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Joe McQuade

It's Way Past Time To Blow Up The Grand Old Party

35 posts in this topic

The NYT's Brooks doesn't go far enough, but he's getting warm...

January 29, as seen in the Houston Chronicle.

A Second G.O.P.

By DAVID BROOKS

On the surface, Republicans are already doing a good job of beginning to change their party. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana gave a speech to the Republican National Committee calling on Republicans to stop being the stupid party, to stop insulting the intelligence of the American people.

Representative Paul Ryan gave a fine speech to the National Review Institute calling for prudence instead of spasmodic protest. The new senator for Texas, Ted Cruz, gave a speech to the same gathering saying the Republicans should be focusing on the least fortunate 47 percent of Americans.

But, so far, there have been more calls for change than actual evidence of change. In his speech, for example, Jindal spanked his party for its stale clichés but then repeated the same Republican themes that have earned his party its 33 percent approval ratings: Government bad. Entrepreneurs good.

In this reinvention process, Republicans seem to have spent no time talking to people who didn’t already vote for them.

Change is hard because people don’t only think on the surface level. Deep down people have mental maps of reality — embedded sets of assumptions, narratives and terms that organize thinking. Since Barry Goldwater, the central Republican narrative has been what you might call the Encroachment Story: the core problem of American life is that voracious government has been steadily encroaching upon individuals and local communities. The core American conflict, in this view, is between Big Government and Personal Freedom.

While losing the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, the flaws of this mentality have become apparent. First, if opposing government is your primary objective, it’s hard to have a positive governing program.

As Bill Kristol pointed out at the National Review event, the G.O.P. fiercely opposed the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law but never offered an alternative. The party opposed Obamacare but never offered a replacement. John Podhoretz of Commentary added that as soon as Republicans start talking about what kind of regulations and programs government should promote, they get accused by colleagues of being Big Government conservatives.

The next problem with this mentality is that it makes it hard for Republicans to analyze social and economic problems that don’t flow directly from big government. For example, we are now at the end of the era in which a rising tide lifts all boats. Republicans like Mitt Romney can talk about improving the overall business climate with lower taxes and lighter regulation, but regular voters sense that that won’t necessarily help them because wages no longer keep pace with productivity gains.

Americans are still skeptical of Washington. If you shove a big government program down their throats they will recoil. But many of their immediate problems flow from globalization, the turmoil of technological change and social decay, and they’re looking for a bit of help. Moreover, given all the antigovernment rhetoric, they will never trust these Republicans to reform cherished programs like Social Security and Medicare. You can’t be for entitlement reform and today’s G.O.P., because politically the two will never go together.

Can current Republicans change their underlying mentality to adapt to these realities? Intellectual history says no. People almost never change their underlying narratives or unconscious frameworks. Moreover, in the South and rural West, where most Republicans are from, the Encroachment Story has deep historic and psychological roots. Anti-Washington, anti-urban sentiment has characterized those cultures for decades.

It’s probably futile to try to change current Republicans. It’s smarter to build a new wing of the Republican Party, one that can compete in the Northeast, the mid-Atlantic states, in the upper Midwest and along the West Coast. It’s smarter to build a new division that is different the way the Westin is different than the Sheraton.

The second G.O.P. wouldn’t be based on the Encroachment Story. It would be based on the idea that America is being hit simultaneously by two crises, which you might call the Mancur Olson crisis and the Charles Murray crisis.

Olson argued that nations decline because their aging institutions get bloated and sclerotic and retard national dynamism. Murray argues that America is coming apart, dividing into two nations — one with high education levels, stable families and good opportunities and the other with low education levels, unstable families and bad opportunities.

The second G.O.P. would tackle both problems at once. It would be filled with people who recoiled at President Obama’s second Inaugural Address because of its excessive faith in centralized power, but who don’t share the absolute antigovernment story of the current G.O.P.

