IDEMA: Why not Ike for a GOP role model?

Colin Powell appeared on "Meet the Press" back in January and argued that the Republican Party has an identity crisis. Boy, does it!
Mar 13, 2013


The current party preaches fiscal responsibility, but for many years they have outspent the Democrats, and it has been decades since a GOP president has balanced the budget. 

The party controls the House, who has the government checkbook. And what does the GOP do with that fiscal power? Not only does the GOP not cut spending, but it also threatens not to pay the bills they have run up — along with their Democrat colleagues, of course.  

The party seems to be bought and sold by the NRA, even after recent mass murders, including the shooting of one of their colleagues.

Some Republicans want to put armed guards in all of our schools, but what then about our churches, movie theaters and sporting events? I admit that, from the pulpit, I would have the best shot — but I would probably take out the back pew instead.

Most Republicans seem to wax nostalgic about Ronald Reagan, forgetting that what George H.W. Bush called Reagan's "voodoo economics" began our deep descent into national debt.

President Reagan inherited a national debt of under a trillion and then increased it three-fold. To his credit, in light of horrible deficits because of cutting taxes without cutting spending, President Reagan raised taxes many times, which present conservatives conveniently forget.

George W. Bush seems to have been vaporized, like so many politicians in George Orwell's classic novel, "1984." Plus, the bookends of his presidency are 9/11 and the financial collapse.  So, no role model here! He did not even appear at last summer's national convention.

How about Dwight D. Eisenhower as the new role model for the GOP? He balanced budgets, got us out of the Korean War and did not get seduced by the French to get us into Vietnam. He resisted his generals five times when they wanted to nuke other countries.

Ike built the highway system we enjoy today, a model which we need to consider now as we debate our crumbling infrastructure. The rich paid close to 90 percent in income taxes and few complained in the midst of prosperity.

President Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex, which has dominated Congress and the White House ever since. He tried to get a civil rights bill passed, but it was sunk by the Southern Democrats. He put into place the technology that took us to the moon and gave us the Internet. He stood up to Southern governors who tried to keep black children from going to school alongside white children.

The chief thing President Eisenhower as a role model could bring to our current politics is a sense of decency and civility, both sadly lacking in Washington today. He was a faithful Presbyterian, but unlike many members of the present GOP, he did not shove religion down our throats.

The GOP currently uses religion as a sledgehammer against those who are not "pure" on issues such as abortion, taxes, homosexuality and gay marriage. The GOP uses ideology to cower fellow party members who don't follow the NRA's rigid thinking about assault weapons and magazine clips.

Lastly, Eisenhower served in the military, unlike most members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Mitt Romney did not serve, nor did any of his five sons. President Obama also did not serve in the military. Service in the military should be seen as a political asset in a time of frequent wars and pork-barrel spending on weapons we no longer need.

If the GOP embraced its past of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower, and learned from them what should be priorities for America — instead of its present obsessions — independents like me might give the party a close look, especially in light of our No. 1 crisis, our national debt. 

Even my children, who will inherit this debt, might give the GOP another look. 

Unless  the Republican Party begins to attract young people, more women, minorities (who in time will no longer be minorities) and gay people, the party will go the way of the Whigs — the path they seem to be on at present.

— By the Rev. Henry Idema, Tribune religion columnist



Welcome back Henry!

Jared did an admirable job with your column. However, if he is to continue in your footsteps, someone should tell him those are martinis in your water glass.


Well said Rev.Idema! All you GOP's need to read this.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks.


The GOP has submitted a budget EVERY YEAR. It's the Senate which is run by Democrats and Harry Reid that has REFUSED to pass the budget.
Colin Powell is a RINO, Republican in name only, He is a liberal and that has been proven again and again. The GOP is finding their way and they don't need to turn liberal in order to be successful. Actually they need to do the opposite. They need to listen to the Conservative wing of the GOP. They need to offer a contrast to the liberal Democrats.
Surprise! The Dems finally released their first budget in 4 years, with 1 Trillion dollars of tax increases. Talk about irresponsible...
With real unemployment hovering around 14 percent, record deficits, with record number of people on assistance (most ever in US history!), they GOP doesn't need to take any advise from Democrats. The Democrats have the White House and the Senate and a real spending problem, they are like addicts, they don't see the problem...


What is the difference between a man of the cloth and a democrat spinning tales out of whole cloth? Apparently nothing, if the man is Henry Idema. "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's" is beginning to make even more sense!

