It’s not enough for just some of us to prosper. Alongside our famous individualism, there’s another ingredient in the American saga: a belief that we’re all connected as one people. If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me — even if it’s not my child. If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer — even if it’s not my grandparent. If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It is that fundamental belief: I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.
Make no mistake. Recalling Scott Walker is a big honking deal. America is full these days of Republican governors who overreached, and whose political support is trembly at best, whether it’s Snyder in Michigan, or Kasich in Ohio, or Bat Boy down in Florida. Bringing down Walker would bring more heat on all these guys, to say nothing of energizing labor for the campaigns ahead. Anybody who doesn’t recognize the Wisconsin recall as a national event hasn’t been paying attention. Certainly, the Republicans recognize it as such; Walker’s been in Wisconsin less than Ryan Braun has in the past few months.
We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.
The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.
When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.