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Moulitsas: GOP, this is real life

Moulitsas: GOP, this is real life

Republicans, clinging to antiquated “Reefer Madness” fantasies, have long opposed marijuana use for medicinal purposes. They aren’t called conservatives for nothing. Yet last week, one Republican admitted to puffing on the wacky weed.

“I haven’t been able to go surfing for a year and a half, and I’ve been in severe pain,” Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California said. “And you know what? I tried [a marijuana-infused topical preparation] about two weeks ago, and it’s the first time ... in a year and a half that I had a decent night’s sleep, because the arthritis pain was gone.” 

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With that, Rohrabacher joins the crowded ranks of Republicans who adopt liberal policies when real life collides with their ideology. 

For example, there are few Republicans more regressive than former Vice President Dick Cheney. Yet here he was, on the topic of gay marriage, back in the dark ages of 2000: “The fact of the matter is, we live in a free society and freedom means freedom for everybody. We don’t get to choose, and shouldn’t be able to choose, and say, ‘You get to live free, but you don’t,’ ” he said during a vice presidential debate. “[P]eople should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. It’s really no one else’s business in terms of trying to regulate or prohibit behavior in that regard.” 

How did it come to pass that Cheney, of all people, was so far ahead of even Democrats on marriage equality? It certainly wasn’t enlightenment or compassion for those unlike him. It was because he has a gay daughter. 

How about Illinois Republican Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkDuckworth announces reelection bid Brave new world: Why we need a Senate Human Rights Commission  Senate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls MORE, who sounds far different from the rest of his party on Medicaid after suffering a serious stroke? “Had I been limited to [the 11 rehabilitation sessions Medicaid allows], I would have had no chance to recover like I did. So unlike before suffering the stroke, I’m much more focused on Medicaid and what my fellow citizens face. ... I will look much more carefully at the Illinois Medicaid program to see how my fellow citizens are being cared for who have no income and if they suffer from a stroke.”

Or take Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who has been outspoken in opposition to her party’s hysteria over transgendered people. “Every transgender person is part of someone’s family and should be treated with compassion and protected from discrimination,” she says in a television ad. “Family is about acceptance and love. All of our children should have the opportunity to work hard, earn a living and take responsibility for their lives on the same terms as everyone else.” This is important for her because, “Our son is transgender. We loved him as Amanda and now as Rodrigo.” 

We shouldn’t expect all Republicans to suffer a debilitating medical emergency in order to gain compassion for others in similar straits. We shouldn’t expect all of them to have a gay or transgendered son or daughter to stop the hate. In an ideal world, compassion would be an inherent part of their worldview. Of course, if that were the case, there wouldn’t be a need for the contemporary Republican Party.

Today, congressional funding to fight the devastating Zika virus is being blocked by Republicans. Hopefully we won’t have to wait until Republicans in Congress and their families get the virus before they decide to act. 

Moulitsas is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos.