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Thomas Friedman thinks the Republican Party has troubles, deep troubles, that will require it to undergo a painful decades long rebuilding process, similar to what he suggests President Clinton and the D.L.C. did with the Democratic Party in 1985, if they wish to ever have the chance to win back the White House. In Send in the Clowns Friedman castigates the G.O.P. for failure to ratify The U.N. Convention of the Rights of People With Disabilities, which was negotiated by former President George Bush, while former Republican Sensate majority leader Bob Dole, a veteran, watched in a wheelchair to show support, and sees this as a new watermark for how low the GOP has sunk.  

But if Republicans continue to be led around by, and live in fear of, a base that denies global warming after Hurricane Sandy and refuses to ban assault weapons after Sandy Hook — a base that would rather see every American’s taxes rise rather than increase taxes on millionaires — the party has no future. It can’t win with a base that is at war with math, physics, human biology, economics and common-sense gun laws all at the same time. ...

The G.O.P. today needs its own D.L.C. The Democratic Leadership Council was founded by a group of Democratic governors and activists, led by Bill Clinton, in 1985 to lead the party back to the center from a failing leftward course that had resulted in it being repeatedly shut out of the presidency, except after Watergate. I asked Clinton’s pollster, Stan Greenberg, what Republicans could learn from the Clinton/D.L.C. experience.

“There is a lot of pain,” said Greenberg. “You can’t change the party without pain. You can’t just make some head-fakes to Hispanics.” The D.L.C., he noted, started by building an organization over 10 years and by running more centrist Democrats “in the primaries.” It didn’t just wait to pivot to the center in the general election. It fought for and educated the Democrat base in the primaries, by D.L.C. candidates running in support of free trade, Nafta and welfare reform. “With Clinton, we won the primaries in a way that defined us, so that he could run in the general election as the candidate of broad appeal.” That fractured the party and produced Ralph Nader, which cost Al Gore the 2000 election. But after losing that election, said Greenberg, the Democrats came together around a moderate-left core and did not engage “in dysfunctional primaries.”

Friedman closes by warning that "we don't have a decade to wait for a G.O.P. D.L.C." to emerge, and calls for existing Republican Party leaders to stand up and propose sane compromises on the budget battle right now. Up until this point, Friedman's analysis was developing a compelling credibility, which he sadly loses in this last fanciful sentence. Sadly, the G.O.P. does not appear the have any political leaders with the pre-requisite combination of wisdom, sanity, and courage to stand up to take up this banner to lead the GOP in a more rational direction.  

But, he has stimulated my creative juices so much, a potential breakthrough idea popped out. Seeing how problematic the D.L.C.'s role has been for the more progressive wing of the Democratic Party, what if we donated it to the GOP?  Perhaps, this could be the kind of win-win breakthrough solution we've all been looking for? They could hit the ground running with the same center-right proposals they already have been running for the last decades and wouldn't even have to print up new literature. And, then, the rest of us in the Democratic Party could move back in a left-ward direction towards where the "center" used to be.

Perhaps, not as far to the left as former Republican Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan, but steps, in the right direction. We have to start where we are.  


P.S. My understanding is that a Homeland Security S.W.A.T. team, of combined F.B.I, C.I.A, and N.S.A. agents has dug up former President Eisenhower's body, and is holding it for questioning and forensic analysis at an undisclosed State intelligence "fusion center" for suspected communist or terrorists influences. {snark alert - some elements of this last sentence may contain satire not intended to be a factual rendition of actual classified domestic intelligence operations.}

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think the GOP realizes this (8+ / 0-)

    on some social issues, but not economic issues yet...

    Maybe that's to be expected. Republican billionaires have never cared about social issues, but they sure don't want to pay any more in taxes or wages...Citizens United will complicate that.

    But our recent election may have shown big money less relevant than we feared?

    As a member of Courtesy Kos, I am dedicated to civility and respect for all kossacks, regardless of their opinions, affiliations, or cliques.

    by joedemocrat on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 02:07:03 PM PST

    •  He also has some great quotations warning of the (5+ / 0-)

      likely escalation of the influence of the military industrial complex. Although, most felt it impossible to imagine at the time, my understanding is that President Eisenhower warned people, that a day might come where our the MIC might become so strong  that people would consider cutting back on essential social services rather than cut back on military expenditures, even after wars were over.

      If you took some of these quotes and just put them up without attribution, and gave a multiple choice test, I suspect that many would guess his quotes were from far-left communists, or even "who-even-knows" potential terrorists.  

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 02:20:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  He also said (0+ / 0-)

      "Plans are nothing; planning is everything."

      Doesn't sound at all like a modern Republican, does it?

  •  Ike sold us out & gave us Nixon, Nixon established (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, big mouth

    A criminal element in the GOP. He also catered to the racists.

