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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Unfortunately T-Party didn't push John Boehner out

A New York Times op-ed article by conservative writer Peter Wehner seems to breath a political sigh of relief, because the right wing T-Party failed in their "furious" attempt to depose House Speaker John Boehner, "even though he helped 'his party gain its largest majority since the Truman administration'."

Frankly, I'm disappointed in the T-Party (or "Tea Party, whatever name you prefer to use, it's still the proverbial "duck" right wing extremism).  In failing to depose Boehner, the T-Party has likely pulled the Speaker even further to the right than he was inclined to be, otherwise.  Perhaps, if the right wing had succeeded in their efforts, the political "coup" would've released Boehner to be a more compromising statesman.

Wehner doesn't consider this alternative potential outcome in his article.  Although he presents a reasonable (albeit, a somewhat hoity-toity intellectual- marked by an air of assumed importance) argument for why Boehner should remain as the Republican Speaker of the House, his argument doesn't allow for any other option.  Since Wehner longs for the reasonable days "back when" Ronald Reagan was the "sunny optimism" of Republicans, he doesn't see how those were the progressive days of conservative politics. Unless the right wing are brutally up ended, we're doomed to have more of them, like snakes multiplying in a cave, absent "sunny optimism".  By today's political polarizing measures, Ronald Reagan would likely qualify as being a Blue Dog Democrat.

I say, "you go T-Party right wing extremists"....a few months of you people in the political seat could turn Boehner into another Ronald Reagan! Maybe, his conversion would be akin to Paul on the road to Damascus.

This is what Wehner wrote on January 16, 2015 in The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — We live in an era of unusual political polarization, but the polarization isn’t simply between the two parties; there are also splits within them.

Last week the Republican Party’s divisions were on display, when Speaker of the House John A. Boehner — who helped his party gain its largest majority since the Truman administration — faced an uprising. The revolt was led by conservatives against a man whose voting record is unquestionably conservative. It was another indication that the tension on the right these days is not about policy or ideology but tone and temperament.

Mr. Boehner is hardly a perfect leader, but what got him into trouble was less a failure to lead than a failure to fight. The Republican Party is more uniformly conservative than ever. What some on the right are insisting on from Republican leaders, but not getting, is greater confrontation, more strident rhetoric and legislative brinkmanship. Hence the unhappiness.  (Julie's note....where's the "Democracy" in this thinking???)

What informs these demands is an apocalyptic view of American life during the Obama era. America is “very much like Nazi Germany,” in the words of Ben Carson, a Tea Party favorite. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said we had a couple of years to turn this country around or “we go off the cliff to oblivion.” Mark Levin, a popular radio talk show host, warned that Republicans were “endorsing tyranny” if they didn’t support shutting down the government in 2013.

Those of us who are conservative and deeply concerned about the damage inflicted on the country by the president but don’t share this doom-laden view are labeled by some on the right as cowardly and unprincipled. Which raises a significant political and philosophical issue: Is there a conservative disposition? The answer, I think, is that there is, and what I’ve just described is not it.

What often masquerades as conservatism these days is really populism. There is room for populism within conservatism, but it should not define conservatism. In fact, it is often in conflict with it.

Conservatism, for starters, is rooted in human experience. It appreciates the complexity of human society. It believes in a givenness to human nature and in enduring principles, yet it has the capacity to apply those principles to changing circumstances. And because it isn’t a rigid ideology, it leaves itself open to self-examination and self-correction. Authentic conservatism has a high regard for things empirical, for facts that can lead us to better apprehend the truth.

Conservatism is famously anti-utopian, understanding life’s imperfections and the limitations of politics. Knowing this, those on the right shouldn’t become enraged or forlorn when the world itself doesn’t fully conform to their hopes. Conservatism considers one of the cardinal virtues to be prudence. And no conservative — certainly no one familiar with the magnificent history of the Constitution — should be opposed to compromise per se. Whether or not accommodation is wise depends on whether an agreement nudges things in the right direction.

This doesn’t mean that conservatives shouldn’t fight passionately for liberty and justice. Today’s Republicans, for example, should advance a policy agenda that systematically transforms welfare-state programs into a market-friendly safety net. (Julie's note:  did "Scrooge" say this with more honesty?)

Nor does it mean that conservatism is merely a disposition, unconnected to a political theory. It simply means that conservatives should make their case with an urgency balanced by practical wisdom, equanimity and a sense of proportion. Their passion should also be balanced by gratitude.

(Julie's note- I'm certainly not thankful for Boehner's leadership by opposition and obstruction.  He didn't personally bring about a Republican victory. Rather, it was the Democrats who didn't vote 2016, who allowed this leadership debacle to happen.)

Ronald Reagan and the Democratic House Leader Tip O'Neill were friends......both Rest in Peace, along with their effective leadership.

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