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Jim Hightower

GOP Leaders: 56 Years of Devolution

From Rick Perry to Rick Santorum, many Republican sparklies reject the science of evolution. Georgia Rep. Paul Broun (who ironically serves on the science committee), even calls evolution "lies straight from the pit of hell."

But while they diss evolutionary progression, the GOP as a whole seems firmly committed to "devolution" as its own operating principle. Webster's dictionary explains that to devolve is to degenerate through a gradual change – synonyms include to crumble, decline, regress, sink… worsen.

The party's leaders are presently in an intramural tussle over how they should cope with last year's electoral drubbing, especially by women, Latinos, and young voters. Tea party Republicans argue for going deeper into the right-wing weeds by promoting a new McCarthyism focused on the bugaboo of a United Nations takeover of America. Others insist the party simply has a packaging problem, so they're seeking softer ways to say "kill Medicare," and studying how to say "cut taxes for the rich" in Español.

But few, if any, are saying such things as this: "Government must have a heart as well as a head." Or this: We must conserve and safeguard "our natural resources for the greatest good of all, now and in the future." Or this: "The purpose of the Republican Party is to [build] a dynamic prosperity in which every citizen fairly shares."

Fifty-six years ago, under the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, Republicans not only said sensible things like that – they put them in their national party platform as pledges to the American people. How far they've devolved, huh?


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Of course, the last thing Republican leaders want is advice from someone like me, but I'm happy to give it anyway, free of charge: If you ever hope to evolve politically, ponder going back to the future. You're welcome.

"Republican congressman Paul Broun dismisses evolution and other theories,", October 6, 2012.

"2012 Election: Where GOP Presidential Candidates Stand On Evolution," October 24, 2011.

"Reaganism After Reagan," The New York Times, February 18, 2013.

"Republican Party Platform of 1956,", August 20, 1956.

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow. Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

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