Posted by: Rick | Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Politics Without Republicans

Bipartisanship is dead and buried.  We won’t be needing any more journalistic autopsies, thank you very much, especially ones containing nonsense like this:

To those beyond Washington, [Olympia] Snowe’s decision not to vote for the final health-care bill may have seemed puzzling.  It did not, after all, have a public option, the most publicized sticking point for many Republicans.  But that’s not how it looked to those who watched Snowe at close range.  She worked with Democrats for months, and she was the only Republican to vote for the health-care bill when it left the Finance Committee.  But Harry Reid offered a far more liberal version of the bill on the Senate floor.  He knew Snowe probably wouldn’t agree to it.  “I think they recognized they had 60 votes, and that empowered them to concentrate on the members of their caucus, rather than make specific policy concessions to a Republican,” she says.  “So it ended there.”

This stuff drives me crazy.  First of all, not only did the final bill not contain a public option, but Democratic leaders — to the great displeasure of the party’s liberal base — allowed no serious discussion of single payer.  So much for catering to the “extreme left”.  Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi were compromising before they even got to the bargaining table.

Secondly, why in the world should Olympia Snowe or any other Republican be given legislative veto power?  Why is her goddamn opinion more important than that of sixty other senators?  Hell, maybe we shouldn’t even bother having elections!  That seems to be the position of many bipartisan hand-wringers in the media.  Let’s just make Olympia — the source of all that’s good and holy and true — our queen. 

Finally, and most importantly, real bipartisanship is impossible because the Republican Party has moved so far to the right that it’s fallen off the edge of the Earth.  Olympia Snowe ended up voting against a health care bill in 2010 that Bob Dole would have endorsed in 1994.  She belongs to a party that makes its nominees sign a pledge to never — under any circumstances — raise taxes.  That is literally insane and is the primary reason I can’t vote for a Republican.  

The GOP is ruled with a right-wing fist of iron.  Consider this, from the same article quoted above:

Lincoln Chafee, the liberal Republican from Rhode Island, who lost in 2006, says he couldn’t understand why the old-timers went along with it — especially during the Bush years, when the president kept proposing measures far beyond the Treasury’s means.  “It’s a mystery,” he says.  “Ted Stevens was a pilot in World War II. He’s a brave man.  Why didn’t he and John Warner and Pete Domenici and Chuck Grassley and Richard Lugar go down to the White House and say, ‘You don’t have us on this’? I’d ask, and they’d always say, ‘The president wants it.’” 

Or this, from a foreign policy perspective:

“The problem for knowledgeable Republican foreign policy realists like Colin Powell, Dick Lugar and Chuck Hagel is that the neocons are able to dismiss their concerns and policy recommendation as ‘me-tooism’ of the ‘liberal’ foreign policies of the Democratic Party,” says Tom Shachtman, co-author of The Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of the Neocons From Nixon to Obama. Shachtman suggests that the neocons greatly benefit from the news media’s tendency toward sensationalism. “Their far-out, deliberately argumentative and provocative stances are, they know, much more attractive to media outlets than the stances of the realists,” Shachtman says. “The media’s current mantra is, ‘Let’s you and him fight,’ and so if a foreign policy moderate is reluctant to utter fighting words, any media outlet that is scrambling for ratings will find a neocon to do so.”

And I daresay the Republican Party isn’t finished falling off the edge of the Earth.  GOP economics remains a proven failure, and neocons are still always wrong, but the Tea Partiers — angry, ascendant and full of a self-righteous swagger born of the profound ignorance endemic to Fox News viewers — are stone cold crazy.

Watch out, America.  Don’t let the media fool you into thinking everything would be fine if only people like Olympia Snowe or Dick Lugar were in charge.  Their breed was spayed and neutered into permanent Republican docility a long, long time ago.

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