Would a coastal and Midwestern G.O.P. sit easily with the Southern and Western one? No, but majority parties are usually coalitions of the incompatible. This is really the only chance Republicans have. The question is: Who’s going to build a second G.O.P.?

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From the 2/11/13 edition of TIME:

Road to Nowhere

GOP hand-wringing has been fruitless. The changes need to be big and deep.

By Michael Grunwald

It's easy to see why Republicans are freaking out. The electorate is getting more diverse, less rural, more educated, less evangelical--in short, less demographically Republican. It's also getting less hostile to gays, gun control, even government--in short, less ideologically Republican.

So ever since President Obama gave them a second drubbing, despite a supposedly disqualifying unemployment rate, GOP elites have admitted that America isn't producing enough angry old white guys for them to win national elections, that they can't be the party of no or the Tea Party party or the stupid party. That's progress! The problem is figuring out what needs to change.

Predictably, some Republicans have concluded that what needs to change is the electorate. So they're pushing more of the voter-ID laws and other purported antifraud measures that they designed to suppress Democratic turnout in 2012. Some of them even want to gerrymander the Electoral College: in Virginia, GOP apparatchiks proposed replacing a winner-take-all system with rules that would have given Mitt Romney nine of the state's 13 electoral votes even though Obama got more actual votes.

But reality-based Republicans understand that banana-republic shenanigans won't restore their majority. Artful redistricting may have persuaded some politicians that they can choose their voters, but voters usually choose their politicians.

These days, the party line is that Republicans need to change their approach to politics--message, tone, technology, strategy. They shouldn't make repulsive comments about rape, question Obama's birth certificate, brag about their unwillingness to compromise or suggest that 47% of their fellow citizens are moochers. They should repair their relationship with data so they won't be flabbergasted when election night doesn't ratify the predictions of their pundits. They need to use Skype, improve minority outreach and stop behaving like crotchety reactionaries who ridicule the First Lady's efforts to promote healthy eating.

Again, this is progress. But while it may be comforting for Republicans to blame salesmanship rather than product, their salesmanship has been quite impressive. In the 2010 midterms, they successfully portrayed Obama's stewardship of a recovering economy as an epic disaster and his promotion of Romney-style health care reforms as unprecedented socialism. They've rebranded themselves as an antideficit party after creating huge deficits in the Bush era, even though they've continued to push deficit-exploding tax cuts. After four years of their fighting unemployment benefits, highway projects, Wall Street reforms, disaster relief, insurance protections, millionaire tax hikes and other popular policies, it's a tribute to their political skills that Republicans remain as competitive as they are.

No, Republicans need to change what they're selling. For one thing, they're selling buggy whips. Undeterred by the Iraq debacle, the meltdown of 2008 or the warming of the planet, they're still peddling rah-rah neoconservatism, deregulation and climate denialism. They're still carrying water for fossil-fuel industries, anti-gay activists and other interest groups on the wrong side of history while doubling down on the austerity measures that created double-dip recessions in Spain and Britain.

Republicans are also selling hypocrisy. They attack Obama for refusing to cut entitlements but also for cutting Medicare, because their elderly supporters like Medicare. They rarely propose their own spending cuts, except for PBS, NEA and other small-dollar liberal favorites; they often defend wasteful farm subsidies, because ag states tilt Republican. They warn that cutting military spending will kill jobs, the same Keynesian logic they mock when it comes to abstract government spending.

So far, the only policy that most Republicans seem interested in revising is their hostility toward immigration reform, partly in hope of revising Latino hostility toward them. But so far that's mostly another messaging effort. It's not clear how a GOP that has shed its centrists can offer a more modern product when its antigovernment base punishes any deviation from the buggy-whip line. And it's not clear how a GOP dominated by that base can offer a more honest product when even antigovernment Americans seem to enjoy the services government provides. Ultimately, it's hard to see what could deliver the change the party needs.

Except, perhaps, more drubbings.

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When Karl Rove says you're too far right, you might just be too far right....

