Wednesday, September 7, 2011

This is Right and That Is Wrong

Former GOP Hill staffer Lofgren explains the modern Republican Party. His observations mostly strike me as correct. The implications are unbelievably negative if you think informed democracratic political processes are 'good.'
It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult...
The GOP has launched a decades long attack on the institutions of American Democracy. Greatest hits include Reagan's "The Government is the problem" speech, George W. Bush's push to privatize social security (a scheme that would have pushed the average American retiree to lose their entire income source from 2007-2009), and arguably Katrina. The sustained attacks on democratic institutions through political discourse and mass misinformation are wildly outside accepted modes of politics.
John P. Judis sums up the modern GOP this way:

"Over the last four decades, the Republican Party has transformed from a loyal opposition into an insurrectionary party that flouts the law when it is in the majority and threatens disorder when it is the minority. It is the party of Watergate and Iran-Contra, but also of the government shutdown in 1995 and the impeachment trial of 1999. If there is an earlier American precedent for today's Republican Party, it is the antebellum Southern Democrats of John Calhoun who threatened to nullify, or disregard, federal legislation they objected to and who later led the fight to secede from the union over slavery."
It seems like histrionics. It's hard to provide direct evidence that this is the goal of the modern Republican party. Unless, of course, you take their word for it:
A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress's generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.
Mitch McConnell named his number one priority of the last three years: making Barack Obama a one-term president. Not dealing with the debt, not putting an end to the recession, not putting Americans back to work or propping up sagging home prices. Not even pursuing an ideologicaly coherent (if massively unpopular) agenda. When John Boehner walks out of a manufactured crisis in which his party roiled global markets and almost forced a default on American fiscal obligations, he agrees that he "got 98% of what [he] wanted." It's not about deficit reduction or policy. He just wanted President Obama to be massively unpopular.

Are there any modern Republicans who are actually concerned in any meaningful sense with preserving demcoratic government and American political institutions? How can intelligent, informed Republicans abide by this. Are there any of you out there? What further evidence could possibly be needed to prove that your party has abandonned you, and that it is time to build from the ground up a partner with the American people, a new party that actually represents mainstream conservatism?

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