I am just old enough to recall a time, in the 1970s, when racism wasn’t yet endemic to the Republican Party and many of its leaders still stood for decency and dignity. Yes, Nixon had just exploited his Southern strategy, and his minions undermined fair campaining with their ratfucking. Racism as strategy and tactic was gaining a foothold among Republicans. And let’s be clear: Overt, blatant racism was still more hoffähig among all white Americans than it is today. But the Republican Party was still to some extent the party of Lincoln – and “Southern Democrat” was still synonymous with “racist,” which to some degree limited the Republicans’ ability to exploit prejudices.
Decent Republicans still exist, though you’d hardly know it from the hoohah raised over the Cordoba House. I just loved this remark (via the Daily Dish):
It may not make me popular with some people, but I think probably the President was right about this. I do believe that people of all religions have a right to build edifices or structures, places of religious worship or study where the community allows them to do it under zoning laws and that sort of thing. And that we don’t want to turn an act of hate against us by extremists into an act of intolerance for people of religious faith. And I don’t think it should be a political issue. It shouldn’t be a Republican or Democrat issue either. I believe Governor Christie from New Jersey said it as well, that this should not be in that political partisan marketplace.
That’s Ted Olson speaking. His wife, Barbara, was killed in the 9/11 attacks. So what was that again about “hallowed ground” and “the 9/11 families”? Is Olson not among their numbers?
Between this statement and Olson’s principled fight for marriage equality in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, I could just about bring myself to vote for him if he ever ran for office.
What would it take to encourage more Republicans of this stripe?
(And by the way, kudos to Governor Christie, too.)