Monday, August 15, 2011
The Republican Mad Dash to the Far Right
If you spent this weekend on a beach or at a barbecue, what you missed was the clearest set of signals we've had yet about the far-right, negative turn the Republican field is taking in this election.
This past weekend as Rick Perry entered the race, we watched Mitt Romney argue that "corporations are people" and Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul -- the two most extreme candidates in the field -- come out on top of the Iowa Straw poll. The Tea Party has all the momentum right now in the GOP primaries, and that's what knocked Tim Pawlenty out of this race. He quit on Sunday.
Disturbingly, the view in the media was that Pawlenty was too "nice" for the Republican voters and "didn't fit with an electorate who wanted confrontation with President Obama at all costs." In other words: You ain't seen nothing yet.
The actual Iowa caucuses are still a half year away, but as the field narrows it's become clear the next six months will feature a divisive cast of Republican candidates and produce a GOP nominee who's pledged allegiance to the Tea Party agenda -- an agenda whose first item is to destroy Democrats no matter the consequences for our country.
Governor Perry's entry adds a new personality into the mix, but not a single new policy.
Like every one of his opponents, from Mitt Romney to Rick Santorum, he's signed on to the Washington Republican plan that essentially ends Medicare, cuts K-12 education, and eliminates hundreds of thousands of jobs. He shares their view that big corporations, not seniors and middle class families, are the ones in need of some relief.
In a field without policy differences, we can be sure that the nomination will be decided by rhetoric -- and the prize will go to the candidate willing to launch the most vicious, negative attack on President Obama, the Democratic Party and basic American principles.