure. I don’t hang out with liberals long enough to figure it out.

      • bikeandfish January 10, 2018 at 5:12 pm

        Your ethno-fascism is showing again.

        Are we a democracy founded on each individual’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness or not? Your ideas fly in the face of those ideals. There is a fundamental difference between being a Christian nation, we aren’t and don’t have a national religion, and Christians being the religious majority. The latter respects personal liberty while the first restricts it and imposes an authoritarianism which is actually inconsistent with the very Christian tenets of free will.

        If your definition of white progress is so “rock-solid” than why are you so afraid of requiring the government to respect the equality of ever citizen that is enshrined in our Constitution? Sounds more like white fragility. We all know you are afraid because if we treated everyone as equals, which we never have in this country, then maybe your white supremacists ideas would be exposed for the fraud they have always been.

        I have hope that the RNC and even conservative populism will continue to eradicate radical ethno-nationalists like you but only time will tell.

    • dons8120 January 10, 2018 at 9:43 am

      Can you not think for yourself? This same cut and paste job was done by our friend John a week or two ago. I think the only words that you wrote are “you are wrong” You talk about record number of bills he has signed, well Trump has signed 10 bills this year naming post offices, crating memorials, and naming citizens to boards, that is about 10% of what he has signed. He is well behind the last two presidents and one of the lowest in modern history as far as accomplishments. But I do have to thank you for the laugh about the “Great, all star cabinet” comment. The stupidity in Trump’s cabinet reminds me of the days of Dan Quayle.

  • Dave January 10, 2018 at 4:34 am

    HAAAA HAAAAA You wish ED. Your Communist party has NEVER been so irrelevant. Do you live in America? Then TRUMP is YOUR President. Deal with it. He has done more for the country in 12 months than the last 6 Presidents combined, No thanks to your party’s obstructions. Russian collusion? Lets look where it really is. Hillary and Obummer really need the smoke and mirrors to take the light off of them. Keep trying Ed. Small fish in a very large pond.

    • dons8120 January 10, 2018 at 8:59 am

      You really are out of touch, more accomplished than the last 6 presidents huh? Don’t you realize that you are bashing on the republicans idol Ronald Reagan? I am no fan of him, but he did more for this country than Trump ever will. Maybe you meant the last 6 democratic presidents. Now it makes sense. I may need to double check, but I didn’t see Ed mention Trump at all in this article, so why are you bringing him up? Your comment makes no sense. Lastly you state small fish in a very large pond, I assume you think he is all alone in his opinion. Just want to give you some stats, Trump may have won the electoral vote(which I am not denying), but the popular vote was won by Hilary 65 million to 62 million. Take away the 2 million who Trump says were illegal or dead voters and we still have more in this country who dislike Trump and the republicans than those that support him. He is at 38% approval rating on a Fox news poll no less. So I am pretty sure you are the small fish in the pond. Ed may be a minority in Southern Utah, but not in the country. Please tell me how we are so irrelevant? Actually don’t tell me, we will show you in November.

      • John January 10, 2018 at 10:09 am

        Actually delusional donny, you are the one who brought Trump up. Are you getting treatment yet for that Trump Derangement syndrome? You let him live in your head rent free, 24/7 and it’s really funny that you are so obsessed. Get over it already ! You are way too full of yourself. I use that term because I’m not allowed to put into print here what you are really full of. Most agree with me, Your incessant whining proves that you are just another brain dead meat puppet liberal. Get into treatment.

      • John January 10, 2018 at 10:59 am

        And delusional little dummy donny, If you actually know how to fact check, why are your posts just reciting the left’s latest ridiculous talking points. What’s even funnier is you are in total denial of being an easy to trigger liberal snowflake. Go read some real news, you have to stop getting it from “The View”, Keep on getting back up little clowny and I will smack you down again!!. waaah waaah waaaaah.

        • dons8120 January 10, 2018 at 12:34 pm

          If you would actually read the comment, I got my information from Fox News. Sad that you didn’t catch that, better get your eyes checked. Lastly if you remember one of my previous post I told you that I am trolling you, so I am not a easy to trigger, I just like getting you worked up. I have succeeded. Take a look and see that I usually just post comments to you and not many others. I am just showing the readers how stupid you are by posting your angry and childish comments. See you next week when Ed post another story.

          • John January 10, 2018 at 4:43 pm

            I’m sorry little delusional donny, but I can’t have a battle of wits with you because won’t have a fight with an unarmed libtard.. You couldn’t troll yourself if you were the only one playing you sad excuse for a know it all ! you full of crap moron..hahahahahaha!

  • John January 10, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    keep getting back up little libtard donny, you are quite the liberal clown.. hahahaha! It doesn’t matter where you say you get your news from, you are still a misinformed leftist meat puppet with Trump Derangement Syndrome,.. and full of yourself to top that, and i say yourself because that means the same as what I actually want to say but the nice people at St George new won’t allow me to use that descriptive term for excrement.. Go get some facts moron !

    • ladybugavenger January 11, 2018 at 6:45 pm

      Haha! You sound like Dot…aka evil twins mommy. Hahahaha!

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