There are persistent rumors that some rambunctious Republicans are going to go rogue and take up the art of politics and governing just like in the old days.

Running in the other direction is the promise by the crazies to shut down the government if they don't get the Affordable Care Act repealed.

Those of us who are not Republicans have a dog in this fight over the soul of the GOP.

The roots of civil rights law are in the Republican Abraham Lincoln.

The roots of anti-trust law are in the Republican Theodore Roosevelt.

The top marginal tax rate of over 90%, and much major wealth-spreading and education-spreading took place under the Republican Dwight Eisenhower.

If the Republicans had not voted with the mainstream Democrats to break the Dixiecrat filibuster, we would not have gotten the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Republicans used to be interested in governing rather than burning witches, but there's a whole generation of voters out there with no experience of sane Republicans, and it's a damn shame.

When I lived in Indiana, I used to lobby my senators about foreign policy.  I was much more satisfied with the responses from the Republican Dick Lugar than from the Democrat Evan Baye.  This would be the same Sen. Lugar who co-sponsored with Sen. Obama a bill to fund the decommissioning of Soviet nukes and deliver the resulting power plant fuel to the US.  The same Dick Lugar who subsequently got primaried by the witch hunter branch of the GOP.

While they were both funded ultimately by corporate interests, there used to be two parties with differing ideas about the role of government and both parties used to be interested in governing rather than running about with pitchforks and torches.  To that end, they worked toward the common good by their own lights.  

The Democrats had since the New Deal been a permanent numerical majority because they represented the working class and the Republicans represented big business.

Neither side denied this, and the Republicans would win when they had a beloved leader on their ticket (Eisenhower) or when the Democrats split (Nixon).

Then the Democrats ran off the Dixiecrats, the racists, the final straw being the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  The Dixiecrats went Republican.

The so-called "Moral Majority" quickly gave up on influencing the Democrats in the seventies, when their religious program, consciously anti-sex, played out as anti-women just when women were coming to leadership.  The Moral Majority went Republican.

A group of intellectuals devoted to perpetual American military hegemony even at the cost of perpetual war, the neo-conservatives, abandoned the Democratic Party en masse over the influence of the peace wing that hadn't seen a war they liked since WWII.  The neocons went Republican.

All these disgruntled ex-Democrats found a home together in the minority party and they have set about cleansing it to their liking.

The questions for our time are two.

Will the voters buy domestic policy from the Moral Majority and foreign policy from the neocons in one package?

If not, will the GOP survive?  Will the conservatives who really want to govern become Democrats or start their own show?  People who really want the responsibility of governing don't remain independents for long.

I suggest that if we wind up in a period of one party rule, very little lasting good will come of that.  There are legitimate arguments about democracy as multi-party or two party, and points in favor of each.  There is no sensible argument for one party rule—state, federal, or tribal.

Remember this before dancing on the Republican grave.  There's a lot of history for the GOP to be proud of, along with missteps easily matched by Democratic missteps.

There will be no democracy without a loyal opposition, but what we have now in opposition are at best disloyal and at worst lunatics.

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