Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I've often asked myself...
As far back as 1980, after singing the praises -- loudly -- of Ronald Reagan in 1976, I voted for John Anderson for president. I just couldn't see how the Gipper could cut taxes, raise defense spending and balance the budget. (Turns out Anderson was right: You do it with mirrors.)
So it's hard, impossible really, for me to put my finger on exactly when I began my long, strange journey from libertarian to Obama supporter.
But I do remember one of the points on the continuum: in the late 1990s, Republicans impeached President Clinton (whom I never cared much for personally) for having an extramarital affair with another consenting adult. Even my libertarian self thought, "Geez, you can't beat Clinton at the ballot box so you go after him for this? Really? Why not try coming up with better ideas for the country and then going out and selling them to the public?"
And I think that's the danger that today's Republicans are flirting with. Rather than harass President Obama over a bunch of imaginary "scandals," why not talk about a way to reduce the unemployment rate faster, or offer a conservative alternative to the Affordable Care Act, or ... something.
Just as I turned against the GOP in the late '90s, so must some people be souring on today's Republicans. I predict that, rather than energize the base, the GOP's conduct might actually force some independents into the waiting arms of the Democrats. Republicans should hold the House in 2014, but they may very well fail to take back the Senate. Then there's 2016. And at the rate they're going, I still think the GOP will nominate a far-right candidate and get just crushed.