Letter: Republican Party has devolved into the party of Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with government members in Sochi
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with government members via a video link in Sochi, Russia November 24, 2021.
Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via REUTERS

To the Editor,

Once upon a time the Republican Party was virulently anti-communist, a position that has been abandoned by the current leader of the GOP, others in his orbit and Republican influencers who are shamelessly supporting the Russian invasion of a neighboring democratic country.  Continuing his bromance with Putin, the twice impeached 45th president praised the Russian dictator, characterizing his Ukraine invasion as, “pretty smart.”

Trump’s former secretary of state and faithful minion Mike Pompeo described Putin as “an elegantly sophisticated counterpart,” and gushed “I have enormous respect for him.” Republican influencer Tucker Carlson has parroted Russian talking points to such a shocking extent that he is featured on Russian state television. These individuals have openly voiced their support for an autocratic thug who is bent on restoring Russia’s sphere of influence over the now independent nations that were formerly part of the Soviet Union. It is especially jarring to see a former president break a long-established norm by criticizing the current head of state and the policies of the U.S. government.

Once upon a time the Republican Party favored limited government, a position that has been abandoned as Republican state legislators and governors are working tirelessly to control the bodies of women, non-binary citizens and to prevent students from learning our history, warts and all.

Once upon a time the Republican Party was staunchly opposed to budget deficits and promoted a balanced budget, usually at the expense of social programs. Trump promised to eliminate the national debt in eight years. Like just about all of his pledges, this guarantee was unfulfilled, as he oversaw the fastest increase in the debt of any president, almost 36% from 2017-2020 as reported by The Balance. Thanks in large part to his tax cut for the wealthy, there is little chance that the deficit will be reduced or eliminated any time soon. But, you can bet that the Republicans will blame Biden for the continuing problem.

Once upon a time the Republican Party styled itself as the party of law and order. Now, they justify the Jan. 6 insurrection as “legitimate political discourse” and refuse to view right-wing extremists as a threat to American democracy.

I wish there was a happy ending to this tale, but the hypocrisy and cynicism of the Republican Party make for a Grimm brothers ending.

Pasqual Pelosi

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