Rather than attacking each of Idema's misdirections, let's focus on the National debt, to be paid back by our children and grandchildren. Candidate Obama accused "Bush" of being unpatriotic because he drove up the debt "from $5 trillion dollars for the first 42 presidents -- number 43 added $4 trillion dollars" to "over 9 trillion dollars of debt" (in 8 years). President Obama has single-handedly added over $8 trillion dollars to the debt in only 4 years! Neither is a fiscal conservative and neither used the Constitutional authority to veto excessive spending by the Congress - the democrat Congress under Pelosi just spent more.

Since Idema presumes to choose a Presidential role model for the Republicans, Vlad presumes to choose a Presidential role model for the Democrats - JFK!

JFK was a Massachusetts war hero, unlike the Arkansas Draft Dodger or the Chicago Community Organizer;

JFK believed in private enterprise and Capitalism, not big government Socialism;

JFK promoted lower taxes to spur economic growth; ("“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today, and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the tax rates…. [A]n economy constrained by high tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance the budget, just as it will never create enough jobs or enough profits.” —John F. Kennedy, 1963" )

JFK confronted America's enemies instead of promising more flexibility and appeasement;

JFK wanted limited immigration based on 3 criteria: 1) the skill of the immigrant, 2) the reunification of families, and 3) priority of registration first come, first served instead of amnesty and an open border;

JFK followed the teachings of the Pope, not Reverend Wright's Liberation Theology;

Of course, JFK would never be elected by today's democrats, if for no other reason than his well known philosophy:


There go a large percentage of democrats and Obama voters!


What a conundrum! If this was written for satire, it's a home run! A Spear of Lugh! If written for someone to come along and point out the fallacies, it's a home run! A Spear of Lugh! Or perhaps this was a Vladian attempt to pull the wool (cloth) over our eyes?

1.) The debt/economy/taxes: The deficit was certainly smaller and more controllable back in 1962 compared with 2013. Let's compare the tax rates. In 1962, the top tax rate was 91%. I repeat: In 1962, the top tax rate was 91%. Today it is 39.6, having just been raised from 36%. The corporate income tax in 1962 was 4.1% of GDP. Currently, it is 1.2% of GDP.

When the top tax rates were cut in 1964 to 70%, it greatly helped the middle class. Unlike the current hoarding of corporate ammo...I mean, $1.6 trillion+, reducing tax rates from 91% to 70% created a 9 year economic boom that was the direct result of active Keynesian fiscal policy. Corporations invested in their workers, pensions, expansions. The middle class prospered.

2.) JFK believed in capitalism: Like Obama, JFK not only believed in capitalism, he believed in the citizens. He expanded Social Security, Unemployment Benefits, increased the Minimum Wage not once, but 3 times.

3.) JFK confronted America's enemies: Oh please, he did everything possible to avert war, unlike Bush 43, who did everything possible, including lying to the American people, to jump feet-first into military adventures to the tune of trillions of dollars and thousands of lives lost or maimed.

4.) JFK/Immigration: What is this crock of tripe about amnesty and open borders? I'm not aware of any president advocating for amnesty and open borders. Please elucidate.

5.) JFK/Big Government/our children's future: Unlike the current crop of GOP extremists, JFK believed in investing in the citizenry, especially education. Among one of his finest quotes, he said, "Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain". His Higher Education Act of 1963 authorized more college aid and the construction of new colleges than in the previous century.

6.) JFK following the teachings of the Pope: This has to be the high watermark of humor in your comment. Really? Besides his famous speech where he supported the separation of church and state, his personal life fell short of the teachings of the Pope. His peccadilloes make Bill Clinton look like an acolyte.

7.) JFK never elected by Democrats: He would most certainly be electable by current Democrat standards. Sadly, Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Bush 41 would not be considered presidential material by the current crop of GOP right-wing extremist radicals, who are strictly interested in a slash and burn approach to the economy and the citizens, all to the benefit of their super wealthy benefactors.

The humor ceases when the full impact of your comment takes effect - the desecration of a fine president whose time was tragically cut too short, who inspired so many, especially young people with the creation of the Peace Corp, and who was your fellow compatriot.


Isn't lying to the people, an impeachable offense. You can bet your bottom dollar that he would haven brought up on these charges, but low and behold they (Dems) could'nt prove anything. You better be thankful that we live in this Country, whatever the faults. Obama will only have 4 years left. I wonder where he is going to hide, when the people find out what he really was. Reminds me Mayor Richard J. Daley Sr. of Chicago. You could never prove anything on him either. The Chicage Machine. Nothing like it>>


Well said Vlad. As goes the style over substance crowd, as goes our country... downhill.


