Tuesday, October 8, 2013

what's the matter with the Republicans?

Gradually the news media have accepted the analysis of Tom Mann and Norm Ornstein that the Republican party -- at least its representatives in Washington -- has become a radical outlier. Gridlock is not the failure of two otherwise reasonable groups to compromise their differences but rather the inability of one side even to consider compromise. Other analysts point to the takeover of the GOP by a minority of a minority, the radical Tea Party types, and the collapse of traditional  institutional leadership.

Two new assessments of the GOP provide further insights into what has happened. Conservative writer David Frum lists "Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Political Parties." His list includes apocalyptic visions and politics as war, two traits that reinforce each other in intransigent radicalism. Meanwhile, Democratic strategists James Carville and Stanley Greenberg offer their own analysis, based on focus groups with GOP voters. They see Republicans as fearful of Obama and the future, much like Frum's apocalyptic visions.

If that's where Republican voters are coming from, no wonder their representatives are fight to the death extremists. Too bad for the country.

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