FIRST, via Pierce, do not click this link, unless you--unlike the author--find a picture of Rachel Maddow schmoozing Sarah Palin and Andrea Mitchell something other than a suitable replacement for the lost syrup of ipecac.
(It's okay, Progressives, Madow wore jeans!
Sock it to the Man. Palin, meanwhile, was simultaneously drinking for free and endorsing Richard Mourdock in the Indiana Republican primary, despite the fact that what she knows about Indiana politics in general, Dick Lugar specifically, or anything and everything which can be described as an "issue" is what you can see from the Rat Islands.)
Speaking of which:
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.Pfui. Both of you have punditological careers dating to the Carter administration. Did you sleep through the Reagan presidency? Miss the rhetoric of the Nixon years? Tricky Dick didn't deliver the famous "Silent Centrist Majority" speech, y'know. Though he might've, since it's you guys who remained silent while the Republican party went from cabal of 19th century capital pirates to cabal of 19th century capital pirates cosseting Nixonian lunatics, to cabal of Nixonian lunatics who revere 19th century capital piracy in thirty years. Fer chrissakes, a guy trapped in Arctic ice in 1950, and thawed out last week, would have a tougher time recognizing the policies of the Catholic Church than he would the Republican party.
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.The GOP hasn't "moved from the mainstream". It's gained more power. The "center of power" hasn't gone much of anywhere. It may have followed Goldwater West and South, thanks to the evil genius of Nixon, but it's not exactly a seismic shift from Joe McCarthy to Jesse Helms, from John Wayne to Glenn Beck. When th' hell was it Chuck Hagel's party? When was it Nelson Rockefeller's, for that matter? They called Truman a commie, for chrissakes.
The post-McGovern Democratic Party, by contrast, while losing the bulk of its conservative Dixiecrat contingent in the decades after the civil rights revolution, has retained a more diverse base. Since the Clinton presidency, it has hewed to the center-left on issues from welfare reform to fiscal policy. While the Democrats may have moved from their 40-yard line to their 25, the Republicans have gone from their 40 to somewhere behind their goal post.Question: is all of this designed to palliate the conscience of the American centrist, or is it really what it purports to be, the slowest recognition of the extent of a brick wall since the Mogols? Eisenhower had to name Richard Fucking Nixon as his running mate. The contemporary Republican party was born in 1964, not coincidentally the same year the Johnson administration decided that black people could have some rights. It's the party of Bill Buckley's racism, and of Pat Buchanan's, as well as Steve King's, of Carl McIntire's religious mania and Pat Robertson's, as well as Rick Santorum's. It's the party which wrapped every little adventurist foreign excursion from Korea to Iraq II in patriotic fervor, and which found it necessary to rewrite the history of every last one (excepting, maybe, the Glorious Liberation of Grenada); Nixon's traitor hunt of 1946 was little different than Andrew Sullivan's in 2001, and, no, he's one of yours. No one with eyes and ears could possibly have missed this, apart, somehow, from the DLC and today's tiny island leper colony of sadder-but-wiser centrists.
What happened? Of course, there were larger forces at work beyond the realignment of the South. They included the mobilization of social conservatives after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the anti-tax movement launched in 1978 by California’s Proposition 13, the rise of conservative talk radio after a congressional pay raise in 1989, and the emergence of Fox News and right-wing blogs. But the real move to the bedrock right starts with two names: Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist.It's the virus causes the wart. Not vice-versa.
Okay, sure: the Republican party has become increasingly dilatory and obtuse in the halls of power, but that's not a change of the last four years. Had Republicans had the power in 1981 they would have dispensed with all the Reagan sainthood bullshit and just rammed through their radical agenda, instead of getting Democrats to agree to do it for them. And there's no question this has been facilitated, both by a venal and cowardly Democratic party, and a venal and cowardly Press. But, really, enough of this stuff. I'm not gonna make common cause with Democrats, or rueful Republican centrists, who suddenly notice what the GOP has become, and expect a medal for saying so. The time to speak up was thirty years ago, when this stuff was just as plain, and was being covered by a transparent rewrite of unpleasant history, and a clear retrenchment on individual rights. Y'know, when Reaganism was the Wave of the Future the Republican platform had no more chance of actually governing than it does today. David Stockman was just as big a liar as Paul Ryan. I'm going to settle for having been right about this shit all along, and hope we don't kill too many innocents when it all blows up. Don't offer to help me shovel now. You've already done enough.