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



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!


Oh here we go,That funny how you people on the right want religion in everything except when it goes against what you want to here.Cafeteria Christians you are! Isn't that what Jesus did? Spoke up about the establishment? I think ministers need to speak up more.Wow,I'd hate to see what would have happen if the elected a black pope.


Very well said, GSD! Jesus was the Great Socialist, wasn't he? Rev Idema - I agree with every word you write. You speak the truth, and I, for one, thank you.


Wait, wait! I thought the Libs didn't want religion mixed with politics. Hmmmm, I'm so confused. You guys real need to decide if your for something before your against something before your for something?


Yeah - we get steamed when the GOP legislatures waste time and taxpayer money passing bill after bill on the War on Women - infringing on their reproductive rights, bitterly taking away access to health care for women and their children; telling US citizens who they can love - and generally just being too fixated on the private bedroom habits of the citizenry; getting involved in military adventures; telling US citizens what, how, and who they can worship; promoting class warfare by legislating continuously for the 1% instead of the average American....all in the name of God.


Yeah! You go girl!


Oh wingy,You got to stop starching your underwear,It's cramping the blood flow to your brain!


Hey LSD, don't worry about my laundry. I'm competent and don't need any assistance or interference with my responsibilities from you, or your big brother programs.


Vladi,Quit cut & pasting everything,I don't need to be led like a sheep!


And you're probably not a Sixth Grader, either.


no I'm a fifth grader,And I have a note from my mommy to be on here


My reference was to Dianne Feinstein - maybe she's in your 5th grade class?


She was but got kicked out for beating up Rush Windbag!


That's why she was Kruseing for the bruising she got.


Just in! Ted Cruz has been added as #158 on the Feinstein Assault Weapon Ban List.


Exactly - because he has appendages Di Fi is lacking (starting with a brain)

The explanation is here:


If by appendages that Ted possesses, you mean a big mouth, you are so right. He's as adept at embarrassing his party as you are at pulling pigtails.

As for Ann, she is also correct that many of us, including this "hysterical" Independent, cried bitter tears at the thought of 26 poor souls killed by 152 bullets in 5 minutes, many beyond recognition. Remember those children and grandchildren you spoke of with such concern regarding the national debt? Well, I believe our country needs to (paraphrasing Vlad here),.. "man up and grow...up" and get serious about regulating magazines that can kill multitudes in a manner of minutes, for our children and grandchildren sakes, don't you?

Ann has a lot of "brass" to talk down "Di Fi" - I wonder if she knows that Feinstein has served in government nearly 50 years, and in 2012, received the most popular votes in US Senate election history. But Ann does have glossier lips....


Ted Cruz - Partner in major D.C. law firm; argued before Supreme Court

Cruz was Solicitor General of Texas from 2003 to May 2008, appointed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. He was the first Hispanic Solicitor General in Texas, the youngest Solicitor General in the United States, and had the longest tenure in Texas history. He was formerly a partner at the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where he led the firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and national appellate litigation practice.[2]

Ann Coulter District Court law clerk, private law practice

While attending Cornell University, Coulter helped found The Cornell Review,[6] and was a member of the Delta Gamma national women's fraternity.[7] She graduated cum laude from Cornell in 1984 with a B.A. in history, and received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1988, where she was an editor of the Michigan Law Review.[8] At Michigan, Coulter was president of the local chapter of the Federalist Society and was trained at the National Journalism Center.[9]

After law school, Coulter served as a law clerk, in Kansas City, for Pasco Bowman II of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.[10] After a short time working in New York City in private practice, where she specialized in corporate law, Coulter left to work for the United States Senate Judiciary Committee after the Republican Party took control of Congress in 1994. She handled crime and immigration issues for Senator Spencer Abraham of Michigan and helped craft legislation designed to expedite the deportation of aliens convicted of felonies.[11] She later became a litigator with the Center for Individual Rights.[12]

Dianne Feinstein - lifelong politician

Feinstein graduated from Stanford University. In the 1960s she worked in city government, and in 1970 she was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. She served as the board's first female president in 1978, during which time the assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk drew national attention to the city. Feinstein succeeded Moscone as mayor.

