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From the "Man, I Wish I'd Said That" Department:

Every now and then you run across a political meme that's like a hit song. Doesn't matter if you like it, or agree with it, you just know, on first listen, "This could be a monster."

I saw one today in the Times-Picayune letters section I thought readers here might enjoy.

Under the deceptively banal headline of Where have all the moderate Republicans gone? letter-writer Dan Purrington begins a familiar lament:

Does anyone remember the term "moderate Republican?" For those too young to recall, it dates from a time when there were actually two parties that occupied the political center in this country -- one slightly left, and the other a bit right of center. How long ago that seems today!

Yada, yada. Can't we all just get along? Kumbaya from the hymnal of the Church of St. Broder, right? But in the next graf, Purrington sets up the coup:

Sadly, today's Republican Party is a right-wing party, motivated by many of the same prejudices that drive the European right -- especially racism and xenophobia, but also anger and intolerance of differing views. Does anyone really believe that the hatred among Republicans of our first black president is not heavily laced with out-and-out racism?

Oh, my God! Did he call us--gasp--European???

Oh, he sure did. And, calmly, relentlessly, he lays out all the sweet, sweet logical argument to make it stick:

The religious litmus test that any Republican candidate must pass, for all practical purposes an oath of commitment to evangelical Christianity, is typical of the narrow-mindedness of the current GOP and much more in tune with right-wing European movements than the religious moderation on which this country was founded.

As if to prove this dazzling ju-jitsu wasn't a one-time fluke, Purrington deftly turns another shibboleth on its head, this one a Friedman relic. In his analysis, there really is a felt need for a third party in America, not a far right Tea-had or a lovely Green space for "true" leftists, but a moderate, center-right party. To fill the void left by the extinct GOP.

Rarely would I ever devote a whole diary to an LTE ('less it was my own, of course), but Purrington's piece is truly a masterwork, worthy of a full read and further study. As a purveyor and critic of political rhetoric, who believes "propaganda" is not a dirty word, I am in awe.

Bravo, Mr. Purrington, whoever you are. Damn fine work.

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