PFAW: ‘Not Even Ronald Reagan…’

“… could get this nomination.” Here’s Miranda on the People for the American Way blog:

Since the advent of the Tea Party, the Republican establishment has adopted a philosophy that you could call “Xtreme Reagan” — tax cuts for the wealthy without compromise, deregulation without common sense, social conservatism without an ounce of respect — that makes even a liberal like me almost miss the political pragmatism of the Gipper. It’s terrifying that former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a hard-line economic and social conservative, whose regressive economic policies as governor were to the right of Reagan, is now widely considered to be too far to the left to even be a contender.

Miranda says she is a liberal and no fan of Reagan, but she recognizes that things have changed in a profound way since Reagan’s era. Truly, the nuts have taken over the asylum. Later in the same post, she writes

In the Tea Party orthodoxy, environmentalism isn’t just bad for business, it’s unbiblical. Tax cuts aren’t just what the rich want, they’re what Jesus wants . The Democratic president isn’t just a liberal, he’s a foreigner trying to destroy America from within. Conspiracy theories become hard-and-fast facts before you can change the channel away from Fox News. There’s no compromise when you live in an air-tight world of unquestioned beliefs that become created facts.

In my opinion, we have exactly one election more in which to change this. We missed opportunities in 2000, 2004 and 2008 (added later: and don’t even think about the 2010 midterms), perhaps by being unaware just how much the nuts had come out of their shells. But 2012 is it… I-T… and we can do it in 2012 or else wait a century or more for the return of sanity.

I’ve read two books recently that make me feel especially sad about that. One is a history of the Federal Convention of 1787 that framed the Constitution; the other is a lawyer’s book about the four freedoms of the First Amendment. There are admittedly a lot of flaws both in the Constitution and in the implementation of the First Amendment (especially in the past 3-4 decades of rampaging Supremes), but there was so much opportunity there, and it’s hard to see how our nation, and perhaps the whole world, will have that opportunity again before things get really tough in the post-global-climate-change era. Why can’t Americans see where this is heading?

(Parts adapted from a recent comment.)

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