Casting my mind down memory lane - via youtube and c-span - it struck me how far gone the GOP have gone.
Gerald Ford was a Republican, a conservative and by all accounts a good man. His character, honesty and simple yet frank tone was well noted. SNL mocked him as a dense accident waiting to happen, but President Ford was in fact quite an athlete in his younger days. He was also a hard-working, hands-on President who was not just interested in the details of legislation but had a vested interest because as a long serving Congressman and House Minority Leader, he knew the process that goes with policy and politics.
He stood before the podium to announce to the nation, “the State of the Union is not good”. Not political spin in the form of vague platitudes. Watergate, Vietnam, oil crisis, unemployment, interest rates, inflation, distrust in public officials. There were a lot of problems and he didn’t try and deflect from them. But he followed up by delivering a message of hope for better in the means of hard work and good spirit which starts from the top.
He couldn’t change the course of the country overnight. Jimmy Carter who I also admire couldn’t either. America had reached a point where we needed to take a step back, reflect and work towards to the future. I don’t think enough people appreciated it at the time.
President Ford was committed to his faith. But in his duty as a public official, he never wore religion on his sleeve. Compare it with the crazy in-your-face use of Christ in the public domain by Republicans today. Ford was actually in favour of same-sex marriage and to the date is the only President - incumbent or former - to be involved with a gay-rights political organisation.
Neither did he attack and/or smear his opponents. He was a believer that while you can be on different political wavelengths, elected officials are there to serve the people and if getting to know your counter-parts helps policy making then do it. Along the way it made him loyal friends and allies. In the divisive, angry and blood sport way of politics of today how can we find a common ground? Have we just gone too far over now?
In his final speech to Congress before handing the reigns to President Carter, Ford in spite of defeat wished his successor the very best because the best for the country is bigger than the best for the party. He received a standing ovation at the conclusion of the speech (with it being a democratic majority in audience). Here are some of the notable quotes from the speech:
Maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger? He’ll never be President, but he comes across as an example of a Republican politician who is fairly honest, moderate, and has a generally upbeat message and does not pander to bigots. He seems to be the type to want to bring people together rather than divide them; and he was also an athlete when he was younger.
I don’t think joining up is the only way to serve-there are other ways that are perfectly legit. However, a man like Trump who castigated John McCain for being captured and spending years as a POW was low even for him. Ford was pretty classy even if he did pardon Nixon, a move I did not support along with many others. We could use some more of that today.
Back in 2016, there was one Republican candidate who I considered respectable: George Pataki.
He was utterly ignored by Republican voters. Respectability is apparently no longer wanted in the Republican party. To get ahead now, you’ve got to show that you can be more extreme than the other guys. The end result of this philosophy is our current President.
One Republican who might fit the OP’s criteria is Ben Sasse, senator from Nebraska. He is the author of a recent book called Them: Why We Hate Each Other, discussing how tribalistic America has become, how societal loneliness feeds problems, and how it threatens the nation.
In terms of personality, education, style and viewpoints, Sasse is basically the embodiment of the Never-Trump conservative.