I am departing again from my usual fare. I rarely blog about politics, as there are more political bloggers than virtually any other species and it's not really something that motivates me on a day-to-day basis. However, the last few weeks the spectacle of the health care debate and the tactics used by the Dems to ram it through have got my attention.
If it is sad that Mr. Obama and his Congressional allies had to abandon comity and bipartisanship, it is even creepier to see the sheer animus raised by the foes of health care in the 'Tea Party' movement. There's something oddly disproportionate about much of the rhetoric.
Now, I realize that a significant fraction of the American public believes, passionately so, that The New York Times is a liberal rag. That's probably true, in a lot of ways. Having said that, let me invite the reader to consider two pieces from the Times this weekend. Each makes arguments that touch on the future of the Republican Party. Do not, I repeat, do not waste any time as you read this article worrying about the conclusions of Frank Rich or Charles Blow. I realize that they may just be mindless liberals who can't think straight, like good, God-fearing conservatives.
Instead, let's just look at their premises, which are derived from demographics.
Demographics are avatars of a change bigger than any bill contemplated by Obama or Congress. The week before the health care vote, The Times reported that births to Asian, black and Hispanic women accounted for 48 percent of all births in America in the 12 months ending in July 2008. By 2012, the next presidential election year, non-Hispanic white births will be in the minority. The Tea Party movement is virtually all white. The Republicans haven’t had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have had only three in total since 1935. Their anxieties about a rapidly changing America are well-grounded.
I invite anyone to explain why these premises are not true, and why they are not a concern for the GOP's future.
Blow echoes Rich's premise: there are demographic problems on the horizon for conservatives. As he puts it:
A Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday took a look at the Tea Party members and found them to be just as anachronistic to the direction of the country’s demographics as the Republican Party. For instance, they were disproportionately white, evangelical Christian and “less educated ... than the average Joe and Jane Six-Pack.” This at a time when the country is becoming more diverse (some demographers believe that 2010 could be the first year that most children born in the country will be nonwhite), less doctrinally dogmatic, and college enrollment is through the roof. The Tea Party, my friends, is not the future.
Again, I invite anyone to explain why these premises are either incorrect, or else not that big a problem for Republicans.
And, if you've been voting nearly a straight Democratic ticket for some time now, like me*, then ask yourself this: is it really in the country's best interests if one of the two parties in the two-party system has such a protracted, venomous breakdown in civility, in common sense, in effectiveness?
* Since Pat Buchanan's 'culture war' speech at the 1992 Republican presidential convention in Houston.