Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Dionnne - The GOP's Shrinking Middle

The WaPo's E.J. Dionne Jr. laments and then analyzes the retirement of Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (NY-R) . One of the last "liberal" Republicans in Congress, Representative Boehlert is cashing in his chips. The analysis of how this type of moderate will be missed by the GOP, the party in the increasingly complete control of our government over the last twenty five years, is rather solid. Mr. Dionne, in "The GOP's Shrinking Middle" writes,

But it turns out that a Republican Party dominated by conservatives is no more coherent than the party that left room for progressives. The huge budget deficit is conservatism's Waterloo, testimony to its political failure. The conservatives love to cut taxes but can't square their lust for tax reduction with plausible spending cuts. ...

Paradoxically, because the liberal Republicans didn't pretend to hate government, they were better at fiscal responsibility. They were willing to match their desired spending levels with the taxes to pay for them. It didn't make for exciting, to-the barricades politics. It merely produced good government. ...

Absent a robust progressive wing, congressional Republicans will continue to produce fiscally incoherent government. Democrats now have the task of representing their own brand of politics, and that of progressive Republicans, too.

I'll miss Boehlert and his optimistic moderation. Our politics worked better when a sufficiently large band of Republican moderates and liberals could take the edge off polarization and orient government toward problem-solving. But the liberal Republicans are gone. We have to deal with the GOP we have, not the GOP we wish still existed.

I think Mr. Dionne is a bit kind to the Congressman. If he and some of his liberal or moderate brethren had stood up to these ReThuglican Radicals then perhaps the "compassionate conservatism" would have been seen as a sham. If they'd bitch slapped Karl Rove when he threatened them maybe the Bu$hCo bunch could not have manipulated their way back in for another four years of ruining what they've yet to screw up. The GOP has simply been taken over by power mad radical wingnuts that hand the Big Mules whatever they want. If you've got cash then they are ready to do your bidding. They turn the Heartland upside down with false threats and flawed logic to get them to keep voting against their economic interests. It is POWER via FEAR for the GOP. Time to clean house. Peace ... or War!

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