Those of us who are old enough can remember a time when the Republican Party played a constructive role in addressing the nation's problems. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, which put Federal enforcers in the South to ensure that African-Americans could register and vote, passed with greater Republican support (94 percent in the Senate and 82 percent in the House) than Democratic.
Republican conservatives could once be counted on to contain government budgets. That disappeared for good with Congressional GOP giveaways in the past decade to oil companies, banks, pharmaceutical firms and any other interest with deep pockets.
Republican conservatives used to cast a skeptical eye at military adventures overseas. During the 1976 presidential campaign, Bob Dole, the Kansas senator who was the GOP's vice presidential candidate, claimed: "If we added up the killed and wounded in Democrat wars in this century, it would be about 1.6 million Americans -- enough to fill the city of Detroit." All sense of Republican restraint abroad got drowned out in GOP cheerleading for the war in Iraq.
Many of the concepts in the health care bill signed on Tuesday by President Obama had been proposed by Republicans. The new law resembles nothing so much as the Massachusetts health-care plan championed by then-Governor Mitt Romney, who has since been backpedaling furiously to dispute his parenthood of that first-in-the-nation initiative.
Republican members of Congress could have worked with their Democratic colleagues over the past 14 months to shape health-care legislation. They chose, instead, to devote their energies to derail the President's health-care initiatives in a campaign whose ultimate purpose is the destruction of the Obama Presidency.
They may still call themselves conservatives, but there is nothing at all conservative about today's Republicans. The Grand Old Party is dead.
So, it's time to rebrand the GOP:
The Party of No
No New Ideas
No Sense of Decency