Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sisyphus has a new punishment: looking for moderate Republicans

It's been a favorite talking point of the punditocracy to speculate on how the Republicans will cope with their Presidential loss in 2012. Since conventional wisdom always insists there is some moderate middle around to make things right, there has been quite a bit of talk about the coming upsurge of moderate Republicans that surely must be there somewhere.

David "Bobo" Brooks plays Sisyphus on this question in A Second G.O.P. New York Times 01/28/2013. His fantasy, pulled more or less out of the air, is that a moderate wing which he calls a "second G.O.P." will rise up to pull in enough of those voters alienated by the increasing plutocratic and anti-Enlightenment :

The second G.O.P. ... would be filled with people who recoiled at President Obama’s second Inaugural Address because of its excessive faith in centralized power, but who don't share the absolute antigovernment story of the current G.O.P.

Would a coastal and Midwestern G.O.P. sit easily with the Southern and Western one? No, but majority parties are usually coalitions of the incompatible. This is really the only chance Republicans have. The question is: Who's going to build a second G.O.P.?
Uh, yeah, Bobo, that's a pretty big question.

Gene Lyons poses a much more relevant question in Can Republicans Ever Stop Being The ‘Stupid Party’? National Memo 01/30/2013. He writes:

Last week Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan wrote something shrewd about the right-wing fixation with President Obama's otherness. It was always a mistake, she said, to claim "that he's a Muslim, he's a Kenyan, he’s working out his feelings about colonialism. Those charges were meant to marginalize him, but they didn't hurt him. They damaged Republicans, who came to see him as easy to defeat."

They also hurt Republicans among voters who wondered about the character, motives and competence of people who ranted about transparently false allegations.

However, Noonan then proceeded to conjure her own imaginary Obama: a hardcore leftist determined to redistribute income from rich to poor, the striving middle class be damned. "’You didn’t build that,’" she wrote "are the defining words of his presidency."

That's right, conspiracy buffs. To Noonan, President Obama's political legacy consists of a truncated quote yanked out of context to distort his plain meaning: basically that the best restaurant in town couldn't thrive if customers had to bush hog their own roads to get there. [my emphasis]
Yes, that's what passes for moderate Republicanism these days.


No comments: