Intro: Today's Republicans often refer to Ronald Reagan as their great mentor. The Republican word made flesh, so to speak. Reagan, while campaigning, would say, provocatively, that government, itself, is America's problem, and not part of any solution. Today's Republicans, no longer capable of differentiating between rhetoric and reason, have become Reagan literalists.
Reagan, though rhetorically separating himself from those tax and spending Democrats, worked with both sides to create a big compromise on Social Security. Reagan worked with both sides signing into law a Convention against torture. Reagan signed dozens of pieces of "government" legislation into law, much of it bipartisan in nature.
Point being.....political rhetoric is one thing, reality another.
Continuing my comments on Obama's Thursday meeting with House Republicans....
Obama, brilliantly, described the political situation today's elected Republicans find themselves in...
"So all I'm saying is we've got to close the gap a little bit between the rhetoric and the reality.
.....the way these issues are being presented by the Republicans is that this is some wild-eyed plot to impose huge government in every aspect of our lives, what happens is you guys then don't have a lot of room to negotiate with me.
I mean, the fact of the matter is is that many of you, if you voted with the administration on something, are politically vulnerable in your own base, in your own party. You've given yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion because what you've been telling your constituents is, "This guy's doing all kinds of crazy stuff that's going to destroy America."
Not sure if Republicans did....but I really appreciated Obama's candidness. This is an example of what I called Obama's "honesty" the other day. On the flip side....Obama's honesty exposes Republican dishonesty, disingenuousness in what has been their approach to fulfilling their roles as the people's representatives while a Democrat is president.
In the age of Rovian politics, which began in earnest in the 90's, Republican rhetoric no longer became a means to an end. The rhetoric became the end in itself.
Fast forward to 2009 and we find Republicans relying exclusively on slash-and-burn rhetoric as the solution to all political problems. Republican celebrity talk-show "water carriers" set the tone, "we want Obama to fail", and the Palin's, Bachmann's, Virginia Fox's, and Joe Wilson's on the right proceeded to inflame even harsher rhetoric by the emerging TeaPartiers and Town-Hallers.
Fox "news" became a clearing house for every piece of outrageous rhetoric imaginable...."socialist", "Hitler", "communist", "America's enemy", "not one of us", etc. Many elected Republicans worked to persuade voters that their rhetoric was not rhetoric at all, but instead the facts, the truth.
Now the TeaPartiers, majoring on the rhetoric and dismissing reality altogether in a very un-Reagan-like manner, have taken over the Republican Party and are now threatening a nationwide effort to remove any Republican who is even thinking about working with this Democratic president.
Compromise, like communism was to Reagan, has become the new enemy of 21st century Republicans.
The conservatives who still solemnly kneel before Father Ronnie, yet ignore all examples of the bipartisan Reagan, are not Footsoldiers in Reagan's Army at all.....but instead, members of Karl's Krazies.....fully, and only, embracing the wildest, craziest, and harshest political rhetoric imaginable....without the slightest evidence of being reasonable.
The "Us" is now never even considered, contrary to how Reagan governed. It's 24/7 "Us v Them." Today's boxed-in Republicans, a direct result of focusing exclusively on Rove style rhetoric, the crazier, the better,.....now face a GOP primary challenge if they even hint at being reasonable.
Example: Fla. Governor Charlie Crist. Crist is facing a TeaParty challenger in Fla.'s primary election to the U.S Senate this fall because Charlie made the "mistake" of appearing on stage with President Obama.
That's what happens when Rovian politics, (divisive rhetoric only), instead of Reagan's reasonableness, is the end instead of the means of all Republican politics.
While seeking to dialogue with House Republicans last Thursday, President Obama painted an accurate picture of the situation Republicans find themselves in. House Republicans mouth the words that they want to 'work with this president,' but by their reliance all of last year on the wildest, craziest rhetoric imaginable, they have created a base of Fox-viewing, Palin-loving, voters who will remove them in a GOP primary if they even think about doing so.
Finally, what would a Reverend post be without, at least, a bit of snark?
Republicans have self-Cheney-ized. What do I mean? Republicans have either placed themselves, or been placed, into an "enhanced interrogation" GOP political-rhetoric coffin-box. Conservative media-screechers, weekly, drive nails into the coffin lid. The coffin is tight, there's no room to move, and TeaParty-types keep telling those elected Republicans inside that they will put the scary insect of primary removal inside the coffin if they even think of co-operating with the Democratic "enemy."
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