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Lets Face It: Republicans Are The Problem

May 19, 2012

For all of my adult life I have looked to the moderate elements within the Republican Party as a half-of-a-loaf when thinking about government.  To make government function there needs to be a sensible middle, a path forward based on compromise, and a meeting of the mind in Washington–or elsewhere–on the issues of the day that move society forward. 

When moderate Republicans work with Democrats progress is made on the issus that confront us.  History proves a very long list of accomplishments when both parties work together.

But the Republican Party that existed when I was twenty-one is gone.  It has been replaced by complete red-meat-loving-hot-heads without common sense, and certainly no idea what compromise looks like. I really think much of the problem is based on the fact they do not know or appreciate history. 

Brokering any type of deal with this new crowd of the GOP who can not even admit to the facts of any given issue, and only want to appeal to what seems to me an ever-growing uneducated group of voters makes for a broken political system.

Perhaps one of the best articles that made this come to light again was printed in the Washington Post.  The writers are Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein who need no introduction…..but for my Republican buddies I will add….Thomas E. Mann is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Norman J. Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. This essay is adapted from their book “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism,”

We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

“Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach.

It is clear that the center of gravity in the Republican Party has shifted sharply to the right. Its once-legendary moderate and center-right legislators in the House and the Senate — think Bob Michel, Mickey Edwards, John Danforth, Chuck Hagel — are virtually extinct.

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