MR. PEABODY, SHERMAN AND THE WABAC MACHINE
Is today's Republican Party really as indistinguishable from the Confederacy as some people suggest?
That is because a century and a half ago, global warming was not a scientifically-proven phenomenon that the GOP could nevertheless deny.
The long-term unemployed, most of them jobless because of the Bush Recession, would not have been castigated as laggards not deserving of federal help.
No one would suggest, as the party's leading intellectual light did this week, that a mosque should not be built within hailing distance of Ground Zero because there are no Christian churches in Saudi Arabia.
All that so noted, even after taking in decades of the kind of political wind-breaking that makes global warming seem like small beer, I am deeply saddened that today's Republican Party has an undeniable neo-fascist bent.
That it unashamedly consorts with racists and is in the thrall of a former half-term governor who is capable of being nominated as the GOP standard bearer in 2012, as well as her Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck led pom-pom squad.
* * * * *"The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show" was a Saturday morning cartoon staple in the 1960s that included the WABAC Machine, a plot device used to transport the characters Mr. Peabody and Sherman back in time.
Compared to today's GOP, what great figures in the Party of Lincoln's history that moved America forward -- as opposed to backwards -- might the cartoon duo go back in time to visit?
Well, Honest Abe himself, for openers, who became the first president of a party created to fight an inhumane institution that many Southern GOP leaders today conveniently overlook lest they roil their pickup-truck-with-gun rack base.
Then there was Theodore Roosevelt, a latter day Republican, who took on big business, embraced Everyman, fought corruption and was the first president to invite a black man to break bread with his family at the White House.
Finally, there was Dwight Eisenhower, who expanded Social Security and got the Interstate Highway System rolling.
In retrospect, that is astonishingly few people.
And a perhaps not surprising perspective on today's party being more representative of its past than one would expect.