Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Today's Republicans Really Are Worse

As a former Republican - what some might even call an activist - I continue to be dismayed by what the GOP has become: the party of ignorance, greed, obstruction and a largely sectarian party.  Then there's the GOP's official policy of denigrating and maligning gays, minorities and immigrants often using language that comes close to urging violence against these targeted groups.   I get accused of being too hard on the GOP while giving the Democrats a pass.  But there is a huge difference between the parties and the hypocrisy falls mostly on the GOP.   A column in the Washington Post looks at what's become of the GOP.  Here are highlights:

If you’re thinking about dysfunctional government, there’s one main point that you have to know: The parties are not equally guilty. Dysfunctional government isn’t about ideological polarization; it’s about a rejectionist Republican Party that, among other things, is, while Democrats are in office, dedicated to opposing anything the Democratic president proposes — regardless of whether they have a history of opposing it or not.

Ezra Klein has been writing a series of great items about this lately, taking as a key example the Republican history on the individual mandate. The history is pretty basic: it was their idea; many leading Republicans supported it until January 2009; and then overnight it became for them not just a bad idea, but clearly unconstitutional — and not just unconstitutional, but a grave threat to basic liberty. It’s not hard to find more: the DREAM Act, the basic idea of fiscal and monetary stimulus during a recession, TARP . . . it’s a long list. Granted, not every Republican supported these things before Barack Obama did, but quite a few did, and now practically none can be found.

[S]ome of this is normal; some of it, in fact, is healthy — part of what parties do is provide alternatives, and it’s not at all a bad thing that the out-party reexamines things a bit if they find the president embraces a position they used to hold. But it’s the difference, as the Pythons explained long ago, between an argument and contradiction. What we’re seeing, as Michael Palin explained, is “just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.” And as long as that’s all that Republicans are doing, the political system isn’t going to function very well at all. And the fact that the parties are just not at all the same on this is one of the key things to know if you're trying to understand American politics right now.

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