Packer traces the polarization back to Newt Gingrich. Starting with his Speakership, Packer says, Republicans have been exhibiting a “willingness—even an eagerness—to use every tactic short of law-breaking to demonize the opponent on the way to winning power.” And that, of course, includes this election.
“With Mitt Romney, there’s the extremism about taxes and about the Catholic Church and its conflict about contraception,” Davidson says. “And then there’s the ugliness as well in things like birtherism and in Mitt Romney’s flirtation with Donald Trump.”
Packer believes President Obama—who, he notes, “has always been skeptical of hard ideological lines,”—will have trouble in the current landscape. His lack of ideological stance “means that he’s having to start from scratch in assembling a clear argument that opposes the extremism” of the G.O.P.
Beyond this election, even if Romney loses, Packer predicts that Republicans will not relent, but will continue to bog down government and prevent a return to respectable politics. He quotes Barney Frank’s idea for a Democratic Party-wide slogan: “We’re not perfect, but they’re nuts.”
Source: new yorker
Author: Matthew McKnight