Yesterday The Times published a highly informative chart laying out the positions of the presidential candidates on major issues. It was, I’d argue, a useful reality check for those who believe that the next president can somehow usher in a new era of bipartisan cooperation.
For what the chart made clear was the extent to which Democrats and Republicans live in separate moral and intellectual universes.
On one side, the Democrats are all promising to get out of Iraq and offering strongly progressive policies on taxes, health care and the environment. That’s understandable: the public hates the war, and public opinion seems to be running in a progressive direction.
What seems harder to understand is what’s happening on the other side — the degree to which almost all the Republicans have chosen to align themselves closely with the unpopular policies of an unpopular president. And I’m not just talking about their continuing enthusiasm for the Iraq war. The G.O.P. candidates are equally supportive of Bush economic policies.
But they will NEVER say his name.
Insensate, torpid, rolling over on top of a vast pile of Christ-Not-Mas consumer widgets, the Conservative American belches forth a few more coded-racist nuggets of wisdom, eat-the-poor religious musings, and chooses from the steaming pile of insane neonazi bigots that is the GOP field. ‘All New!’ declares the label.
When I read things that Republicans say, I always get a clear image of something rustling down in the basement of the Amityville Horror house, something that lives near The Wall. Scrabbly claws and tiny rows of pointed teeth, stretched in a crooked grin, wetly chuckling.