HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » The destruction of politi...

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 09:07 AM

The destruction of political norms started decades ago. Here's how it happened.

By E.J. Dionne Jr. Opinion writer June 18 at 7:08 PM

Let it be said that for one lovely moment, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi responded exactly as those in authority should to a shocking assault on human lives and our political system. After last Wednesday’s shooting on a baseball field, both spoke in a spirit of thoughtful solidarity and genuinely mutual concern. Kudos to them.

Unfortunately, so much else that has been said over the past few days is — I will use a family-oriented term — balderdash. We are not, alas, about to enter some new age of civility because of this terrible episode. And our divisions are not just a matter of our failing to speak nicely of and to each other, even though politeness is an underrated virtue these days.

The harsh feelings in our politics arise from a long process — the steady destruction of the norms of partisan competition that began more than a quarter-century ago. Well before President Trump took political invective to a new level, Newt Gingrich was pushing his side to extreme forms of aggressiveness. Journalist John M. Barry cited an emblematic 1978 speech Gingrich gave to a group of College Republicans in which he warned them off “Boy Scout words, which would be great around the campfire, but are lousy in politics.”

“You’re fighting a war,” the future House speaker said. “It is a war for power. . . . Don’t try to educate them. That is not your job. . . . What’s the primary purpose of a political leader? . . . To build a majority.”

Gingrich won his majority in 1994, but the cost was high. This is not to say that Democrats were pacifists. But I’d argue that the critical shift happened on the Republican side. The turning point came when President George H.W. Bush was punished by members of his own party, including Gingrich, for agreeing with Democrats on the need for a tax increase in 1990. It was a watershed for the GOP. Republicans would never again repeat what they saw as the elder Bush’s “mistake.”

more
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-destruction-of-political-norms-started-decades-ago-heres-how-it-happened/2017/06/18/0a963bf6-52d3-11e7-91eb-9611861a988f_story.html

4 replies, 1730 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply The destruction of political norms started decades ago. Here's how it happened. (Original post)
DonViejo Jun 19 OP
beachbum bob Jun 19 #1
marybourg Jun 19 #2
WePurrsevere Jun 19 #3
smirkymonkey Jun 19 #4

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 09:22 AM

1. Gringrich was masterful in his scorched earth approach....

Today is the end result where again a center-left country is under control at state, local and national levels of right wingers....goes back to fact we democrats waited too late to take up the fight. Now we play catch up.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 10:40 AM

2. Yes, the debasebent of our political

system and culture started with the Gingrich crowd.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 01:20 PM

3. Newt's definitely a major player in this nastiness...

Political parties have historically been at odds and quite often even fairly nasty to each other however what I've seen in the last 40+ years or so has been an incredible ramping up of attacking Democrats/Liberals as an 'enemy' and anti-American and not just the 'opposition' by Rs while most Dems kept trying to play nice... until recently.

Another huge and often overlooked player at the root of this is a man named Lewis Powell who wrote the Powell Memorandum.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_F._Powell_Jr.#Powell_Memorandum

This doesn't even go into the ditching of the Fairness Doctrine by Reagan and the take over of MSM by Republican owners/corporations.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Mon Jun 19, 2017, 01:21 PM

4. K&R

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread