Monday, February 08, 2016

GOP - The Great Divide

IMHO:  Republican Conservatives are frightened people, and their fears are being stoked by rhetoric.  Example; the 'Make America Great Again' slogan.  Just when did America become NOT great?  America IS great, has never stopped being great, except in the minds of the fearful.

Please, Republican Conservatives go back to hiding under your bed and leave the rest of us true Americans alone.

"Fight over core principles exposes deep GOP divides" by Dan Morris, PBS NewsHour 2/1/2016

David Frum's “The Great Republican Revolt” in The Atlantic has garnered lots of attention inside and outside the party.  Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and longtime voice for moderation in the GOP, examines how the party got to the point where outsiders Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are the leading candidates for the party’s presidential nomination.  Frum also looks at the impact of the Tea Party and the Freedom Caucus on Congress where, despite achieving a majority in both Houses in 2014, Republicans have failed to end the gridlock of the past seven years.

Frum says Republicans were shocked when Mitt Romney lost to President Obama in 2012.  “The Republican elite had collectively done an analysis of what they believed had gone wrong in 2012.  The only thing the party had done wrong was it had not been open enough on immigration.  Fix that, and everything would fall into place,” Frum told Judy Woodruff.

So the “Gang of Eight” senators, including Republicans Marco Rubio and John McCain, put together an immigration reform bill that passed the Senate but quickly died in the House.  It turned out that a significant number of Main Street Republicans and conservative talk radio hosts actually opposed immigration reform.  “In 2015, that plan ran into the collective mass rejection of the rank and file of the Republican Party,” Frum said.  And this presented an opportunity for Donald Trump.  “The great marketer came along and said, ‘I see a niche.  I see a niche.  It’s the bigger niche.  And I can have it all to myself.’”

Frum says the Republican establishment similarly misread the power of the Tea Party, and subsequently the Freedom Caucus, which led to the government shutdown of 2013, the stunning primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014 and in 2015 the effective ouster of Speaker John Boehner.  Cantor ascribes his and the Speaker’s defeat to an anger in the base, unheeded by the leadership.  “There'd be layoffs, and wage-earners in their 40s and 50s who say, ‘Hey wait a minute, what happened to my job,’ and then didn’t have the skills to go find another job.  Members of Congress going home and seeing that.  And saying, ‘Hey something's broken,’” Cantor said.  “And then that compounds itself, which leads some people to say, ‘Hey wait a minute, we gotta throw it all out and go to the extreme, because we are in that bad of a situation.”

Former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, now president of the Heritage Foundation, is known as the “Godfather of the Tea Party.”  He’s just fine with the departure of Cantor and Boehner.  “John Boehner, we used to be friends, but then we worked together in the House — he saw conservatives and this idea of limited government as more of an obstacle and a frustration.  And he punished conservatives who really tried to push for some fairly simple things.  What John Boehner found is he couldn’t crush the conservatives, but he made it painful for them.”

Frum believes the Republican Party must now preach respect for the work and institutions of government.  “The government has to be made to work.  The government is, I think all Republicans agree, too expensive.  But that doesn’t mean that we’d be better off without one, or that you want to destroy the traditional agreements and understandings that make the American government work.”

NOTE: 'The Godfather' was a Mafia crime lord, that ran protection rackets that used intimidation to rob and influence people.

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