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Time for Sane Republicans to Stop Being Intimidated by the Primary Threat

by: AndySchmooklerforCongress

Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 23:12:17 PM EST


( - promoted by lowkell)

One hears it all the time: many Republican lawmakers, in their gerrymandered districts, do not have to fear losing in a general election, but do have to worry that they'll get primaried from the right if they don't go along with the crazy and destructive ways of the present-day Republican Party.

OK. And where does that get them? Maybe they keep their deck chairs and maybe the Republican Party is becoming the Titanic. More important, where does that get the country -- with one of its two major parties a virtual wrecking ball on every part of our political/economic/social/cultural structure it can reach?

People are saying nowadays that there's a battle ongoing for the soul of the Republican Party. Here's where that battle should be fought: the sane Republicans should say to the threat of a primary, "Bring it on." And then they should go into battle for the hearts and minds of Republican primary voters.

OK. Maybe the craziness and deludedness -- that the force that's taken over the right has worked to effectively to create in the Republican base over the past 20 years - cannot be turned around overnight. But the defeat and disarray the party has suffered from is opening up an opportunity to turn that destructive force back.

AndySchmooklerforCongress :: Time for Sane Republicans to Stop Being Intimidated by the Primary Threat
The battle should be joined by all those Republican politicians whose political circumstances give them a very good chance of succeeding now (like New Jersey governor, Chris Christie) and also by all those who have the moral courage to fight the fight their country needs for them to fight.

The Republican base has been living in an alternate, phony reality sold to them by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Fox and Republican politicians. But there is no necessary reason why the Republican voters need to stay in their present, deranged state. They are not, most of them, deranged people.

So there's no necessary reason why the threat to reasonable and moderate Republicans to be destroyed by wacko primary opponents (as has been happening to people like Mike Castle of Delaware in 2010 and Richard Lugar in 2012) will continue indefinitely into the future.

The election of 2012 has put new forces into motion. It is important that the momentum of these forces be seized -- by President Obama and the Democrats AND by those sane Republican office-holders who, until now, have allowed themselves to be intimidated by the sick and broken spirit that's seized hold of their Party over the past generation.

It has long been time for good people to stand and fight. That now includes those Republicans whose preferred way of doing politics is to be sane and reasonable and constructive.

Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District.  Among his books is The Parable of the Tribes:  The Problem of Power in Social Evolution.

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At what point do we hold people responsible for their actions? (0.00 / 0)
If the (supposedly) "sane Republicans" make a mistake one time and vote for extremists like Morgan Griffith, Michele Bachmann, Steve King, etc, perhaps we can give them a pass ("fool me once, shame on you"). If they make the same mistake again ("fool me twice, shame on me"), we could be REALLY generous and give them another pass before concluding that they are the source of the problem. But three strikes, you're out in baseball, so how about in politics? If these (supposedly) "sane Republicans" you refer to keep voting over and over again for extremists, bigots, theocrats, Birchers, and other assorted wackos, at what point do we conclude that they MEAN to vote the way they do, because they feel that those extremists/bigots/wackos reflect their own deeply-held views? If we don't conclude that, then what are we saying, that these people don't know who they're voting for or what they're doing? Personally, I believe that we are all defined by our actions, ergo we should be held responsible for what we do (unless we are severely mentally ill or whatever). What am I missing here?  

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Two points (0.00 / 0)
I'm all for holding people responsible for what they do, but the bottom line way to decide how to proceed is what will make the world better. Blaming people for their folly or wickedness can make the world better if it helps them become wiser or more virtuous.  But it isn't always the best ticket.  As Gandhi said, if we carry and eye for an eye too far, we end up with a world of blind people.

The other point to be made is that the evidence suggests that it is only a fringe --like the people who used to be John Birchers-- who are characterologically entrenched in the kind of crazy that the Republican Party now specializes in.  With most of the Republican voters, if we engage with them outside the political realm, they prove to be no more foolish or wicked than the rest of us. Something has exploited them, making their weaknesses and defects their ruling elements in the political realm.

What America needs is for these people to change what part of them is engaged in the political realm. Not their worse parts, but their better parts should dominate their patterns of thought and feeling when it comes to the realm of our politics.  

Sure, I'd love for these folks to hold themselves responsible for the terrible choices they've made in recent years about whom to trust and where to lend their political support.  I'd like for them to learn all the right lessons that such an encounter with the reality of their role in this dark era should teach.

But that is asking a whole lot.  How many of us would be willing to go through that painful process?

I will settle for their awakening from the trance state that's captured them in support of this destructive force on the political right, and their turning instead to "the better angels of [their] nature," in Lincoln's phrase.


[ Parent ]
I guess my view is darker.... (0.00 / 0)
...I have concluded that these Republican voters actually LIKE the garbage - anger, magical thinking "economics," bash the brown people, restrict LGBT and women's rights, warmongering, etc. - Republicans spew out.

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[ Parent ]
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The purpose of Blue Virginia is to cover Virginia politics from a progressive and Democratic perspective. This is a group blog and a community blog. We invite everyone to comment here, but please be aware that profanity, personal attacks, bigotry, insults, rudeness, frequent unsupported or off-point statements, "trolling" (NOTE: that includes outright lies, whether about climate science, or what other people said, or whatever), and "troll ratings abuse" (e.g., "troll" rating someone simply because you disagree with their argument) are not permitted and, if continued, will lead to banning. For more on trolling, see the Daily Kos FAQs. Also note that diaries may be deleted if they do not contain at least 2 solid paragraphs of original text; if not, please use the comments section of a relevant diary. For more on writing diaries, click here. Thanks, and enjoy!

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