Have you been paying attention to the remarks and actions of the Republican Party since the November elections? Mostly, they've insisted that they have a say in things, even though when the positions were reversed (and they were in power) they barely acknowledged the existence of the opposition party. In fact, the GOP actively squashed any input by Democrats for most of the Bush Era. They even talked about "the nuclear option (nuke-yoo-ler, if you prefer)" for eliminating the filibuster, which would have left Democrats absolutely powerless.
But the positions are reversed these days, and Democrats--particularly President Obama--have made a very public show of trying to include Republicans. Even though they don't have to. And Republicans for their part are threatening a filibuster to everything, making every move by the Senate require a super-majority. Why on earth Harry Reid doesn't threaten his own nuclear option, or at least force Senate Republicans to act on their filibuster threats, is beyond me.
One thing is clear: The GOP of today is the party of "no." While they accused past Democratic minorities as "obstructionist," they are taking that label to a Whole. 'Nother. Level. It's really not surprising, when you consider that "no" is pretty much what "conservatives" of today are all about. Consider what they are against:
- Abortion, always, no matter the circumstance.
- Entitlements for ordinary people, even if they have been paid into for years by recipients.
- Gay rights in any form, particularly marriage rights.
- Taxing or restricting religion in any way, even if they are meddling in politics.
- Sex education. So what if abstinence doesn't work?
- Regulation of anything. No restriction on companies that pollute, or on predatory lending.
- Science. Global warming, evolution, stem-cell research; name the science, they're against it.
- Restrictions on guns of any kind. Let us take our guns to church! The airport!
- Government intervention, unless it's money for big business, or meddling in our private lives.
- The Constitution, unless it pertains to guns. Warrantless wiretaps? Unreasonable search and seizure? Religion mixed into politics? It's all good (as long as a Republican is in charge).
So what are they for? Take the above list and flip it. God, guns and (no) gays. That's pretty much it, except for the "fiscal responsibility" mantra, which they completely ignored for the last eight years. Right now, the GOP is truly a party in exile. They've been whittled down to a far right extremist party.
Unfortunately, the far-right has had a spotlight shone on it for quite some time now. Ann Coulter. Rush Limbaugh. Sean Hannity. Mark Levin. These types of people, and their message used to be the "far-right fringe." They were not mainstream. But with their omnipresence on TV, radio and bookstores, the public thinks they are mainstream conservatives. And they think that the message they spout is credible. Most people don't dig below the surface to find out if what is being said is true. Hey, they're on TV, on a news channel. What they say must be true, right? Wrong.
Fortunately, many Americans have figured out that much of the far-right message is bull pucky. Reality has a way of slapping you in the face like that. So, I'm hopeful that this far-right group being painted as mainstream kind of dies away. But I actually heard Ann Coulter call Rush Limbaugh "right down the center" recently. Really, Ann? Then exactly who would she consider to be "far right?"