• http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    They tore Lincoln Chafee to shreds too, and while I haven’t seen it I would not be surprised if a few at least are dancing with glee at Olympia Snowe’s exit.

    Then again, I am reminded of how the far left ripped the snot out of Joe Lieberman, and how he’s still a demon in some circles. Or the recent lashing out at Bob Kerrey’s attempt to return to the Senate. Or how Zell Miller was ostracized for the audacity of breaking ranks with his party and castigating them for putting attacking George W. Bush above common sense, decency, or the good of the country. (Those of us who supported George W. Bush and continue to have no regrets about that remember the screeching hatred of the man very well.)

    We are in a period of hyperpolarization in our politics, and while there has always been nastiness in politics (it was Harry Truman who said “if you can’t take the heat stay out of the kitchen” after all), it appears to me that bipartisanship has never been in such bad odor and people on both sides are screaming angry at each other in a way I don’t recall being quite so intense prior to about the early 1990s.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/cityofbrass Aziz Poonawalla

    I predicted your analogy to Lieberman in my post :)

    but your reflexive both-sides instincts are wrong. There is a systematic purge going on amongst the Republicans that is nothing like anything that ever happened on the left, even during the Bush years.

  • http://www.jaeddy.com John Eddy

    Actually the left, through Move On and other organizations, attempted an ideological purge during the Bush years (the aforementioned Joe Lieberman being a prime example). They just failed miserably because they went after folks who failed them on a single issue (support for the WOT). Tea Party targets tend to be folks whom the Tea Party looks at as indistinguishable from Democrats, or at least that’s the rationale they present.

    In addition, many long-term incumbents are being targeted by organizations simply for having been in office too long. A challenger is identified, supported, and the party gets to vote on whether or not to replace them. Personally I haven’t got a problem with any of this.

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    I’m just not seeing it your way on Lieberman, Aziz, because his ability to win an independent seat depended on a quirk of Connecticut law that doesn’t apply in a lot of states, and he managed to get re-elected in large part because Republicans crossed party lines in droves to support him, even having their own Republican candidate essentially drop out of the race to help him keep his seat–and even though on most issues he was and remains a progressive liberal.

    Lieberman is not seeking re-election this term, and I read that as being because he does not believe he can win his party’s nomination again, because too many Democrats just don’t like him anymore. And he might try running as a Republican, and even win, but he doesn’t want to do that because he *is* a Democrat. But the left called him a traitor for defending Bush policies.

    Lieberman was aggressively targeted by leftists who wanted him out because they were furious with him for not being united with them in their hatred of all things Bush, from what I can see, and Lieberman is only there because Connecticut Republicans (and national Republicans) helped him get re-elected over a more conservative Republican who might have challenged Ned Lamont.

    (Note: Lieberman also went to the Senate in the first place with the strong backing of Republicans who hated Lowell Weicker, the Republican Senator he replaced. William F. Buckley Jr., himself a Connecticut resident, was instrumental in helping that happen.)

    I also point again to the lukewarm at best response to the possible return of moderate Bob Kerrey from Nebraska, he being the only person to make it likely that Nebraska will send a Democrat to the Senate this year. Zell Miller: what was his crime, other than thinking George W. Bush was a good President and castigating his own party for putting obstructing Bush ahead of all other considerations? Zell Miller, whom it was repeatedly insinuated would switch sides and become a Republican when doing so would give control of the Senate to Republicans, but never did, saying “I’ll be a Democrat until the day I die.” (Lieberman’s had opportunities to switch sides and give the chamber to the Republicans too. He’s always refused.)

    Nor do I see anything unique about this moment in history, nor the President’s racial background being a primary component of anything. I remember very well just how vicious and nasty the Right was (and still is in a few cases) about Bill Clinton. You remember the repeat government shutdowns Republicans forced in showdowns with him, don’t you? (Politically they lost capital for doing that, arguably, but do it they did.)

