I unintentionally stumbled on a bit of a pattern today. First I wrote about some insights from a former Republican Congressional staffer. Next came a post about the historical perspective of someone who calls themselves a “movement conservative refugee.” And finally, there was the unexpected optimism coming from a conservative writer at the National Review. Do you see what I did there?
So I figured…let’s do one more. This week Robert Reich posted a fascinating conversation on Facebook that he had with a former Republican member of Congress. Reich asked him what he thought of the current crop of Republican candidates for president.
Him: “They’re all nuts.”
Me: “Seriously. What do you really think of them?”
Him: “I just told you. They’re bonkers. Bizarre. They’re like a Star Wars bar room.”
Me: “How did it happen? How did your party manage to come up with this collection?”
Him: “We didn’t. They came up with themselves. There’s no party any more. It’s chaos. Anybody can just decide they want to be the Republican nominee, and make a run for it. Carson? Trump? They’re in the lead, and they’re both out of their f*cking minds.”
Me: “That’s not reassuring.”
Him: “It’s a disaster. I’m telling you, if either of them is elected, this country is going to hell. The rest of them aren’t much better. I mean, Carly Fiorina? Really? Rubio? Please. Ted Cruz? Oh my god. And the people we thought had it sewn up, who are halfway sane — Bush and Christie — they’re sounding almost as batty as the rest.”
Me: “Who’s to blame for this mess?”
Him: “Roger Ailes, David and Charles Koch, Rupert Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh. I could go on. They’ve poisoned the American mind and destroyed the Republican Party.
Wow! One has to wonder how many more there are out there like this guy. Too bad he doesn’t have the courage to say all that publicly. But that probably wouldn’t make much difference anyway.
The last part about who is to blame for this mess reminds me of something extremely prescient written by another conservative back in 2010. On the heels of the passage of Obamacare, David Frum wrote that it would likely be the Republican’s Waterloo. And here’s who he blamed for that:
I’ve been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes it mobilizes supporters – but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead. The real leaders are on TV and radio, and they have very different imperatives from people in government. Talk radio thrives on confrontation and recrimination…If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.
It just goes to show, there are times when a conservative can be right. Too bad for them that it happens mostly when they are predicting their own Party’s doom.