Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Observations from the Coffee Shop 4.5

Just a copy of the transcript of Chris Matthews' final segment on "Hard Ball" last night. I don't usually just post other peoples words but I thought this was very good on the day President Obama announced his re-election bid. I wish there was somebody to push him just a little but I don't see who it could be in the Republican Party. I think it's a political party that has truly sold its soul to the rich, the corporations, and the far right religious zealots. I don't see how it can ever turn back now.

"Let Me Finish tonight with what I see happening to one of this country‘s historic political parties. The Republican Party has given us great moderate leaders in the past: Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower. It‘s given us flawed leaders who are nonetheless great Americans, I think of Ulysses S. Grant, for example, who won the Civil War and was a true believer in reconstruction after the war.

I don‘t know where the tradition I‘ve just described broke off and this new thing took over. I think it was passage of the Civil Rights bill back in ‘64, when the enemies of civil rights flipped from the party of Jefferson to the party of Strom Thurmond. Or maybe it was the Supreme Court ruling banning prayer in public school. But what we have today is a different, deeply different, Republican Party than the one that fought slavery and championed conservation in the old days.

I listen to Palin and Gingrich and Bachmann and Huckabee and what they believe. I listen to Romney and Pawlenty and now Trump trying to talk their language and I think we‘re talking something very different from the mainstream Republicanism, the kind that has long won in the independent, moderate suburbs, won with the people I grew up with, with my family, actually. Palin talks like thinking isn‘t necessary; it may not even be good for people. Gingrich uses his mind to say truly hateful things. Huckabee is a theocrat, someone who statements about the Mideast are downright incendiary. Mitt Romney knows better. So does Pawlenty. I‘d hate to see Haley Barbour start dueling in these woods. He might be smart enough to beat those folks at their own game.

But beware, Haley, or anyone else who‘s thinking of joining the jamboree. The evidence out there is that the Republican Party today, you can‘t say you believe in science, you can‘t say you believe in evolution or in climate change or in gay rights, or even in separation of church and state. If you do, you lose the zealots, and the zealots will be waiting for you in Iowa to make sure you eat your words.

John McCain tried to beat them, the zealots, once. The family values types went after his family. George Bush‘s father tried to take them on. Ronald Reagan managed to charm them, but he was a rarity. The danger today is that the only way to win the Republican Party presidential nomination is to get past the gatekeepers of the right, and they aren‘t looking to let anybody past who isn‘t dead right like them.

Maybe this is God‘s will, that Obama not have a reasonable opponent out there. How‘s that for an incendiary statement?"