I remember when I was around jr. high age how surprised I was when I learned that my mom was a registered Republican. Few of her positions seemed to match the Republican party at the time. And indeed, her party affiliation was more a factor of how she was raised and the fact that DuPage County, where we lived, was so Republican the primaries were all that really mattered, so you had to be registered as a Republican to have a useable vote. And yet, the Republican party of that time is not remotely recognizable when compared to what passes as the Republican party today. Thomas Edsall in the Times today has a good blog post outlining this, with numerous quotes from Republicans far more influential than my mom was on a national level. All agree that the party has lost its way, gone off the deep end as Edsall puts it.
Edsall is hardly the first person to point all this out, though he does a good service in culling many quotes (from Jeb Bush, George Pataki, Bob Dole, and Bill Kristol among others) and giving them to us in one place. This is in a blog post; while Krugman and others have written a lot about this in the print edition, I don’t recall seeing it put quite as clearly in the print edition. And of course, what the country needs to break this mass hysteria is for Brian Williams or one of his ilk to say this on the air–to reach an audience of millions with this truth. Only then will the county as a whole begin to realize that one of our two main political parties has no clothes. Sure, both have many faults, and there is no comparison between the two. As long as Brian Williams treats the Republicans as though they are being reasonable, they will not change. It’s not just Brian–I use him as a kind of short hand for the mainstream corporate media as a whole, and if I pick on him the most it is maybe because I have some slight hope that he is the one most likely to wake up and do some actual journalism. It is a very slight hope.
(One wonders what things are like these days in the Bush clan. I particularly enjoyed Jeb’s quote that neither his father or Ronald Reagan would fit in with today’s Republican party which is “dominated by an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement.” No mention of his brother not fitting in. Oh, that’s right. It was W who worked so hard to create the current Republican party, that, sadly, has gone so far behind his ideological purity that they didn’t even say his name at their last convention. He helped create the monster that ate him and spit him out.)
Maybe if people like Edsall and Krugman and anyone else with any voice continue to regularly point out how extreme the Republicans have become, how far they are removed from an actual interest in governing, maybe, just maybe, that news will reach the bubble of the corporate media.
Of course, the Republicans themselves–the good ones that are left, including many of those quoted by Edsall–could take their own party back, could change their primary rules to minimize the odds of very conservative congressmen getting primaried from the right. But that would risk the party losing some of the power it currently has, as it works to rebuild it’s old brand. And so far at least, they are more interested in hanging on to power than they are in governing. And the danger is that before long, if they don’t change, the party will be completely taken over by those to the right of Mike Enzi (rated the 8th most conservative senator and now facing a primary challenge from Liz Cheney). Then, since that radical wing of the party cannot win national elections, the party may begin to dwindle and disappear. In the meantime, they will do much more damage to the country. So wake up Republicans, take your own party back. Rediscover the party that my mom was a member of.
It’s hard to imagine George W Bush or Dick Cheney saying anything that wasn’t reported by the corporate media. Indeed, they can’t get enough of what Dick says, even if it sounds nonsensical. (George has thankfully remained mostly silent since leaving office.) In a way, I understand and even agree with that. Living past presidents and vice presidents did hold our highest offices and even if no longer in office, do speak from their experience and deserve to be heard and we can all reach our own conclusions about what they say. What I disagree with is a double standard. Brian Williams will show a clip of Dick Cheney saying that Benghazi is the biggest scandal in American history (without noting the unintended irony of the statement), but when President Carter says that “America has no functioning democracy,” you will only find it in the foreign press and in independent blogs here that are quoting the foreign media. Maybe if he’d followed up with, “of course America is still number one,” then they would have reported it.