WP Comments on the GOP’s Detachment From Reality, Hope for Middle East Peace, and the Value of ImmigrationWednesday, December 5th, 2012
Following are some more recent comments at the New York Times from Winning Progressive on the GOP’s lack of seriousness or connection to reality, holding onto hope for a peaceful settlement between Israelis and Palestinians, and the value to our economy and fiscal health of increasing immigration.
In The Conservative Future, David Brooks attempts to find hope for the conservative movement by identifying a handful of writers and bloggers who are purportedly engaged in a “vibrant and increasingly influential center-right conversation.” Winning Progressive thinks that, while it would be great if there were meaningful policy discussions occurring on the right, Mr. Brooks is holding onto false hope:
It is all well and good that there are apparently some folks on the right that are thinking about policy issues in serious ways. While I am sure I strongly disagree with the people you identify on most everything, it would be great if serious thinkers held greater sway in today’s GOP, as it is critical to the future of our democracy that we return to having two parties, rather than just the Democrats, focused on how best to improve our society, help people, and confront the serious issues we face.
Unfortunately, the thought that today’s GOP is going to “evolve quickly” is little more than sheer fantasy. And the reason is that today’s GOP has been overrun by a combination of religious extremists, self-interested billionaires, and people who are so trapped in the right-wing echo chamber of Fox “News” and its ilk that they have lost most all connection to reality. Those facts are not going to change quickly.
A great example is Lindsey Graham, who occasionally has shown flashes of reasonableness. His reward is that conservatives are targeting him in 2014. And so now Graham is grandstanding on the Benghazi nonsense. Or take Sen. Rubio who, with an eye towards 2016, has no idea how old the world is.
It will take a lot more than some writers, bloggers, and deep thinkers to bring today’s GOP back to reality.
In his column Grand Old Planet, Paul Krugman recounted how out of touch with reality today’s GOP has become. Winning Progressive echoed those sentiments and argued that this recent election results were a victory for reality over fantasy:
Perhaps what made me most pleased about the recent election results is that they were a victory for reality over fantasy.
We can debate until the cows come home the various policy issues facing our nation, and no single election is likely to significantly change the outlines of those debates. But this past election presented a more urgent question – whether we were going to reward a party whose platform and strategies are so detached from reality.
Mr. Krugman has well laid out a number of those fantasies in this column. But there are plenty more, including birtherism, the lies that ObamaCare is a “government takeover of health care” and includes “death panels,” the claim that ending Medicare’s universal guarantee and replacing it with vouchers is somehow not ending Medicare as we know it, the fantasy that we can give nearly $5 trillion in tax cuts to the wealthy and still balance the budget without raising taxes on the middle class, the claim that rape cannot lead to pregnancy, and the assertion that Solyndra and Benghazi involved major conspiracies and coverups by the Obama Administration.
The fact that today’s GOP is so tied to such myths says a lot about how far the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Eisenhower has fallen. But it also says a lot positive about the American people that we rejected that failed party and its fantasies.
In Enough, Roger Cohen discusses the continuing pointlessness of the violence between Israelis and Palestinians. We echoed these sentiments, but encouraged people to hold out hope for a peaceful settlement and offered some suggestions for a path forward:
This is right on. As I’ve argued previously, both sides are in a cycle of violence that is getting us nothing except more death, bloodshed, and suffering. We have to replace that cycle of violence with a recognition of three things: (1) that both sides have valid claims, (2) the blame game is pointless because there is more than enough blame to go around, and (3) the solution is two states, based on the 1967 borders with land swaps, international peacekeeping, and international aid to rebuild Palestine.
The question, of course, is how could we ever get to that solution. Here are a few thoughts. Palestinians need to realize that they can never win through violence, if for no other reason than that they are massively outgunned. Instead, Palestinians should follow the lead of the Civil Rights Movement and Gandhi and engage in active, non-violent civil disobedience. Israelis need to stop the illegal settlements. And the US and the rest of the international community need to use foreign aid to empower moderates who are operating in good faith and isolate and push out of power extremists on both sides.
This all seems hopeless today. But if someone had told you 20 years ago that we would have twice elected an African American President and had voters pass marriage equality in three states, I’d bet you would have thought they were crazy. So let’s keep hope alive.
In More Babies, Please, Ross Douthat argued that the declining birthrate in the US is threatening our country’s long term financial health. Rather than having more babies, however, Winning Progressive urges that we welcome more immigrants to our country:
Instead of people having more babies, why don’t we just reform and loosen our immigration laws so that more people, mostly of working age, come to our country?
Immigration has always been the life blood of our nation, from the Polish, Irish, and Italian immigrants who came in the late 1800s and early 1900s to the Latino immigrants of the past couple of decades. And many more people want to come to the U.S. from other countries but either cannot get their way through our broken immigration system, or do not want to risk coming here illegally. As more people immigrate to an area, economic activity and jobs are created to provide basic goods and products to them. And having more young, working age people in the system will help support Medicare and Social Security for decades to come.
Unfortunately, our nation has taken a turn towards opposing immigration over the past few years. States like Arizona and Alabama have instituted cruel “self-deportation” policies that seek to make life so difficult for immigrants that they will “choose” to leave. And at the federal level, the GOP continues to obstruct sensible policies like the DREAM Act.
Rather than having more babies, let’s turn this anti-immigrant sentiment around and return to our nation’s better values of welcome the “poor, huddled masses yearning to be free.”