From Huffington Post, 2/3/13

Conservative Victory Project, Karl Rove-Backed Anti-Tea Party Effort, Sets Stage For Intra-GOP Savagery

American Crossroads, a super PAC backed by GOP strategist Karl Rove, has launched a new effort to combat the recent trend of fringe Republican candidates who have won primaries with the help of outside groups, only to lose otherwise winnable elections.

Named the Conservative Victory Project, Steven J. Law, president of American Crossroads, told the New York Times bluntly over the weekend that the program was mounted in response to "broad concern" about unviable candidates who had ultimately "blown a significant number of races."

The project will effectively serve as a foil to the organizations that have helped produce failed Senate candidates like Missouri's Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock of Indiana, Sharron Angle, who lost a Nevada Senate election in 2010, and Christine O’Donnell, who similarly lost in Delaware in 2010.

Mother Jones summarized the campaign's goal as "No more Todd Akins. No more Richard Mourdocks. No more Republican primaries that produce divisive, gaffe-spewing GOP candidates." Akin and Mourdock torpedoed their own campaigns last year after making controversial comments about rape.

As Politico reports, the effort has quickly raised the hackles of groups that have supported efforts to mine the party's ranks for candidates further to the right than the GOP establishment might prefer.

“The Conservative Defeat Project is yet another example of the Republican establishment’s hostility toward its conservative base. Rather than listening to the grassroots and working to advance their principles, the establishment has chosen to declare war on the party’s most loyal supporters,” Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, said, mocking the new offshoot. “If they keep this up, the party will remain in the wilderness for decades to come.”

Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller responded by invoking past successes of conservative challengers.

“They are welcome to support the likes of Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist and David Dewhurst,” Keller said. “We will continue to proudly support the likes of Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.”

The unlimited money afforded to the Conservative Victory Project by its super PAC status will likely help fund brutal intra-party primary battles in the 2014 election cycle. As the Washington Post notes, however, cash often plays less into primaries because turnout in those contests is "decidedly low and dominated by the activist bases of each party -- people who tend to be somewhat immune to the TV ad wars."

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Bang for your buck:

HuffPo reporter Howard Fineman recently disclosed the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee plans to spend its own money helping Tea Party lunatics win Republican primaries in 2014, clearing the path for Democratic victories in red and purple states the following November.

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Salon's Alex Pareene offers evidence that the GOP's civil war will last awhile without any real winners and losers. Bad news for the GOP, the Dems and all of us.

The GOP "civil war" is going to make both sides rich (2/11/13)

If you haven’t been paying attention to rubbernecking reports on the most recent “GOP civil war,” because you’ve been paying attention to more important stories like the DoJ targeted killing white paper or the disastrous retooling of once-promising NBC sitcom “Up All Night,” here’s what you’ve missed: A couple well-funded conservative groups made a big deal about being mad at a new well-funded conservative group, giving all the groups involved a wonderful new sales pitch for their fundraising efforts.

Most stories are presenting the fight as a war for the soul of the Republican Party, with sell-out pragmatist Karl Rove and his “Conservative Victory Project” on one side and the purist conservative groups like The Club For Growth on the other.In a radio interview, a CVP spokesperson referred to venerable conservative huckster Brent Bozell as a “hater,” which led to a very overwrought open letter signed by two dozen huge conservative movement players, from Frank Gaffney to Ginni Thomas, demanding the spokesperson’s firing.

This isn’t actually an ideological battle. It’s mainly an argument about strategy. Karl Rove is savvier than most of the people he’s warring with. He’s in many respects the best friend the conservative movement could have, if they actually listened to him: Rove’s “pragmatism” means electing as many Republicans as possible, so that the conservative movement can implement its conservative agenda. Rove knows that moderate Republican elected officials give true conservatives power. Rove’s CVP is going to attempt to aid electable Republican Senate candidates in party primaries, to avoid Todd Akin situations. The Club For Growth exists to push already-elected Republicans to the right, by threatening to fund primaries against them. The groups don’t necessarily have to be at odds: The Club For Growth’s model has effectively kept the Senate in the hands of the Democrats. It’s also, in their defense, pushed the party, and Congress, closer to a purer conservatism.