    You may if you wish call this “Broderism,” but from where I stand it appears that seething hatred and dedicated obstructionism of whomever is in the White House appears to have been the normal state of affairs at least since the Clinton era, with only a very brief interim after 9/11 changing that (and it whipped back mighty fast). That’s three Presidents in a row. But no, wait, I remember now: George H.W. Bush (Poppy Bush) faced constant battles with a Democratic Congress that repeatedly sent him bills he said he would veto if they sent them to him, and instead of working with him they sent them on anyway. Now was that obstructionism on his part, or was it Democrats refusing to compromise even when they’d already had it repeatedly made clear by the President that he would be vetoing so many things they insisted on sending them to him? He campaigned heavily against what he called a “do-nothing Congress” that was bent on obstructionism (from his frame of reference) and while he lost, it was during his tenure that accusations that Congress was intentionally gumming things up just to make life tough on the President seems to have kicked into high gear.

    Let’s be clear: on a large number of issues, I’m more with Democrats than Republicans. I am extremely unhappy with today’s Republican party. So maybe this is High Broderism. Or maybe it’s my own variation of Megan McArdle’s law: in American politics, the party in power in the White House* is smug and arrogant, and the party out of power in the White House is insane.

    (* I added the “in the White House” bit, I think.)

    I think we’re in an era of intense polarization, that’s for sure.

  • http://gamepursuits.net/ipb/index.php?act=idx Sandi

    And the Tea Party claims another scalp: Sen. Richard Lugar.

    You say that as if they went after Lugar with no reason. Their reasoning maybe isn’t valid in the mind of someone on the left, because those that the tea party go after, are probably somewhat closer to leftist thinking than the tea party is comfortable with.

    However going after a party member because their views vary widely from what the party as a whole is a good thing, whether it is Tea Party or any other party. If those Tea Party views are popular with the electorate then they have a good chance of winning. If they are not popular views, then those campaigning on them won’t last long.

    Lugar released a remarkable, lengthy statement after his defeat that cuts to the core of the problem: bipartisanship is not the opposite of principle.

    Nothing remarkable at all about it; it was a concession speach. I have never heard anyone say Bipartisanship is the opposite of principle as Lugar seems to say some hold to. And what in the world is he doing with “policy on climate change” in there?

    Yes both sides are becoming less willing to compromise, and we need to improve that. However it is much worse on the left than the right. Maybe you would you care to discuss who has been offering compromise between the house and senate the last couple of years?

    One thing Lugar said really surprised me. “Our political system is losing its ability to even explore alternatives. Seems to me that Lugar is as guilty of that as anyone.

    I have just as much problem with ( the Republican Party especially) favoring candidates simply because they have been around longer, or when the slot is for President simply because it is their turn. The Democrat and Republican parties care much more about party power than the public good.

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    I agree that one problem is that both parties are far more obsessed with getting or holding power than they are getting things done, especially in the Congress.

  • fruitylips

    A few of the issues people refuse to compromise on because they’ve been screwed them too many times.

    I will not ever support a tax increase ever on anything. I’ve been told my whole life ‘we just need a little more money to get our fiscal house in order.’ Piss off. You balance the budget first and then we’ll talk.

    ‘We need comprehensive immigration reform and then we can fix the immigration problems.’ Tough…not playing that game again. Lock up the border and start throwing anyone who moved out of the country and locking up employers who hire illegals and I might consider the rest. We already did this dance and some how the hard part just got ignored.

    Heck, I can see why Democrats are the same way on trade issues. They’ve gotten screwed every time they compromise. Somehow the parts they care about never seem to materialize.

    You can only whip a dog so many times before he turns around and bites you. We’re well into the bitey stage.

    And screw Lugar. He was very much part of the problem. Of course, I celebrate pretty much anytime we throw an incumbent out of office.

  • Ruth H

    I think he was term limited. I don’t like the life time politicians, I don’t care which side they are on.
    I could use the same terms Dean and Fruitylips just wrote:
    I agree that one problem is that both parties are far more obsessed with getting or holding power than they are getting things done, especially in the Congress.
    And screw Lugar. He was very much part of the problem. Of course, I celebrate pretty much anytime we throw an incumbent out of office.