Thomas B. Edsall Gives Voice to Rare Breed: GOP Defectors




For years now, we’ve watched the Republican Party degrade from a once viable conservative response to liberal philosophy, into an apocalyptic crazy town where thinking and humanity go to die. I do not of course describe members of the dwindling class of genuine libertarians and old school conservatives who still believe the country should function if one side doesn’t get its way. But sadly there are fewer and fewer people like former Senator Bob Dole, who famously said last year of his party, “Reagan couldn’t have made it. Certainly Nixon couldn’t have made it, cause he had ideas. We might have made it, but I doubt it.”

More often we see the independent leaders of GOP past, such as Arizona Senator John McCain, completely selling out to the Tea Party, Palinizing us with ill-informed decisions. Contrast this tyrannical groupthink with Bob Dole, or former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who voted for President Obama and spoke out strongly against the strain of exclusiveness running through the right, on a January 2013 episode of Meet the Press. He said, “There’s also a dark — a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party. What do I mean by that? I mean by that that they still sort of look down on minorities…The birther, the whole birther movement. Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the party?”

A dearth of this kind of logical intramural evaluation is killing the party, morally, creatively and demographically. And though it will be gratifying to witness the eventual demise of this era’s autocratic Republican chokehold on the democratic process (or lack thereof), the journey is certainly no fun at all. And it’s hard not to wonder at times why more intelligent conservatives (I swear kids, there was a time when this wasn’t an oxymoron) don’t raise their voices and pens against the death march.

Moreover, why does mainstream reporting allow the GOP’s Jedi mindtrickey to go unchecked (“The deficit is our biggest threat.” “Poor people bring poverty on themselves.”)?

Every once in a while there’s a beacon of hope outside of the Comedy Central studios. And this week, the light comes courtesy of New York Times contributor and journalism legend, Thomas B. Edsall. Edsall addresses the deficiencies in both media accountability and dissenting Republican voice in a piece this week, entitled “The Republican Case Against Republican Economics.” In it, he writes:

“[T]he conservative coalition, already facing demographic challenges from the rise of minority voters, is likely to lose core white support if it maintains its dominant anti-government ideology.

Once fissures have appeared in the conservative belief system, it will become increasingly difficult to maintain hegemony – or, to mix metaphors, you cannot unscramble a scrambled egg.”

By way of proof, Edsall offers a litany of testimony from radical lefties such as James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute, as well as three former speechwriters for President George W. Bush: Michael Gerson, Peter J. Wehner and David Frum. To Gerson and Wehner, he attributes the following description of modern Republican economic policy: “rhetorical zeal and indiscipline in which virtually every reference to government is negative, disparaging, and denigrating. It is justified by an apocalyptic narrative of American life: We are fast approaching a point of no return at which we stand to lose our basic liberties and our national character.”

The voices of GOP reason are out there and they’re not mincing words. When will those like them, who might also be palatable in a general election, decide to join the chorus? If and when they do, will it be too late for the party, and more importantly, our nation’s prospects of recovering middle class solvency?

16 Replies to “Thomas B. Edsall Gives Voice to Rare Breed: GOP Defectors”

  1. The only way the old-style Eisenhower Republicans are going to have a run at it is if they dissolve out from under this rotting elephant, form their own centrist party, and identify themselves to the electorate. Our system does not support more than two major parties at a time, but older ones have been replaced by newer ones–most notably, a century and a half ago, the Whigs by the Republicans, who were then the progressive party.

  2. The biggest threat to our democracy will be the reaction to right wing extremist fringe in 2016 when they lose another presidential election, Obamacare will be seen as a great success by everyone in the country that is rational, and all their lie generated “scandals” were exposed as BS, like all their insane conspiracy theories alway are. All those angry under-educated folks with 50 million guns thinking another election was “stolen” from them.

  3. I don’t think even the dinosaurs went quietly into the night. If the moderates don’t break off from that tea party mentality they are going to go down in flames. They are like little children that are anti anything just to be anti anything. If they don’t change. oh well.

  4. There’s a lot of people leaving the republican party and most of these people shouldn’t of voted that way because they weren’t 1%ers.

  5. Let it die. Let it be slow and painful death so whatever so called moderate republicans are left, they can ask themselves was it worth it? Was taking away rights, liberty and the destruction of our economy worth it.

  6. Will they reach the right people? They have to. When intelligent republicans see whats going on and talk about it, the people have to know

    Good subject matter Becky

  7. Conservatism is somewhat loosely defined as maintaining the status quo, rejecting progress and Neoliberalism, which is the Conservatives’ ultra-liberal views on the accumulation of wealth and power.
    I’ve written this many times before and will again here: Progressives and Moderates of the GOP make up two-thirds of the voters but nearly none of the politicians. Both major parties have moved to the right, so much so that Democrats truly represent the GOP Progressives and Moderates now.
    If the GOP Progressives and Moderates truly want to get their party back from the Fascist and corrupt Conservative, Tea Party and Libertarian wings of the party, they must vote, in large numbers, for Democrats this year and in 2016. Doing so would force the Libertarians back into their own party and force the Cons and Tea Partiers to break off and start their own parties. So long as the Cons, Tea Partiers and Libertarians rule the GOP, there’ll be big problems in politics.

  8. A very excellent thoughtful article. Thank you.

    I truly hope, and pray that each individual will honestly do some soul searching. We all together, can heal our beautiful Country. Peace

  9. Mainstream reporting is repub owned and repub corporate board run. Notice how there are almost no AM progressive talk radio stations? Same thing. Rich repubs own the corporations that own the radio stations and they want RWNJ shows 24/7. All part of the repub plan to control it all.

  10. Yep, DownriverDem, and he who holds the bullhorn, gets heard.

    Millionaires and billionaires in this country have quietly bought up the nation’s “bullhorn”, and under the guise of a viable 4th Estate, have broadcast their pro-corporation and anti-Democratic Party propaganda since Reagan.

    Yet, still, thanks to minorities, it’s clear that the nation as a whole is not Republican. After all, where we can vote as a nation, we got a Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

  11. I grew up in a family of Republicans. My grandfather worked with inner city blacks, and poverty initiatives, they had no opinion on abortion, thought that was not their business. Now they would be considered RINOS. Our family were personal friends with Richard Lugar. We used to skate on Lugar farm, which was down the road from us. Richard Lugar was thought to be too liberal and defeated by Tea Party nut job Richard Mourdock in the 2012 primaries only to open up his yap that if a roped woman gets raped it’s “gods will” even for the people of Indiana, that was going too far.

    I lamented the defeat of Richard Lugar. He was an across the aisle GOP, willing to work for bipartisan social justice issues.

    If the GOP wants to reject Richard Lugar for the likes of Ted Cruz, then they deserve to die an ignoble death as a party.

  12. I don’t see them changing. They’re conservatives. They’re afraid of everything, but most especially they’re afraid of new ideas, and without new ideas they’re history.

    Remember all the soul-searching that went on at their retreat following their 2012 election debacle? The upshot of all that was that they needed to improve their image and rebrand themselves as giving a damn about the Americans they so thoroughly despise. They were all for improving their messengers, but gave not a single thought to improving the actual message and the agenda that drives it. That’s conservatives in a nutshell: all show and no go.

  13. Exactly! They continue to fall for the “no new taxes” BS that encourages over-pricing, capital and JOBS exporting and wealth-shifting to wealth oligarchs.

  14. Time for all this selfishness to be gone. All Congress members MUST remember they are in D.C. to represent all Americans, and do what is best for our Country.

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