Saturday, May 4, 2013

America the Extreme

Here's a random sampling of Democratic/Leftists views of the Republicans:

The NY Times Tim Egan in a piece titled, "House of Un-Representatives,"
just look at how different this Republican House is from the country they are supposed to represent. It’s almost like a parallel government, sitting in for some fantasy nation created in talk-radio land.
According to Egan, gerrymandering, bigotry, money and Christianity are to blame for Representative Louie Gohmert, one of "the most off-plumb member of Congress." Egan asserts
we have an insular, aggressively ignorant House of Representatives that is not at all representative of the public will, let alone the makeup of the country.
Aggressively ignorant. Well.

Here's E.J. Dionne from the Washington Post
What Obama said is true to every detail. He really is dealing with a novel situation. The GOP has moved far to the right. The Senate no longer operates on the basis of majority rule. The strong presidents with whom Obama is often compared, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan, did not face these obstacles. In his heyday, LBJ had huge Democratic congressional majorities. The Gipper could always count on winning votes from conservative Southern Democrats who had joined Republicans regularly for many years before he took office. Obama has every right to be frustrated: When Republicans obstruct, he takes the blame.
Charles Blow from the NY Times
It’s the compromise-resistant form of conservatism in this country that has fed on Obama’s very existence: an illogical, immutable opposition to him. In short, Obama leads an army amassed against him.
You get the picture. If I threw in Citizen's United, the Koch Brothers and War on Women, or Gays I would have the complete Democratic Party playbook. Life sucks because that damn extreme Republican Party won't vote how we do, won't believe what we believe. It's extreme!

I don't think the Republicans are any more extreme or kooky than Democrats like Jerrold Nadler, Alan Grayson, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz or Maxine Waters, who has the added feature of being a criminal.

But let's say, just for fun, the Republican Party is extreme, or as Joe Biden liked to say, "Not your father's Republican Party." That would suggest the party is simply doing what representative democracies do, represent. The "Republicans are Extreme" view won't really admit what they imply, that America itself is extreme, because that would mean the people, or at least a large portion of the people, accept "extremism" and reject "progressive" thought. So instead they find bogeymen: Citizen's United, the Koch Brothers, gerrymandering. 

I'm not convinced. Gerrymandering has been with us since, well, Elbridge Gerry in 1812. Even if the Republicans won by gerrymandering, how was it they were able to do that? How did the Republicans get the power to gerrymander? By winning a majority of the seats in the State's Houses and Senates and Governorships. Isn't that the refutation to the assertion the power of the Republicans is illegitimately held?

Besides, look at Connecticut, or California. Are the Democrats really saying the it's representative for there to be zero Republicans in the Connecticut Congressional delegation despite winning 33% of the votes, or that Republicans should hold15 of California's 53 seats, 28% of the total, despite winning 38% of the votes. But it's probably worse in California since recent voting law changes make many districts a race between two Democrats. Yea, that's right in 7 districts it was Democrat v Democrat, while that was the case in only three districts for the Republicans.

No, I think the Republican Party is the way it is, is because America is the way it is. The Republicans are representing, like it should. So if the Republicans are extreme, and aggressively ignorant,  and obstructionist, and unwilling to compromise and illogical and immutably opposed to Obama, I would posit that's because their constituents want them to be that way.

The Democrats have many options. They can continue to avoid the truth: Many Americans disagree with their position. It can continue to charge the Republicans, and by the transitive property, much of America of extremism and ignorance. It can try to convince America of its position. It can compromise. I'm sure there are more. But it seems to me the Democrats are taking the tactic most likely to result in their dreaded gridlock.

No comments:

Post a Comment