13 September, 2009

No Way to Treat a President

-- by Eugene Robinson [click on the title for the full article]

"[T]he right-wing Republicans in Congress, especially those in the House, are all too sincere. And that's the problem.

Last November's election so wounded the GOP that the nation is now suffering collateral damage. The Republicans who were punished at the polls for the failures of the Bush years were those in the most evenly contested districts, which meant they tended to be relatively moderate. Those who represent solidly Republican districts were safe, and their greatest fear isn't being defeated by a Democrat next fall but being challenged by a primary opponent who's even more of a right-wing yahoo.

There are quite a few Democratic pragmatists in Congress -- which is why health-care reform is being worked over so thoroughly by the Blue Dogs. In the Republican ranks, especially in the House, pragmatists are few and ideologues are legion. Many of them probably believe the nonsense they spout about creeping socialism and an urgent threat to America As We Know It. But it's still nonsense. The ideologues' sincerity just makes this toxic, rejectionist rhetoric more dangerous."
I hadn't put together the dynamics of the far-right move of Congress -- particularly the House of Representatives. Robinson clarified that for me and I owe him a debt of gratitude for the realization.

And, of course, he's right on the other matter, too -- the rhetoric is, indeed, dangerous. It can lead to actions by other sincere people. That is what frightens me so much and that is why, every time I see Obama in public, I fervently hope he is wearing a bullet-proof vest.


Holte Ender said...

Good article by Robinson. I have read in a few articles the past few days, where writers compared republican behavior to that of the British House of Commons. True Prime Ministers Questions are a little boisterous and rowdy, but as Robinson points out, Gordon Brown is not the head of state, just a mere politician. But even in the hostile environment of the House of Commons, nobody calls anyone a liar, unless that person wishes to take an enforced vacation from politics.
The office of the presidency is a little more regal, for want a better word, and respect and civility has always be given to all presidents regardless of their popularity. The outright arrogance shown by Wilson, sadly reflects what has been going on all summer long.

two crows said...

hi Holte and welcome to Scattershot.
like you, I've been reading articles about the Republicans' recent behavior. Mostly, though, the articles I've read have compared them to nursery school students.

PoliShifter said...

If a Democrat had yelled "You Lie!" to Bush during one of his speeches before Congress I doubt that Democrat would have remained in office much less alive.

two crows said...

hey Poli--
ain't it the truth?
people who fall all over themselves excusing Wilson would have wanted blood if the tables had been turned.