Karl Rove is smarter and more accomplished than mote of the people who signed this letter, if we’re talking electoral politics. If we’re talking list-building and fundraising, though, you can’t do much better than these signatories, most of whom belong to think tanks or publications or “activist groups” of very questionable influence. These are people who’ve spent years perfecting a scheme in which conservative people send them money, for accomplishing next to nothing to advance conservatism.

The conservative movement is a massive and elaborate moneymaking venture. Numerous nonprofits exist almost solely to raise money, which they spend on their own salaries and, obviously, more fundraising. A conservative Civil War is great for business. Karl Rove throwing money at “electable” Republicans is a wonderful opportunity for people to raise money for groups that promise to elect crazies. More primary campaigns means more jobs for consultants. More third party groups fighting for the soul of the party means more desperate pitches to gullible millionaires and billionaires. Plus more crappy books sold in bulk to conservative book clubs!

Rove’s super PAC and dark money nonprofit spent more than $300 million losing the last election. He obviously intends to raise even more money over the next two cycles. And the more his ostensible competitors will raise, which is why they all sound suspiciously like cartoon Tex Avery wolves audibly salivating in their quotes for this Politico story:

[FreedomWorks] CEO Matt Kibbe welcomed the prospect of squaring off against the Conservative Victory Project, asserting, “The guys who fund groups like Rove’s want to re-establish that they’re in charge, but they just don’t understand the inevitable decentralization and democratization of politics.”

And Club for Growth President Chris Chocola added that Rove and Law have gotten CFG donors’ attention and “may energize the groups that they view as ‘the problem.’”

He said, “When you think about a Republican primary, and you think about a principled conservative versus a moderate Republican — well, our model wins more often.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said his group will focus on a few races — primarily in the Senate. He said it’s just as well that “the moderate Republicans who have been involved in these primaries behind the scenes [are] making it clear that they intend to engage in primaries and defeat conservatives.”

“Donate to us or Karl Rove will defeat true conservatives” is a great pitch. Maybe even better than “donate to us if you actually want Republicans to win elections.” While only an idiot would send any money to FreedomWorks, an organization that currently pays Dick Armey a six-figure salary to not work there, the last cycle showed how many well-heeled idiots are out there asking to be fleeced.

It was hilarious last week watching respectable right-wing commentators like Peggy Noonan and Rich Lowry slobber over the inane Super Bowl ad featuring the disembodied voice of the late Paul Harvey, a right-wing huckster par excellence. Harvery was a broadcasting legend not just for his longevity, but also — maybe primarily — because of the apparent sincerity with which he hawked completely useless crap to the Social Security-collecting set. Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, neither of whom have qualms about ripping off their audiences, are his spiritual heirs despite their narrower appeals.

The entire modern conservative movement these days seems like a successful experiment in getting rich people (and lots and lots of non-rich people, whose donations are less coveted but accepted nonetheless) to pay an ever-growing number of pundits, think tank “fellows” and “scholars,” failed campaign hacks and people like Ginni Thomas who seem to serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever. Like Paul Harvey, the super PACs and nonprofits know it doesn’t matter if your products — in this case, ideas and candidates and electoral strategies — are worthless, as long as you push the crap convincingly. Whether Rove succeeds or fails in helping the Republican Party, his campaign will be great for the movement.

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http://www.theameric...ased-community/I

don't have a lot of ego in this, but last week I thought I linked a Bruce Bartlett piece, and I can't see it. Of course I'm probably less computer literate than the soon to be retired Pope. I think Bartlett is correct at least in terms of the gop establishment becomming intellectually closed to the notion that Bush the Younger was following a big government policy domestically and violated the Reagan international commandment of so long as you do free trade and leave us be, we keep our noses out of your tent.

