[Posted by Karl]
Let’s just say it. After all, that’s what Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein did to the Republicans at the WaPo, apparently set off by this incident:
Rep. Allen West, a Florida Republican, was recently captured on video asserting that there are “78 to 81” Democrats in Congress who are members of the Communist Party. Of course, it’s not unusual for some renegade lawmaker from either side of the aisle to say something outrageous. What made West’s comment — right out of the McCarthyite playbook of the 1950s — so striking was the almost complete lack of condemnation from Republican congressional leaders or other major party figures, including the remaining presidential candidates.
It’s not that the GOP leadership agrees with West; it is that such extreme remarks and views are now taken for granted.
The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.
Although Ornstein and Mann claim to “have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted,” they provide no links to all the op-eds they did about the extreme statements about Republicans being Un-American, comparing them to fascists, Nazis, racists and so on made by Democratic Reps. Nancy Pelosi (on her own and with Steny Hoyer), George Miller, Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, Barney Frank, Maxine Waters, Jerrold Nadler, Jesse Jackson Jr., Sam Gibbons, Tom Lantos, Keith Ellison, Baron Hill, Jared Polis, Steve Cohen, Sheila Jackson Lee, Eleanor Holmes Norton and Louise Slaughter. Or Senators Robert Byrd and Blanche Lincoln. Or current Califonia governor Jerry Brown. Or repeat offender Al Gore. People might be forgiven for thinking Democrats, not to mention Ornstein and Mann, take that extreme rhetoric for granted in their rush to condemn the GOP.
As for the supposed anti-science bent of the GOP, Ornstein and Mann probably should not have picked the week in which Gaia theorist James Lovelock announced he and others had been unduly alarmist about global warming to wheel out this particular trope. Moreover, O&M apparently have not noticed the degree to which Democrats are anti-vaccination, anti-nuclear, and anti-animal research. And they missed how Democrats ditch science whenever it threatens party dogma on race and gender issues. (more…)