We said it here first but now David Brooks at the NYTimes is confirming what has become ever more obvious – the wheels are coming off the Republican Party. And this is not just the fact that all of the GOP Presidential candidates trail President Obama in the polls. David attributes the phenomenon to the Possum Republicans – mainstream Republicans that refuse to rein in the Republicans extremes. Here is the essence of David’s arguments:
But where have these party leaders been over the past five years, when all the forces that distort the G.O.P. were metastasizing? Where were they during the rise of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck? Where were they when Arizona passed its beyond-the-fringe immigration law? Where were they in the summer of 2011 when the House Republicans rejected even the possibility of budget compromise? They were lying low, hoping the unpleasantness would pass.
The wingers call their Republican opponents RINOs, or Republican In Name Only. But that’s an insult to the rhino, which is a tough, noble beast. If RINOs were like rhinos, they’d stand up to those who seek to destroy them. Actually, what the country needs is some real Rhino Republicans. But the professional Republicans never do that. They’re not rhinos. They’re Opossum Republicans. They tremble for a few seconds then slip into an involuntary coma every time they’re challenged aggressively from the right.
Without real opposition, the wingers go from strength to strength. Under their influence, we’ve had a primary campaign that isn’t really an argument about issues. It’s a series of heresy trials in which each of the candidates accuse the others of tribal impurity. Two kinds of candidates emerge from this process: first, those who are forceful but outside the mainstream; second, those who started out mainstream but look weak and unprincipled because they have spent so much time genuflecting before those who despise them.
Neither is likely to win in the fall. Before the G.O.P. meshugana campaign, independents were leaning toward the G.O.P. But, in the latest Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll, Obama leads Mitt Romney among independents by 49 percent to 27 percent.
Leaders of a party are supposed to educate the party, to police against its worst indulgences, to guard against insular information loops. They’re supposed to define a creed and establish boundaries. Republican leaders haven’t done that.
But I encourage readers to peruse the entire article themselves because there are some missing pieces. One is the GOP acceding to the Starve the Beast Campaign spearheaded by Grover Norquist and others which had Republicans deliberately overspend in the White House and Congress thus creating the deficits which now plague the country. In contrast, the Democratic Pay As You go budgeting style has been rejected repeatedly by the GOP. Finally, now that the Deficit is huge and increasingly unmanageable, Mr.Norquist wants to be the man who sets the priorities on how to manage cutting the deficits that he created. To make matters worse, Mr. Norquist has gotten nearly 300 GOP Senators and Congressman to sign pledges to effectively cede to him such power. So now the question is what will happen in the Fall when the GOP needs to renew? This could get ugly because the Republican leadership that David speaks of is part of the GOP plutocracy problem.