Former Head Of Homeland Security Thinks the GOP Is “Too Damn Self-Righteous”

Tom Ridge, the former head of Homeland Security and one-time governor of Pennsylvania, is the archtypical establishment Republican. So it counts for something that Ridge is making a point of talking about why the GOP need to stop coming off, in his own words, as “too damn self-righteous,” particularly on marriage equality, “and I’m sorry, that’s just not the 21st century political party GOP that I think we need to govern America.” Ridge made those comments to Buzzfeed just prior to addressing Log Cabin Republicans on Wednesday.

Ridge was one of the more (actually, one of the few) recognizable names from the mostly out-of-office Republicans who signed onto a brief calling for the Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8. He’s an anomaly in another sense: he’s also pro-choice on abortion.

Ridge harkens back to the golden era (for Republicans) of Reagan. “Reagan was as pro-life as you can be, but it was certainly not the centerpiece of his — for him, it wasn’t why he became president of the United States,” Ridge notes. The lesson for Republicans: “You may not agree with me on some of these social issues, but I want you to respect them and don’t make them the centerpiece of your political agenda. They shouldn’t be there, in my judgment.”

Putting aside whether the Reagan years were as rhetorically soft as Ridge recalls, he has to recognize that the GOP is even more in the thrall of the right than it was 30 years ago. After all, his ex-boss, George W. Bush, won re-election in 2004 in no small part because of his ability to capitalize on opposition to marriage equality. (And Ridge himself signed a DOMA-like state bill while governor.)

The real question is whether an establishment Republican like Ridge can offer the party any advice that it’s willing to take. At present, the GOP has a faction that is dedicated to ideological purity. That is not the kind of group that will buy the “big tent” philosophy that Ridge represents. It’s fine that Ridge is talking to the gay choir. It’s fine the establishment Republicans are having these discussions behind the scenes. But until those views become the topic of discussion at CPAC or the Value Voters Summit, the GOP is going to stuck in the same antigay loop.

Photo credit: Department of Homeland Security

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  • jeff4justice

    He’s still typical 2-party system scum who helped implement the total surveillance society and police state.

  • petensfo

    He’s right… Regan didn’t give a shit about the gays, privately. Nor did he ever want to get in the middle of abortion… but don’t tell that to the selective-retention Republicans who probably have next to no history about Regan, CA, or even the US Gov’t for that matter.

    As for the rest of it, the GOP is now the victim of its own scare tactics. Sleep with dogs, wake up with fleas, as they say.

  • 2eo

    @petensfo: I’d be more worried about the dogs catching something off the GOP.

  • Teleny

    The days of a “moderate” Republican are long gone. They started down the path of Hate in 1964 when the South became Republican in opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They now Hate blacks, Gays, Hispanics (except Cubans), women (right to chose) and gun control advocates.

  • LillianWoods

    Brooklyn recently got an almost new red Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG just by some part time working online with a lap-top… look at this now>>>

  • the other Greg

    hmmmm… BJ McFrisky is conspicuously absent here! There’s no right-wing “victim” for him to defend.

  • rand503

    “Whoa! Sure, we engaged in gay bashing and all that rhetoric. But don’t people understand that was just politics? We sure didn’t mean for y’all to take is seriously or anything. It was just to win a few crucial votes from the loony right wingers. Nowadays, it’s like people thought we really wanted abortion banned and gays in jail. Where the heck did they get that idea?”

  • BJ McFrisky

    @the other Greg: Believe it or not, I’m with Ridge on this. The Republicans have allowed their party to be hijacked by Big Religion. Rather than compromise to the center, they insist their way is the only way. (See? I’m far from a Republican apologist—they can be every bit as sleazy and hypocritical as . . . well, you know who I mean, Greg.)

  • bmwblonde

    OMG. Ronnie Ray-Gun, the nearly-in-dementia in 1983 PUPPET and (very bad) AcTor for the Extreme Psycho “I’ve Got Mine, Screw You” RIGHT, pretty much destroyed California. An ignorant, proudly illiterate jackass who “confused” being in movies about the war with “thinking” he was a war hero – Reagan didn’t “notice” that the state’s dynamic, well-funded university system was the CAUSE of economic prosperity.

    All Reagan noticed” was that his selfish rich handlers wanted fewer or no taxes, regardless of what that would do to our commonwealth. SELFISHNESS is a cheap and easy sell, especially to the ignorant and already-selfish.

    So, if the best the Republicans can do is hark back to Reagan for “improvement,” that party is doomed not only from its nutcake righ wingt, but also from its “center.”

    TAXES ARE THE PRICE WE PAY FOR CIVILIZATION. That would be a quote from Republican Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Republicans don’t have “short memories,” they have no MINDS left with which TO remember. (And thanks to Reagan, in California, fewer and fewer minds here in our state will find ways to achieve having educated minds. What a saga of goons.

  • RebeccaConner

    Herbert said I’m in shock that a mother able to get paid 6140 bucks in four weeks on the computer. look at this website,,,

  • jwtraveler

    When the Republicans start getting too right-wing for Republicans, they have a problem. I just hope this works in out favor and they destroy themselves.

  • jwtraveler

    …in OUR favor…

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