Brad DeLong Asks Exactly the Right Question of Very Respectable Centrists

Brad DeLong fascinates me: on policy issues, he is very centrist (at least in a sane political system), but unlike most centrists (or perhaps ‘pseudo-centrists’), he is able to fully grasp how batshitloonitarians and theocrats have completely overrun the Republican Party. DeLong wishes he had been able to ask Charles Mann and Norman Ornstein, two very respected (and ‘respectable’) political observers who have written a book that lays most of our political dysfunction at the Republican Party’s door, the following question (boldface mine):

“‘Look. You two are expecting normal politics to rein in a Republican Party gone bonkers extreme. But it will not work. The press corps will continue to say “he said, she said, yadda yadda yadda” either because they are gutless cowards or because they are bought. In a world of low-information voters, the bonkers extremism and sheer total meanness of the Republican Party will not get through. The only way it could get through would be if moderate Republican barons were to announce that they had had enough and were crossing the aisle, and if they did so in a way that they brought their affinities with them. But I don’t see Brent Scowcroft doing that, I don’t see Colin Powell doing that, I don’t see Greg Mankiw doing that, I don’t see Marty Feldstein doing that, I don’t see Gail Wilensky doing that, I don’t see Bob Dole doing that, I don’t see Jack Danforth doing that, I don’t see Richard Lugar doing that–and I don’t see you doing that, Mr. Ornstein. I don’t see you calling for the defeat of every single Republican candidate this fall and every fall until the party comes back to reality.

“‘And since all of you moderate Republicans are unwilling to take the only step that might fix the situation on your side, we have to take the only step open to us: We have to stop bringing a set of policy proposals and briefing papers to what the Republican Party has made a thermonuclear exchange. We have to oppose their noise, slime, and lie machine with a noise, disinfectant, and truth machine of our own–and at the same intensity.

“‘That means you moderates need to pick a side and fasten your seat belts, rather than wringing your hands about how the Republicans are being so mean, and you wish they would be less so.’

I’m glad to see DeLong calling out the enablers. Movement conservatives are a lost cause, but, as DeLong notes, we are well past the point of trying to find some Centrist Xandau. Time to spit on the hands, lower the pike, and drive them back.

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