Politics is all about compromise
“Ronald Reagan would have, based on his record of finding accommodation, finding some degree of common ground, as would my dad — they would have a hard time if you define the Republican Party — and I don’t — as having an orthodoxy that doesn’t allow for disagreement, doesn’t allow for finding some common ground.” Former Florida governor Jeb Bush
In 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. With that began a schism, an earthquake that would not only shake Christendom to its core but also would set the western world on a new path toward science, knowledge, and enlightenment.
The dark passages of cavernous Catholicism were opened; mysteries enshrouded in lore, questioned and exposed to reason; and people freed from the terror of eternal damnation.
It is called the Protestant Reformation, and while the preponderance of Christians remains professed Catholics, the statistic that 99 percent of practicing Catholic couples practice birth control in defiance of the church’s hierarchy is further evidence orthodoxy is a relic of the past.
Perhaps that same process is beginning to shake Republicanism, which over the past 30 decades has morphed into a quasi-religious sect.
In Colorado, an off-shoot group of conservative Republicans—aren’t they all conservative since the RINO’s became extinct?—formed Coloradans for Freedom, which actively supports civil unions for same-sex couples in defiance of the Catholic and Fundamentalist leaders.
At least a third of the congressional candidates supported by the party’s national committee are refusing—for the time being anyway—to sign Grover Norquist’s loyalty oath, pledging never to vote to raise taxes or increase public revenues no matter how extreme the need to be.
Compare that to six in the 242-member Republican caucus having refused to drink the Kool Aid, or more appropriately, “The Tea.”
I write of RINO’s—Republicans in Name Only—being extinct, yet just when one thinks we have seen the last of them, one appears.
Former Wyoming senator Alan Simpson told Fareed Zakaria on CNN, “I guess I’m known as a RINO now, which means a Republican in name only, because, I guess, of social views, perhaps, or common sense would be another one, which seems to escape members of our party.”
What’s amazing is Simpson declaring common sense not being in plenitude in the Republican Party.
“For heaven’s sake,” he continued, “you have Grover Norquist wandering the earth in his white robes saying that if you raise taxes one penny, he’ll defeat you.”
White robes: images of and allusions to a priesthood.
Simpson doesn’t stop there. Individuals like Norquist are more than advocating inane and destructive polices: They’re unpatriotic.
“He can’t murder you. He can’t burn your house. The only thing he can do to you, as an elected official, is defeat you for reelection. And if that means more to you than your country when we need patriots to come out in a situation when we’re in extremity, you shouldn’t even be in Congress.”
To be sure, the Party’s far right is still dominant. The power of the Birthers—those who reject President Obama’s Americanism, both literally and symbolically—is strong.
There seems, though, to be growing fissures, cracks in the orthodoxy.
Simpson is today’s Barry Goldwater, a no-holds-barred critic who sees through the malarkey of the party’s purists. He tells them straight out: “If you want to be a purist, go somewhere on a mountaintop and praise the East or something.
“But if you want to be in politics, you learn to compromise. And you learn to compromise on the issue without compromising yourself. Show me a guy who won’t compromise and I’ll show you a guy with rock for brains.”
That would include, one supposes, Speaker of the House John Boehner who refuses to even utter the word “compromise.”
While hoping for change, I don’t hold my breath. Colorado’s Speaker of the House Frank McNulty, for example, has clearly shown his preference to be a shill for the Religious Right.
Still, if sane voices like Simpson’s continue to be speak out, perhaps this can be the purists’ Waterloo.
Personal Note: Robert Houdeshell is regularly adding his voice to the Courant. Robert has been my guest on KYGT, and I have found him thoughtful, articulate and deliberate when expressing his take on current issues.
Courant readers will be enriched particularly relative to my liberal/progressive perspective.
So, Robert, welcome. One insight from years of writing: The alligator hide you developed as a candidate for office will serve you well.