View Full Version : Scarborough, on the Republican Party

Norman Bernstein
07-17-2017, 07:03 AM
I'd be especially interested to hear peb's take on this op-ed:

I did not leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left its senses. The political movement that once stood athwart history resisting bloated government and military adventurism has been reduced to an amalgam of talk-radio resentments. President Trump’s Republicans have devolved into a party without a cause, dominated by a leader hopelessly ill-informed about the basics of conservatism, U.S. history and the Constitution.

America’s first Republican president reportedly said (http://www.alplm.org/272viewessay.aspx?id=775) , “Nearly all men can stand adversity. But if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” The current Republican president and the party he controls were granted monopoly power over Washington in November and already find themselves spectacularly failing Abraham Lincoln’s character exam.

It would take far more than a single column to detail Trump’s failures in the months following his bleak inaugural address. But the Republican leaders who have subjugated themselves to the White House’s corrupting influence fell short of Lincoln’s standard long before their favorite reality-TV star brought his gaudy circus act to Washington.

When I left Congress in 2001, I praised my party’s successful efforts to balance the budget for the first time in a generation and keep many of the promises that led to our takeover in 1994. I concluded my last speech on the House floor by foolishly predicting that Republicans would balance budgets and champion a restrained foreign policy for as long as they held power.

I would be proved wrong immediately.

As the new century began, Republicans gained control of the federal government. George W. Bush and the GOP Congress responded by turning a $155 billion surplus into a $1 trillion deficit and doubling the national debt, passing a $7 trillion unfunded entitlement program (http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44569531/ns/politics/t/gop-not-always-against-entitlements/#.WWvE14TyuUk) and promoting a foreign policy so utopian it would have made Woodrow Wilson blush. Voters made Nancy Pelosi speaker of the House in 2006 and Barack Obama president in 2008.

After their well-deserved drubbing, Republicans swore that if voters ever entrusted them with running Washington again, they would prove themselves worthy. Trump’s party was given a second chance this year, but it has spent almost every day since then making the majority of Americans regret it.

The GOP president questioned America’s constitutional system of checks and balances. Republican leaders said nothing. He echoed Stalin and Mao by calling (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/24/donald-trump-cpac-media-enemy-of-the-people/98347970/) the free press “the enemy of the people.” Republican leaders were silent. And as the commander in chief insulted allies while embracing autocratic thugs, Republicans who spent a decade supporting wars of choice remained quiet. Meanwhile, their budget-busting proposals demonstrate a fiscal recklessness very much in line with the Bush years.

Last week’s Russia revelations show just how shamelessly Republican lawmakers will stand by a longtime Democrat who switched parties after the promotion of a racist theory about Barack Obama gave him standing in Lincoln’s once-proud party. Neither Lincoln, William Buckley nor Ronald Reagan would recognize this movement.

It is a dying party that I can no longer defend.

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham has long predicted that the Republican and Democrats’ 150-year duopoly will end. The signs seem obvious enough. When my Republican Party took control of Congress in 1994, it was the first time the GOP had won the House in a generation. The two parties have been in a state of turmoil ever since.

In 2004, Republican strategist Karl Rove anticipated a majority that would last a generation; two years later, Pelosi became the most liberal House speaker in history. Obama was swept into power by a supposedly unassailable Democratic coalition. In 2010, the tea party tide rolled in. Obama’s reelction returned the momentum to the Democrats, but Republicans won a historic state-level landslide (https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/11/11/the_other_gop_wave_state_legislatures__124626.html ) in 2014. Then last fall, Trump demolished both the Republican and Democratic establishments.

Political historians will one day view Donald Trump as a historical anomaly. But the wreckage visited of this man will break the Republican Party into pieces — and lead to the election of independent thinkers no longer tethered to the tired dogmas of the polarized past. When that day mercifully arrives, the two-party duopoly that has strangled American politics for almost two centuries will finally come to an end. And Washington just may begin to work again.

07-17-2017, 07:18 AM
I am always wary of political future forecasts and aware of the inertia of dismissive ideology.

Norman Bernstein
07-17-2017, 07:21 AM
I am always wary of political future forecasts and aware of the inertia of dismissive ideology.

I don't disagree.... I was less interested in Scarborough's prediction, than I am of his analysis of the current state of the Republican Party.

Personally, I do NOT believe that the current situation in the GOP foreshadows it's 'destruction', at all.... political parties do change, as the political atmosphere changes. Perhaps it will take a series of losses.... legislative and electoral... for any significant change to happen. Regardless, the current 'scorecard' is pretty dismal:

Bloomberg (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-17/americans-feel-good-about-the-economy-not-so-good-about-trump-j57v0var): “Just 40% of Americans approve of the job he is doing in the White House, and 55% now view him unfavorably, up 12 points since December. Worse, even more — 61% — say the nation is headed down the wrong path, also up 12 points since December.”

“And despite his assurances that he and congressional Republicans will repeal Obamacare and replace it with a ‘beautiful’ new health care bill, 64% of Americans say they disapprove of his handling of the issue. That’s especially significant because health care topped unemployment, terrorism and immigration as the issue poll respondents chose as the most important challenge facing the nation right now.”

USA Today (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/07/16/analysis-six-months-can-trump-turn-around-his-presidency/478470001/): “The first six months of Trump’s presidency were brutal. The next six months could well be worse.”

07-17-2017, 08:07 AM

"I did not leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left its senses. "

David G
07-17-2017, 09:42 AM
I agree... his prediction is problematic and arguable. His analysis of the current R's is accurate... if a bit too sympathetic.

John of Phoenix
07-17-2017, 10:14 AM
lead to the election of independent thinkers no longer tethered to the tired dogmas of the polarized past.

Sounds great but why this time?

07-17-2017, 10:22 AM
lead to the election of independent thinkers no longer tethered to the tired dogmas of the polarized past.

Sounds great but why this time?

Good question.


07-17-2017, 11:02 AM
If you're looking for another reason to dislike Joe:


Norman Bernstein
07-17-2017, 11:28 AM
You don't see anyone playing a Fender Jazzmaster much, these days :)

Tom Montgomery
07-17-2017, 06:02 PM
I am also a former Republican. Joe Scarborough has come to the exact same conclusion as I did... but some 33 years later than me.

Scarborough's hero continues to be Ronald Reagan. Reagan is the man whose first term convinced me the GOP had become ideologically irresponsible.

Scarborough is a younger man. And he remains to my right politically.

Sky Blue
07-17-2017, 07:05 PM
It's a dying party

Morning Joe is a loon. The Republican Party is as strong as it has ever been, representationally, while the Democrats have been hollowed out under an incompetent, geriatric leadership.