Six years ago a veteran Washington sage presciently predicted that the Republican Party as he knew it was in its death throes. Well, not that presciently. What our sage observer didn’t foresee was that the party would die a slow death preceded by the onset of dementia.

Too bad. A quick departure, like the Whigs in the 1850s, might have changed the political order without corrupting the system that made our country, in the words of our first Republican president, “the last best hope of earth.”

As things stand in this autumn of our discontent, the lingering corpus of the party of Lincoln is doing his country more harm than good. So much so that it’s time, a veteran Washington sage might say, to either cure or kill the patient. No half-measures, no life support. For 2016, whatever the opposition, let the Republican national ticket be Rand Paul for President and Ted Cruz for Vice President – or vice versa, whatever the kookery of the Tea Party  decides.

PAUL-CRUZ. Just the ticket to clear the air and keep everybody happy: The Democrats because they’d get four more years in the White House; the Tea Party kooks because, after all those years of mealy-mouthed nominees like Mitt Romney, they’d finally won the day (though losing the election because of a backstabbing coalition of party traitors and the pro-Muslim media). But most important for the future, the liberated conservatives who could, like the one-time Whigs of Lincoln’s day, move on to form a New Republican Party of responsible opposition.

Sound bite to remember

“A poker-playing, whisky-drinking, evil old man.”

–Union leader John L. Lewis on Vice President John Nance Garner, back in the good old days when political discourse was civil