Posted tagged ‘Republicans Fail’

Aux Armes, Citoyenes!

February 23, 2016

It’s just being reported that the GOP caucus in the US Senate has decided that Presidenting while Democrat and/or Black is not to be allowed to happen.

That is — the majority party in The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body™ has decided that it will not entertain any piece of President Obama’s nomination for the still dead Scalia’s Supreme Court seat.  Zip, zero, nada, nothing:  no hearing, no vote, no respect for whatever jurist Obama chooses; for Obama himself, obviously; for the office of the President, clearly; and ultimately for the Constitution so many of those prating thugs assert they hold above all else.

To which my response is:

Thanks

Thank you.

You couldn’t have done a greater service to the Democratic Party’s hopes in November, and thus to the country.

It’s hard usually, as readers of this blog know, to cut through the noise of political blather and the insistent demands of daily life.  But this is one of those moments when stakes and character become clear — enough, I deeply hope, to move the dial in November. Most simply, if there were any enthusiasm gap between the parties, it’s going, going, gone now.

We have two jobs:  for one, elect the Democrat, whoever that may be, to the Presidency.  I’m more a Hillary person than a Bernie one, but I’ll pound the hills of New Hampshire for either one this coming fall, every damn chance I get.

The other:  these embarrassments as Senators must go:  Kirk, Johnson, Toomey, Portman, Ayotte.  The Florida open seat, and as distant hopes, McCain and Burr too.  I’ll be up in New Hampshire (as I may have mentioned a sentence or two ago), pounding the hills for Governor Hassan, every damn chance I get.  If you can get to a race that’s in the balance, do so.  If you can’t, do whatever else you can.

One last thought: I didn’t think that anything the GOP could do — especially an act as predictable as this — would do more than deepen my weary sense of “they are who we thought they were.” But this feels like a last straw. I’m just done with allowing any framing of this as “just politics” or what have you. I and a majority of my fellow citizens voted President Obama into office twice. The disrespect to him is something he can handle (better than I ever would). But it’s the delegitimizing of my vote, my choice, my place in American democracy that has just gotta stop. The current Republican Party has to be destroyed, root and branch. They are blight on policy, and a boil on the body politic. Time for them to go.

Friends Can’t Let Friends Vote Republican

July 29, 2012

I believe I mentioned before that I’m celebrating my release from academic administration by trying to read a library.  I’ve been focusing on recent books, and I’m on a mini-run of political books.  In that context I’ve recently finished Chris Hayes Twilight of the Elites — I have some nitpicks, but much more admiration, and I hope to blog about it soon; Christopher Hedges and Joe Sacco’s Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt — again some disagreement, but a must read nontheless.

Along the way I’ve been looking at some books calculated to raise my blood pressure in other ways — Ross Douthat’s Bad Religion — which I found to be not really worth bothering to argue with (such an embarassing display of poor historiography)! I’ve also  been dipping into Charles Murray’s Coming Apart, which combines an insight he shares with Hayes and a commitment to a prior conclusion that drives his core argument spectacularly off target.*  Still, it’s useful to get some sense of how the other side thinks and argues.

I do hope — I’d say plan, but I’ve learned how regularly day job stuff rises to intervene — to blog about at least some of these down the road. But I’ve just started the next book in the programme, Thomas E. Man and Norman J. Ornstein’s It’s Even Worse Than It Looks. 

Right away — in the introduction — I came across a paragraph that sums up, in the most economical form yet, what’s really at stake 100 days from now.  So let me turn this post over to them, and let y’all draw the obvious inference about what to do between now and November 6:

The second [of two sources of dysfunction in current American politics] is the fact that, however awkward it may be for the traditional press and nonpartisan analysts to acknowledge, one of the two major parties, the Republican Party, has become an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy  of its political opposition.  When one party moves this far from the center of American politics, it is extremely difficult to enact policies responsive to the country’s most pressing challenges.

I’d quibble with only a couple of words there.

I’d say the party has moved fromright of American politics over the last decade.  It took off from  the center in 1980 or so.  And “extremely difficult?”  Try, on the evidence that Mann and Ornstein go on to present in their first chapter (as far as I’ve gotten), “impossible.”

As I say.  Quibbles.  As a matter of sense, this is right on — made the more potent given who writes it: not a DFH like yours truly, but truly seasoned, deeply centrist, long term observers of the institutions of American politics.

More to the point:  there is no such thing as a good Republican candidate anymore, at any level.  Your city councilmember, your state rep., your congressional representative as individuals could be reasonable, smart, caring, trying to reform this failed party from within.  Mitt Romney himself may seem to the more credulous among our media elite to be a more thoughtful and moderate man than he is a candidate. (If you are truly credulous, or simply a hack, you may even bet on Romney’s “secret plan” to fix the economy.)

None of that matters.  “Good” Republicans are mere useful idiots, providing scraps of cover for the radical authoritarians wielding the real power.  The party is committed to public policy stance that is destructive, both of American prospects and those of folks all around the world.  They must be driven so far from the political arena as to be destroyed, until whatever emerges from its wreckage, even if it persists in operating under the label “Republican” is utterly transformed from the catastrophic clown show we now watch in horror.

Factio Grandaeva Delenda Est.

Oh — and one last thing.   There are, I know, lots of flaws one can point to in the Obama administration.  There are plenty of warts on the Congressional Democratic caucus.  But the two parties are not the same and the consequences of getting it wrong this time are simply huge.  The politics of purity may be satisfying, but this time around such delicate sensibilities are a luxury we simply cannot afford.

And a very cheerful Sunday to you too.

*That would be — in cartoon form — his understanding of the way elites and the rest of (white) us now exist in geographical and social isolation, joined to his libertarian mandated conclusion that the obstacle to lower class advance is a cultural rather than a political or economic issue.  And while from within the assumptions of his project I can follow his argument as to why he focuses solely on white America, reading of Hedges and Sacco, for one example, makes it clear how doing is part of what allows Murray to ignore the ways in which can’t account for the economic and social outcomes he seeks to explain

Image: Thomas Cole: The Course of Empire: Desolation, 1836.

Blind Pig/Acorn (2) Alan Simpson edition

May 27, 2012

Via TPM (again):

“For heaven’s sake, you have Grover Norquist wandering the earth in his white robes saying that if you raise taxes one penny, he’ll defeat you,” [Simpson] added. “He can’t murder you. He can’t burn your house. The only thing he can do to you, as an elected official, is defeat you for reelection. And if that means more to you than your country when we need patriots to come out in a situation when we’re in extremity, you shouldn’t even be in Congress.”

“If you want to be a purist, go somewhere on a mountaintop and praise the East or something. But if you want to be in politics, you learn to compromise. And you learn to compromise on the issue without compromising yourself. Show me a guy who won’t compromise and I’ll show you a guy with rock for brains.”

Simpson admits that such heresies mark him as a RINO — which is truly amazing considering his actual politics over decades.  But there we are.  We have one centrist political party, and one gang of rocks-for-brains political suicide bombers.  And there is a non-trivial chance that said feral sociopathic children may control both houses of Congress and the White House next January.

We have a ton of work to do ‘twixt now and then, folks.

Image:  Albert Bierstadt, Farallon Islands, before 1902.  (Me mum loved Bierstadt, as do I.)