Not to say politicians aren’t entitled to their opinions, but should they state them so forcefully?

Who can forget Ross Perot’s flat-out assertion that NAFTA, if passed, would lead to a “giant sucking sound” as our jobless rate soared? Over and over again he said this. And with such disdain for anyone not bright enough to see it!

The thing about Ross: It’s just all so obvious to him. A giant sucking sound.

Of course, NAFTA and GATT have been in place for some time now and the jobless rate, at 4.6%, is near its lowest rate in decades. And still Perot calls everyone who disagrees with him (on any issue) a moron.

And here’s another, even more important example:

As Newsweek‘s Jonathan Alter pointed out a couple of weeks ago, there was not a single Republican vote for the Clinton economic plan in 1993. Not one. (It was a plan that, among other things, raised taxes on the highest-income Americans to help balance the budget and get interest rates down.)

The Republican chorus: It would wreck the economy. “It will kill jobs and lead to a recession,” Alter quotes Newt Gingrich as having said. Phil Gramm said there was “no possibility” we would see any economic growth if taxes on the best-off were raised. “This plan will not work,” said Republican budget-expert John Kasich.

Every single Republican voted no … and five years later we’ve added 16 million jobs, balanced the budget, seen interest rates fall, and watched the stock market double.

There are millions of good Republicans … even including some in Congress. But I’m scared when the leadership has gotten so polarized, when the battle has taken on such … fervor.

Religion is, of course, a wonderful thing. But, especially when it gets mixed up in governance, it can go too far. Queen Isabella boasted, 500 years ago, “I have caused great calamities. I have depopulated provinces and kingdoms. But I did it for the love of Christ and his Holy Mother.” Ouch.

Not for a moment to suggest that any Republican leaders actually approve of snipers murdering doctors or bombing clinics, or thugs beating, burning and crucifying homosexuals. But the influence of the Christian right on the Republican party has, in my view, become disproportional. If only every moderate Republican would run to the polls November 3 and vote overwhelmingly Democratic, this one time, to send the Republican leadership an unmistakable message: America must not become a theocracy controlled by wealthy televangelists. (They should have their say, of course, but not control of the party unless their views are shared by a majority of the party – which polls suggest they are not.)

Then we could go back to electing good Republicans, of whom there are many, right along with good Democrats.



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