We Need a ‘Conservative’ Party - Thomas L. Friedman (NYTimes)

There has been lots of talk that Paul Ryan’s nomination ensures that we’ll now have a “real” debate about the role of government. That’s actually funny. The bar for this campaign is so low that we celebrate the fact that it might include a serious debate about one of the four great issues of the day, though even that is not clear yet. And even if Ryan’s entry does spark a meaningful debate about one of the great issues facing America — the nexus of debt, taxes and entitlements — there is little sign that we’ll seriously debate our other three major challenges: how to generate growth and upgrade the skills of every American in an age when the merger of globalization and the information technology revolution means every good job requires more education; how to meet our energy and climate challenges; and how to create an immigration policy that will treat those who are here illegally humanely, while opening America to the world’s most talented immigrants, whom we need to remain the world’s most innovative economy.

But what’s even more troubling is that we need more than debates. That’s all we’ve been having. We need deals on all four issues as soon as this election is over, and I just don’t see that happening unless “conservatives” retake the Republican Party from the “radicals” — that is, the Tea Party base. America today desperately needs a serious, thoughtful, credible 21st-century “conservative” opposition to President Obama, and we don’t have that, even though the voices are out there.

Imagine if the G.O.P.’s position on debt was set by Senator Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Republican who has challenged the no-tax lunacy of Grover Norquist and served on the Simpson-Bowles commission and voted for its final plan (unlike Ryan). That plan included both increased tax revenues and spending cuts as the only way to fix our long-term fiscal imbalances. Give me a Republican Party that says we have to put real tax revenues and spending cuts on the table to solve this problem, and you’ll get a deal with Obama, who has already offered both, although not at the scale we need. True conservatives know that both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush used both tax revenue and spending cuts to fix budget shortfalls. Ryan-led G.O.P. radicals say “no new taxes,” find all the savings through spending cuts. That’s never going to happen — and shouldn’t.

Read the rest here.


Friedman hits it out of the park on this one ... and that comment comes from a democrat.  As I've said before, while I don't agree with most republican principles, I would like at least to be able to RESPECT the man on the other side of the argument.  Frankly, I haven't been able to do that for a very long time, and the increasing radicalization of the GOP doesn't just have me concerned; it has me downright frightened.

The TEA Party and the Religious Reich have basically stolen the republican party, for all intents and purposes.  They're acting like the spoiled brat / bully who doesn't play well with others and MUST have his way, or here come the tantrums!  Politics is supposed to be the art of the possible, yet as things are, very little is possible with one party cranked so far to the right.

Moderate republicans need to show me some cojones and speak out.  I just wonder when that'll happen.

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I actually remember Ev Dirksen - he was good people.  I remember Simon and Simpson as well, and they knew how to be reasonable and actually be bothered to reach for - dare I say it - COMPROMISE! (Oooooo, "compromise!"  Dirty word!  Wash your mouth out with soap!).

These days the republican party appears to be using the old "if-I-don't-get-my-way-I'll-hold-my-breath-until-I-turn-blue!" strategy ... and since they have a majority in the House, they can get away with it.  And, of course, since cloture is the rule of law in the Senate, they get to be obstructionist there, too.

And while I wouldn't class Brian Williams or Scott Pelley as "screaming skulls," it'd be nice if they'd play hardball a bit more, not just with the likes of Romney or Cantor or McConnell, but EVERYONE involved.  That'd be refreshing, don't you think?

The problem goes even further.  Like Pat mentioned, even if they initially liked an idea, the fact that a black man agrees with them makes the idea unacceptable.

Yeah, I know.  Some time back, I suggested that very politically-incorrect notion in a comment somewhere on A|N.  Whether those in the GOP are actually conscious of this brand of bias or not, I don't know.  I just know it's there, whether they want to own up to it or not.

glad you posted this.  i read this yesterday and i thought it neatly summarized what's wrong with today's GOP.  also yesterday, on Hardball, Howard Fineman called the Republican Party officially "faith-based".  here's the transcript:

Chris, I'm not making a value judgment when I say this, but the Republican Party has become a faith based party. Starting with Ronald Reagan, there was a marriage between the Bible belt of the south, the fundamentalist Bible belt of the south.

