Grand Old Party, R.I.P.

Posted August 10, 2011 on 5:19 pm | In the category Uncategorized | by Jeff

Mark Hatfield died last week. He served six terms in the U.S. Senate as a Republican from Oregon and added considerable class, intelligence and courage to that semi-August group. Mac Mathias, former Republican Senator from Maryland died early last year and left a similar legacy. Both were committed to developing policies for the good of the country regardless of narrow party ideologies.

Today we have Mitch McConnell as (Republican) minority leader in the Senate and John Boehner as Republican Speaker of the House, committed to destroy the presidency of a Democrat president regardless of the damage to the country. It is no longer amazing – it is the common thread that connects the likes of John Birch to the Tea Party zealots to the religious zealots like Rick Perry and the Ayn Rand kooks like Senator Paul and his son, Congressman Paul.

It should not be necessary to review the craziness of last week’s rush to the edge of disaster when the Tea Party loonies emasculated Boehner and put America in a position of just another banana republic. That they are blaming it on the black president no surprise; that it will work is perhaps not so obvious. But it is absolutely clear that we have a relatively small group of dangerous, fundamentalist clowns forcing gutless politicians to damage their country rather than govern responsibly.

The American press has been complicit in this disaster by providing coverage of a small group of rabid political fundamentalists without calling them out for their foolishness and their lack of understanding of even the basics of the economic and governmental challenges facing the country. It is apparent that the issue for them is to destroy a presidency and if the country goes down with him so be it.

So we search in vain for the Mark Hatfileds and Mac Mathiases in the Republican Party. The only serious candidate for their legacy remains Richard Lugar who will face a primary challenge from the Tea party. Mere pretenders to their legacy are the likes of Senators Snow and Collins of Maine, Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Leslie of Graham of South Carolina. Each of them has taken stands based on the rigid demands of their base, either out of political cowardice or an inability to comprehend the reality of the country’s needs. Their attempts at moderation have left the country with an inadequate stimulus plan, an inadequate tax revenue stream, and an economy foundering on a level of debt made worse by their actions.

The Republican Party has become a party of ideological fanaticism that if left unfettered could lead America into the abyss that their Christian fundamentalist supporters seek: a kind of Rapture unlike anything described in any bible.

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