But, imo, he wanders a bit. Yes, he was punished for not being silent. But, what's pushed the party into the insane realm of sperm killing vaginas and retirees as "takers," was that very Soviet-esque purge. They are left with even nat'l review being a place where William F. Buckley would be very alone. Debate is not tolerated. Hagel will not be allowed to be right over the idoicy on invasion, and all that is allowed for public view is "Petreus won a great victory." It's a Potemkin Village world.

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http://www.theameric...ased-community/I

don't have a lot of ego in this, but last week I thought I linked a Bruce Bartlett piece, and I can't see it. Of course I'm probably less computer literate than the soon to be retired Pope. I think Bartlett is correct at least in terms of the gop establishment becomming intellectually closed to the notion that Bush the Younger was following a big government policy domestically and violated the Reagan international commandment of so long as you do free trade and leave us be, we keep our noses out of your tent.

But, imo, he wanders a bit. Yes, he was punished for not being silent. But, what's pushed the party into the insane realm of sperm killing vaginas and retirees as "takers," was that very Soviet-esque purge. They are left with even nat'l review being a place where William F. Buckley would be very alone. Debate is not tolerated. Hagel will not be allowed to be right over the idoicy on invasion, and all that is allowed for public view is "Petreus won a great victory." It's a Potemkin Village world.

I apologize. Last week I tried to respond to bendog's post and in so doing, somehow erased it. In 13 years, that's a first.

I'm glad he has restored the Bartlett link, though I recall he had another from Christo Buckley that also bit the dust through my stupidity.

I tried to inform bendog of the situation via e-mail, but his address has apparently changed.

Again, sorry.

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No problem. I thought I probably failed to post properly, and I probably deleted the email. Yeah, I put in a link to Chris Buckley saying he was voting for Obama ... and frankly I shared the sentiments, but just didn't vote for either. I voted, I just left that slot blank.

I didn't know whether to put this story about the challange to the two party system in this thread or the centrist principles of the Obama admin.

It doesn't mention that Anderson also ran a third party campaign in 80 (and I voted for him btw). It just discussed Perot in 92. However, I'm not sure what Perot was trying to accomplish. Bush the Elder RAISED taxes because of debt from the savings and loan debacle brought on by deregulation. Perot was griping about the deficit. I just didn't see how that was news, or really relevant since Bush the Elder was actually drawing down the military and the deficits. I didn't vote for Reagan cause any notion he was about restrained spending was Hollywood fantasy. Great Potus, don't get me wrong. But spending hawk? Not likely, Pilgrim.

For the past 40 or so years, there's been a strange duelism in the GOP. It's hard to be small government while at the same time globally confronting the Soviets militarily or playing some neocon version of the old board game Axis and Allies where you "capture gnp" or natural resources by invading smaller countries. Bush the Younger obviously put the country in the ditch. But the reason I linked the Bartlett piece was that he explicitly used the term "epistemic closure" to descibe the intellectual debate in today's gop, and that term set off a bit of a storm in conservative commentators. Bartlett didn't coin it, but he used it in context. It's googlable. But, ironically, those debating the term were not the Becks and Rushbos and Fox and Friends that the jibe was aimed at. It's the notion "anything that doesn't fit our preconceived narrative must be false." In Bartlett's case it was his ephiphany that Bush the Younger was a spendthrift and dangerous mis-adventurist rather than a conservative. It reminds me of the TV commercial for some prescription drug for something that helps with breathing difficulty, where some person is followed around by a giant elephant nobody else can see.

But that refusing to re-examine ideas is really the antithesis of Goldwater and Reagan. Goldwater and JFK planned a running series of debates for 1964. Reagan quasi debated RFK just months before RFK's assassination.

The closing comments by both RFK and Reagan are imo amazing in summarizing both men's philosophies. There's no way Reagan would be allowed today's gop, with his philosophy. RFK coudl fit nicely with the dems. Slick or Obama and probably Hillary could do something like this, but I don't see any goper close to comptent. And, one reason is that questions are simply not permissible in the gop. I think Grover Norquist recently fired Chamblis for asking a question.