Chris Matthews: Literal interpretation?

Howard Fineman: Literal interpretation. And Catholics elsewhere in the country who were becoming more conservative socially. They joined hands. And there are many good things that came from that, especially if you believe in the Republican Party and its success. But these people start from a fundamentally different point of view on questions such as abortion, on questions such as evolution, on questions such as climate change. They see, as John McCain belatedly said, "the hand of God in everything that happens." And they look to God first. They're legitimate concerns. For example, about genetic manipulation of the human species. Should we leave that to God, or do we as human beings take that on? There's a serious point underneath this. Okay, there is. But nobody in the modern Republican Party dares question the orthodoxy of a faith based Republican party at this point. That's what it is. It's a Bible-based Republican Party.

i don't think i've ever heard a mainstream, respected journalist make this specific accusation.  if i'm wrong please point it out. 

Problem is, this is only ONE example.  These days, it takes more than one person saying that the emperor has no clothes before people might begin to wake up to the fact that "the king is in his all-together" and nothing else.  It is figuratively the thousand-pound "elephant" in the political room, and until people are willing to be honest about it and talk about it, nothing will be DONE about it.

maybe it'll be the start of a trend.  it's obvious to Atheists, but maybe the rest of the public would be horrified by the knowledge that one of our 2 major political parties has become a defacto religious organization.  if people start catching on the repulsion would be intense. 

The only problem is that you got 46% of the population who think that god created man as he is today.  If these people were told that the GOP was, for all intents and purposes, a religious party, they would probably cheer.  Whether they'd become more active or assertive in their political stance, I don't know.

I just can't avoid the feeling that, if the republican party continues as it is, the US is in deep sneakers.

you'll get no argument from me.  if they continue, and if they win we will have serious problems.  we already do.  the House passes whatever extreme legislation has their focus for that day, and it's so extreme that the Senate shoots it down.  the Senate can't pass any legislation b/c it gets fillabustered.  so we have an entire legislative body that is incapable of passing legislation.  beautiful.  something has to give. 

We truly need a counter balancing intellectual conservative influence in the country. Particularly in fiscal and regulatory areas I am concerned with Democrats running wild with their ideology just as I worry about the 'social conservatives' running wild with theirs.

Exactly what ideology held by the Democrats are you concerned about (and not any fringe group because this article is speaking of the majority of the Republican party?)

"Exactly what ideology held by the Democrats are you concerned about"

A lot of it is general approach. Problem 1 is their obsession with (and defense of) deficit spending. Our national debt exceeds the GDP, and huge interest on both new and old debt (in addition to inflation, which is actually used by the government as a kind of hidden tax to pay down future interest). But that does not discourage new programs, bigger programs every damned year. Everything is 'urgently needed' and justifies more and more expenditures. A scaled down comparison to a family:

Annual income 24,700
annual spending 37900
NEW credit card debt: 13300
Existing CC balance: 153500
Recent belt tightening: 385

Unsustainable. Regulations too, are a problem literally thousands of them every single year. Every issue that comes up needs to be solved by new regulations (often costly) and more interventionist government programs with enforcement machinery, millions and millions expended in non productive activity. We don't need the government managing all of our activities. We desparat

Sadly they don't even seem to realize the totally screwed up mess they are making. You can't be pro jobs on one hand and anti job creators on the other. You can't cry about the loss of jobs at one hand and create tens of thousands of regulations that make it more expensive and less productive to hire people.

And that doesn't even get to the nanny-state crap.....

[Of course the current Repubs are majorly messed up as well. But a real, small government, pro freedom, balanced budget conservative government would be a very refreshing thing. And enough of old school 'isolationism' so that we are not obligated to maintain the worlds largest military (the US spends more on military then the entire rest of the world) with footprints, and thus enemies, all over the planet]

I'm a goldwater republican myself, and frankly, Im probably going to cheer for Barry.


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