Admit it – you were all about Gerald Ford. Hey, that’s fine. Nice guy. And if you were never a Republican, surely you had friends who were.

Chris Currey, “an old, free market, religious Republican businessman,” was the same way. His first vote was for Eisenhower.

But as he writes here, something’s changed:

. . . I voted for Nixon and for Reagan. Although I did not like the deficit spending of the Reagan administration, I blamed it on and rationalized it by the necessities of fighting the Cold War. I liked Reagan — who didn’t? Even my Democrat and liberal friends liked and respected him. I voted for Clinton, twice. I thought he was the best Republican president since Ike. No, I did not make a mistake. Bill Clinton was closer ideologically to Eisenhower and Nixon than Bush I and II could ever be. I thought that Clinton practiced and articulated true Republican ideology in his fiscal discipline, job creation, smart tax cuts, and foreign policy better than anyone since Ike.

Then something happened in the 1990s. The leaders of the GOP grew belligerent. They became too religious, almost zealots. They became intolerant. They began searching for purity in Republican thought and doctrine. Ideology blinded them. I continued to vote Republican, but with a certain unease. Deep down I knew that a schism happened between the modern Republican Party and the one I grew up with. During the fight over the impeachment of President Clinton, the ugly face of the Republican Party was brought to the surface. Empty rhetoric, ideological intolerance, vengeance, and religious zealotry became the common currency. Suddenly, if you are pro-choice, you could not be a Republican. If you are for smart and sensible taxes to balance out the budget, you could not be a Republican. If you are pro-civil rights, you could not be a Republican. . . .

☞ It’s worth reading the whole piece.

“How did we go from William F. Buckley to Glenn Beck?” he asks.

How, indeed.

CHOCOLATE

Peter Kaczowka: “Eat LOTS of chocolate. Per Wikipedia, the world’s longest-lived person, Jeanne Louise Calment, lived on a diet of olive oil, red wine and chocolate, living 122 years and 164 days. There’s no need to eat cocoa powder, Lindt makes a delicious 90% pure chocolate bar. Calment ate nearly 5 oz of chocolate a day, more than an entire Lindt 90% bar which weighs 3.5 oz and has 550 calories. Calment was not eating ‘a little chocolate every day,’ as you advise; chocolate was a substantial part of her diet of unsaturated fats.”

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