The Grand Old Party

Sometimes it really is difficult to see a difference between the two parties, like when you're searching for sunlight between members of Congress and corporate lobbyists.

And sometimes, as Paul Krugman notes, it's not difficult at all:
What has been really striking [about the Republicans' response to the passage of healthcare legislation] has been the eliminationist rhetoric of the G.O.P., coming not from some radical fringe but from the party's leaders. John Boehner, the House minority leader, declared that the passage of health reform was "Armageddon." The Republican National Committee put out a fund-raising appeal that included a picture of Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, surrounded by flames, while the committee's chairman declared that it was time to put Ms. Pelosi on "the firing line." And Sarah Palin put out a map literally putting Democratic lawmakers in the cross hairs of a rifle sight.

All of this goes far beyond politics as usual. Democrats had a lot of harsh things to say about former President George W. Bush — but you'll search in vain for anything comparably menacing, anything that even hinted at an appeal to violence, from members of Congress, let alone senior party officials.

No, to find anything like what we're seeing now you have to go back to the last time a Democrat was president. ... President Clinton, declared Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina, "better watch out if he comes down here. He'd better have a bodyguard." (Helms later expressed regrets over the remark — but only after a media firestorm.)

...[The GOP is] a party that fundamentally doesn't accept anyone else's right to govern.

In the short run, Republican extremism may be good for Democrats, to the extent that it prompts a voter backlash. But in the long run, it's a very bad thing for America. We need to have two reasonable, rational parties in this country. And right now we don't.
And it is, of course, not merely Republican Party members. After three decades of fear-mongering, scapegoating, and wedge issue politicking, they've conjured a voting base that is, at its core, a seething conglomeration of intolerant bullies whose stubborn refusal to evolve ideologically is matched in astonishing obduracy only by their unjustifiable hatred. And for three decades, the Republican Party deliberately, cynically, and unapologetically fanned the flames of that hatred, which served as the fuel for the base's single-minded crusade to protect their privilege and thus the rationale for voting Republican.

This dangerous game doesn't have anywhere to go from here that isn't terrifying. To paraphrase one of the classics, the only winning move is to stop playing.

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