“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"Thinking Republican" Has Become An Oxymoron

I have written before about how regrettable it is that we have such a divided politics in this country. It would be nice if we could have discussions about which of several reasonable ideas is most likely to produce a desired outcome. This would make our politics more worthy of a civilized nation, and more likely to result in some generally positive course of action, even if at the same time our political structure became rather less clear cut.

For better or worse, we do not have that luxury. The national Republican Party is dominated by people whose election depends upon building and maintaining convenient fictions for the consumption of voters who do not recognize the fictional nature of their preferences. Until these fictions can be completely blown up, and those who hold them relegated to the fringes of politics, we have no choice but to make common cause with everyone who will fight them. The Democratic Party, while certainly not perfect, is at least dominated by those with a willingness to be guided by fact and reason. That is why our politics remain very polarized, and explains the outcome of a new evaluation of members of Congress, based upon their voting patterns. In it, those Democrats rated least progressive outdistance the most progressive Republicans by considerable margins. While such analyses are necessarily imperfect, because they involve someone's estimation of the meaning and weight to give to individual votes that are, at least superficially, much more complicated, they do provide some insight. Specifically, as I have suggested previously, our objective must be not to quarrel too much among ourselves until we have induced a major change in the construction of the Republican Party. Until that party either disappears as a major force or restructures itself as a party willing to succumb to evidence and reasoning, they will be an unacceptable alternative that cannot be given any breathing room. In other words, if there is an opportunity to replace a generally less progressive Democrat with a more progressive one, then fine. But when the choice is between a Ben Nelson or a Mary Landrieu and a generic Republican, we are indeed well served to support the Democrat whole-heartedly.