Sarah Palin - athlete, tv sportscaster, businessperson, City Council, mayor, Governor

Palin returned to the University of Idaho in January 1986, and received her bachelor's degree in communications with an emphasis in journalism in May 1987.[23][30][31][32] After graduation, she worked as a sportscaster for KTUU-TV and KTVA-TV in Anchorage,[33][34] and as a sports reporter for the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman,[35][36] fulfilling an early ambition.[37]Following the birth of their first child, in April 1989, she helped in her husband's commercial fishing business.[39]

Palin was elected to the Wasilla City Council in 1992 winning 530 votes to 310.[40][41] Concerned that revenue from a new Wasilla sales tax would not be spent wisely,[43] Palin ran for mayor of Wasilla in 1996, defeating incumbent mayor. In 2002, she completed the second of the two consecutive three-year terms allowed by the city charter.[ In the November election, Palin was outspent but victorious, defeating former Democratic governor Tony Knowles by a margin of 48.3% to 40.9%.[19] She became Alaska's first female governor, and, at the age of 42, the youngest governor in Alaskan history, the state's first governor to have been born after Alaska achieved U.S. statehood, and the first not to be inaugurated in Juneau (she chose to have the ceremony held in Fairbanks instead).

You really want to talk credentials? Credentials on law, the Constitution, and the Second Amendment?


VladtheIntimidator: Thanks for the copy and paste refresher - I am very well aware of all of this. Let's pursue credentials further. He:

Started and grew his own business through his intelligence, ambition, charisma. Faithfully supported his family with no help from anybody, often with 5 generations under 1 roof. Put his kids and some grandchildren through 4-5 years of college each.

Was president of local School Board for years during explosive growth in the school district. Was president of local Rotary for years, overseeing major fundraising efforts that helped in the construction of a children's hospital and blind center. Taught Dale Carnegie courses for years at night school, with waiting lists for his classes. Was a deacon/council president for years at his church. Was elected president of his business national association several times. In retirement, volunteered: election centers, Meals On Wheels, blood banks, transporting elderly.

Over 1,000 people came to his funeral. Comments - He was: the favorite - employer, uncle, neighbor, friend. Generous - with time, money, spirit. Kind - to kids and old folks alike. Respectful - and was respected for it.

Credentials: High School Diploma.

Like me, he would be appalled at the mean, nasty, shock jock, trash talk-for profit from Ann; the callow, shallow, gibberish-for profit from Sarah; and the despicable, belligerent, disrespectful lies-for profit from Ted - despite their many credentials.

“My belief in free speech is so profound that I am seldom tempted to deny it to the other fellow. Nor do I make any effort to differentiate between the other fellow right and that other fellow wrong, for I am convinced that free speech is worth nothing unless it includes a full franchise to be foolish and even...malicious.”
― H.L. Mencken

Your mantra?


I'm only guessing the identify of the individual you described, but it seems he was quite a man. I'm pretty sure he was not H.L. Mencken, one of my very favorite curmudgeons.

Surely you realize that I pasted the credentials of Cruz and Coulter to counter the absurd claim that Dianne Feinstein should not be questioned because of her 50 years on the public teat; the KKK Grand Kleagle Robert Byrd and the unrepentent racist Al Gore Sr. both achieved that success.

I added Sarah Palin because in addition to being smart and accomplished, she has been more reviled than any woman in our history, being the subject of vile slanders and lies directed at her and her family by your friends on the Left. Like my wife and many women I have had the privilege of knowing over the years, she kicks butt and takes names, but never resorts to claiming victim status, like Senator Feinstein. (You seem capable of holding your own in this forum as well).

Your Mencken quote is curious. Can you not see that by playing the poor little lady victim, offended that the mean man would question her on her gun grabbing legislation, its relationship to the Second Amendment and its impact on multiple millions of citizens, and especially his constituents, Ms. Feinstein was attempting to limit Ted Cruz's freedom of speech, knowing that her fellow democrats and the media would pile on Cruz? Welcome to the double standard of feminism - a senior senator with more power than most people in the world, including Cruz, Coulter, and Palin, has to resort to playing the female victim, "offended card" instead of answering rational questions on legislation she has pushed - that's pathetic!


