Sunday, March 11, 2012

I guess this is another one for the "I told you so" file.

Maybe I'm jumping the gun. Approximately two years ago, I took stock of the Tea Party Revolution:

"I do not believe political gains made by [false intellectual pretenses] are sustainable. Republicans may have accomplished electoral victory this year but there will be a big question whether or not they accomplish legislative victory; the former is worth nothing without the latter. When you gain political momentum on false pretenses...for example, by lying about Obama and demonizing his intentions, you aren't winning an argument in the minds of the American people, you're just scaring them.

...Conservatives should be less short-sighted. The foundation of a strong conservative movement won't come from cheap sound bytes put forth by idiot news casters on Fox. They'll come from real thinkers who don't need to beat their political adversaries with lies - they can beat them with better ideas and stronger arguments. That was the movement that Buckley and Goldwater supposedly started and it lasted a generation. The movement of intellectual hacks like Palin and Gingrich will last two years. If that."

The conservative resurgence in 2010 was based on a large degree on generating emotional reactions by describing a simplistic view of complicated issues. Simplistic views, by definition, are extreme in that they do not appreciate nuance. This was successful in electoral terms, for sure (its easy to get people to the polls when you convince them that Obama is a radical socialist who is remaking America). It has been a disaster in legislative terms. Many republicans, who were elected as purists, have had no ability to appreciate the complexity of the serious issues this nation has faced. This has made it impossible for them to organize a coherent agenda and come up with bills that are sane enough that they can all agree on, much less get any Democratic support.

The Republican Party has not achieved one significant legislative victory since taking the House. They have not secured not a single compromise that advances their agenda; they have not cut spending a single iota. They have squandered their electoral mandate on useless fights over reproductive rights and settling political scores. To appeal to such a party that has become so detached from reality, their candidates for president are either insane or have had to become so extreme that they may be unelectable in a general (the rest didn't even bother running). Less and less we are hearing talk of the GOP taking the Senate and the White House, and more we are hearing about whether or not they will even hold onto the house.

America has serious issues facing it. This country cannot move forward without two functioning political parties. Until the GOP has members who understand the complex issues we face and are capable of compromise, the political system will remain gridlocked and real conservative change will remain elusive. I have argued before: in the absence of real reform, big government wins by default. The road to a single payer health care system - actual government run health care, will be paved with a lack of compromise.

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