We Need a ‘Conservative’ Party - Thomas L. Friedman (NYTimes)

There has been lots of talk that Paul Ryan’s nomination ensures that we’ll now have a “real” debate about the role of government. That’s actually funny. The bar for this campaign is so low that we celebrate the fact that it might include a serious debate about one of the four great issues of the day, though even that is not clear yet. And even if Ryan’s entry does spark a meaningful debate about one of the great issues facing America — the nexus of debt, taxes and entitlements — there is little sign that we’ll seriously debate our other three major challenges: how to generate growth and upgrade the skills of every American in an age when the merger of globalization and the information technology revolution means every good job requires more education; how to meet our energy and climate challenges; and how to create an immigration policy that will treat those who are here illegally humanely, while opening America to the world’s most talented immigrants, whom we need to remain the world’s most innovative economy.

But what’s even more troubling is that we need more than debates. That’s all we’ve been having. We need deals on all four issues as soon as this election is over, and I just don’t see that happening unless “conservatives” retake the Republican Party from the “radicals” — that is, the Tea Party base. America today desperately needs a serious, thoughtful, credible 21st-century “conservative” opposition to President Obama, and we don’t have that, even though the voices are out there.

Imagine if the G.O.P.’s position on debt was set by Senator Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Republican who has challenged the no-tax lunacy of Grover Norquist and served on the Simpson-Bowles commission and voted for its final plan (unlike Ryan). That plan included both increased tax revenues and spending cuts as the only way to fix our long-term fiscal imbalances. Give me a Republican Party that says we have to put real tax revenues and spending cuts on the table to solve this problem, and you’ll get a deal with Obama, who has already offered both, although not at the scale we need. True conservatives know that both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush used both tax revenue and spending cuts to fix budget shortfalls. Ryan-led G.O.P. radicals say “no new taxes,” find all the savings through spending cuts. That’s never going to happen — and shouldn’t.

Read the rest here.

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Friedman hits it out of the park on this one ... and that comment comes from a democrat.  As I've said before, while I don't agree with most republican principles, I would like at least to be able to RESPECT the man on the other side of the argument.  Frankly, I haven't been able to do that for a very long time, and the increasing radicalization of the GOP doesn't just have me concerned; it has me downright frightened.

The TEA Party and the Religious Reich have basically stolen the republican party, for all intents and purposes.  They're acting like the spoiled brat / bully who doesn't play well with others and MUST have his way, or here come the tantrums!  Politics is supposed to be the art of the possible, yet as things are, very little is possible with one party cranked so far to the right.

Moderate republicans need to show me some cojones and speak out.  I just wonder when that'll happen.

Tags: GOP, Religious Reich, TEA Party, republican

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When will it happen? I have no idea. But, since I know it has happened in the past, there is at least some possibility that real conservatives will take their party back from the extremists, anti-intellectual, anti-science, hate mongers that are currently in charge. When I say I know it has happened, I speak from experience as a life-long citizen of Illinois. My State used to have two giants in the Senate at the same time - Paul Douglas (D), and Everett Dirksen (R). Both working together from different positions to accomplish much. Then we had Paul Simon (D) who worked hand in hand with Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson (R), to do the same. 

Now, we have Eric "Cartman" Cantor in the House, and Mitch "Droopy the Dog" McConnell in the Senate, who will block even their own ideas if a black man agrees with them. And, we used to have people like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite who kept is informed. Now we have nothing but ill-informed talking heads (screaming skulls) who yell at the top of their lungs while dissembling dis-information and cheap rationalizations for ideas that we all thought were discredited decades ago.

I doubt the current crop in the GOP has the stones to stand up to the current bigots whose negotiation skills are limited to whining and bullying. Not even the standard bearer, Romney, will take a principled position, and certainly wouldn't dream of it without getting a nod from the black shirts standing in the wings.

I actually remember Ev Dirksen - he was good people.  I remember Simon and Simpson as well, and they knew how to be reasonable and actually be bothered to reach for - dare I say it - COMPROMISE! (Oooooo, "compromise!"  Dirty word!  Wash your mouth out with soap!).

These days the republican party appears to be using the old "if-I-don't-get-my-way-I'll-hold-my-breath-until-I-turn-blue!" strategy ... and since they have a majority in the House, they can get away with it.  And, of course, since cloture is the rule of law in the Senate, they get to be obstructionist there, too.

