Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Will the Last Moderate Republican't Turn out the Lights When They Leave the Party?

Every time I think they've hit the bottom of crazy, they plumb new depths.

[Still, he tried to persevere. “My ‘youthful idealism’ was that the party was going to change—that the fever would break. Boy, was I wrong. I think back now on the craziness that freaked me out in the party in 2007 and 2008 and it looks like child’s play.” Now, in between his work in law school, he’s started documenting some of that in journalism on how Republicans in his home state “went off the deep end,” turning Arizona into “a national laughing stock”—an apostate’s and native’s testimony. One of his articles describes bills “cloaked in the language of the Constitution” but which are actually “trying to challenge the very premise that we can have a Constitution of the United States.” One would require the federal government employees to register with local sheriffs when carrying out government business in their counties. Another would criminalize the regulation of harmful (or “harmless,” as the bill puts it) emissions; a third would require the state attorney general to seize federal assests if it “increases the ability of this state to generate revenue.” (“What the hell does that mean, as a practical matter?” I asked. He answered, “That’s the point. This isn’t practical. It would mean trying to seize any federal land, including military bases, if the state thought they could make better use of it.”)

From Evanston to Arizona, the loss of sane Republicans has been Democrats gain. Arizona has sent a majority Democratic delegation to Congress (“because Republicans have nominated candidates so far out of the mainstream”); “We have great Democratic mayors in Tucson and Phoenix who are doing incredible things to make those world-class cities.” And Kleiner? Last year he served as issues director for a 2012 congressional primary race fought by the young Democratic writer Andrei Cherny. He is just the kind of super-smart, motivated, talented up-and-comer that any political party would want in its bullpen. Now the Republicans have lost him for good. How many more?]

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