Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grand Old Party of Extremism (GOPE)

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I found this headline at the L.A. Times amusing:

Some fear GOP is being carried to the extreme

Some? The only three cited sources are Bush speechwriter David Frum, McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb, and Republican "strategist" Jon Henke. These three "fear." But for how many do they speak?

Being carried? Isn't it there already?

And how about the subtitle?

The Republican establishment hopes cooler heads will prevail over strongly anti-Obama parts of the conservative base.

What's the "Republican establishment"? And who are these "cooler heads"? Isn't it the "establishment," including much of the right-wing commentariat, that is egging on the mob? Doesn't the conservative base take its marching orders, at least to a great extent, from conservatives in the establishment?

This is not to say that there aren't rifts in the GOP. There are, and some of them are fairly deep.

But it is rather misleading, I think, to suggest, as this article does, that somehow the "establishment" finds itself in conflict with the "base." Rather, I would argue, the base has become the establishment, with the establishment in Washington and throughout much of the country very much in line with the base. Yes, the political establishment occasionally has different priorities than the right-wing commentariat and may occasionally be more realistic, but Beck, O'Reilly, and Limbaugh, and their ilk, are just as establishmentarian, just as much the party mainstream, if formally outside the party, as the elected party leaders. Surely Beck is more Republican than, say, Susan Collins or Charles Grassley, even more so than John McCain or Richard Lugar.

I understand that some Republicans, like Frum, want to take their party back from the extremists. But I wonder, do they understand, fully understand, that their party has become inseparable from the extremism?

Do they know that the GOP has become the GOPE?

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  • It is a symbiotic relationship: the GOP is using the extremists and the extremists are using the GOP. But the Republican Party "leaders" are deluded if they think they can control these mobs they are courting. It's dangerous business.

    By Blogger 1-Observer, at 1:07 PM  

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