Monday, December 21, 2009

Where have the ideas gone?

Jonathan Chait's article, "The Rise of Republican Nihilism" published today in The New Republic is well worth reading. In it, Chait examines the following idea:

The question isn’t whether the Republican Party has any ideas. The question is whether the party has any relevant ideas.

It's a fascinating piece, as is the companion piece, "Women’s Suffrage and Other Visions of Right-Wing Apocalypse", which takes a look at classic Republican quotes in opposition to social reform like women's suffrage, Medicare, and a national minimum wage. While they're all good, my personal favorites from this list include:

“[T]he child will become a very dominant factor in the household and might refuse perhaps to do chores before six a.m. or after seven p.m. or to perform any labor.”
—Senator Weldon Heyburn (R-ID), in 1908, on why child labor should remain unregulated

“It is destroying the amicable relations between the white and Negro races that have been created through 90 years of patient effort by the good people of both races. It has planted hatred and suspicion where there has been heretofore friendship and understanding.”
—Senator Strom Thurmond (D-SC), Senator Richard Russell (D-GA), and other Southern legislators, in 1956, describing the perils of integrating public schools

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