It’s about freakin’ time we see the truth be told in the mainstream media about the nutjob Teapublicans.
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.
The authors continue, explaining how it’s NOT “both sides doing it,” how the Democratic Party might have shifted slightly to the left (“from their 40-yard line to their 25”), but the Republican Party has gone completely off the deep end (“from their 40 to somewhere behind their goal post”). I mean, hasn’t all this been obvious to any sane, sentient observer of American politics the past few years? Why has it taken so long to see an analysis like this, from two major political analysts (one from Democratic-leaning Brookings, one from Republican-leaning AEI), in the corporate/mainstream media? Is that why so many Americans continue believe, erroneously, that we have two normal political parties in this country, one “center left” and one “center right,” when in fact we have one “center left” (actually, I’d say today’s Democrats are more “center” or even “center right”), and one far, far, far right, basically the John Birch Society combined with the KKnow Nothings and perhaps one of the ultra-nationalist/authoritarian parties of Europe.
I’ve pointed this out many times before, but to illustrate how far the Republican Party has lurched to the extreme right, just look at their vicious opposition to ideas they themselves developed and championed for years – “cap and trade,” the “individual mandate,” marginal tax rates at historic low levels (as we had during the Clinton years, and which now are seen as socialistic by these nutjobs), etc.
How did this once-great, optimistic, sane party of Teddy Roosevelt (a Bull Moose Progressive), Dwight Eisenhower (Mr. Moderation personified), Richard Nixon (established the EPA and detente with the Soviet Union), and even Ronald Reagan (raised taxes many times, signed a mass amnesty for “illegal immigrants,” grew government big time, etc.) become a collection of rabble rousers, theocrats, warmongers, cranks, tinfoil hat wearerers (e.g., the “birthers”), xenophobes, homophobes, Islamophobes, misogynists, and people who apparently believe that compromise on anything, let alone working with Democrats – as Ronald Reagan did all the time, with liberal lion Tip O’Neill and others – is evil?
Personally, I blame the toxic effect of Faux “News,” far-right-wing hate radio (Rush et al), far-right-wing hate TV (Hannity, Beck, etc.), far-right-wing hate blogs (too many to list, but check out Michele Malkin or The Gateway Pundit – I refuse to link to either – for example). I also blame the toxic effect of hundreds of millions of dollars pouring into the system with zero accountability — see the Koch brothers, Karl Rove, Richard Mellon Scaife, and many others for the horrible results.
Then there’s the corporate media, which has abdicated its duty to tell the truth, to call out lies, to not treat insanity as sane or even as entertainment (see the corporate media’s disgraceful coverage of the Tea Party movement back in 2009 and 2010), and not pretend that there are two equivalent “sides” to everything (as Ornstein and Mann put it, “a balanced treatment of an unbalanced phenomenon distorts reality”).
Finally, something’s clearly gone wrong with the American education system, as it’s apparently churning out masses of people who can’t think critically, who don’t respect science or empiricism, who don’t understand how the economy or our government work, who don’t seem to comprehend complexity or nuance, and who generally can’t seem to cope with the rapidly changing, globalized, diverse, 21st century world we live in.
Other than that, we’re doing great! Anyway, read the article, forward it around to everyone you know, urge them to read it too, then make sure you tell everyone you know to get to the polls in November and vote for anyone but Republicans up and down the ballot.