When I fail to come up with anything specific, I can invariably read disappointment in their eyes. The truth is that it was a fairly gradual process. I grew up in a typical middle-class Jewish home, the third son of Russian immigrant parents. In other words, FDR was our patron saint. In our house, the feeling was that Roosevelt could walk – or at least roll – on water. Then, after his death, when Harry Truman recognized the state of Israel in 1948, that cinched things. After that, if the Republicans had run God for president, we wouldn’t have voted for Him.
So, by the time I got to cast a vote in my first presidential election in 1964, naturally I cast it for Lyndon Johnson. Then, in ’68, I voted for Hubert Humphrey. After that, things only got worse. Over the course of the next two decades, I actually voted for McGovern, Carter, Carter, Mondale and Dukakis. I would say that sounds like the name of a sleazy law firm, but that would be unfair to sleazy law firms. The thing is, even back then, I’d wake up the day after voting for one of these clowns and I’d hate myself.
Back in the 80s, I was still one of those shmoes who laughed at jokes about Ronald Reagan nodding off during cabinet meetings. Somewhere along the line, though, it began to sink in that the sleepy head had managed to turn around an economy that had a 21% rate of inflation under his predecessor, and, for an encore, managed to end the Cold War. Even a dope like me who had voted for a sanctimonious phony like Jimmy Carter had to admit that was a pretty sensational performance. It turned out that the actor had finally found the right role.
Then, in the early 1990s, two things happened that convinced me that I could no longer vote Democratic or identify myself as a liberal, even if it meant that my relatives were going to start spinning in their graves. I could only hope that, were they still alive, they would have felt that being a liberal no longer meant that you opposed the poll tax and segregated lunch counters, but that you were blindly beholden to well-heeled defense attorneys, the morally bankrupt ACLU and the self-serving likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Maxine Waters.
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