The Stakes

Courtesy of Jamelle Bouie, Damon Linker tells progressives to simmer down, dammit:

“Anything But The Other Guys” isn’t a particularly inspiring slogan, especially in comparison to the (let’s face it) exaggerated expectations for change many progressives entertained during the 2008 campaign. But the phrase captures the most pressing fact about the present political moment: Today’s Republican Party is unfit to govern and so must not be permitted to win the presidency. Everything else—including health care reform and climate change legislation—can and should be treated as negotiable. If the Democrats conclude that compromise or caution will make a Republican resurgence less likely, then they should take that path, for the good of the country. Until the Republicans come to their collective senses, depriving them of power must be the most urgent aim of progressive politics. (emphasis mine)

I agree with Damon and Jamelle, actually. I do think that the Republican Party is an intellectually, politically and morally bankrupt entity, and because of that, it’s entirely unfit to govern.

I just don’t think that they’ll come to their senses anytime soon, if ever.

You know how we have banks that are considered by many to be too big to fail? I get the same feeling from people talking about the Republican Party. A lot of folks think, well, the Republican Party’s been around since 1856, and well, gosh – if it fails, well, then the system will go KA-BLOOEY! Musn’t happen! Maybe they’ll recover…please? Please?


Look, let’s be frank. If Linker (and by extension, Bouie and others) think that the most important aim of progressive politics in the near term is to keep the Republicans from gaining power until “they come to their senses” (whatever that means), then I’m going to take that line of thinking to its logical conclusion.

If Linker thinks that Republicans pose that kind of clear and present danger to the political system, then the right thing to do isn’t to wait for them to come to their senses. The right thing for progressives to do is to destroy the Republican Party, root & branch, stem & stern, unto the 70th generation.

Let me say that again:

The right thing for progressives to do isn’t to wait for Republicans to be reasonable again; it’s to destroy them, and allow for a reasonable replacement to emerge from the body politic.

Anything else is irrelevant. There’s no reason for Republicans to behave in any other way than they are now. Why would they change? Because we’re asking nicely?

Give me a break.

I tweeted at Jamelle that that expectation was like waiting for an alcoholic to stop drinking – the chances of that are 50-50, at best*. The analogy is imperfect, but you get my drift.

Waiting hasn’t proved to be a successful strategy in dealing with the modern Republican Party, as the last forty years demonstrate. It’s time for something else. There are too many miles to go before we sleep, and far too many promises to keep.

*I’ve had alcoholic friends, I’ve had alcoholic relatives. Waiting for them to stop drinking isn’t a strategy, it’s a lack of strategy.


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