John Avlon for The Daily Beast: Memo to the GOP: It’s Time to Listen to Your Elders

May 29th, 2013

The Daily Beast
by John Avlon
May 29, 2013

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Sometimes retirees are out of touch. But sometimes they’re freer to tell the truth. And that’s what happened when GOP mandarins Bob Dole and John Warner fired off warning flares about the rightward drift of the Republican Party.

Former presidential nominee Dole captured most of the attention when he told Fox News’ Chris Wallace that the Republican National Committee should hang “a sign on the national committee doors that says ‘closed for repairs until New Year’s Day next year’ and spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas.”

That’s tough stuff coming from a 90-year-old. But wait, there’s more. Dole frankly admitted that today’s Republican Party probably would not have room for him and even for Saint Ronald Reagan.

“I doubt it,” Dole said. “Reagan wouldn’t have made it. Certainly Nixon couldn’t have made it, because he had ideas. We might have made it, but I doubt it.”

This dose of cold water confirms what many columnists and historians have been saying in the face of growing party purges and policy litmus tests: the GOP has moved more and more outside the mainstream of America, not just in terms of 21st-century culture and demographics, but also in relation to its own history.

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