From The Washington Post -- April 7, 2010:
What's up with the GOP?
By Jonathan Capehart
Gov. Robert F. McDonnell's (R-Va.) sanitized celebration of Confederate History Month got me thinking about a sanitized version of a common question that I'd like to ask the Republican Party: what the frig?! By itself, McDonnell's seven-paragraph insult could be written off as the actions of a pandering politician currying favor with his local base. Unfortunately, it is one more piece of evidence that there's nothing grand about the Grand Old Party these days.
There's the lunatic fringe of the Tea Party movement. The legitimate concerns of Americans worried about skyrocketing deficits and the role and size of government have been hijacked by birthers, truthers and 10th Amendment types. Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) added that requisite anti-immigrant spice at the February confab in Nashville. And when a crowd of these folks stormed the Capitol last month, Republican members of Congress egged them on. I can understand GOP leaders wanting to ride this bucking bronco. Their passion and enthusiasm could lead them to electoral gold in November. But there are long-term consequences for pursuing this strategy.
"I do not recognize myself in the Republican Party anymore," lamented Chris Currey, who describes himself as a "worried, old, middle of the road Republican" on FrumForum. "We are the party of Abraham Lincoln, and yet we act and behave as if we are the party of Nathan Bedford Forrest." He concludes, "If nothing happens, we might win an election or even two, but in the long run we will lose America." And they'll deserve to if they keep this up. Still, ultimately, it will be America that loses. The republic is ill-served by a two-party system in which one of the parties is bereft of a positive alternative to the majority party and is enthralled by a shrinking and increasingly reactionary base.
By Jonathan Capehart | April 7, 2010; 4:42 PM ET