  •  Perhaps the sanest and smartest thing he's written (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, historys mysteries

    in years, perhaps ever. I dream for a successful movement within the GOP to sap it of its crazy energy and passion. It would not only bring the GOP back to the land of the sane, but move the goalposts far leftward to a point where we could actually get good things done and not have to lard every offer and deal we make with unnecessary giveways intended to make us look "reasonable".

    When Dems offering to raise top tax rates only to 42% is considered to be too conservative is when this country will make sense again.

    I wonder if DeMint leaving the senate portends of such things?

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 02:29:59 PM PST

    •  DeMint leaving the Senate portends that someone (0+ / 0-)

      bought DeMint out. Maybe he saw how the trends were going as far as Senate numbers and started soliciting his wingnut welfare parachute early.

      I don't really think any GOP Senator (aside from Inhofe) is really a true believer. As with most of the top GOP spots, they're mostly grifters and I think they're starting to sense that the herd they've been skinning alive for decades is starting to catch on to them. I'd expect more of them to be keeping an eye on the emergency exits, especially if 2014 doesn't go their way.

      The last time the Republicans were this radical, they were working to elect former slaves to Congress. What a difference a century and a half makes!

      by jayjaybear on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 03:04:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Friedman remembers a different DLC... (0+ / 0-)

    ...than is my recollection.

    The DLC contolled the "new" funding of the Democratic party in an attempt to displace Organized Labor as the principle funding engine. The GOP cannot replicate that formula: the Establishment wing already has near exclusive control over the funds.

    So what are they going to do? "Acquire" new activists?

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 03:03:09 PM PST

  •  Actually... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Buzzer, Wolf10, Egalitare

    The GOP don't need their version of the DLC. The current DLC that's busy hurtling the Democratic Party to the Right need to return to their home Republican Party and fix the shit they fucked up over there.

    The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

    by cybrestrike on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 03:06:45 PM PST

    •  Seriously? (0+ / 0-)

      Yes, that's exactly what we need; to NARROW the appeal of the Democratic Party and cast out people who don't share every single one of our convictions.

      •  When that selfsame DLC is plotting... (5+ / 0-) cut Social Security, advocate raising the Medicare eligibility age, leave unions swinging in the wind after promising to give them help (in the form of EFCA), aquiesce to the forced birth advocates with the odious Stupak Amendment, and water down legislation to help prevent Wall Street from further crippling the economy, amongst countless other times they've slowed down or halted progress that helps regular people outright, they can get the fuck out.

        They gave us Welfare "Reform". It was a disaster.

        They gave us the financial deregulation. It was a disaster.

        They passed the Heritage Foundation's baby, the ACA. Insurance companies get more free money as unnecessary and irredeemably corrupt middle men.

        They let Big Energy treat our air like an open sewer and our water supply like a rotten smelling port-a-potty.

        They gave us half-assed policies that people saw was weaksauce from a mile away.

        They embraced conservative policies (because of the $$$) and tainted the Democratic Party with the stigma of weakness. Wonder why we can't have a Democrat as Secretary of Defense, and actual Liberal Democrats in more prominent cabinet positions? Thank the DLC, the idiots who think lighting themselves halfway on fire will appease the maniacs who want them to completely light themselves on fire while singing the National Anthem and dancing the Charleston.

        I have no time for the DLC and their shitty policies.

        The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

        by cybrestrike on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 03:35:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes - every club has standards (3+ / 0-)

        Or have you already forgot "He's with us on everything but the war" Lieberman.

  •  What does the GOP need most? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A core message to enfranchise every-day voters.

    All they're offering is hate, austerity, and exclusion.

    Ain't gonna fly.

    They are destined to become a minority party within my lifetime.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 03:36:31 PM PST

  •  Nice to see a journalist comforting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the afflicted  ... writing on a par with Robinson Jeffers and other socially conscious crusaders ......

  •  Truthfully, I hope the GOP continues (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, HoundDog

    its hard core purity test and purging on itself...
    They will become less and less able to govern.
    Most likely splintering into two parties.
    Of course in the mean time they will become more hard core as they go down swinging.

    Great Diary

  •  and if we are lucky, while waiting for this... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Freidman will hold his breath.

  •  Friedman prescribes center-right centrism (0+ / 0-)

    And water continues to be wet.

    Basically, he wants both parties to support all the same issues and agree with him on everything. I want that too!

  •  Friedman is such an ass. (0+ / 0-)

    The DLC was founded in 1985, because Dems had been "repeatedly" shut out of the Presidency, due to leftward shift?


    Let's see.

    !932: D
    1936: D
    1940: D
    1044: D
    1948: D
    1952: R
    1956: R
    1960: D
    1964: D
    1968: R
    1972: R
    1976: D
    1980: R
    1984: R

    Hmm. Dems "repeatedly" shut out because of a failing leftward course? That's funny, because it looks more like the pattern is, D gets elected, then R gets elected, then D gets elected, then R gets elected. Yeah, Carter didn't get re-elected, but that wasn't because he was some kind of hippie.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 02:35:25 AM PST

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