Thursday, March 25, 2010

Republicans, Not Content to Destroy Their Party, Take Aim at Democracy Itself

Political commentary on the GOP's refusal to abide by the majority vote on the health care legislation has tended to focus on the likely failure of two major Republican strategies and how that might seal the demise of the Republican Party as a viable political entity.

Those concerns are well founded and well articulated. But they miss a larger point lurking first in the racial and gay slurs that mobs have hurled at Democratic officials in the last few days, then by actual vandalism and assassination threats.

Each time the misguided Republican strategies fail, the angrier and more desperate the fascist, racist, gun-toting fringe of the tea-baggers becomes. Now that they have become so frustrated that they are threatening to shoot office holders elected by majority vote--who have committed the 'tyranny' of passing legislation by majority vote--their threat to the survival of democracy in America is a clear and present danger. It needs to be our deepest concern.

Some of the political commentary focused on the futility of the Republicans trying to run against the health care law in November.

The Houston Chronicle editorialized that the Republicans were on the "wrong side of history" and that they should not be surprised when the voters tell them so: "It will be interesting to see how receptive voters will be to a pitch to reinstate higher drug prices for the elderly, permit insurance companies to resume denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and cancel tax breaks for individuals and small businesses to pay for policies."

In his Political Memo in the New York Times, Adam Nagourney warned the Republicans that they were about to compound the failure of their political strategy in Congress with a failure of political strategy in the mid-term elections.

Like the Houston Chronicle, he cited provisions of the bill that will be "broadly popular with the public." He also noted that "more contentious" provisions of the bill "including the mandate for the uninsured to obtain coverage, do not take effect for years." But to highlight how much damage the Republicans were really doing to themselves, Nagourney quoted a respected conservative political analyst:

David Frum, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, the conservative research organization, said Republicans had tried to defeat the bill to undermine Mr. Obama politically, but in the process had given up a chance of influencing a huge bill. Mr. Frum said his party’s stance sowed doubts with the public about its ideas and leadership credentials, and ultimately failed in a way that expanded Mr. Obama’s power.

“The political imperative crowded out the policy imperative,” Mr. Frum said. “And the Republicans have now lost both.”

“When our core group discover that this thing is not as catastrophic as advertised, they are going to be less energized than they are right now,” Mr. Frum said.

He warned that the energy Republicans were finding now among base voters would fade.

Other analysis focused on the futility of the legal challenges mounted by 14 state attorneys general, all but one a Republican. The Houston Chronicle called these Republican officials "sore losers" and said all they were doing was wasting precious taxpayer time and money.

A professor of law at Washington and Lee University agreed, telling CNN in excruciating detail that the states' legal position was full of holes and had about as much chance of prevailing as a snowball in hell.

These points, though well taken, miss the bigger picture: the Republican march into irrelevance has been a long time coming and may now be irreversible; but it could bring down much more than a failed political party.

It reached its previous nadir in follies like bungling an unfunded war in Iraq, establishing unfunded drug benefits for seniors and so ham-stringing federal enforcement agencies that Wall Street pursued greed at any cost and the economy tanked here and around the globe. Then they piled new atrocity upon that by opposing stimulus bills aimed at fixing their economic mess and health care reform that they once thought was a very good idea.

So frankly, the country should shed no tears if the Republican Party meets its final demise.

But if we have no good reason to keep the Republicans from destroying themselves, we have every reason to stop them from destroying the country. We need to focus on how the fascists they pander to are reacting to Republican defeats: they are rejecting democracy itself.

The Republicans are very much in danger of transitioning from the party of no to the party of treason. The majority in Congress need to make the GOP members accountable for violating their oaths to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." And the Justice Department needs to prosecute all who incite treason and all who threaten the extermination of elected officials faithfully doing the jobs the voters elected them to do.

1 comment:

colkoch said...

The unbelievable attacks on Rep Stupak give credence to your excellent analysis.