When I was in high school I was asked by an older friend to accompany his mother on a bus trip from Syracuse to Ithaca where Barry Goldwater was going to speak. Because my family had been Republican since my great grandfather had returned from the Civil War I went willingly
On the bus I met members of the John Birch Society and the Minutemen. I had read enough to know these guy's ideas were crazy and was surprised that they didn’t have horns. But then I listened to what these guys believed and wondered if we lived in the same country.
Barry Goldwater was a decent guy with ethical principles and I very much doubt there would have been a lot of room for members of the John Birch Society in his government. But the Democratic Party had worked hard to make Goldwater sound crazy as a loon, which he didn’t deserve. Was Lyndon Johnson really the person we wanted to follow into war?
However, my point is then the Birchers and Minutemen were then outliers on the party. Later when I was a reporter, a woman I knew was a Rockefeller Republican who worked at a Log Cabin Republican store/meeting place in Cambridge. She never talked to me again after I laughed at the chance the Log Cabin people would have influence on the party.
I’m not a Democrat, but I find the Republican Party filled with a bunch of out of touch, right wing people who don’t believe in evolution or in anything thought up since Hoover was President. Those Birch Society people seemed rational in person compared with the people who want to shut our government down and not raise the debt limit. They make me think we really don’t deserve the AAA rating if we have elected dopes like these guys. Is this like the end of the Roman Empire? Have the the Goths already changed our world?