And while I wouldn't class Brian Williams or Scott Pelley as "screaming skulls," it'd be nice if they'd play hardball a bit more, not just with the likes of Romney or Cantor or McConnell, but EVERYONE involved.  That'd be refreshing, don't you think?

The problem goes even further.  Like Pat mentioned, even if they initially liked an idea, the fact that a black man agrees with them makes the idea unacceptable.

Yeah, I know.  Some time back, I suggested that very politically-incorrect notion in a comment somewhere on A|N.  Whether those in the GOP are actually conscious of this brand of bias or not, I don't know.  I just know it's there, whether they want to own up to it or not.

I agree Loren.  It certainly is NOT the Republican Party of old.  It's a party that scares me now.  I am a Liberal Democrat and I try to see some good in the other party, but I can't right now at all.

glad you posted this.  i read this yesterday and i thought it neatly summarized what's wrong with today's GOP.  also yesterday, on Hardball, Howard Fineman called the Republican Party officially "faith-based".  here's the transcript:

Chris, I'm not making a value judgment when I say this, but the Republican Party has become a faith based party. Starting with Ronald Reagan, there was a marriage between the Bible belt of the south, the fundamentalist Bible belt of the south.

Chris Matthews: Literal interpretation?

Howard Fineman: Literal interpretation. And Catholics elsewhere in the country who were becoming more conservative socially. They joined hands. And there are many good things that came from that, especially if you believe in the Republican Party and its success. But these people start from a fundamentally different point of view on questions such as abortion, on questions such as evolution, on questions such as climate change. They see, as John McCain belatedly said, "the hand of God in everything that happens." And they look to God first. They're legitimate concerns. For example, about genetic manipulation of the human species. Should we leave that to God, or do we as human beings take that on? There's a serious point underneath this. Okay, there is. But nobody in the modern Republican Party dares question the orthodoxy of a faith based Republican party at this point. That's what it is. It's a Bible-based Republican Party.

i don't think i've ever heard a mainstream, respected journalist make this specific accusation.  if i'm wrong please point it out. 

Problem is, this is only ONE example.  These days, it takes more than one person saying that the emperor has no clothes before people might begin to wake up to the fact that "the king is in his all-together" and nothing else.  It is figuratively the thousand-pound "elephant" in the political room, and until people are willing to be honest about it and talk about it, nothing will be DONE about it.

maybe it'll be the start of a trend.  it's obvious to Atheists, but maybe the rest of the public would be horrified by the knowledge that one of our 2 major political parties has become a defacto religious organization.  if people start catching on the repulsion would be intense. 

The only problem is that you got 46% of the population who think that god created man as he is today.  If these people were told that the GOP was, for all intents and purposes, a religious party, they would probably cheer.  Whether they'd become more active or assertive in their political stance, I don't know.

I just can't avoid the feeling that, if the republican party continues as it is, the US is in deep sneakers.

you'll get no argument from me.  if they continue, and if they win we will have serious problems.  we already do.  the House passes whatever extreme legislation has their focus for that day, and it's so extreme that the Senate shoots it down.  the Senate can't pass any legislation b/c it gets fillabustered.  so we have an entire legislative body that is incapable of passing legislation.  beautiful.  something has to give. 

The US is in deep do-do. The problem stems only in part from the party of theocracy. I once heard Bill Maher make the comment that the Republicans believe the Democrats have some sort of secret plan. He wished it were true, since it would mean the Democrats actually HAD a plan.

I had a discussion about this today with a State's Attorney in Illinois.  This is election year for Illinois prosecutors throughout the state. Yesterday, the McClean County State's Attorney came out and said he would not enforce the gun laws prohibiting conceal carry in Illinois. This was big news in Illinois. Every Democrat running for that office in the State was immediately put on the defensive, and if they are going to do the politically expedient thing, to garner votes, will agree with him. In other words, take a position that as chief prosecutor of a jurisdiction, you will not enforce the laws you swore to uphold. Of course political expedience in an election year is the polar opposite from taking a principled stance. Guess where all the D's will be lining up on this one, 75 days before the election? 

Take the above example, and now apply it nationally.

We truly need a counter balancing intellectual conservative influence in the country. Particularly in fiscal and regulatory areas I am concerned with Democrats running wild with their ideology just as I worry about the 'social conservatives' running wild with theirs.

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