Thursday, August 15, 2013

Stop pretending there's a political center

Here we have two op-eds basically saying the same thing. Wrote Weiler:

The dynamics of GOP politics are clear -- the biggest threat to state legislators, generally drawn as they are into solidly red districts, is from yet more right-wing politicians. There is almost no incentive to run toward the center and every reason to push farther to the right. 

And here's Cohen:

Quite simply, Republicans are being destroyed by the rightwing monster they created.

Although, once upon a time, the divide in the GOP was between moderates and conservatives; today, the intra-party cleavage is between the Republican establishment and the lunatic fringe. And the fringe is not so fringe-y.

Despite the rightward radicalization of the GOP, writes Weiler,

... political media in general still cling to the preposterous belief that the parties are equidistant from some notional "center" in American political life. But that premise -- symmetrical polarization -- is simply and flatly wrong.

And here's the upshot, according to Cohen:

The result of all this is more dysfunction, more budgetary shutdowns and more political black eyes for a Republican party unable to reason with its most ideologically fervent followers. None of this should really be unexpected. If you're going to tell radical conservatives that Obamacare is the worst thing to ever happen to America, is it really a surprise that those same extremists are not going to meekly nod when you tell them that it's now a fact of life? If you're going to tell voters that government debt is destroying the country, is it really a surprise when those voters demand that every step must be taken to reduce it?

Any hope that the defeat of Mitt Romney in November 2012 would begin to drain the GOP's fever swamp has gone by the wayside – and Republicans have no one to blame but themselves. In nurturing and radicalizing its extremist fringe – in pursuit of short-term gain – the Republican establishment created a political Frankenstein. Increasingly, however, it looks as though the monster's first victim is going to be them.

So let's stop pretending there is a political center in America, and that if only Democrats would give a little, and Republicans would give a little, we'd end up at some happy medium. Today's Democrats are early-1990s Republicans, let's face it, while today's GOP is a new radical-right party whose only internal debate is the extent to which a do-nothing husk of a federal government should protect white Christian identity, and intervene in other countries' business by military force.

By Michael Cohen
August 15, 2013 | Guardian

By Jonathan Weiler
August 15, 2013 | Huffington Post

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