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death and life of education

When Republicans Flee Their Own Deranged Party, They Bring Unwanted Baggage With Them To The Democratic Party

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Lifelong Republican rich kid, Patrick Murphy, switched parties so he could run against demented extremist and torturer Allen West. His wealthy Republican father started and personally financed a SuperPAC, American Sunrise, to smear the very smearable West. Between Murphy's father and some of his cronies and the Democratic Party, over $3.1 million was spent on negative ads against West. It was one of the most expensive races-- and one of the closest results-- in the country: 166,223 for Murphy and 164,316 for West. There are 3 counties in the 18th district. West edged Murphy by around 200 votes in Palm Beach County and beat him 57-43% in Martin County. Murphy holds the seat today because he won big in St Lucie County (55-45%) where the Democratic registration edge is huge: 74,281 Democrats, 55,755 Republicans and 36,517 independents. Since Clinton's win in 1996, Democrats won the county every election, Obama swamping McCain with 55.5% in 2008 and beating Romney last year 53.42-45.58%. Without his coattails in St Lucie, Murphy probably wouldn't have won.

Arguably, Murphy has been the worst Democratic freshman in the House, not just backing much of the Boehner-Cantor negative agenda in roll calls, but working as a Wall Street shill on the House Financial Services Committee and working to lure the weakest-minded freshmen towards Republican schemes under the fake rubric of "bipartisanship." And he's likely to lose the seat next year, making the entire expensive proposition an exercise is futility even for the corrupt Beltway Democratic Establishment that backed him-- and spent millions of dollars getting him into office.

Now Florida voters will have to grapple with a Murphy crony, Charlie Crist-- who also makes some spurious claim to "being" a Democrat-- running for governor. Crist was a much higher profile lifelong Republican with an atrocious, anti-family voting record going back to 1992 when he won a gerrymandered state Senate seat and used it to conduct a witch hunt against Governor Lawton Chiles, much the way Darrell Issa uses his committee to run witch hunts among Democrats in Washington. Crist was best knows for supporting charter schools and for a tough on crime approach, that is common for closet cases who want to "prove" how "macho" they are (also, of course, working to ban adoptions by LGBT parents). As governor, Crist was a total NRA shill-- giving Florida the nickname "the Gunshine State-- and passing a law that prevents employers from prohibiting their workers from bringing firearms to the workplace.

But it's not only in Florida where mainstream conservatives from the Republican Party are fleeing to the Democrats. It's happening everywhere... and it isn't necessarily a good thing. Many are bringing their anti-family values with them and are moving the Democrats further to the right the way Murphy does. In a NY Times OpEd last week, Tom Edsall points out that the GOP has gone off the deep end and that many lifetime members are leaving.
Thomas Doherty, patronage czar and political enforcer for the former New York governor George Pataki, reached the breaking point last week when he read that House Republicans were preparing to “slow walk” the Senate immigration bill to death.

Doherty turned to Twitter:
If Senate Immigration bill gets ripped apart and ultimately defeated by House #GOP I’ve decided to leave my political home of 32 yrs #sad.
Doherty told me that he has
come to the conclusion that my party has elements within it that dislike homosexuals and think America is still in the 1940s. And while we talk about freedom and liberty, that liberty and freedom only seem to be acceptable for some.
Doherty, no liberal, is representative of the growing strength on the right of the view that the Republican Party has gone off the deep end.

“Their rigidity is killing them. It’s either holy purity, or you are anathema,” Tom Korologos, a premier Republican lobbyist and the ambassador to Belgium under George W. Bush, said in a phone interview. “Too many ideologues have come in. You don’t win by what they are doing.”

A number of prominent figures in the Republican Party share this harsh view. Jeb Bush warned last year that both Ronald Reagan and his own father would have a “hard time” fitting into the contemporary Republican Party, which he described as dominated by “an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement.”

A few months ago, Bush, who is expected to run for the party’s nomination in 2016, took it up a notch. At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in March, Bush declared:
All too often we’re associated with being anti-everything. Way too many people believe Republicans are anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker, and the list goes on and on and on. Many voters are simply unwilling to choose our candidates, even though they share our core beliefs, because those voters feel unloved, unwanted and unwelcome in our party.
Two months later, Bob Dole-- the Republican presidential nominee in 1996 and a 35-year veteran of the House and Senate-- was asked on Fox News Sunday: “Could people like Bob Dole, even Ronald Reagan, make it in today’s Republican Party?”
I doubt it. Reagan wouldn’t have made it. Certainly Nixon wouldn’t have made it-- because he had ideas.
Dole added, “They ought to put a sign on the national committee door that says, ‘Closed for repairs.’”

As early as September 2011, Mike Lofgren, a staff member for 16 years on the Republican side of both the House and Senate Budget Committees, wrote on the liberal Web site TruthOut:
The Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe.
Bill Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard and one of the original architects of the bomb-throwing right, jumped ship seven months ago:
The conservative movement-- a bulwark of American strength for the last several decades-- is in deep disarray. Reading about some conservative organizations and Republican campaigns these days, one is reminded of Eric Hoffer’s remark, “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” It may be that major parts of American conservatism have become such a racket that a kind of refounding of the movement as a cause is necessary.
Needless to say, there are many on the left who share these negative assessments.

