Monday, April 5, 2010

Republicans of Yesterday Considered "Liberals" by GOP of Today

There is a lesson in here for us progressives and liberals. We should take note.

Justice John Paul Stevens announced he is going to retire during Obama's term - most likely within then next couple of months - and already Republican leaders are vowing to fight against anyone the President nominates who is not deemed conservative enough. The GOP may even hypocritically filibuster Obama's nominee, despite their long-held position that nominees deserve an "up or down vote."

The problem for Obama lies in the fact that today's Republicans are far more conservative and ideological than those of the past. Justice John Paul Stevens considers himself a Republican, and he was appointed by a Republican president. So how is is that he is widely considered "the leader of the liberal wing" of the Supreme Court?

The answer is simple: he is apolitical (as all Justices should be), and since his appointment the court has become highly politicized. In today's Republican party, and its lurch to the hard-right, objectivity is not enough. For the rabid members of today's Republican party, if you are not outwardly ideological; if you are not overtly politicizing everything to the benefit of the fringe right, you might as well be a liberal. Therefore, in his objectivity and his attempt to stay out of politics, Justice Stevens is deemed a "liberal" in the eyes of his Republican brethren.

This toxicity is bad for America. The GOP is moving so far to the right, that people once considered centrist republicans are called liberals. In fact, for today's Republican Party the rule is simple: if you are not for them in every way, you must be against them. A party cannot govern with this kind of ideological purity - this litmus test - And thus, we have the Tea Party fielding candidates against their own party if they are not deemed "pure" enough. They will fragment the GOP in their desire for extreme purity.

I doubt the Republicans - or the Tea Party for that matter - can win enough voters to turn the tide in their favor. They have painted themselves into an ideological corner. But if they do gain seats in Congress despite their extreme views, it will be bad for America. We are a nation of diverse views and beliefs. We cannot be governed with an ideological iron fist.

So get out an make sure your neighbors and friends are voting in 2010! We have so much work left to do, and the election of our new President was only the beginning. We need to support him and support our party, because we are the party of inclusion, not exclusivity; we are a big ideas, big tent party and we will not let the toxicity of ideological purity paint us into a corner.

This is what our President believes in. He is a moderate Democrat. I know my colleagues feel he is not liberal enough, but remember he never promised to be. We all knew from the beginning he was much more of a centrist - and if you didn't realize that I'm sorry but you must not have been paying attention.

I am as liberal as they get, but I will not hold progress hostage to my own sense of ideological purity. Look at the Republican party of today as an example of where that kind of certainty and purity leads.

Thank you for reading,
D. Tree

1 comment:

bondwooley said...

And let's get out there and rid the Senate of the filibuster - an unfair ritual whichever side uses it.

To understand how dangerous it is, imagine if we could get away with filibustering in daily life.

Short satire video gives you a glimpse:

Video Link