I grew up in Kansas, that Republican state. Not many Democrats where I'm from. For most of the time before I moved away, the state was run by common-sense, rational people who were very conservative with tax dollars. The "social agenda" just wasn't part of the state's fabric.
Shortly before I moved away, the state Republican party took a hard-right turn. It was taken over by zealots whose first - and only - issue was banning all abortions. For a while it seemed the fiscal and the social conservatives could get along. But that didn't last.
Today I see too many extremes in the Republican party at the state level. From Virginia - where Republicans wanted to allow teachers to carry guns to Utah - where hard edge Republicans voted for a private school voucher law - it just seems everyone on our side of the aisle has lost sight of the "middle."
And they've even lost sight of common sense. Take Utah, for example. From what I've read, their private school voucher program would ENTITLE all parents to have a voucher. Eventually all kids in private school would be state-subsidized. What kind of rational thinking is that?
It's the rational that's been lost.
There is too much emphasis on the social issues, too much emphasis that ALL Republicans should be against funding even basic operations of government. (Even Republicans expect government to maintain roads, law and order, and public schools.)
Government, it seems to me, is the art of compromise. One can't compromise when one won't budge from hardened positions.
I agree in part with Stephen who says the Party left him; he's not sure he left the Party.