Denialists, Whiners, and Wackjobs... Begala on the GOP
I used to think Republicans were a monochromatic monolith specializing in Group Think, though without the Think part. The Republicans’ reaction to the reelection of Barack Obama, however, has shown a surprising diversity in GOP thought. At least five distinct -approaches have emerged.
The Vince Lombardi Republicans. Political parties exist to win, this group says. If you don’t win, you can’t enact your agenda, can’t protect your values, can’t advance your cause. The Lombardi Republicans are pragmatic. They saw President Obama win 72 percent of the Latino vote—the fastest-growing segment of the -electorate—and they had a “Ven a Jesús” moment. Right-wing radio and TV personality Sean Hannity, who used to assail even the modest DREAM Act as “amnesty,” now supports a more comprehensive—and dare I say, -liberal—immigration policy. Since the election, Speaker John Boehner has looked with favor on passing immigration reform, and GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is reportedly working with N.Y. Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer to fashion an immigration compromise.
Same with taxes. Bill Kristol, the influential conservative intellectual who served in the Bush 41 White House and runs The Weekly Standard, took to the airwaves days after the Obama victory and said, “It won’t kill the country if Republicans raise taxes a little bit on millionaires.”
This pragmatic strain is in keeping with the finest traditions of Republicanism. As you can see in Steven Spielberg’s masterful Lincoln, the Great Emancipator was also a great pragmatist. And none other than Ronald Reagan, the alpha and the omega of modern conservatism, signed both a progressive immigration-reform law and numerous tax increases.