Thursday, July 19, 2018

How does this guy have a column?

Why Are So Many Political Parties Blowing Up? 
Thomas L. Friedman

Um, are they? Are there a lot of political parties "blowing up?" Seems like I would've heard about that, but okay. I'll bite. +

If you haven’t already noticed, let me be the first on your block to point it out: The big mainstream political parties across the industrialized world are all blowing up at once. It’s quite extraordinary.

Really? So there are like major political parties going out of business? That can't be right. That can't be what you mean.
Can it?

The U.S. Republican Party has blown up in all but name, going overnight from an internationalist, free-trade, deficit-hawk party to a protectionist, anti-immigrant, deficit-dove party — all to accommodate the instincts of Donald Trump and his base.

Oh, ye. The Republican Party. The Republican Party has completely blown up. They are barely able to even control the White House, Senate and House and the governorship of a mere 33 out of 50 states.

And the Republicans have always, in my lifetime anyway, been a party that vacillates between pretend deficit hawks and economic libertines depending on who is in the Oval Office. Was the GOP a party of "deficit hawks" when Ronald Reagan was tripling the national debt? Were they being hawkish on deficits when George W doubled it again? 

And are you saying that there was a time when the Republican party wasn't anti-immigrant?
Must be before my time, but I'm only 50.

As the former House Speaker John Boehner noted: “There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere.” Actually, it’s dead, but it’s not alone in the cemetery.

Yes, he did say that. And it was bullshit when he said it and it's bullshit now when you're quoting it. Trump didn't launch a hostile takeover of the Republican Party.He is the apotheosis of 40+ years of conservative anti-intellectualism, eliminationist rhetoric and disdain for reality. Do you not see that a clear line can be drawn backwards from Trump through Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Pat Buchannan, back at least to Richard Nixon?  The Republican party isn't dead. It has just emerged from it's chrysalis fully formed as the gleefully nihilistic party of destrruction, the end stage of the transformation begun when Strom Thurmond led racist southerners out of the Democratic party into the welcoming arms of the GOP.

And yet, they have control over all three branches of the federal government and a majority of the states'.  If that's what you call "blowing up," where do I sign up to be blown up?

Italy’s last election ended with its mainstream center-left getting crushed, bringing to power instead a coalition of far-left, far-right populists, whose focus ranges from guaranteeing minimum income for Italy’s 11 percent unemployed to rebuffing immigrants and the European Union.

Okay, so. . . Italy's center-left lost AN election. By that measure, you should be declaring the Democratic Party "blown up" not the Republicans. Losing one election is not the end of the world. Hell, even Tom Brady has lost a couple Super Bowls and no one is putting him out to pasture.

Britain’s Labour Party has gone from center-left to quasi-Marxist. 

Britain's Labour Party has rediscovered its roots. There is more excitement around Labour since the rise of Jeremy Corbin then there has been since. . . actually I don't really know UK political history that well, but Labour is poised to retake Parliament just as soon as Teresa May's government collapses. Any day now. . . tick tock. . .

I know that mainstream American political conventional wisdom states that a party moving to the left is somehow assumed to be a party committing electoral suicide, but the facts on the ground state otherwise. Moving back to the left has revitalized the Labour Party. Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in America (although he is in danger of being eclipsed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). Medicare for All is going to be a plank in the Democrats' platform and that is generating buzz for them they haven't seen since a young Barack Obama strode on to the scene and fooled us into thinking he was a pro-labor progressive.

Anyway, this column goes on and on and on, mentioning other European parties that lost their most recent elections after having won the previous one (!) as if that is something new. No country has ever gotten disillusioned with the party in power and voted in their rivals before! The parties are imploding!!!

All of which raises the question: How does this guy have a column?