As much as I enjoy the schadenfreude of the two decade old Republican ideological purity civil war, I can’t help but think of how much damage it is doing to our nation. Think about that for a moment. Due to the purging of moderate and liberal Republicans since 1992 and the purging of non-tea party movement Republicans in the last four years, our nation has been damaged and is being damaged.
Republicans who supported unions, public education, investments in infrastructure, strong environmental laws and the social safety net are either no longer in elected office (at all levels) or are in elected office but are too scared to support what they once did. They have been replaced or are scared of being replaced by corporate backed socially conservative ideologues. This is not to say that Republicans haven’t always been the pro-business party, but before 1992, they always put the nation first when needed.
Instead of working with Democrats to negate the effects of the “Great Recession”, the Republicans have been focused on anything but. The primary goal is to make sure that the economy doesn’t recover in a meaningful way until a Republican is once again President. This is why we had the fight over the “debt ceiling” and now the “sequestration”. This is why we haven’t had a second and much needed stimulus package. This is why vote after vote in the House of Representatives is to defund the Affordable Care Act. This is why it took the House of Representatives 100 days to pass the Senate version of the Hurricane Sandy relief package.
And not all of this treasonous (yes, I believe it is treasonous) intransigence is economic. Take for instance the Republican drumbeat attack on the nominee for Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, a Republican, decorated Vietnam Vet and former Senator. For the first time ever, a nominee for Secretary of Defense is being filibustered. This unprecedented filibuster, even if broken, weakens the effectiveness Mr. Hagel should he become Secretary of Defense. This is not what the nation needs. This is not what the nation deserves.
So, why we may be gleeful about the Republican ideological purity civil war, we need to be mindful of the damage it is doing to our nation.