Given the larger context, Richard Cohen’s column today seems especially noteworthy. (thanks to reader G.B. for the tip)
Someone ought to study the Republican Party. I am not referring to yet another political scientist but to a mental health professional, preferably a specialist in the power of fixations, obsessions and the like. The GOP needs an intervention. It has become a cult. […]
The hallmark of a cult is to replace reason with feverish belief…. This intellectual rigidity has produced a GOP presidential field that’s a virtual political Jonestown. The Grand Old Party, so named when it really did evoke America, has so narrowed its base that it has become a political cult. It is a redoubt of certainty over reason and in itself significantly responsible for the government deficit that matters most: leadership.
Cohen’s case includes plenty of salient examples — he notes the GOP’s approach to taxes, social issues, economic growth, climate change, etc. — but it stands out as something of a bookend to David Brooks’ column. On the one hand, we have an ostensibly center-left columnist for the Washington Post who believes Republicans have abandoned reason altogether, and on the other, we have a center-right columnist for the New York Times who believes today’s GOP “has separated itself from normal governance” and may no longer be “fit to govern.”
To be sure, two prominent pundits do not a Village make. But Brooks and Cohen tend to help reflect, and at times even shape, what the political establishment is thinking.
In general, this political establishment is “wired” in Republicans’ favor. It’s GOP ideas that get attention; it’s GOP talking points that get internalized; it’s GOP voices that get aired.
But when it comes to the debt ceiling and debt-reduction talks, and the fact that Democrats are the only ones willing to compromise, I can’t help but wonder if the tide of elite opinion is starting to turn against Republicans.
If so, it’s pretty late in the game — Brooks and Cohen should have picked up on this months, if not years, ago — but here’s hoping the circumstances and radical tactics have left Villagers with no other choice.