❄ What We Know [III]:

❄ Editorials and Op-eds On the Republican Party Challenge

❄ What’s On This Page?

This note is part of a collection, posted to [http://design.learnworld.com] under the title “What We Know.” It’’s part of my effort to be clear about the Republican Party, which I believe poses a fundamental challenge—a threat—to Constitutional governance in the United States.

Below are links to, and defining excerpts from, editorials and comments published in the New York Times and the Washington Post during the first three weeks of August 2011.


Michael Cooper, ““Fact Check: The Republican Debate,”” The New York Times, 11 August 2011. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/11/fact-check-the-republican-debate/

Especially on Bachmann’s misrepresentations.


Jackie Calmes, ““G.O.P. on Defensive as Analysts Question Party’s Fiscal Policy,”” The New York Times, 12 August 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/13/business/economy/voices-faulting-gop-economic-policies-growing-louder.html?pagewanted=all

The boasts of Congressional Republicans about their cost-cutting victories are ringing hollow to some well-known economists, financial analysts and corporate leaders, including some Republicans, who are expressing increasing alarm over Washington’s new austerity and antitax orthodoxy.

“Their critiques have grown sharper since last week, when President Obama signed his deficit reduction deal with Republicans and, a few days later, when Standard & Poor’s downgraded the credit rating of the United States.

“But even before that, macroeconomists and private sector forecasters were warning that the direction in which the new House Republican majority had pushed the White House and Congress this year—for immediate spending cuts, no further stimulus measures and no tax increases, ever—was wrong for addressing the nation’s two main ills, a weak economy now and projections of unsustainably high federal debt in coming years.

“Instead, these critics say, Washington should be focusing on stimulating the economy in the near term to induce people to spend money and create jobs, while settling on a long-term plan for spending cuts and tax increases to take effect only after the economy recovers.

“But Republicans in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail refuse to back down.”


Charles M. Blow, ““Genuflecting to the Tea Party,”” The New York Times, 12 August 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/13/opinion/blow-genuflecting-to-the-tea-party.html

“What we are witnessing is an extension and acceleration of the G.O.P.’s obscene genuflection to Tea Party tenets: give no ground; take no prisoners; accept no deal.

“Luckily for the rest of us, a rash of recent polling suggests that more Americans, at least for the moment, seem to be coming around to seeing the Tea Party for what it is—not mechanics come to fix the machine, but the proverbial monkeys willing to throw a wrench into it.”


Editorial, ““Magical Unrealism,” The New York Times, 12 August 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/13/opinion/magical-unrealism.html

“There was nothing particularly surprising about the shrill skirmishing at the ideological edges of Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate in Iowa. What was shocking were the antics in the center.

“In full public view, the party’s mainstream jumped the tracks of reality on issues of spending and taxes, brightly illustrating the ruinous magical thinking that has led to a downgrade of the nation’s credit and invited a double-dip recession. When asked if they would reject a deal to cut the deficit that had 10 times the amount of spending cuts as it had tax increases, the hands of all eight candidates went up. Even a tincture of new revenue, though mixed with huge cuts in government spending, would be too much for the modern Republican Party.

“The raised hands included those of Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney, two former governors who have proved that they know better. Mr. Huntsman was the only one on the stage who said he would have accepted last week’s budget deal and the only one to point out that Washington should never even consider defaulting. …

“The Republican Party has been led into its current cul-de-sac by manipulative officials who would not tell voters the truth about the government’s finances. It will remain there if even its ‘moderate’ leaders refuse to break the pattern.”


David F. Weiman, ““Imagining a World Without the New Deal,”” The Washington Post, 12 August 2011. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/imagining-a-world-without-the-new-deal/2011/08/03/gIQAtJoBBJ_story.html.

The Tea Party’s backlash against the federal government envisions a return to an earlier, supposedly golden era in American history. Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan floated in April would essentially privatize Medicare and Medicaid while lowering taxes on the top income bracket to their pre-1930 rate. House Republicans’ plan to solve the recent debt crisis would have shrunk the government to its 1950s size.

“In other words, conservative plans like these would effectively repeal Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.

“So, what would a world without the New Deal look like?”


Editorial, ““A Growing Gloom for States and Cities,”” The New York Times, 13 August 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/opinion/sunday/a-growing-gloom-for-states-and-cities.html

“The Republicans who produced this artificial crisis, and are responsible for its effects, say they would like nothing more than to see a reduction in state as well as federal spending. That is where government hits closest to home, affecting the size of classrooms, the bulbs in streetlights, the asphalt in potholes, and the lines in emergency rooms.

“They are well on their way to achieving their goal, making life more difficult in every city and town.”


Editorial, ““A Jobs Agenda Anyone?,”” The New York Times, 14 August 2011.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/opinion/a-jobs-agenda-anyone.html

In what can only be described as a triumph of bad policy and craven politics, Congress and the Obama administration have spent the year focused on budget cuts, as the economy has faltered and unemployment has worsened. Official unemployment is 9.1 percent, but it would be 16.1 percent, or 25.1 million people, if it included those who can only find part-time jobs and those who have given up looking for work. For the past two and a half years, there have been more than four unemployed workers for every job opening, a record high, by far. In a healthy market, the ratio would be about one to one.

“By a large margin, Americans have told pollsters that job creation is more important than budget cuts. Yet Republican leaders are wedded to austerity and appear to think that high unemployment will hurt President Obama politically more than it will hurt them, so they will likely resist efforts to create jobs, no matter how great the need. …

“Republicans are sure to howl that new programs will undo the debt ceiling deal, but it is surely possible over a 10-year period to tackle near-term action on jobs and long-term action on deficit reduction. The alternative is even slower growth and higher unemployment.”


Warren Buffet, ““Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,”” The New York Times, 14 August 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/opinion/stop-coddling-the-super-rich.html

“ … People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.

“Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion — a staggering $227.4 million on average — but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.

“The taxes I refer to here include only federal income tax, but you can be sure that any payroll tax for the 400 was inconsequential compared to income. In fact, 88 of the 400 in 2008 reported no wages at all, though every one of them reported capital gains. Some of my brethren may shun work but they all like to invest.”


Steve Rattner, ““Republican Extremism, Bad Economics,”” The New York Times, 15 August 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/16/opinion/republican-extremism-bad-economics.html

“In the middle of all the debt default drama and stock market turbulence, the leading Republican presidential candidates have begun to fill in the shadowy outlines of their positions on major economic issues.

“And what a picture it is, a philosophy oriented around shrinking the role of the federal government in every imaginable way, by slashing spending, cutting taxes and halting or rescinding regulations. Their mantra is repeal and retrenchment, devoid of new initiatives or a positive agenda.

“Some of these views are to the right even of the Tea Party;”


David E. Campbell and Robert D. Putnam, ““Crashing the Tea Party,”” The New York Times, 16 August 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/17/opinion/crashing-the-tea-party.html

Campbell’s and Putnam’s source: ““Beginning in 2006 we interviewed a representative sample of 3,000 Americans as part of our continuing research into national political attitudes, and we returned to interview many of the same people again this summer.” Among their conclusions: “the Tea Party’s supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born … ” ”

what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.” “They were disproportionately social conservatives in 2006—opposing abortion, for example—and still are today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek ‘deeply religious’ elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government.”


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