Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Bruce Bartlett: Why I Am Anti-Republican.

Bruce Bartlett is often asked why he is no longer a Republican, and the answer he gives is exactly what I thought would happen to real conservatives within that movement during the last election.

I think the party got seriously on the wrong track during the George W. Bush years, as I explained in my Impostor book. In my opinion, it no longer bears any resemblance to the party of Ronald Reagan. I still consider myself to be a Reaganite. But I don’t see any others anywhere in the GOP these days, which is why I consider myself to be an independent. Mindless partisanship has replaced principled conservatism.


I think the Republican Party is in the same boat the Democrats were in in the early eighties — dominated by extremists unable to see how badly their party was alienating moderates and independents. The party’s adults formed the Democratic Leadership Council to push the party back to the center and it was very successful. But there is no group like that for Republicans. That has left lunatics like Glenn Beck as the party’s
de facto leaders. As long as that remains the case, I want nothing to do with the GOP.

I will know that the party is on the path to recovery when someone in a position of influence reaches out to former Republicans like me. We are the most likely group among independents to vote Republican. But I see no effort to do so. All I see is pandering to the party’s crazies like the birthers . In the short run that may be enough to pick up a few congressional seats next year, but I see no way a Republican can retake the White House for the foreseeable future.
In the eighties, every time Labour lost an election to Thatcher or Major, lunatics like myself would argue that the reason we had lost was that we were not left wing enough. It was an act of utter lunacy, to presume that the country had embraced an ideology as right wing as Thatcherism because the alternative was not leftist enough for their tastes.

I was much younger then, or at least that is my excuse.

But I see a similar thing taking place amongst American Republicans, where the people currently representing them as actually as mad as March hares. They embrace the birther movement; they accuse Obama of trying to "indoctrinate" school children; they claim - as Beck does almost daily - that Obama is a Socialist, a Marxist, a Fascist, in way which insinuates that, either Beck has no idea what any of these ideologies actually are, or that he imagines them all to be interchangeable.

In any event, he simply succeeds in making himself look incredibly stupid, as if he is talking about things which he clearly doesn't understand.

And he, as much as Limbaugh, O'Reilly and Steele are the public face of today's Republican party. As long as that is the case, then these people will remain simply unelectable.

Click title for Bartlett's article.

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