Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Speaking of “No-Brainers”

It has finally dawned on David Brooks that the Republicans are not normal.

A normal Republican Party would seize the opportunity to put a long-term limit on the growth of government. It would seize the opportunity to put the country on a sound fiscal footing. It would seize the opportunity to do these things without putting any real crimp in economic growth.

The party is not being asked to raise marginal tax rates in a way that might pervert incentives. On the contrary, Republicans are merely being asked to close loopholes and eliminate tax expenditures that are themselves distortionary.

This, as I say, is the mother of all no-brainers.

But we can have no confidence that the Republicans will seize this opportunity. That’s because the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party. Over the past few years, it has been infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative.

“May no longer be a normal party”? You don’t say. What was your first clue? The fact that they are so obsessed with defeating the president that they sold the soul of their party to a rag-tag bunch of factually-challenged, racist-leaning know-nothings whose leading light is a congresswoman, Michele Bachmann, whose sole contribution to the discourse has been to make Joe McCarthy look like a lightweight?

Or was it the election that was won on promising job creation and so far hasn’t produced anything other than a series of half-assed budget proposals that undermine Medicare and are so loaded with tax cuts for the rich that not even members of their own party take them seriously? Or was it the new Republican governors who have so alienated the voters with anti-union, anti-women, and anti-middle class legislation that if the voters could choose right now, they’d elect Teddy the Wonder Lizard over Rick Scott in Florida, John Kasich in Ohio, Rick Snyder in Michigan, and Scott Walker in Wisconsin? Or is it a party whose leadership is so adamant about winning that they will reverse course on their own ideas if President Obama agrees to go along with it?

Mr. Brooks finally has a startling revelation:

If the debt ceiling talks fail, independents voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not. If responsible Republicans don’t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused this default. They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern.

And they will be right.

Wow, nothing gets past him. But there hasn’t been a “responsible Republican” in office since the death of disco.