... the episode illustrated an essential truth about the state of American politics: at this point, the guiding principle of one of our nation’s two great political parties is spite pure and simple. If Republicans think something might be good for the president, they’re against it — whether or not it’s good for America.
I think he's hit the nail on the head. We've seen example after example of this, perhaps without naming it as such. In reading his description it seems to fit the current political situation perfectly. The biggest, and perhaps the most important example is the health care debate.
How did one of our great political parties become so ruthless, so willing to embrace scorched-earth tactics even if so doing undermines the ability of any future administration to govern?
The key point is that ever since the Reagan years, the Republican Party has been dominated by radicals — ideologues and/or apparatchiks who, at a fundamental level, do not accept anyone else’s right to govern.
For example, Krugman points out, during the Clinton years, Rush Limbaugh suggested that Hillary Clinton was a party to murder, Newt Gingrich shut down the federal government in an attempt to bully Bill Clinton into accepting Medicare cuts and the Republican-driven obsession with President Clinton's indiscretions and lies captivated the entire world.
The only difference now is that the G.O.P. is in a weaker position, having lost control of Congress. Furthermore, the public no longer buys conservative ideology the way it used to; "the old attacks on Big Government and paeans to the magic of the marketplace have lost their resonance. Yet conservatives retain their belief that they, and only they, should govern."
The result has been a cynical, ends-justify-the-means approach. Hastening the day when the rightful governing party returns to power is all that matters, so the G.O.P. will seize any club at hand with which to beat the current administration.It’s an ugly picture. But it’s the truth. And it’s a truth anyone trying to find solutions to America’s real problems has to understand.
What's your opinion? Does Paul Krugman make sense? Has the entire Republican Party fallen into the trap of vilifying their opposition even at a terrible cost to themselves? Does this remind you of the gun debate?
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