Sunday, December 23, 2012

Friedman agrees with me

Just after the presidential election last month I wrote:
The Republican Party could split. If it did, my guess would be that the most uncompromising of its current members, politicians and voters both, would form a new party; let's call it the Conservative Party for lack of a better term. The Republican Party left standing would suddenly be a far more moderate place, though what its political heft would be is unclear.

Or the Republican Party might double down on its current bet, deeming Mitt Romney to have failed because he was insufficiently conservative. ... Over time it would purge itself of even more moderates, a process I imagine would be akin to the "self-deportation" Romney espoused during the campaign. The end result might be a Republican Party very much like the "Conservative Party" I mentioned above.

The New York Times' Tom Friedman essentially has reached the same conclusion.
Republican politicians today have a choice: either change your base by educating and leading G.O.P. voters back to the center-right from the far right, or start a new party that is more inclusive, focused on smaller but smarter government and market-based, fact-based solutions to our biggest problems.
We phrased it differently, but both Friedman and I agree that the truly reality-denying, anti-intellectual, uncompromising (not "principled", but "muleheaded") wing nuts who hold the party in its thrall have to be marginalized. We simply cannot afford to indulge their delusions — about climate change, the economy, job creation, the United Nations, the cost of health care, firearms regulation, the proper role of the judiciary, the deficit, Israel, the use of military force, separation of church and state, you name it — any longer. As Friedman put it, "Because they control the House, this radical Republican base is now holding us all back."

No kidding, Tom. Glad you finally figured it out.

So, who has to be jettisoned from the party in order for some kind of sanity to return? Let's set some conditions:

  • If you will fight any form of gun control until you're out of ammo, goodbye and thanks for playing.
  • If you are convinced that the only way to address the nation's mounting debt is to cut spending, don't let the door hit you on the way out.
  • If you believe the Bible is literally true or that history has been divided into "dispensations" or that "the Rapture" could take place at any moment, your participation is no longer required.
  • If you subscribe to the notion that President Obama is a "secret Muslim", was born in Kenya, or plans to turn the United States into a socialist paradise, you are excused.
  • If your sole source of information is any or all of (1) Fox News, (2) Rush Limbaugh, (3) Glenn Beck, or (4) the Drudge Report, please proceed in an orderly fashion to the nearest emergency exit.
  • If you believe "the 1 percent" is the job-creating class, what are you doing here? Immediately find the nearest obscenely well-off person and demand your living-wage job. Don't come back until you've got it.
  • If you are more interested in preparing for the imminent collapse of the nation rather than preventing it, repair to your bunker and stay there until the "all clear" signal.
  • Convinced that creationism or intelligent design is a "rival theory" to evolution? Here's a fifth-grade science textbook; kindly do not rejoin the conversation until you've mastered its contents and have cultivated the desire to learn more.
Of course, this list is just a start.

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