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Calling All (Any?) Responsible Republicans

There are times when party politics should be set aside.  When the so-called Watergate affair (of which the break-in was only the tip of the iceberg), some Republicans–not enough, but some–stood up and questioned their party’s leader for attempting to subvert constitutional democracy.   In this decade, as the Bush-Cheney administration did Nixon one better, once again, some Republicans, though nowhere near enough, spoke up.

The question now, as lobbyist-backed nutcases, egged on by elected Republican officials, try to substitute delusion for reasoned debate, is: are there any Republican leaders with the integrity to say enough is enough?  It’s clear that some Republicans understand the death panel/euthanasia fantasies are "nuts" as Sen. Johnny Isaakson put it.  Will Isaakson–or supposed moderates like Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins forcefully denounce the utter lunacy being embraced by Sarah Palin, John Boehner, and Newt Gingrich?  

I think that’s the only way to plow through the blizzard of idiocy that passes for opposition to health care reform.  As long as Republicans fail to call out the lunacy of their own party, the traditional media will robotically continue its "balanced" coverage.  As Paul Krugman recently described it, balanced coverage means that if Democrats say the Earth is round and Republicans insist it’s flat, the media will report that both sides have a point.

Reasonable Republicans, if there are really are any, have a clear responsibility here.  For one thing, the deranged railings against creeping socialism are the predictable result of three decades of Republican railing against "big government". Last weekend, Newt Gingrich summed up that approach nicely, suggesting that he can’t guarantee there won’t be death panels set up to euthanize Palin’s child–after all, that would mean asking us to trust government.  When garbage like that is what passes for leadership in today’s Republican party, it’s past time for reasonable Republicans to truly put country first.

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Chris Edelson

Chris Edelson

Chris is a lawyer and professor at American University who writes frequently about current political and media issues. His writing has also been published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Metroland (Albany, NY), and at