Monday, December 24, 2012

The GOP Endangers America's Political System

As the Republican Party increasingly takes on the behavior of anarchists and saboteurs, America's political system is itself on a cliff.  Never did the Founding Fathers envision a political party that seems so bent on destroying the nation's economy and the financial well being of millions of Americans - indeed, the nation itself - as House Republicans act as if they area pack of rabid dogs.  As I've noted before, this descent into insanity in my view traces directly to the rise of the Christofascists and more recently the Tea Party fanatics in the Republican Party.  Thanks to these foul elements, the GOP's rejection of logic, reason and objective reality - not to mention any ability to compromise - is now complete.  A column in the Washington Post looks at this frightening phenomenon.  Here are highlights:

The United States faces a crisis in our political system because the Republican Party, particularly in the House of Representatives, is no longer a normal, governing party.

The only way we will avoid a constitutional crackup is for a new, bipartisan majority to take effective control of the House and isolate those who would rather see the country fall into chaos than vote for anything that might offend their ideological sensibilities.

[A] normal party accepts that compromise is the only way to legislate. A normal party takes into account election results. A normal party recognizes when the other side has made real concessions. A normal party takes responsibility.  By all of these measures, the Republican majority that Speaker John Boehner purports to lead is abnormal. 

Many of his most radical members believe they have a right to use any means at their disposal to impose their views on the country, even if they are only a minority in Congress.  There may, however, be good news in the disarray: The right wing of the Republican House has chosen to marginalize itself from any serious negotiations.

The one available majority for action, especially on budgets, is a coalition uniting most Democrats with those Republicans who still hold the old-fashioned view that they were elected to help run the country.  To avert a fiscal nightmare in the short run, this potential majority needs to be allowed to work its will.

In the longer run, the non-tea party wing of the GOP will have to decide whether it wants to be subject to the whims of colleagues to their right or look to the center for alliances with the Democrats. The choice is plain: We can spend two years doing absolutely nothing, or we can try to solve the country’s problems. 

Our political structure has been disfigured in another way: In November’s election, Democrats failed to win the House even though they received about a million more votes in House contests than the Republicans did. Republicans were protected by gerrymandered districts and by political geography: Democrats tend to win urban and certain suburban districts by overwhelming margins.

This unfortunate moment is a vindication of those like my colleagues Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, who have been arguing that today’s Republicans are fundamentally different from their forebears. In their appropriately named book, “It’s Even Worse than It Looks,” Mann and Ornstein called the current GOP “an insurgent outlier in American politics,” and described the party this way: “It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise . . . and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

[A]t least, we know something important: The current Republican majority in the House cannot govern. Only a coalition across party lines can get the public’s business done.

Hopefully, even those who are generally conservatives will realize that the only way to save the country is to abandon the GOP entirely.  Based on comments at a dinner party last night that I attended, this seems to be happening.   One can only hope that the political death of the GOP comes quickly.

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