Sophie Quinton writing in the Atlantic paints a vivid picture of how far off course the Republican party veered by doing nothing more than looking back to 1980, and a different international crises.
In 1980, while Jimmy Carter was running for re-election, 53 Americans were being held hostage in Tehran. It was a very dark time for Americans that is hard to describe today, to those who didn't live through it.
Carter was being challenged by George Bush, the Elder, and a right-wing conservative and former governor of California, Ronald Reagan. Carter was also facing a primary challenge by Ted Kennedy. Many people believed in 1980, as they did in 1976, that Ronald Reagan was just too conservative to win the White House.
|Overview of the wreckage in the Iranian desert|
Candidate Ronald Reagan, when asked to respond, told reporters, "This is the time for us as a nation and a people to stand united." Reagan would not criticize Carter.
Candidate George H.W. Bush went further: "I unequivocally support the president of the United States -- no ifs, ands or buts -- and it certainly is not a time to try to go one-up politically. He made a difficult, courageous decision."
Now try and think of Mitt Romney without laughing.
To paraphrase Andrew Sullivan, don't tell me the Republican Party hasn't changed. It really is astounding to see a political party go from foreign dominance to being internationally mocked buffoons in just one generation.