I must admit that I don’t know actor Richard Dreyfus’ political leanings. I’m not familiar with his upbringing, and I have no idea who he has voted for in any election ever held. That being said, I am sure I’m not alone in my initial amusement at Dreyfus popping up at Ted Cruz’s Iowa caucus victory party, because let’s face it — it’s generally presumed that most people in Hollywood would consider themselves at least left of center, but what the hell do I know?
What Dreyfus said he was there to do was to figure out if anyone was resurrecting the “Old Republican Party.” If what we read in The New Yorker is true, Dreyfus seems to be at least a passing fan of one past Republican — Dwight D. Eisenhower, and he was discussing his mutual admiration of the man with none other than arch conservative Glenn Beck.
Dreyfuss was in Iowa as a sort of political tourist checking out candidates. The two men started to talk about Dwight Eisenhower, who they agreed was the last honest President. (source)
Okay, so Dreyfus and Beck both love Eisenhower. I get it. Ike was at least honest enough with the American people to warn them about not letting the Military Industrial Complex become exactly what it is today. He was the president that as a Republican hiked the marginal tax rates to the ceiling and through it. I could see how many people would at least in some way view Eisenhower as a decent human being.
Over at The Inquisitr, they provided a few more details as to what Dreyfus was doing at a Cruz event.
Richard Dreyfuss clarifies that while the two do not agree on everything politically, he “reveres the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.” It seems that was more than enough to grab his attention. The actor was curious if anyone in attendance was going to try and revive “the old Republican Party.”
“We need the old Republican Party. I’ve got no problem with saying that,” Dreyfuss stated. (source)
Maybe we do need the old Republican Party, Richard Dreyfus; I could see that. The balance that a two party system could bring is appealing, and it would in theory help keep either extreme from taking hold of the country. But here’s the thing, Mr. Dreyfus — the old Republican Party didn’t go anywhere; not really. It just became what’s called “The Democratic Party” today.
Republicans were the party of Lincoln that in the 1940’s and 1950’s were out in the streets marching with black people and actually working hard to register them to vote. Today’s Republican Party is trying to keep as many older and minority citizens off the voting rolls as possible. Today’s Democratic Party is the one fighting to keep voting fair, open, and free. Back in the day it was the GOP that pushed for tax rates at least high enough to help keep the poverty stricken off the streets. Now the GOP is trying to cut taxes so low it literally chokes the life out of the government.
Teddy Roosevelt was one hell of a Republican president. But unlike today’s Republicans, he didn’t shy away from taking on the big business interests that had corrupted the government. Instead, he went after them. That sounds a lot like current Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren to me. Today’s Republican Party is too busy telling us poor people just need to work four more jobs to try and actually help the working class by keeping tax rates high enough to fund the investments in our future we need to make in order to have a functioning society.
But maybe all that isn’t enough for Mr. Dreyfus to see the Old Republicans are now just called Democrats. And if that’s the case, he should look at how Democrats view foreign policy now. For intents and purposes, I can’t find much difference in the foreign policy of Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama. The neocons that ran the Dubya administration are a little different, but given Obama’s penchant for drones and his party’s voters’ willingness to generally turn a blind eye to them, can anyone really draw that much a distinction between the Republicans of 30 years ago on foreign policy and the Democrats of today?
Even in terms of economic policy, the current Democratic president and the front runner for the party’s nomination are both pretty Reagan-like. Neither are Laffer acolytes by any stretch, but how many Wall Street financiers did the Obama administration jail? Don’t wrack your brain too hard for the answer to that one.
The truth seems to be this: the Old Republican Party doesn’t exist anymore and hasn’t since the Religious Right took it over for the most part. The Democratic Party is the closest thing to it, and the evidence of that is in the fact that the Dems themselves have a bit of an identity crisis — Bernie or Hillary — that they are going through too. I can’t help Richard Dreyfus find the Old Republican Party, but I can direct him toward the current Democratic one, and that’ll probably be as close as he’ll ever come to it.