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Republican Radicalism - Historical Perspective

Geoffrey Kabaservice provides a good historical perspective on Republican radicalism in Anarchy in the House. Some excerpts:

Republicans aren’t big fans of Karl Marx, but perhaps they should ponder his observation that history repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce. As preposterous presidential candidates dominate the polls and extremists topple congressional leaders, the Republican Party is headed for a replay of the catastrophic Goldwater revolt of the early 1960s. ...
The radicals who coalesced around Senator Barry Goldwater’s insurgent presidential campaign were zealots. They had no interest in developing a governing agenda. Their program consisted mainly of getting rid of the New Deal and every other government effort to promote the general welfare. As Goldwater famously wrote: “My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones.” ...
Once again, the battle is between Republicans who want to govern and those who don’t. The radicals have no realistic alternative solutions of their own. ...
InsideGov, a government watchdog site, recently came up with a list of the least effective members of Congress, as determined by the percentage of bills they sponsored that went on to pass committee. Ideological extremism correlates closely with legislative impotence. ...
The Republican Party’s unhappy ideological adventure in the early ’60s ended in disaster. Goldwater not only lost the election in a landslide, but he dragged down the entire Republican ticket. The main result of conservative overreach was to hand President Lyndon B. Johnson the liberal supermajority he needed to pass Medicare and Medicaid.
- Geoffrey Kabaservice, Anarchy in the House, New York Times, Sept. 29, 2015


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