What do the following born in the USA, over the age of 35, U.S. citizens have in common:
A New York billionaire with an incredible comb over, who is a TV personality and casino owner
An ordained Southern Baptist preacher who was a former Arkansas governor
An Alaskan former beauty queen, a present day hunter and formerly was a short-time governor
A Mormon former Massachusetts Governor, the son of an auto industry CEO, now having a net worth of over a quarter billion dollars, who has shifted to conservative positions on abortion, gay rights, and gun ownership
A Minnesota Congresswoman, owner of a Minnesota Christian Counseling Service and Tea Party leader with a law degree from Oral Roberts University, who seemingly believes the founding fathers ended slavery.
A Minnesota Governor who opposes abortion, same sex marriages and would work toward reinstating Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
Of course, you all know the answer; these people are considered possible 2012 Republican nominees for President of the United States. And not surprisingly, they have all been interviewed on FOX News.
Several friends of mine were strong Republicans in their younger years. They are good people. They are honest people. They are universally flabbergasted by what their party has become. For them, the Republican Party represented a party where people, through hard work, could better themselves and following core ethical principles, would take care of the less fortunate. This was a land of opportunity, and good people succeeded.
So how did the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower evolve (sorry for the use of that ungodly word) to what it is now? Answer: Blame it on Lyndon Baines Johnson.
In 1960 with John Kennedy’s election, the Republican Party was a party on the decline. America was becoming youth orientated. Eisenhower had warned of the danger of the “Military Industrial Complex” and big business was no longer a great sell with the American electorate.
And then it changed. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Shortly thereafter LBJ took the helm, initiating his “Great Society for America” plan calling for an end to poverty and racial injustice, culminating in his signing of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965.
That signature ended the bigot support for the Democratic Party. Big city liberals and intellectuals no longer shared the same party with Klu Klux Klanners and Darwin demonizers. The Party of Lincoln seized the moment and efficiently merged the party of big business with those bitter, racist, fundamentalist elements of our country seemingly disenfranchised by the Dems.
The Big Business community amalgamating with the under-educated, anti-intellectual, fundamentalist, protect my gun and my fetus population was the perfect symbiotic relationship. Big Business could provide the bucks, and this fearful, malleable citizenry could provide the votes. The industrial complex knew how to stoke that fear, witness FOX.
Hence we have billionaires like Trump trumpeting birther nonsense and Sarah Palin raising millions from Oil Companies so she can revel in her anti-intellectualism. Thanks Lyndon for making it possible for Pastor Huckabee to be a serious contender jeopardizing “Separation of Church and State.”
It strains ones imagination to think that up until a few days ago when he withdrew name, Haley Barbour, the Mississippi Governor known for his past racist comments, and a former partner of one of the biggest lobbyist firms in Washington representing big oil and tobacco seemed intent on running and was considered a viable candidate to run to for President against a man of color in this 21st Century. Could one imagine a Michelle Bachman as President without this motley amalgam? Mitt Romney and a Tim Pawlenty, you both owe a debt of gratitude to LBJ for enticing you to play to the homophobic, right-to- life base.
President Johnson, you did the right thing, now if only the Party of Lincoln could do the right thing.