Friday, May 16, 2014

Melting Facts

It could be called the fall and rise of the Republican party. After the 2008 election, at a time when the economy was tanking and calamity seemed virtually inevitable, not only was the stock market collapsing but so was the stock of the Republican brand.

In January of 2009, Nate Silver wrote "the Republicans, arguably, are in something of a death spiral. The more conservative, partisan, and strident their message becomes, the more they alienate non-base Republicans. But the more they alienate non-base Republicans, the fewer of them are left to worry about appeasing. Thus, their message becomes continually more appealing to the base — but more conservative, partisan, and strident to the rest of us."

Mr.Silver, and like minded people, were wrong. The Republican tactics did not become a self perpetuating purveyor of doom for the party, but rather a rallying cry. The Tea party arrived, filled with passion, venom and little if any factual underpinning. The Republican leadership became emboldened and rather than disavow their errant ways, they doubled down. Opposition for opposition's sake became the guiding principle.

And thus, whether it be climate change, inflation spirals, or any other issue which should involve analysis and reason, stridency and repeated emphatic denial of the facts on the ground instead became the only focus.

Given the perspective of time, we now see the perverted wisdom, politically speaking, of this practice. The Democrats seem without answer or response. It is they who seem more in the death spiral, as the real possibility looms of both Houses being under Republican control as of this November.

Thus, unless and until circumstances dictate another course of action, the probability of the Republican party reversing its trend and embracing something other than a radically incoherent and factually depleted platform is about as likely to occur as the ice sheet's sudden resurrection.

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