My colleague Paul Krugman has made the case repeatedly and eloquently. Jonathan Chait, a New York Magazine columnist, has been no slouch in this regard either.

Norman Ornstein and Tom Mann, scholars at the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution respectively, leveled the most detailed charges against the Republican Party in their book It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism and in their Washington Post essay Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.

How far has self-flagellation spread among Republicans? To see, I surveyed a number of strategists, lobbyists, pollsters and think-tank types.

Ed Rogers, the chairman of the BGR Group (formerly Barbour Griffith & Rogers) and a top aide to both Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, wrote in an e-mail:
The G.O.P. House has between 20 and 30 members who are ideological purists who think every issue and vote is black or white. Combine that with the members who fear a primary from the right, and you have maybe 60 votes that are hard to get. We have lost the art of governing in Washington. In the Congress no one is able to make and execute long-term plans.
There is a striking correlation between the rise of conservative talk radio and the difficulties of the Republican Party in presidential elections. In an April Reuters essay, “Right Wing Talk Shows Turned White House Blue,” Mark Rozell, the acting dean of the George Mason University School of Public Policy, and John Paul Goldman, a former chairman of Virginia’s Democratic Party, wrote:
Since Rush Limbaugh’s 1992 bestseller The Way Things Ought to Be, his conservative talk show politics have dominated G.O.P. presidential discourse-- and the Republicans’ White House fortunes have plummeted. But when the mainstream media reigned supreme, between 1952 and 1988, Republicans won seven out of the 10 presidential elections.
The authors continue: “The rise of the conservative-dominated media defines the era when the fortunes of G.O.P. presidential hopefuls dropped to the worst levels since the party’s founding in 1856.”

John Feehery, the president of Quinn Gillespie Communications and a former aide to Tom DeLay, a former House majority leader, and Dennis Hastert, a former speaker of the House, wrote in an e-mail:
Talk radio has been very destructive when it comes to coming up with new ideas to solve current problems. Talk radio is very good at attack. It is not particularly good at thinking deeply about public policy problems and coming up with effective solutions.
Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, raised similar questions:
It seems to me that some on the right, at least in their rhetoric, don’t have a proper appreciation for prudence. There’s a tendency among some to elevate every political skirmish into a clash of first principles. And some on the right seem eager to go over a cliff with their flag waving.
But Bill McInturff, a founder of the Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, argued in a phone interview that at least for members of the House, the Republican strategy of relentless opposition to Democratic initiatives has paid off:
Look at the quotes from 1993 and 1994 when Republicans were blocking Clinton’s health care bill, and again in 2009 with Obamacare. The exact same stuff, the same handwringing, the same, except one led to a 50-plus gain and the other a 60-plus seat gain in the House.
McInturff sees presidential politics as relatively insignificant to most Republican congressmen: 
There are very few Republican Congressional incumbents who wake up and have that concern. At an individual level, they are acting as rational actors, on the basis of their own perceived political interests.
Noting that only 16 current Republican members of the House represent districts carried by Obama, McInturff observes that “the rational political incentive for most elected Republicans is to be sure they don’t lose to a primary challenger.”

McInturff put his finger on the problem: House Republicans are invested in their own re-election and not in the long-term viability of their party. Those who put the lowest priority on presidential politics are those most worried about a primary challenge from the right, and it is this cohort that forms the backbone of the Tea Party faction in the House-- the cohort most wedded to nativism, intolerance and hostility to the poor. These are the members nudging the Republican Party over the cliff.

A part of the Republican problem lies in the party’s disproportionate dependence on white Southern voters. These voters are well to the right of the rest of the nation, and they elect the dominant block of hard-right conservatives in the House. Of the 234 Republican members of the House, 97-- two-fifths-- come from the 11 Confederate states, and these 97 are almost uniformly opposed to negotiation of any kind with Democrats.

It is the Southern conservatives who, along with their Northern Tea Party colleagues, seek to kill immigration reform and who insisted on removing the food stamp program from the recently passed Farm Bill.

These members of the House are what Feehery describes as “nostalgia” Republicans who define conservatism as “the ability to fight progress.” They produce a flood of statements and declarations that Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, calls “offensive and bizarre” and that he claims are turning his party into “the stupid party.”

It is these politicians whom the opinion writers of the Wall Street Journal had in mind to when they wrote
The dumbest strategy is to follow the Steve King anti-immigration caucus and simply let the Senate [Immigration] bill die while further militarizing the border. This may please the loudest voices on talk radio, but it ignores the millions of evangelical Christians, Catholic conservatives, business owners and free-marketers who support reform. The G.O.P. can support a true conservative opportunity society or become a party of closed minds and borders.
The Republican Party is struggling to resolve the conflict between its pragmatic establishment wing and its ideological-suicidal wing. Speaking right after President Obama’s re-election, Haley Barbour, a former governor of Mississippi and a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, summarized the party’s problem succinctly. At a meeting in Las Vegas of the Republican Governors Association, Barbour said: “We’ve got to give our political organizational activity a very serious proctology exam. We need to look everywhere.”
These mainstream conservatives made their bed and lyed down with the Southern racists to gain power for themselves. Their predicament was very predictable. We don't need them bringing their Wall Street values over to the Democratic Party now that the southerners have turned the tables on them.

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Original author: DownWithTyranny


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Ben Stein is such a douchebag. He has a mental disease and definitely has a defect.

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