Thursday, June 09, 2016

Put It Out Of Its Misery

Tom Friedman believes that the Republican Party is morally bankrupt. He wrote this week in the New York Times, that it should be blown up and reconstructed from scratch:

Today’s G.O.P. is to governing what Trump University is to education — an ethically challenged enterprise that enriches and perpetuates itself by shedding all pretense of standing for real principles, or a truly relevant value proposition, and instead plays on the ignorance and fears of the public.

It is just an empty shell, selling pieces of itself to the highest bidders, — policy by policy — a little to the Tea Party over here, a little to Big Oil over there, a little to the gun lobby, to antitax zealots, to climate-change deniers. And before you know it, the party stands for an incoherent mess of ideas unrelated to any theory of where the world is going or how America actually becomes great again in the 21st century.

It becomes instead a coalition of men and women who sell pieces of their brand to whoever can most energize their base in order for them to get re-elected in order for them to sell more pieces of their brand in order to get re-elected.

The United States needs two parties to function democratically:

America needs a healthy two-party system. America needs a healthy center-right party to ensure that the Democrats remain a healthy center-left party. America needs a center-right party ready to offer market-based solutions to issues like climate change. America needs a center-right party that will support common-sense gun laws. America needs a center-right party that will support common-sense fiscal policy. America needs a center-right party to support both free trade and aid to workers impacted by it. America needs a center-right party that appreciates how much more complicated foreign policy is today, when you have to manage weak and collapsing nations, not just muscle strong ones.

But cowardice is the hallmark of today's GOP. None of the party's leaders will take on Donald Trump:

All top G.O.P. leaders say they will still support Donald Trump — even if he’s dabbled in a “textbook definition” of racism, as House Speaker Paul Ryan described it — because he will sign off on their agenda and can do only limited damage given our checks and balances.

Really? Mr. Speaker, your agenda is a mess, Trump will pay even less attention to you if he is president and, as Senator Lindsey Graham rightly put it, there has to be a time “when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”

Like an old dog who's hips haven't given out, the Grand Old Party should be put out of its misery. What succeeds it is up to those who have the courage to reject Mr. Trump as the party's presidential candidate. 



Pamela Mac Neil said...

It doesn't matter who Americans vote for Democrats or republicans Owen. Both have been bought and paid for and militarized. The Republicans are just more dogmatic and cruder. Progressive change is not going to come from the ballot box.America's problems are so much more deeper then political. America's problems are with ideas. They don't have any. Their politics is a product of replacing a philosophical system of ideas with the power of dogma and tyranny. Nobody reflects that better then the Republicans.The worst part about it is, if Donald Trump becomes president, that is not the lowest America can go.In a world flush with Nuclear weapons the US/NATO chooses to conduct miltary drills on the borders of Russia and in the China sea. When a country of America's military power abandons reason, then faith and force become the go to choice. The human destruction that these Russian roulette choices may well cause, is America at its lowest.

Owen Gray said...

I agree that the choice between Clinton and Trump isn't much of a choice, Pam. What's truly discouraging is that Republicans are lining up behind Trump -- even those who called him a con man, like Marco Rubio.

Anonymous said...

Friedman's summary of the GOP - "an incoherent mess of ideas unrelated to any theory of where the world is going or how America actually becomes great again in the 21st century" - pretty well encapsulates his own oeuvre as a political pundit. I don't know why the NYT bothers keeping him on staff.

Owen Gray said...

I'd suggest, Anon, that the Times editorial board endorses Friedman's take on the GOP. And, remember, they have David Brooks on staff. And they used to have Bill Kristol on staff, too.

Dana said...

Or as this Irish satirical site (is there any other kind?) would have it "America is Fucked".

the salamander said...

.. the Republican Party as described, has been sliding (or sledding hard) twards the edge of their Flat Earth reality for quite a while now. We have clear evidence up in Canada eh.. via the scurrying 2 way migration of the so called 'Conservative' Party reform rodents seeking tactics, dogma or secret handshakes. Kenney, Harper Boessenkool et al have all jumped into the advanced indoctrination that became Tea Party 'values' - vote suppression, black ops, evangelism, rapture fabulism & the war cry of 'small government'.. which was simply myth.. They just hid the black op partisanship as well as the datawanking and mean spirited stuff in the closets and crypts.. and fed it at night.

I find the two party system of the USA laughable, but then the sheer ignorance of many many Americans as become laughable. Trump & Ted Cruz duking it out? That's what all the machinations resulted in? The only vague sensibility in a sea of political madness, seems to be Bernie. Clinton seems more a tired clever veteran who is calling in her weired poker chips after being stymied by Obama for 8 years.. she thought it was her turn earlier for swallowing Bill's humiliating behaviors n failures.

The greatest shortfall of the current American Dream seems be Humility.. and Donald Drumph feeds his 'base' the red raw meat of how to proudly ignore that failing - daily. Exactly what Stephen Harper did so successfully by donning lipstick & camouflage & hiding the evangelistic creeps deep in the back benches. Stockwell Day was the classic example of self detonating with his creationist fantasies & Harper saw that up close.

Its likely that the Donald with put the repubnicans on the rocks.. but the diehard ignorant are not going away in the US of A, nor are the closet or overt racists, the ambitious creeps n freaks that flock to the 'big whacko tent'.. where decency, honesty or ethics are hardly of use.. Its exactly what Hunter S Thompson saw happening.. Its Fear & Loathing - all over again, baby..

Owen Gray said...

And they've managed to do it to themselves, Dana.

Owen Gray said...

Richard Hofstadter identified as "the paranoid style" back in the 60's, salamander. It goes all the way back to Salem -- and it never goes away.

The Mound of Sound said...

Friedman lost me when he said a Republican renaissance was necessary "to ensure the Democrats remain a healthy center-left party." If he thinks today's Democrats are center-left, Friedman is truly delusional. That's not how neoliberalism works in any case. The neoliberal model is transactional and administrative. It is government by technocrats. There is nothing approximating democratic vision. Too much power and sovereignty has been yielded to the private sector that government is limited to delivering mail, adjusting food stamp entitlements, and bombing the shit out of the next convenient target, anything to keep that PermaWar rolling.

Friedman sees alarm in the Republicans' decline but fails to see the rot in the Republic.

Owen Gray said...

Chris Hedges would agree with you, Mound. The Democratic and the Republican parties have both been captured by neo-liberals. The only difference is a difference of degree.

Anonymous said...

This party needs to just shut itself down and start over — now. Seriously, someone please start a New Republican Party!

Don't worry, Tom. Your party's currently exercising the Ben Tre option - "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."

Owen Gray said...

It's not clear that there is a well of wisdom in the Republican Party, Anon. They don't appear to be as wise as the Dippers were.

Steve said...

Trump barks instead of the usual dog whistles from the Repugnetions

Owen Gray said...

Rather than a dog, Steve, I think the conservative commentator Bill Kristol characterized Trump pretty accurately. He called Trump a "roaring jackass."