Former U.S. Senator and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, like so many other Reagan-era Republicans, has sharply criticized the ignorance, bigotry, and extremism of this year’s rancid crop of Republican presidential candidates. In an interview on MSNBC today, Dole bemoaned the current state of the Republican party, which he said had become “an extreme group on the right.” Dole joined the growing chorus of Republicans who have harshly criticized fascist front-runner Donald Trump in the wake of his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. Dole called Trump “over the top” and set that he “couldn’t understand” how people supported him.
Dole also had harsh words for the much-hated egomaniac and unabashed religious extremist Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who pulled into first place in a poll of Iowa Republicans released yesterday, saying “Cruz is so extreme, he’s not a traditional conservative” and roundly criticizing his so-called Senate “achievements” of shutting down the government twice and calling Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) a liar on the Senate floor. Dole, like many traditional and Reagan-era Republicans, represent an era that modern conservatives constantly idealize but is seriously disillusioned with the current extremism and ignorance of the Republican Party, which he’s said is “out of ideas.” Dole also said that he doubted Ronald Reagan would win the nomination if he ran in the current extremist climate of the Republican Party.
In a refreshing break from the traditional rhetoric of the Republican Party, where acknowledgement of even the slightest positive achievement by President Obama is seen as heretical, Dole also praised the president as a “very good man.” While saying that he probably wouldn’t support Hillary Clinton in a potential general election matchup with Trump or Cruz, Dole suggested that he wouldn’t be able to bring himself to vote for either of those Republican demagogues, saying with a laugh that he “might oversleep” on election day. The Republican Party certainly needs more people like Dole, who, despite their flaws, are at least sensible enough to see and call out blind hatred and extremism when they see it, and who work towards unity and compromise rather than divisiveness and confrontation.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.