Counterpoint: Conservative Brother
Ah, Lincoln and Reagan; where have those days gone? Before responding to your arguments, I would contend that both Lincoln Logs and Reagan movies have stood the test of time; the Logs have been around since 1916 and don’t appear to be going anywhere, and who would pass up the chance to watch “Santa Fe Trail” with Reagan and Errol Flynn? Good times!
You are correct that the Republican Party is in trouble, and I will agree that part of the problem is some of the people you’ve identified above. I can’t say that I have much use for Rush or Hannity myself, since they have been taken up as the voice of the right-wing of the party and are responsible for trying to drive more moderate Republicans (such as the aforementioned General Powell) out of the “big tent.” Those that criticize Beck apparently don’t take the time to actually listen to him; he’s just as critical of Republicans as he is of Democrats, in some instances even more so.
I also won’t roll my eyes and say “Of course she’d pick these folks,” particularly since the Democrats have their own crazy public faces – Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews, to name two. If you want to talk about two folks who are almost as much in love with the President as they are with themselves, these are your guys. If I were a Democrat, they would not be the ones I’d want speaking for me – and to paraphrase you, their lunacy gives mainstream media and the liberal side of politics their own nice shiny veneer of insanity. But when was there a paradigm shift in this country when talk show hosts and political commentators were given preeminence in the parties? As you alluded, parties used to be defined by the personalities and players – the Reagans and Carters, the Johnsons and Nixons, the Kennedys and Eisenhowers, the Rayburns and Goldwaters. A party – regardless of whether it is Republican or Democrat – is more than commentators and talking heads; it is the elected officials and party operatives, the local organization presidents and delegates, and the man and woman on the street.
It’s a big leap to say that Liberals in office look good right now, particularly since they’re about to jam a cap-and-trade bill and health care reform package down our throats, neither of which we can afford and both of which will hit you, me, and everyone we know in the wallet (more accurately, it will give us a swift kick in the ass and then continue to beat us while we’re down). You’ve got to love a party that says, “We’re in charge; we want this done; we don’t care what it takes; we don’t care who we steamroll or bankrupt in the process.” This to me is one of two things I can see happening with Republicans: Americans will get so tired of the current majority throwing our grandchildren’s money around without considering the circumstances, who they hurt, or how much it costs that the will get voted out within the next few election cycles. After all, look at 1964, 1976, and 1992; in each of those years, devastating defeats (LBJ”s landslide over Goldwater, Carter’s defeat of Ford, and Clinton’s roll over Bush 41) led folks to determine the GOP was dead. Well, folks were wrong.
The other thing I can see happening is the development of a third party and both the Democrats and Republicans becoming more marginalized. Recent polls show that more people – more moderates, particularly – are ditching their party affiliation and identifying themselves as Independents. If the right-wing of the Republican Party continues to try and drive moderates away, and if conservative Democrats continue to be turned off as a result of their leadership’s reckless spending (something of which both parties have been guilty, so I’m certainly not pointing fingers here), there’s the very real possibility of a new party rolling across the horizon and changing the political landscape for quite some time to come.
Democrats in Washington functional? Hardly. But until Republicans figure out what in the world they’re doing and develop some sort of unity – unity of message and unity of membership – Democrats are about the best we’re going to get.
God help us. (Sorry; for the benefit of the ACLU or anyone else who may be reading this, I suppose I should say “Higher being/unidentified deity/generic all-encompassing undefined non-religious being help us.”)