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The most important national political story .....by that I mean the one story about which every American should be informed....is the one main media rarely addresses.
Last year, two non-partisan veteran scholars respected by both sides of the aisle, Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann, put out a book entitled, It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism.....
In it, they argue that congressional gridlock is mostly the fault of right wing radicals within the Republican Party who engage in “policy hostage-taking” to extend their political war against the president.
What’s more, Ornstein and Mann say, the mainstream media and media fact-checkers add to the problem by indulging in “false equivalency” — pretending both parties are equally to blame.
Ornstein and Mann are not Tea Party or Move-On activists. Former CBS anchor, Dan Rather, said this about the two respected scholars...."In their four decades watch-dogging D.C. politics, they've been critical to both sides of the political aisle, yet they have never been accused of being unfair."
The uncommon extremism found in today's Republican Party, and the party's elected officials in Congress, is the biggest untold story in America today. It is untold because to tell it is to appear biased, partisan. But in fact, the truth is just the opposite.....to not tell the story of modern GOP extremism....is to act in a biased, partisan manner.
This topic came up yesterday on Fox News Sunday hosted by Chris Wallace. Wallace's guest was 89 year old Republican Bob Dole, former GOP presidential candidate in 1996. Wallace pointed out that in the 1969-1970 Congress, Dole's first two years as a senator, there were only 7 cloture votes (filibusters) filed in the Senate. Yet in the 2011-2012 Congress, there were 115 such cloture votes filed in the Senate.....a 16-fold increase.
In short: It only takes 51 votes in the Senate to pass normal, non-treaty legislation. But it takes 60 votes in the Senate to break a filibuster......a cloture vote.....to advance to an eventual final vote by the Senate which is decided by simple 50+1 majority-rule. The Senate of Bob Dole raised the obstructionist closure vote very rarely.....as the filibuster was intended. But today's GOP Senators have become addicted to the filibuster.....relying on it weekly to stop all things Obama.
Wallace: Is the filibuster rule being abused by Republicans?
Dole: No doubt about it. There's some cases where you might be able to justify it, but not many.
Wallace: What do you think of your party, the Republicans, today?
Dole: I think they ought to put a sign on the national committee doors that says "closed for repairs" until New year's Day next year.....and spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas.
Wallace: You describe the GOP of your generation as Eisenhower Republicans, moderate Republicans. Could people like you, even Ronald Reagan — could you make it in today’s Republican Party.
Dole: I doubt it. Reagan couldn’t have made it. Certainly Nixon couldn’t have made it, cause he had ideas. We might have made it, but I doubt it.
A former Republican presidential candidate explains that even the most revered GOP president in modern American history, Ronald Reagan, couldn't make it in today's radicalized and extreme GOP. That's quite an assertion. But the veteran public servant is simply stating clearly what corporate media refuses to state clearly for fear of appearing biased......today's Republican Party has become so self-radicalized, so extreme....that even the greatest Republican in the 20th century couldn't have "made it" in the early-21st century version of the GOP.
Another former GOP presidential primary candidate, Mike Huckabee.....not to be confused with a liberal....said exactly the same thing in May of 2011 that Bob Dole said yesterday........
HUCKABEE: Ronald Reagan would have a very difficult, if not impossible, time being nominated in this atmosphere of the Republican Party.
HEMMER: How come?
HUCKABEE: Because he raises taxes as governor, he made deals with Democrats, he compromised on things in order to move the ball down the field. As president, he gave amnesty to 7 million illegal immigrants. There were many things that would have been anathema.
Some will argue that political differences are political differences and GOP extremism.....record filibusters, obstructionism, an unwillingness to compromise, even a shutdown of government and defaulting on our national debt.....is what is called for when a socialist, big government president like Obama is threatening.....liberty.
However, Obama is more centrist-conservative than two previous Democratic presidents, Carter and Clinton, whose presidencies the GOP loyal opposition did not lose their shite over by attempting to obstruct all things Democratic.
Until potential voters are thoroughly informed about why today's Congress, today's federal government, barely functions.....those same potential voters will not be able to make an informed decision on who to vote for in order to solve the problem of dysfunctional government.
At least Bob Dole made an attempt.