Sunday, October 27, 2013
Thursday, October 17, 2013
You can use many words to describe the Tea Party, but pragmatic is not one of them. As long as they are able to have such disproportionate influence over the Republican Party, the Party will never be able to connect with the "vast, pragmatic middle. This is tragic for our democracy, because two vibrant, healthy political parties is essential for our system to work. We need a healthy Republican Party with the capacity for pragmatic action, and the only way that will happen is by attacking the Tea Party virus that has weakened its body and placed it on life support.
Pragmatism has a long history in this nation and is consistent with what is called “the American character.” Our Founders were pragmatists. The center is in fact “The Pragmatist Party.” The implications of this are very important to understand.
It is time to recognize the power of pragmatism in American politics, and the crucial role it plays in “picking winners and losers.” I would argue that we have always been a pragmatic nation, and that this will not change. The Pragmatist Party will forever rule the day; the thought of a coalition between Republicans and Pragmatists is laughable, as long as Democrats recognize this and don’t start believing that the nation is becoming more liberal. I wonder if they are that smart.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
As I've declared time and again, the center in American politics is neither Republican or Democratic, regardless of their expressed allegiance to one party or the other. Those declarations merely place them on the left or right side of the continuum, but still tethered to the center. These pragmatists DO NOT become more or less conservative or liberal based on the policies of either party. Rather, the parties will move from the left or the right towards the center. In this vein, it is the Party that starts its "journey" already near the center is more likely to emerge victorious. Currently, that would be the Democratic Party. The "policy making," agenda setting wing of the Republican Party is so far to the right that it simply cannot make sufficient concessions, even if it actually wanted to, that would have any appeal to the pragmatic center. For the Republican Party to survive this upheaval, it is absolutely necessary for members in the center to recapture the role of "policy makers," meaning that they have to reassert themselves in the public eye and be able to be the agenda setters of the Republican Party. This will allow them to engage in the type of "priming"- through the cable and network news- that is necessary to isolate the Tea Party and drive them towards irrelevance.
The salient issue in all of this is that for the conservative yet pragmatic Republicans to accomplish this job they must engage in an all out, overwhelming assault on the far right of their Party. This internecine battle will split the Party but will restore the long term health of Republicans at the national level. Personally, as a former Republican that fled the party in 2008, this battle would force the Tea Party to see that the only way to stay viable would be to create its own political party. Such a move would lead to my return, and no doubt the return of countless other moderate Republicans who have been waiting for the center to "grow some balls" and put the Tea Party in its place. Let's hope that this is that moment. PLEASE