My wife Jeri and I were recently driving through Stony Brook on Long Island when we noticed a group of tea baggers on the side of the road waving brand new American flags and also waving and wearing the yellow, Don’t Tread on Me flag. You could tell these people did not have the means to afford all this paraphernalia, that they were being funded by some ominous and unknown group of money people.
I told my wife that I felt like driving up to them , rolling down my window and saying you have a right to express yourself but in my opinion no matter how much you wave that flag you are still traitors in my eyes because of your treasonous behavior with the debt ceiling that may have toppled the American economy.
Then my wife, who is a lifelong liberal, said I feel like joining the GOP just so we can stand up to these people. And there is a growing sentiment among mainstream Republicans to do just that only on their terms, the old fashioned Republican way and that means working within the party and not airing your laundry in public.
My friend Barbara is a liberal Republican and doing just that in Brooklyn where she has recently sent a recording of my radio interview with the Republican environmental group REP America to the leaders of her political club just to let them know that hey there is another side to this story and why is the tea party gutting environmental laws that Richard Nixon put in place. I hope in the past she has also sent my interview with the Log Cabin Republicans, a GOP gay rights group.
My friend Gene is a big time attorney and a former member of the Republican club I founded in the early 90s back at Brooklyn Law School. He has confided in me that instead of leaving the party I should have stayed and fought from within the party. A belief shared by, I am sure, many of our former club members.
It wasn’t too long ago that a liberal like Rudy Giuliani and a serious environmentalist like George Pataki led the party. Today they find themselves upstaged by tea party follies. And these follies and their circus like personalities make you wonder if Nixon, Eisenhower, Teddy Roosevelt and Abe Lincoln would be welcome in the party today or even for that matter the late Gerry Ford and George Bush Sr.
But I’m certain that there is a movement underway to take back the GOP and though it is working quietly behind the scenes it is nonetheless working with a pace we former court workers would call Standards and Goals and that means the matter is expedited.
And Democrats should welcome this as well for as anyone in politics knows the pendulum of power swings from one side to the other and would you rather have the GOP run by a secessionist like Rick Perry, a notorious homophobe like Michele Bachmann or a clown like Sarah Palin or a party represented by reasoned leaders like Ford, Bush Sr., Nixon, Teddy Roosevelt, Ike or Lincoln or even for that matter my good government Republican neighbors here in Fishkill who are fighting to oust a tea party queen from power. You tell me, the answer is obvious.