So, the article might have a point that a third party candidate really could permantently rupture the gop. Obama might have a similar, but lesser, problem with drones and his response to terror ... but a maj of Americans don't seem as concerned with Obama's "robust" approach to potential terrorists, and a majority like me are pretty ticked at the gop's war on the middle class.

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From the Daily Beast, 2/23/13:

Deluded Republican Reformers: Conservative pundits’ ideas about fixin the gop are totally meaningless until they dealwith the problem of the party’s rage-driven fanaticism.

BY Michael Tomasky

Conservative pundits and intellectuals have spent the past week or two—ever since the publication in Commentary magazine of Peter Wehner and Michael Gerson’s “How to Save the Republican Party”—talking about, well, how to save the Republican Party. They have lots of ideas—some good, some not so good, most very sober-minded policy prescriptions. I wrote a short blog post about this on Thursday. But then I reflected: This topic needs a longer treatment. The party they purport to support and care about has been engaged in burning down the house of American politics for three or four years now, and they are saying nothing about it; and until they say something about it, everything else they say is close to meaningless.

As I’ve written many times, the conventional view of what’s wrong with the GOP gets at only a portion of the truth. When The New York Times or Politico does such a story, the story inevitably focuses on policy positions. Immigration. Same-sex marriage. Climate change. Tinker with these positions, several sages are quoted as saying, and the GOP will be back in the game.

God knows, policy positions are a problem. But they are not the problem. The problem is that the party is fanatical—a machine of rage, hate, and resentment. People are free to scoff and pretend it isn’t so, but I don’t think honest people can deny that we’ve never seen anything like this in the modern history of our country. There’s a symbiosis of malevolence between the extreme parts of the GOP base and Washington lawmakers, and it is destroying the Republican Party. That’s fine with me, although I am constantly mystified as to why it’s all right with the people I’m talking about. But it’s also destroying the country and our democratic institutions and processes, which is not fine with me.

The party can change all the positions it wants, but until people stand up and yell “Stop!” to this fanaticism, it won’t mean anything. In fact, the problems feed into each other, because the idea that today’s Republican Party can change its stripes on same-sex marriage or immigration is absurd, and it is absurd precisely because of the rage and fanaticism I’m talking about, much of which is directed at brown people and gay people. Such a party cannot change its stripes on these issues until the mindset and world view are changed.

Immigration, you say? I’ll believe it when I see it. In fact, I’ll make a prediction now: I bet the House is likely to break immigration reform into two pieces, enforcement and path-to-citizenship. Maybe more, but for now let’s say two. A big majority of Republicans will support the former. The latter will pass, if it does, with a small number of Republicans joining nearly all Democrats, and therefore only with John Boehner breaking the Hastert Rule once again. And the haters will go on hating.

And the following people will write nothing about it: David Brooks; Ross Douthat; the aforementioned Wehner and Gerson; Reihan Salam; Yuval Levin; Ramesh Ponnuru. Now I know most of these gentlemen, and I like them. But they’ve been participants to varying degrees in these recent conversations I’m talking about, and frankly, they are wasting their own and their readers’ time.

They’re like a family in deep denial at the Thanksgiving table. Guys, debating the best way to cook brussels sprouts is of marginal utility. Whether Cousin Ruthie wears her hair this way or that way is not worth dwelling on. The overwhelming fact at hand is that Uncle Ralph is drunk again, and he’s being a belligerent racist homophobic ass again, and he is preventing any civility and progress from taking place, and it’s been this way for four Thanksgivings in a row, and you are intentionally choosing to say nothing about it.

I do not understand how they can watch this and let it happen—to their party!—without saying anything. This past week, we have had four Republican senators—Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte, and Rand Paul—in essence demand that a cabinet nominee, Chuck Hagel, disprove rumors against him. It’s one thing for Breitbart bloggers to do that. But senators? Using tactics that are straightforward McCarthyism? If one of the above named or some other prominent conservative pundit criticized that quartet, then good for them. But I sure didn’t see it, and I think I would have.

