I’m a big fan of UP, formerly with Chris Hayes and now Steve Kornacki. Given that it starts at 6:00 a.m. here in New Mexico, that tells ya just how much.
They usually have an interesting and varied panel of folks who dissect whatever interesting topics of the day seem appropriate.
Well, live and learn as they say. I came, I saw, I learned. And now I am no longer ashamed of disliking Republicans pretty much to a person.
You see, the Contrarian likes to think of himself as somewhat more centrist than me.
Mostly he’s just as liberal as I am, but it makes him feel better to think he’s not.
Me? I’m almost off the page. I’m an anarchist with the foresight to know that politics belongs to those who realize that you gotta give up something to get something. So I am willing to swallow a bit of bitter for the sweet. I recognize that the only people who get exactly all of what they want are dictators and they usually don’t last too long. Facts is facts.
Any the how. One of the things said Contrarian likes to dig me with, is shit like “if George W. Bush discovered a cure for cancer, you would find something wrong with it” and other bitter ilk of that sort, all designed to make me look unreasonable in general and downright wrong in any given specific instance in which he decides for the fun of it to argue with me. Basically he claims that “you don’t like any of ’em”, ’em being Republicans.
So I always argued that such was not the case, and cited an instance or two, of people who were not downright by birth pathological liars, cheats, and shills for big business, and had just maybe one bone in their wretched bodies that hummed like a tuning fork when hit as to the poor and you know, the brothers and sisters out there barely gettin’ by. Am I my brother’s keeper keeps echoing in my head, though it seems to have not had the same effect upon most Christianist Republicans I have known.
I defended that position to every challenge.
I saw this graph on UP. I can’t find the graph on UP today, but I recall it generally. Congress is made up of 535 seats all told. Back in the 60’s or so, on a liberal/conservative continuum, 355 members were overlapping between the two parties. That means that while there were some Democrats all alone on the far left and some Republicans alone on the far right, there was a vast middle where they scored about evenly.
Given that for some 40 years, the Democrats had owned both Houses of Congress, it became incumbent on the part of Republicans to cooperate and find common ground on some things if they wished to participate in governing. There were a lot of Northern liberal Republicans and lots of Southern conservative Democrats, but there were enough in the middle that compromises were worked out and legislation passed. No faction was large enough to overcome the vast middle.
Then 1994 happened, and Newt Gingrich orchestrated a majority win for the GOP. This happened for a variety of reasons not the least of which was the loss of the South to Democrats following the Civil Rights acts of the 1960’s. Democrats in the South left the party in droves, or certainly were prepared to vote Republican if only given a good reason. Newt gave them that reason in his Contract with America, touching on sensitive issues of “welfare” and budget deficits.
He also started something new and unique in Congress, the 4-day work week. Members were encouraged (especially in the House) to return to their districts each weekend and spend time with constituents. This gave the average voter the illusion at least that his congress person cared about his or her opinion. The downside to all this was that the sense of collegiality that had been the grease in the machine of Congress was now gone. Weekend parties, and various other gatherings for dinner and drinks were no more. Members didn’t get to know one another as they formerly did. Many Republican wives or husbands stayed in the home district, missing the other opportunity for camaraderie.
With Gingrich and Tom Delay, more emphasis was placed on sticking with the team no matter what. Voting as a cohesive unit was prized to control a larger agenda that was dreamed up in the offices of the Speaker and his upper echelon elites.
It all went down hill from there.
Denny Hastert gave us the Hastert rule: thou shall not bring to the floor any bill that does not have the majority blessing of your own party–it is irrelevant if enough members of one’s own party plus enough members of the other party would ensure victory.
Today we reap the results of a Congress that is entirely partisan. Today that same graph indicates that of 535 members only 11 overlap. Yes you read that right. Only ELEVEN senate or house members from the two parties are rated at the same point on the liberal/conservative spectrum. All the rest, 524 lie to the left (Democrat) or to the right (Republican). There are essentially no moderate Republicans to embrace. There are no fiscally conservative, socially liberal GOP members. They have been purged or threatened so fiercely that they deny the emperor has no clothes.
There is simply no Republican left for me to “like”.
And so I don’t.
So sue me.
That’s the way I see it. If you don’t well, there is a comment box.