Even traditional Republicans are unhappy with the current state of affairs. I came across the following earlier today from Andrew Sullivan and Kevin Drum. It is an editorial by Steve Rose of the Johnson County (Kansas) Sun. The newspaper has a history of supporting Republican candidates for public office. Mr. Rose is definitely a conservative but a mainstream conservative. However, he and his newspaper are now turning to the Democratic Party because the Republicans have drifted so far to the right. He writes,
In the 56 years we have been publishing in Johnson County, this basically
has been a Republican newspaper. In the old days, before the Republican civil
war that fractured the party, we were traditional Republicans. That is, we
happily endorsed Jan Meyers for Congress, Bob Dole for U.S. Senate, Nancy
Kassebaum for U.S. Senate; virtually every Republican state legislator from
here, with a few rare exceptions; and most governors, although we did endorse
the conservative Democrats George and Bob Docking and John Carlin.
The point is, I can name on two hands over a half century the number of
Democrats we have endorsed for public office.
This year, we will do something different. You will read why we are
endorsing Kathleen Sebelius for governor and Mark Parkinson for lieutenant
governor; Dennis Moore to be re-elected to the U.S. Congress; Paul Morrison for
Kansas attorney general; and a slew of local Democratic state legislative
candidates. These are not liberal Democrats. They are what fairly can be
described as conservative Democrats, and we can prove that in our forthcoming
But I could not help but put in perspective a more global phenomenon
that has led us to re-evaluate our traditional support for Republicans.
So, what in the world has happened?
The Republican Party has changed, and it has changed monumentally.
You almost cannot be a victorious traditional Republican candidate with
mainstream values in Johnson County or in Kansas anymore, because these
candidates never get on the ballot in the general election. They lose in low
turnout primaries, where the far right shows up to vote in disproportionate
To win a Republican primary, the candidate must move to the right.
What does to-the-right mean?
It means anti-public education, though claiming to support it.
It means weak support of our universities, while praising them.
It means anti-stem cell research.
It means ridiculing global warming.
It means gay bashing. Not so much gay marriage, but just bashing gays.
It means immigrant bashing. I'm talking about the viciousness.
It means putting religion in public schools. Not just prayer.
It means mocking evolution and claiming it is not science.
It means denigrating even abstinence-based sex education.
Note, I did not say it means "anti-abortion," because I do not find
that position repugnant, at all. I respect that position.
But everything else adds up to priorities that have nothing to do with
the Republican Party I once knew.
That's why, in the absence of so-called traditional Republican
candidates, the choice comes down to right-wing Republicans or conservative
And now you know why we have been forced to move left.