Sunday, January 20, 2013

War on the Republican Party

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I'm completely with John Dickerson on this:

Obama's only remaining option is to pulverize. Whether he succeeds in passing legislation or not, given his ambitions, his goal should be to delegitimize his opponents. Through a series of clarifying fights over controversial issues, he can force Republicans to either side with their coalition's most extreme elements or cause a rift in the party that will leave it, at least temporarily, in disarray...

In order for a president to be transformational, the old order has to fall as the orthodoxies that kept it in power exhaust themselves. Obama's gambit in 2009 was to build a new post-partisan consensus. That didn't work, but by exploiting the weaknesses of today's Republican Party, Obama has an opportunity to hasten the demise of the old order by increasing the political cost of having the GOP coalition defined by Second Amendment absolutists, climate science deniers, supporters of "self-deportation" and the pure no-tax wing.

*****

Out of fear for the long-term prospects of the GOP, some Republicans may be willing to partner with the president. That would actually mean progress on important issues facing the country, which would enhance Obama's legacy. If not, the president will stir up a fracas between those in the Republican Party who believe it must show evolution on issues like immigration, gun control, or climate change and those who accuse those people of betraying party principles...

This approach is not a path of gentle engagement. It requires confrontation and bright lines and tactics that are more aggressive than the president demonstrated in the first term. He can't turn into a snarling hack. The posture is probably one similar to his official second-term photograph: smiling, but with arms crossed.

The president already appears to be headed down this path. He has admitted he's not going to spend much time improving his schmoozing skills; he's going to get outside of Washington to ratchet up public pressure on Republicans. He is transforming his successful political operation into a governing operation. It will have his legacy and agenda in mind -- and it won't be affiliated with the Democratic National Committee, so it will be able to accept essentially unlimited donations. The president tried to use his political arm this way after the 2008 election, but he was constrained by re-election and his early promises of bipartisanship. No more. Those days are done.

Obama doesn't seem like the politically transformational type, even if he's been personally transformational, but he has been presented with an historic opportunity to transform American politics for the better -- and to make good, transformative policy in so doing. 

But it won't happen so long as his opposition remains united. For real change to happen, for America to move foward, the destruction of the Republican Party as it has come to be is required.

Now is the time to make that happen.

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2 Comments:

  • Wow, if I didn't know any better I'd say you are inferring that we emulate a communistic take-over of this country. It is a classic playbook to overthrowing an old order and installing a new authoritarian one.

    I do hope you realize that history does indeed repeat itself and that every 'utopian' dream has existed by forcing it on the backs of it's serfs.

    What you have failed to grasp is like every other totalitarian regime that the 'useful idiots' such as yourself, will be rounded up and exterminated once the nation is firmly secured in their possession.

    You don't believe me? Read history again. Apparently, once again, you've failed to understand basic human failings.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:03 PM  

  • So I guess the checks and balances that the founding fathers instilled in the Constitution and laws of this country mean absolutely nothing to you. There was a reason for them - lest the greatest civilization the world has ever known become a dictatorship, and a little study of history will show what dictatorships reap.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:31 PM  

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