Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein recently wrote at Salon, Brighter future for politics and policy requires a different Republican Party:
First, today’s sharply polarized and strategically focused political parties fit poorly with a constitutional system that anticipates collaboration as well as competition within and across separated institutions. As we initially wrote, parliamentary-style parties in a separation-of-powers government are a formula for willful obstruction and policy irresolution. The continuation of divided party government and the promiscuous use of the filibuster after the 2012 election have largely frustrated the policy direction affirmed by majority electorates and supported in polls of voters taken since the election.
Second, the Republican Party continues to demonstrate that it is an insurgent force in our politics, one that aspires to rewrite the social contract and role of government developed and affirmed over a century by both major political parties. The old conservative GOP has been transformed into a party beholden to ideological zealots, one that sees little need to balance individualism with community, freedom with equality, markets with regulation, state with national power, or policy commitments with respect for facts, evidence, science, and a willingness to compromise.
These two factors—asymmetric polarization and the mismatch between our parties and governing institutions—continue to account for the major share of our governing problems. But the media continues, for the most part, to miss this story.
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A brighter future for politics and policy requires a different Republican Party, one no longer beholden to its hard right and willing to operate within the mainstream of American politics. After losing five of six presidential elections between 1968 and 1988, Democrats (thanks in large part to the Democratic Leadership Council and Bill Clinton) made a striking adjustment that put them in a position to nominate credible presidential candidates, develop center-left policies responsive to the interests of a majority of voters, and govern in a less ideological, more pragmatic, problem-solving mode. Nothing would contribute more to strengthening American democracy than Republicans going through that same experience.
This catastophic political miscalculation by anti-government insurgent Tea-Publican ideological zealots, fueled by the closed-loop epistemic closure of the conservative media entertainment complex, is now upon us.
Anti-government insurgent Tea-Publican economic terrorists are threatening to kill the hostage -- the American economy -- to get their way on defunding or repealing "ObamaCare" with a government shutdown, followed by defaulting on the federal debt ceiling and causing a global economic crisis. This unprecedented terrorist threat is the most profound anti-government insurgency against the United States government since the Confederacy seceded from the United States and started the American Civil War.
The TanMan, Weeper of the House John Boehner, the "Worst. Speaker. Ever.," has lost control of the GOP caucus that he ostensibly leads. Boehner desperately wants President Obama and Democrats to simply surrender to the insurgent Tea-Publican hostage demands to delay Obamacare, on purpose, because it would make his insurgent Tea-Publicans happy. (Left unsaid is the implicit threat: if the president chooses not to "work with" the GOP to delay health care benefits for "everyone," those same insurgent Tea-Publicans will kill the hostage.) Far-right House Republicans expect Obama to cave:
In the bigger picture, Boehner's appeal borders on pathetic. The Speaker is effectively pleading with the White House to give in, just because, and agree to gut the president's signature domestic policy accomplishment, while taking health care benefits away from millions of Americans -- all to satisfy the hysterical demands of right-wing activists. Jon Chait published a terrific item on Boehner's general appeal last week, explaining, "There's really only one answer Obama can give here: Boehner can go f*** himself."
This is delusional thinking, even by the standards of House Tea-Publicans.
As if Tea-Publican government-shutdown threats weren't in enough trouble, the looming crisis appears to be tearing the GOP apart. Steve Benen writes, 'You're not dealing in reality':
When a congressional delegation tries to pull off a scheme of this magnitude, they generally need two related dynamics to exist. First, a party needs to be unanimous -- when Republicans shut down the government in 1996 and when Republicans launched the first-ever debt-ceiling crisis in 2011, there was practically zero intra-party dissent. Second, a party needs leaders who command the fealty of rank-and-file members.
This year, neither dynamic exists. National Review published an interesting report on the Republican Study Committee's weekly staff meeting yesterday.
Max Pappas, an aide to Texas senator Ted Cruz who was on hand, rose to argue that in the event the House and President Obama were at odds when government funding expired, Republicans could pass a bill to fund the troops and other core priorities.
At that point, a woman rose, identifying herself as a staffer to a Texas Republican. Pappas, she said, was "not dealing in reality" and making everyone else's life difficult. The staffer, whom two GOP sources identified as working for Representative John Culberson of Texas, went on to decry Cruz for holding events in Culberson's district and telling his constituents that defunding Obamacare would be "easy."
A significant number in the room of about one hundred people applauded the woman's remarks, but several GOP aides said it was not a standing ovation or an overwhelmingly positive response.
It's against this backdrop that the Wall Street Journal editorial page, a reliable guide to the thinking of the Republican Party establishment, openly mocked the congressional Republicans pushing the shutdown strategy: "These critics portrayed [House Speaker John Boehner's plan to avoid a shutdown] as a sellout because of a campaign that captured the imagination of some conservatives this summer: Republicans must threaten to crash their Zeros into the aircraft carrier of ObamaCare. Their demand is that the House pair the 'must pass' CR or the debt limit with defunding the health-care bill. Kamikaze missions rarely turn out well, least of all for the pilots."
When the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal is comparing far-right lawmakers to Kamikaze pilots, it's safe to say all is not well within the Republican Party. When the staffer of one Texas GOP lawmaker is lecturing another staffer of a Texas GOP lawmaker on "dealing with reality," it even worse.
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In other words, the unanimity that existed the last time the GOP shut down the government does not exist right now. Worse, there are no real leaders among congressional Republicans that the rest of the party will follow and whom Democratic leaders can negotiate with.
The anti-government insurgent Tea-Publican ideological zealots, and their conservative media entertainment complex, will cause substantial harm to the American economy and set off yet another global economic crisis should they actually kill the hostage over the federal debt ceiling. In this catastophic political miscalculation lies the seeds of the far-right zealots own destruction, as Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein argue is necessary for "a different Republican Party, one no longer beholden to its hard right and willing to operate within the mainstream of American politics."