In the 1860s, the conservatives were the Southern Democrats who were in rebellion and the liberals were the Republicans as the successors to the recently defunct Whig Party.
Since that time, beginning around 1880, we have had a series of realignments within the two major political parties. Under the direction of Mark Hanna, U.S. senator from Ohio, the Republican Party became the party of big business (the robber barons) and it dominated the political scene (except for the Wilson administration) through campaign contributions and bribery until the election of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932.
In addition to the rich, the Republican Party made successful overtures to religious fundamentalists and fiscally and culturally conservative voters.
This realignment continued until 1964, when outrage in the South over the civil rights movement and subsequent legislation led some segregationist leaders, notably Strom Thurman, to switch to the Republican Party. read more
FOR my entire adult life I have listened to the invective leveled against the Republican Party by liberals: It is a party sustained by racist appeals, composed of haters and conspiracy nuts, indifferent to the plight of the poor and the weak, anti-woman.
I have repeatedly denied those charges, publicly and forcefully. The broad indictment, the unfair generalizations, were caricature and calumny, the product of the fevered imagination of the left. Then along came Donald J. Trump, who seemed to embody every awful charge made against the Republican Party.
Later this week he will become my party's nominee. read more
President Barack Obama adamantly opposes privatizing the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve the level of health care veterans receive.
"The notion of dismantling the VA system would be a mistake," Obama told The Gazette on Thursday after he shook the hands of 812 new Air Force officers - all of whom will someday be veterans. He said his administration has made steady progress in modernizing the VA and providing veterans with more timely health care. Reinventing the system would derail that progress.
"If you look at, for example, VA health care, there have been challenges getting people into the system. Once they are in, they are extremely satisfied and the quality of care is very high," Obama said during an interview he granted only to The Gazette in a locker room at Falcon Stadium after the Air Force Academy graduation. read more
One of the things I was trying to get at in this week's feature about Trump's amazing takeover of the Republican Party is that we've all gotten this wrong, for decades.
The tone of American political coverage for some time hasn't matched the reality of what voters have been going through. Even as America lost its manufacturing base and tens of millions of people were put out of good jobs, the campaign story for years remained the same weirdly celebratory soap opera.
Instead, we traveled all that way to focus on the same candidates who'd been with us on the plane from day one. They were the players in this rolling, immensely popular sports story, and to make the game accessible, we dumbed things down as much as possible.
Two years ago, vets were waiting a long time for care at Veterans Affairs clinics across the country. At one facility in Phoenix, for example, veterans waited an average of 115 days for an appointment. Adding insult to injury, some VA schedulers were told to falsify data to make it look like the waits weren't that bad.
Congress and the VA came up with a fix: Veterans Choice, a $10 billion program that was supposed to give veterans a card that would let them see a non-VA doctor if they were more than 40 miles away from a VA facility or they were going to have to wait longer than 30 days for a VA provider to see them.
There was a problem, though. Congress gave the VA only 90 days to set up the system. Facing that extremely tight time frame, the VA turned to two private companies to administer the program and help veterans get an appointment with a doctor and then work with the VA to pay that doctor.
Although the idea sounds simple enough, the fix hasn't worked out as planned. read more