Oh you GOP 's are known for short memory.who got us in two wars,Bush! Who ran the country in the ground,Bush! Who kept telling the American people the fundamentals of the economy are strong,Bush! Obama walked into this mess! You GOP 's are the party of obstruction,that's why the dems can't get nothing done.Remember you guys put the car in the ditch & We got it out!


You need to go back to school. The Dems controlled the House and Senate in the first half of the Obum. Now the Reps control the house. Harry the Bird Reed, has never pased anything. How can the GOP obstruct, when there bills are never brought up in the Senate. I sure am glad that I am over 75. I won't have to worry about the taxes you guys and Grandkids are going to pay. OHRAAH


Wasn't that when they were trying to get the health care act through? his first term? The grumpy old people(GOP)Were more fixed on destroying Obama then fixing what was broken? The Gop are not policy makers only propaganda makers.You know,Like the nazi party.Tell how bad the government is by lies? Why would you vote for the party that wants to cut your social security?You sound like my dad,And echo chamber for faux news! If socialism is so bad,Give back your S.S. and medicare.


GSD, Maybe this will be of some help for your memory. Not my words...theirs.


Wingmaster...priceless, simply priceless.


GSD, Maybe this will be of some help for your memory. Not my words...theirs.


Wow, Comments taken out of context from a GOP site.Remember when Hans Blicks said he couldn't find any WMD? The chicken hawks wanted blood


Taken "out of context"? Such an accusaton, when the visual/aural evidence is indisputable, is the last refuge of the intellectually confused...


Lol,The person clips & paste a video from youtube and at the end of the video it says it's from a gop site.You can clip and paste a whole bunch of video together and make it what you want to get your point across.I would like to see the whole interview with those leaders not bits and pieces.but that how you gop's learn because of your short attention span.John Dean's book "Conservatives without conscience" Is great in unstanding you clowns


Instead of being a typical democrat and waiting for others to provide for you, if you were intellectually curious you would find the whole interview and see for yourself.

You are following the thought process of one of your heroines:


Don't need the whole interview,I remember when all this went down.(Remember,You righties have the short term memory)Everyone was beating the war drum.The dems were being called unpatriotic for not supporting the war.So some of them jumped on the band wagon.So let's get to this provide thing you talk about.Don't you work?Doesn't your employer provide you a check for the work you did? Or do you work for free? Who are these people you talk about that are looking for someone to provide for them?


Then why did you say: "I would like to see the whole interview with those leaders not bits and pieces. . .?" Consistency being the hobgoblin of small minds and all.


And let's not overlook the mother of all video's from your mentor, savior, personal guru.....oh wait, he wasn't "conservative" enough, that's why he didn't win the election.....sorry, perhaps I misspoke....


Looks like Romney's analysis was spot on. He was neither conservative enough to attract many conservatives or enough like Santa Obama to attract the 47%.


Romney's true colors showed that day of the 47% comment.I remember when my parents had to go on food stamps one time.And those looks from people who were in line behind us in the grocery store.How dare we hold up the line.Why don't you people get a job.Now that I'm an adult and make a living wage I'm thankful.and guess what Vlad,It's not $7.00 an hour


So now that you grown up and mature, and making that living wage, you would have no problem paying back those food stamp dollars right. You can think of it as a pay if forward kinda thing.


Oui vey. Forget watching the clips the way presented, and watch them idividually. It's not like whole sentences where constructed by pasting "a whole bunch of video together". These are simply clips of people saying what they are saying presented together. The substance of what these Democrats were saying prior to engaging Sadaam Hussien on the battlefield, was that he had weapons of mass destruction. That's the salient point, no?


Wow, Comments taken out of context from a GOP site.Remember when Hans Blicks said he couldn't find any WMD? The chicken hawks wanted blood


Keep drinking your Koolaid, that mustache is really starting to look goofy on you libs.


The stache looks better than that long nose on you gop's from all the lies Pinocchio !


Fortunately the GOP is (depends on what the definition of is, is) the only group of politicians that lie!


I don't very often agree with Idema. Thing I could agree with is that religion is most often missing from the writings of this "Religion Columnist." I enjoyed his replacement far more. Maybe Trib should make Henry a "political columnist" or better yet, "local voice for the Democratic Party!



Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on Create a new account today to get started.