Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dead extremists walking?

There could be a pattern emerging in politics –  a “dead extremists walking” pattern.  Apparently, when a man has been condemned in prison, he is referred to as a “dead man walking” because his future death is certain even though he is still walking around.  Perhaps much the same is happening to right wing extremists in the Republican Party now.  They continue their extremist politics but don’t realize that their time is over.  

An example may well be in South Carolina where Lindsay Graham, Republican Senator, went on the Senate floor to take issue with some things Rand Paul said during his filibuster of the CIA nominee on the grounds that he needed assurances that no president could use a drone to kill an American in America without oversight.  Perhaps that wasn’t an unreasonable position for Paul to take, but also apparently, the right wing movement extremists came forward with an explosion of support for Paul on hashtag: #StandWithRand. 

The same fervid conservative base also apparently went after Graham on hashtag: #PrimaryGraham, where they castigated Graham for not being in lock step with the extremist base, but spoke darkly of a primary overthrow of Graham be supporting Lee Bright, who apparently is one of them. 

The extremist Republican base, and perhaps Rand Paul as well, seem to live in perpetual terror that the government is about to become a totalitarian police state.  Many seem to think that day has already come in the form of the the Obama administration - I suppose they expect jack-booted thugs to pound on their doors in the dead of night demanding that they sign up for Obamacare health insurance, or allowing gay people to move into their spare bedrooms.

I guess the extremist base of the Republicans haven’t noticed that their movement has failed to capture the imagination of the country.  They are pretty successful at defeating more moderate conservatives in primary election, and also very good at losing general elections to Democrats. 

Maybe that is how the Republican Party is going to commit suicide – death by primary voters who will only nominate unelectable extremists like themselves.  There are many examples, Indiana being one of the most recent in the 2012 election, when long time center right Republican Senator Richard Lugar lost to an extremist primary victor,  Richard Mourdock , who went on to lose to the Democrat,  Joe Donnelly, by about six points , in the general election. 

That is the telling snapshot of politics today when looking at the future of the Republican Party, I believe. 

Or, perhaps, center right politicians can stage a comeback and marginalize the extremists and take the party back from them and their rigidity.  That is what I hope, at any rate. I believe the fate of the Republican Party stands in the balance.  And the country needs to have two strong and viable parties to keep from becoming a one party state, which leads inevitably to ideological blindness and personal corruption.