Dear Dirty America


We Should Change It To ‘Dear Sectarian America’ (But Rather Than Let The Terrorists Win, Will Not)

March 10
02:39 2012
Portland, OR

Obviously it has been happening for years, as steadily as a runaway glacier: the polarisation of American politics and the rightward thrust of the current Republican Party.  Nothing by way of news, though some stories from the past couple of weeks bode ill for a perfect union.

Super Tuesday Fizzle  Super Tuesday – called such because it generally concludes the primary stage of any opposition party’s election run-up in an explosive fashion – has fallen flatter than a tired metaphor, as Romney wins in a disappointingly lacklustre fashion and rival Santorum loses in such a way as to come out a slightly stronger candidate.  Not only does this underline that there’s money to be made in drawing out a foregone conclusion, but it is painfully indicative of a split among Republican voters.  Viz, that there are about as many conservative, bland, yet somewhat responsible primary voters that support (reprehensibly oily as he may appear to be) at least a plausible presidential candidate who has leadership and (reprehensibly as it may also be) successful business experience and a history of compromise to his credit, (deep breath) as there are voters of the vehemently Tea Party, post-Moral Majority set that (ever increasing in dictating party lines) have already shattered the efficacy of the House of Representatives, and now seem intent on crashing the gates on the Senate and Presidency.

Snowe Moves On   Senator Olympia Snowe, a moderate Republican representing Maine, announced a week before Super Tuesday that she would not seek reëlection, citing “an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies [that have] become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions.”  What this does to limit congressional bargaining (and ultimately large-scale bipartisan projects, such as the debt reduction supercommittee) and the ensuing gridlock that follows would, in her opinion, make another term in the Senate personally unproductive.  She closes her announcement with a bittersweet flourish,
As I enter a new chapter, I see a vital need for the political center in order for our democracy to flourish and to find solutions that unite rather than divide us. It is time for change in the way we govern, and I believe there are unique opportunities to build support for that change from outside the United States Senate. I intend to help give voice to my fellow citizens who believe, as I do, that we must return to an era of civility in government driven by a common purpose to fulfill the promise that is unique to America.
Unfortunately, as she hangs up her legislative hat another potential intransigent may usurp her rare position as an aisle-reacher, further exacerbating the already static cling to party unity (over coöperation).
Pledge Drives  And the one that really gets me are the ill-fatedly indefinite pledges (read my lips) that have been getting the pass-round among Republican congresspersons.  The first is Grover Norquist’s pledge to never under any circumstances increase the marginal tax rate of either person or business (living or dead), signed by all but six Republican representatives and most of their senators.  No wonder Snowe (who did not sign the pledge) has decided to leave; if maintained the pledge effectively eliminates all possibility of compromise over the reduction of America’s debt.  The other pledge (because bad news comes in pairs) is the brainchild of the right-wing Susan B. Anthony List, directed at Republican presidential candidates and maintains a strict policy of appointing only demonstrably pro-life judges and appointees if elected.  Mitt Romney (again, the only thing by way of a plausible GOP candidate this fall) is the only of his rivals to not sign, arguing that it would be a limitation of his abilities as president.  Yes, the future of America’s Right seems to lie in the unmovable foundations of uncompromising ideology.
So what then might anybody expect to be the Democratic reaction?  Eventually, trenches shall be dug, and the American moderate will indeed be a thing of the past.
Dan Rudy (1923-2001) was a loving husband and proud grandfather, veteran of the Tachen Islands Conflict, and preëminent lawn bowler.  He is survived by his blog at Rudian Days.

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