Help GOP Step Back from Crazy Cliff

Crazy CliffEarlier today, the second blogger to received the coveted Frankly Curious Artist’s Rendering, Jonathan Bernstein, published A Minor Defense of Ryan and the Republicans. His point is that we can’t expect Republicans to be anything but Republicans. Obama winning re-election doesn’t suddenly mean that Republicans aren’t conservative or that they are just going to accept anything because the Democrats won in November.

I’ve written about this before. (And I wish I could find it!) I respect the Republicans for standing by their principles, even while I think those principles are totally vile. A robust democracy depends upon everyone energetically pushing their own ideas. The problem is not the Republicans trying to get the best deal they can in negotiations with Democrats. The problem is the Democratic Party and its tendency to seek out the middle. If the United States had a true liberal party, we would be getting policy that was to the left of the current president’s positions. But instead, all of Obama’s “reasonableness” just means we get gridlock when we don’t get ridiculously conservative policies.

Understand: I don’t claim that it is all the Democrats’ fault. But it is the lack of conviction of Democrats that has allowed the Republicans to become a revolutionary party. And there is no negotiating with these people. The Republican Party had a man as its standard bearer (John McCain) who was for a healthcare individual mandate while running for president, but the moment he lost he changed his position: suddenly, the individual mandate was socialism. I find this behavior extremely frustrating. But the Republican Party didn’t become crazy all by itself. The Democrats allowed this to happen by avoiding standing for anything lest it be used by the Republicans to claim that they were “liberal”! What a terrible fate: conservatives calling the liberal party “liberal”! That’s a fate worse than death!

So Bernstein is correct: we shouldn’t expect the Republican Party to role up into a ball and do whatever the Democrats say just because of the November election. Instead, we should expect the Democratic Party to start standing for actual liberal policies. And the great thing about that is if they do, it will pull the Republican Party back from the edge of the crazy cliff.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Help GOP Step Back from Crazy Cliff

  1. On Republicans not thinking Democrats are legitimate — well. In 1996-97 I attended a military school. (I liked the idea of not having to make decisions about my life, until I realized the decisions being made for me were utter madness; not that I’ve done hugely better on my own since.)

    Clinton was in office, of course, and the overwhelming tone one heard was that "he’s the Commander-In-Chief, we have to obey him." The inference being that they would rather gouge out their eyeballs with plastic Taco Bell sporks than acknowledge Clinton as in charge of the military, but, hey, those are the rules and we have to follow them. For now.

    Clinton’s big crime in the eyes of my peers was his wishy-washy policy on gays in the military. Military schools, as you well might imagine, are insanely homophobic, Get a 90% male, under-25 student body (!) that masturbates in communal showers, and things Jesus disapproves of (supposedly; the Last Supper looks a lot to me like a sausage fest) are going to happen. Which then everyone will get incredibly deranged and in denial about. Ah, the good old days.

    I suspect the military is less hostile to Obama than they were Clinton (Barack’s brown, and most of the US military is as well.) But I doubt the basic ideology — that Democrats are inherently traitors — has changed much. And it’s certainly an ideology shared by extreme right-wingers (is there a non-extreme variety?) Somehow, the Democrats’ starting and expanding the Vietnam war, their support for Reagan’s Latin America shenanigans, their voting almost en masse to approve of Iraq v.1 and v.2, has been translated as "Democrats hate America and the troops and our flag." I’m not sure how this happened.

  2. @JMF – There was also the issue of Clinton being a "draft dodger." The fact that Bush Jr didn’t get the same flack tells you a lot about our country.

    I think it all comes down to bellicosity. It is the same with the NRA. It doesn’t matter what the Democrats do, the gun lovers will always hate them because the Democrats don’t seem to love killing or something. They just seem too reasonable. If you are suffering from testosterone rage, running around punching people, you aren’t a real man.

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