Today, in The Boston Globe former editor Renée Loth talks about "Washington: Polarized and paralyzed". Ms Loth starts out by talking about Senator Evan Bayh, who says he will not be running for re-election this year. She then goes on to talk about poor Senator Arlen Specter, who was intimidated by those terrible primary voters into changing parties.♠
Last year Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who is liberal on some social issues, switched parties rather than submit to continued browbeating from Republican leaders - or from primary voters, who tend to skew more to the political extremes.But, a little further down it is all blamed on the Republicans.
No doubt the Republicans lit the fire, with their lock-step opposition to anything President Obama might propose and their venomous, personal attacks amplified by new-media proselytizers. Republicans are being driven further to the edge by the crazy-quilt of activists rallying to the Tea Party movement, who see any sign of compromise as a betrayal or even treason.♥Could we get a grip for a moment? Here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts we have 21 Republicans out of a total of 200 members of the Legislature, or about 10%. I hope we are not going to start blaming the Republicans when Governor Deval Patrick and the Democrats in the Legislature fall out.
In the same way, why are we blaming the Republicans because the Democrats in the US Congress, where they had the needed votes—60 in the US Senate and a solid majority in the Lower House—failed to get things done?
Is Ms Loth willing to stipulate that the problem for the Democratic Party agenda was Democrats? Is she willing to stipulate that if they could have found common ground amongst themselves the Republicans would not have mattered?
If not it would be useful to the Republic, and to Progressives, if she just went off into retirement. Or, she could spend a couple of columns recalling how Democrats on Capitol Hill used to tread Republicans as non-persons when those Republicans were busy being bipartisan.
Regards — Cliff
♠ Heaven forbid that the primary voters—the registered voters of the Republican Party—might want to run a candidate under their endorsement who is more socially conservative than Mr Specter. What rights do THEY have? Maybe we should repeal the Seventeenth Amendment and go back to letting State Legislatures select the US Senators.
♥ In the interest of full disclosure, not only am I a member of the "new media", but I am also a member of the Great Lowell Tea Party. (Membership in the GLTP is relatively easy—show up at meetings and throw a couple of bucks in the coffee tin.)