Sunday, September 02, 2012

Sane Republicans: Rare and Endangered, But They Do Exist

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As some of you may have noticed, one of my interests is in finding and cataloguing a rare breed known as the Sane Republican. Alas, not only is it a rare breed, it’s getting rarer.
They’re being hunted to near extinction by other species such as the Raging Right-Winged Moonbat and the Red-Faced Red-State Howler Monkey. Yet, this plucky species continues to live on, and can be sighted if you’re paying attention.
Let’s start by heading to upstate New York, where first-term Republican Congressman Richard Hanna told The Syracuse Post Standard that he was “frustrated” by how much “we — I mean the Republican Party — are willing to give deferential treatment to our extremes at this point in history.”
As a specific example, Hanna mentioned the demand of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Insane Asylum) and other right-wingers that Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, be investigated for Islamic extremist ties, not for any action of hers, but because some of her family members were “connected” (in ways not specified by Bachmann) to “Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations.”
Hanna responded to this bit of neo-McCarthyism by noting that “we render ourselves incapable of governing when all we do is take severe sides.”
Normally, such reasonable statements, especially as they relate to Congresswoman Crazy Eyes, would be the equivalent of painting a set of cross hairs on your forehead. But Hanna survived a challenge from a candidate favored by the tea party (remember them?) back in June. It remains to be seen what will happen when he faces Democrat Dan Lamb in November.
Next let’s head down to Utah, aka the Beehive State, the only state I know of that has its own official state firearm (the Browning M1911 automatic pistol). Utah’s Republican governor, Gary Herbert, recently responded to an Obama administration proposal to relax some of the federal work requirements for welfare recipients for states who wished to try their own projects. The requirements for participation were that state plans (a) get more people working and (b) produce verifiable results.
Herbert did not, however, repeat the Romney administration’s repeatedly refuted falsehood that the proposal “gutted” work requirements, and would lead to people just “sitting around and getting a welfare check.”
You’d think giving states greater flexibility in implementing federal programs would be regarded as a good thing by Republicans. But the Romneyites weren’t going to miss a chance to throw a little race-baiting — OK, a lot of race-baiting — into the campaign by resurrecting the well-worn specter of the lazy “welfare queen” from the Reagan years, and never mind the fact that such an accusation was a blatant lie.
Herbert, on the other hand, is trying to get stuff done. He told The Huffington Post that “the idea of flexibility is something that all states want to have,” and that his own state had asked for one of the waivers.
He disagrees with the administration’s method of implementation, contending that it has to be done through Congress, but that’s actually a reasonable argument to have, in contrast with the hysterical ranting of a proven lie, which is what RomneyCorp has chosen.
Also in the Beehive State, we find Republican Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. When President Obama announced, to howls of rage from the right, that he’d no longer be using federal resources to deport children of illegal immigrants if they met certain conditions, Shurtleff called it “clearly within the president’s power” and pronounced himself “pleased” with the decision.
“Law enforcement makes decisions based on the resources available to them,” Shurtleff said. “The administration is saying, ‘Here’s a group we could be spending our resources going after, but why? They’re Americans, they see themselves as Americans, they love this country.” Exactly.
There are others, of course. But sadly, the Republican herd often drives the moderates and even the mildly sane out of the fold, like former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, who’ll be speaking at the Democratic Convention.
Because, you see, there’s a word for what used to be called “moderate Republicans.” The word is “Democrats.” A goodly number of current Democratic positions, including the Affordable Care Act, were ideas from the Republican Party, before it completely lost its mind.
If you’re a moderate Republican who doesn’t feel at home in the GOP anymore, you might consider jumping ship. And if that suggestion fills you with scorn or apoplectic rage, you’re not one of the people I was talking to.


Dana King said...

I saw Jon Hunstman on Colbert this week. He might--might--qualify, as well. he shows all the signs of cogent and reasonable thought.

JD Rhoades said...


Anonymous said...

During primary season, I thought Mitt Romney was this election's Jimmy Carter. Now he might be Barry Goldwater, leading an increasingly irrelevant party back into the wilderness for a decade or two.

Dana King said...

Thanks for the link. Now that you remind me, I remember this. Sending along to The Beloved Spouse. She liked what she saw of Huntsman, and will even more after reading that.

I've been a Democrat for years, but I wish there were more reasonable Republicans and viable third party candidates. A better mix would be good for keeping everyone--voters included--a little more flexible.

Joe said...

JD... In addition to Utah and its Browning M1911 semi-auto pistol, Arizona named the Colt 1873 Peacemaker revolver as its state firearm in 2011.

Earlier this year, my home state of Indiana named the "Grouseland Rifle" as its official state firearm. This muzzle loader was crafted around 1803 by Indiana gunsmith John Small, who crafted rifles, pistols, and tomahawks for many of the great historical figures in the Northwest Territory (including George Rogers Clark and William Clark).

DiscoDollyDeb said...

The existence of a few "sane" Republicans is no bulwark against the reactionary nature of the party which has become progressively more insulated since Reagan was elected in 1980.

I like what Dana said about needing a better mix in our parties. It's never good for a democracy when a two-party system has only one party that reasonably represents the general ethnic/racial/social make-up of the country. We can't have the important discussions we need to have about, well, everything when one party can only parrot the white, southern, evangelical line.