God Save The GOP
On July 10, 2012, 1:00 PM by Savannah Cox
At the peak of their ideological addiction, the modern GOP can only be saved by themselves—if they even want to.
They were once the party of Lincoln. The party of equality, social progress and competing ideas. Today, though, the GOP is a party driven less by reason and more by stale, derisive rhetoric that will ultimately—and perhaps deservedly—swallow them whole. Which wouldn’t be so bad, save for the fact that in doing so they’ll most likely take with them the American middle class as we know it, the party’s rich legacy of benevolent innovation, the credibility of Congress and, well, you get the point.
But the truth is that it doesn’t really matter how many people say these things, especially if they come from outside the close-knit conservative cabal. In a party stricken with an intransigent ideology, the destructive pursuit of self-interest at any cost and the gravelly shrieks of Michele Bachmann, the opinions voiced from a major opposing party are not only irrelevant, they are fundamentally wrong and worthy of scorn. And as with a terrible hangover, sometimes the best cure is to seek aid from just that which made the floor spin to begin with. In other words, if the Republican Party is to be saved, they can do so only themselves and via leaders bold enough (or cowardly enough, pending your political persuasion) to call them out on the party’s dangerous ideological addiction.
Realizing the dark, fringe-filled future that awaits the increasingly prickly and polarized political party, some of the GOP’s remaining mainstream members have tried their hand at intervention. One of the first was Florida governor Jeb Bush, whose conservatism is as endemic to his person as his y-chromosome. In a June meeting with Bloomberg reporters, Bush was quick to criticize the hyper-partisanship of today’s GOP. Said Bush, even “Ronald Reagan would have…a hard time if you define the Republican party…as having an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement, doesn’t allow for finding some common ground.”
While the governor also deemed Barack Obama’s “highly partisan” 2008 presidential campaign a key aggravator for what he believes to be a temporary, ultraconservative malaise, he also cited his father’s one-term presidency as a prelude to what some have come to recognize as the “Party of No“. And though H.W. struggled through several political hurdles that threatened his 1992 re-election, Jeb speculated that it was his dad’s bi-partisan approach to a balanced budget (one that involved tax increases, contemporary conservative cardinal sin number 1) that lost him much needed Republican support and ultimately sank his 8-year-long presidential ambitions.
Fast-forward a handful of weeks and enter the courtroom for another dissenting voice. This time, the conservative darling doling out the antidote is Judge Richard Posner, a Reagan-appointed federal judge. Like Jeb, Posner lionizes conservative figures like Milton Friedman and Ronald Reagan, but given the past decade of the party’s “goofy” caricatures (which he supplements with GOP leaders’ hyperbolic responses to Chief Justice John Roberts’ recent ruling on Obamacare), Posner has “become less conservative.” Which, he suggests, is a natural response to ten years of deteriorating conservative thought.
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