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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Throwing in the towel

One of the clearest indications of impending disaster is the old image of rats leaving the sinking ships. Haul out those teeny lifeboats.

No. former Bush speechwriter David Frum is not a rodent, even if he engages in a somewhat blind lashing out at the left, accusing the fringes of wanting to use the very same tactics his own zealots have employed for decades.

But an op-ed in yesterday's Washington Post begs the metaphor when Frum suggests it is time for the GOP to abandon the leaky McCain campaign and head to the safety of the Senate.

The words are stark, particularly coming from a GOP true believer:
After months and months of wan enthusiasm among Republicans, these last weeks have at last energized the core of the party. But there's a downside: The very same campaign strategy that has belatedly mobilized the Republican core has alienated and offended the great national middle, which was the only place where the 2008 election could have been won.

I could pile up the poll numbers here, but frankly . . . it's too depressing. You have to go back to the Watergate era to see numbers quite so horrible for the GOP.

A Republican recalling Watergate? I guess it is bad.

The suggestion that Democrats will use their victory to reward friends and punish enemies is a logical one. After all, that's been the GOP's modus operandi for the nearly 30 years of the "Reagan Revolution."

But a partisan to the bitter end, Frum ignores some realities. The Democrats, by choice and necessity, have become the party of balanced budgets and economic sanity. It was the excesses of six solid years of GOP rule (sandwiched between eight years of divided rule where Republicans had the message or the votes) that has brought up to this precipice.

But back to the point about the venal left seeking revenge, starting with the reintroduction of the Fairness Doctrine, the fig leaf that, when eliminated gave rise to Rush Limbaugh and the vitriol on the right.

The idea that anyone would waste significant time in the current national emergency on such blatant score settling is preposterous. Will folks try to settle scores? You betcha.

Will they try to drag the nation through the equivalent of a $72 million investigation of George Bush, John McCain, Newt Gingrich and company? No, that's a Republican tactic.

I happen to agree with Frum that the best thing the GOP could do is the create a viable Senate caucus -- one that works with its colleagues and doesn't try to obstruct through the use of arcane rules.

One that recognizes that marching lockstep in support of phony weapons of mass destruction and torture is not reflective of the basic good of the people they claim to represent.

And most of all, one that recognizes there are diverse voices on issues -- particularly one social ones with religious overtone. We are not a one size fits all society. I respect someone else's right to believe in something different without feeling the need to demonize or destroy them.

The heart and soul of Gingrich-Bush-Cheney Republicanism says the exact opposite. And it is that intolerance, more than anything else that is at the center of where the GOP is heading today.

Yes, it is a good idea for Democrats to stop and consider what would happen if they fell into the same habits that have come to characterize Republican rule. And despite the best slurs being tossed by John McCain and Sarah Palin, the man at the top of the ticket does recognize that.

So hopefully in a week we can echo another theme from Watergate because our long nation nightmare may soon be over.

At least in Fruum's view. I'm not counting any chickens yet. Talk to me next Tuesday night.

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