Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It was better when Republicans were capable of semi-rational conversation

By Richard K. Barry 

To be honest, I'm deliberately taking a comment made by Republican pundit David Frum out of context. The following appears in a recent New York Magazine feature titled: "When Did the GOP Lose Touch with Reality." As part of his introductory comments, Frum says this:

This past summer, the GOP nearly forced America to the verge of default just to score a point in a budget debate. In the throes of the worst economic crisis since the Depression, Republican politicians demand massive budget cuts and shrug off the concerns of the unemployed. In the face of evidence of dwindling upward mobility and long-stagnating middle-class wages, my party’s economic ideas sometimes seem to have shrunk to just one: more tax cuts for the very highest earners.

But so as not misrepresent his true loyalties, he also says this:
I believe in free markets, low taxes, reasonable regulation, and limited government. I voted for John ­McCain in 2008, and I have strongly criticized the major policy decisions of the Obama administration.
Okay, I would disagree with David Frum about many, perhaps most, possibly all (if that's possible) of the political/economic ideas he has ever held. But whatever one thinks of his ideas, they are ideas. They can be discussed, debated and examined rationally.

I don't care that this means he has been tossed to the curb by his own party. That's his problem for not being a better judge of the company he used to keep.

The point of his article, whiny though it is, is that his party has gone crazy and that he would like to pull it back from the brink. Yeah, well, good luck with that.

But it is worth reading his article to remind ourselves that there used to be a time, not that long ago, when people of differing political views could talk about things in good faith, and maybe occasionally work out a compromise. It's been a while, but that used to be possible.

Look, I'm not a naive little puppy. It's not like things have ever been easy when debating a side that thinks Social Darwinism is a blueprint for society. But, once upon a time, things used to be better, and this piece by Frum reminds us of that.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)


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