Wow: Even David Frum Agrees that Republicans Have Lost It

If you haven't read this David Frum analysisof the Republican Party in New York magazine, you are missing out.


The Bush years cannot be repudiated, but the memory of them can be discarded to make way for a new and more radical ideology, assembled from bits of the old GOP platform that were once sublimated by the party elites but now roam the land freely: ultralibertarianism, crank monetary theories, populist fury, and paranoid visions of a Democratic Party controlled by ACORN and the New Black Panthers. For the past three years, the media have praised the enthusiasm and energy the tea party has brought to the GOP. Yet it’s telling that that movement has failed time and again to produce even a remotely credible candidate for president. Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich: The list of tea-party candidates reads like the early history of the U.S. space program, a series of humiliating fizzles and explosions that never achieved liftoff. A political movement that never took governing seriously was exploited by a succession of political entrepreneurs uninterested in governing—but all too interested in merchandising. Much as viewers tune in to American Idol to laugh at the inept, borderline dysfunctional early auditions, these tea-party champions provide a ghoulish type of news entertainment each time they reveal that they know nothing about public affairs and have never attempted to learn. But Cain’s gaffe on Libya or Perry’s brain freeze on the Department of Energy are not only indicators of bad leadership. They are indicators of a crisis of followership. The tea party never demanded knowledge or concern for governance, and so of course it never got them.

And the really great thing about them is the fact that they have gained prominence at the worst possible time. I know it's fashionable to call people like me whores and hacks for pointing out that the Republicans are certifiably nuts when the Democrats are also so feckless, but it's true. (Over this week-end if you feel like reading about something that may or may not be relevant to that question, read about this again.)

In any case, at least read Frum's long essay if you have the time. I still disagree with him philosophically on virtually everything, but I think he is at least living in the same dimension. That can't be said of the looney tunes who are running his party. What he doesn't seem to grasp is that the Democratic Party is already playing the role he wants to assign to the Republicans --- defending the status quo. He really should just join the Party. At this point he'd be to the left of at least half the Senate Democratic caucus.

On the other hand, the right's insane intransigence has saved us so far from a Grand Bargain, so from my perspective they are at the moment behaving as useful idiots, for which I'm grateful. In the age of austerity anything that stops the economic quacks from bleeding the patient is a good thing. But it's important to keep in mind that these people are only stopping the bleeding because they want to cut the patients arms and legs off. Lord help us if they ever get what they really want.

Hullabaloo / By Digby

Posted at November 26, 2011, 7:52am

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