In the House, Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, chairman of the Republican Conference, distributed a packet to colleagues on Friday urging them to argue that the Democrats’ plan would include “more than $800 billion in new tax hikes” and “harmful cuts” to Medicare that would “result in millions of seniors losing their health coverage.” -- NYTimes
Ever since the Democratic Party began adopting many of the best Republican ideas in the 1990s, the G.O.P. has increasingly become a victim of its own political strategies.
Any political party has its problem members, but the Republican Party is really starting to look self-destructive.
There is only a brief time -- perhaps months, perhaps a year -- during which increasingly fanciful misrepresentations will work. But using progressively more dramatic falsehoods has consequences.
There is a cost for lying, which increases over time.
First, the open breach of morals begins a process of decay, both within and without. As the group morals decline, a few of those with more integrity leave or lose due to the party's direction and national rhetoric. More and more of the voters leave. The remaining members and followers begin to believe their own rhetorical lies, even as the intentional misrepresentations and smears grow more disconnected from any realism.
Consider how in spite of the fact that a local newspaper in Hawaii reported Barack Obama's birth in 1961, it was nevertheless possible for significant numbers of the people to believe the fantasy that Obama wasn't born there.
This demonstrates a process of gradually divorcing the mind from reality -- a decay of integrity and perception, together.
The decay of integrity (truthfulness) causes the decay of perception.
It appears too much of the Republican party has advanced some distance along this terrible process.
Like many, in my youth I liked some Republicans -- I was excited about Reagan in 1975 after hearing him speak, long before I was old enough to vote (I was still too young when Reagan won in 1980, but was happy to vote for him in 1984...before the senseless further ramp in "defense" spending). I voted for Republicans many times because they offered better candidates. Many Democrats did not signal an appreciation of enterprise at that time. It's fair to say I've been a "swing" voter -- voting for the winning Presidential candidate each time (though I skipped 2000) until 2004 when the better candiate was "swift-boated." But now that Democrats seem to respect enterprise, and in view of the rhetoric from Republicans, I'd expect a Democrat to be the better candidate more often.
Here in Texas we have the half-crazed Rick Perry, for instance, who was willing to indirectly hint at the idea of seceding from the union. "There's a lot of different scenarios," Perry said. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."
And this is far from the worst. While there are worse, Perry is more amusing I think (read this and then consider this quote from Sam Houston himself: “All new states are invested, more or less, by a class of noisy, second-rate men who are always in favor of rash and extreme measures, but Texas was absolutely overrun by such men.” ...heh heh heh...)
The G.O.P. may have already doomed itself through this process of believing its own lies. It might not be possible to recover.
The G.O.P. would need a visionary of very high integrity, who does not stretch the truth, ever, to have a chance to heal its self-inflicted wounds.
They would need someone of Barack Obama's caliber.
Consider the most damning part of this change: take the Barack Obama of today and move him back to 1972 or so, and he would be a quite excellent Republican. He is reasonably "conservative" in several ways that matter greatly, just as he is also has certain "liberal" elements -- the best (reminds me of Reagan in this way). In fact, Obama transcends party in my opinion. But back then, he would be quite electable as a Republican in most parts of the country.
Now, far too many in the Republican party consider Obama the enemy. Just this process alone -- the search for and dependence on having some enemy -- is self-destructive.
This is because too many in the party have lost their way, lost their roots -- they have been taken over by a process of distortions and misrepresentations so long in the making that many party members are now as lost in fantasies as the worst cults.
That's how far this party has fallen.