Like me, I’m sure many of you were aghast at those people who cheered John McCain when he lectured the parent of the son who was killed in the Colorado shooting. There was blood lust in that cheer, just like the blood lust in the boos back in the presidential primary season of that gay soldier. Are any conservative thinkers writing that this kind of thing makes them sick and ashamed?

We all know the problem. It’s Rush Limbaugh and his imitators and Roger Ailes and his network. They drive this hatred daily, and they intentionally misinform and lie; you think it’s an accident that polls always find Fox viewers the least connected to empirical reality? Pushing this fury and constructing this alternate reality is great for business. But it’s horrible for America. And the “serious” conservative pundits by and large try to pretend it doesn’t exist, or it’s not that bad, or MSNBC does the same thing in reverse. Well, it does exist, it is that bad, and no, MSNBC does not do the same thing in reverse. MSNBC has an agenda, but it doesn’t craft its messages in such a way as to make it viewers hate half the country.

This is the poison in our politics. Nothing changes until it changes. Somebody has to initiate it, and the people I named are the only people who can. Of conservative thinkers—and I apologize to him in advance for naming him, because I’m sure praise from me in this context will make him wince—only David Frum has addressed this problem. His 2011 New York magazine essay “When Did the GOP Lose Touch With Reality?” said it well. He understands that this problem is one of the central facts of our current historical moment.

If that were my party or movement, I promise you I would criticize it (and I did, in a book in 1996, as Brooks and others know). I sure wouldn’t be wearing blinders and pretending that my side could solve its problems with the right kind of EITC expansion. I’d be glowering at Uncle Ralph as he poured himself another, getting surlier and surlier, and I’d be scheming to take the bottle away.

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It's official: Jeb Bush is running in 2016. Turning his back on principles he and his family have held for decades, Jeb now panders to the nativist haters of the GOP. He used to be one of the sensible ones in the party. Now he's just a hooowah.

By Liz Goodwin, Yahoo! News, 3/5/13

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said in a TV interview Monday that he no longer supports a path to citizenship in an immigration reform bill, a reversal that puts him to the right of the current bipartisan immigration proposal forming in the Senate.

"If we want to create an immigration policy that's going to work, we can't continue to make illegal immigration an easier path than legal immigration," Bush said on NBC's "Today" show. "I think it's important that there's a natural friction between our immigrant heritage and the rule of law. This is the right place, I think, to be in that sense."

Bush, a Republican, supported immigration reform even when many in his party shifted to a harder line stance in the 2012 primary. As recently as last August, he said in interviews that he thought most of the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants should be put on a gradual path to citizenship if they meet certain conditions.

But in the interview, Bush said that many of the immigrants who were legalized in the last immigration reform effort in 1986 did not apply for citizenship when they became eligible, suggesting it was not a key concern for them. "Half the people in '86 that could have gotten amnesty didn't apply. Many people don't want to be citizens of our country," he said. "They want to come here, they want to work hard, they want to provide for their families. Some of them want to come home; not necessarily all of them want to stay as citizens."

Immigrant rights leaders and many Democrats in Congress say any law that legalizes immigrants without giving them the option of earning their citizenship will create a second-class group of people in the country. Frank Sharry of the America's Voice advocacy group slammed Bush's "flip flop" on the issue in a statement Monday.

The bipartisan Gang of Eight in the Senate, which includes Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, includes a gradual path to citizenship in their proposal. In their plan, immigrants would not be able to get green cards—which lead to citizenship—until a panel of experts has declared the U.S.-Mexico border to be secure. Some prominent House Republicans have said they will not support a bill that includes citizenship, raising questions about whether the Senate proposal could pass there.

It's unclear whether Bush's change of heart on citizenship will have any effect on reform negotiations.

Bush's book "Immigration Wars," which includes his immigration reform proposal, comes out on Tuesday.

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