Yeooouch! I almost feel sorry for Lan. Maybe she will quietly accept defeat on this one and move along to the next not, well good luck anyway Lan


Yes he was - the bummer is that the rest of us pale in comparison! (not necessarily referring to you here, of course)

The theme of Rev Idema's piece is that the Republican Party has a self-diagnosed identity problem (the take-away from last week's CPAC), and suggests a reasonable, smart, responsible centrist like Dwight Eisenhower to be the new face of the GOP. Your Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, and Ted Cruz are among the current mouthpieces of the neo-right, and, if you're inclined to label anything as pathetic, they take the booby prize. There has seldom been such a a bunch of egos-on-steroids who beclown -:)- themselves every time they desperately seek out the cameras.

As much as I would like to salute you for your acknowledgement and appreciation of the strong women in your life, the fact that you include Sarah in that category forces me to turn that salute into a slightly different configuration. Sarah Palin - "the victim of slanders and lies"! - aauugh, spit and sputter! (again, Vlad is devilishly adept at hitting hot buttons). This attractive "Barracuda" came on to the scene loaded for bear, ridin' that bronco all the way to millionaire status. It took her about all of 2 hours to start playing the "victim" and blaming the "lamestream" media for accurately reporting her gibberish. And you complain about my syntax! Well - I'm almost, but not quite, speechless.

As much as I really, really hate to admit it, I do agree with you somewhat re: your depiction of Dianne's response. There simply is no justification for Cruz's disrespectful, belligerent grandstanding (even his colleagues blanched), but, as with Hillary during the Benghazi hearings, I would have preferred a stronger, less emotional response from Senator Feinstein. As you point out, both women have the chops to cut their male ( although rather femme - the drama! the histrionics!) interrogators down to size without any residual impression of "victim" status. But in this case, your statement that only liberals/media are piling on Cruz is disingenuous at best....he did the shoveling all by himself, masterfully, too, I might add, given all those important credentials.

"Surely you realize that I...". Surely you jest! You pasted the credentials to glorify and compare 3 Musketeers of the GOP who are the antithesis of their forefather, Eisenhower, to a fine Senator who shows respect for the country she has served. And without any distinction or acknowledgement of right or wrong, foolishness or maliciousness.

Rev Idema couldn't have said it better.


Wing - You are a faithful lieutenant to Vlad! And I thank you for wishing me good luck, but as luck (or ancestry) would have it, I rarely accept (or admit) defeat quietly.....guess it's that euphemistic Welsh "feistiness".


While there is no doubt Vlad and I are brothers in arms, I cannot articulate with such precision the conservative point of view. I share the same feistiness but I with stubbornness born of old world ancestral traits (from the Vaterland). Where you and I differ is I can detach from a political party when they leave common sense behind on an issue. Vlad leads his charge thru his natural teaching ability where I lead thru simple common sense. You dear Lan, lead thru miss placed emotions. Articulate at times but misplaced. Feeling is rarely a good compass without solid facts and common sense to keep you pointing true north. Carry on feisty warrior but know you face a silent majority of others such as Vlad and myself that show themselves from time to time here and in the voting booth.


Not so much emotion, as trying to inject a touch of humor, as without it, I would start to think I'm not made for this current world. Looks like we are destined to go to different high schools together....but we will both carry on as feisty warriors!


I leave you to your prejudices against patriots - but I suggest you may want to re-check your sources on Mencken. The person you described is not the Mencken I am familiar with - starting off with the fact that he was an atheist.


Are you replying to me, or Wing? If me, I have no idea what you are referring to. I only quoted Mencken. The man I described was not Mencken, nor was my intention to draw comparisons between them.

If replying to Wing, sorry to intrude!


Responding to you - obviously misunderstood your "Yes he was." I thought it was in response to my questioning whether it was Mencken. Apologies - I had first assumed it was someone close to you but


Perfectly clear now. Your first assumption was correct.



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