Even GOP Warhorses Can See How Far the Party has Fallen

When you consider some of the sources, you have to recognize that the crescendo of criticism directed at today’s Republican Party must be taken seriously. Republicans like John McCain and John Kasich are certainly not moderates by anyone’s standards. But even these GOP warhorses have had more than enough of the Ted Cruz faction that has taken over their party.

I don’t care how “conservative” you are, you cannot be comfortable with the dangerous demagoguery and outright sabotage that some Republican Party leaders are engaging in. Kicking Democrats around is one thing; kicking your country around is something else.

Of course, kicking your fellow-citizens when they’re down is nothing new for the GOP. But Governor Kasich told the New York Times recently he is “concerned about the fact there seems to be a war on the poor.”

When liberals like me talk about a war on the poor, you might dismiss it as partisan rhetoric, but when Kasich says it, you have to set aside your personal politics and accept the sad truth – the Republican Party has fallen under the control of some radically wicked people.

Kasich is one of the few Republican governors sane enough to join the Obamacare roll-out.The other Republican states are doing their best to assure the program’s failure. As you might expect, the Tea Party activists immediately turned on Kasich, branding him a RINO (Republican in Name Only).

But as a result of Kasich’s decision to defy his party’s policy of revolt, Ohio residents who qualify for expanded Medicaid under the new health care law will be able to collect federal subsidies to help pay for the premiums. The poor in other Republican-ruled states will not.

This is the same John Kasich who did his best to break the unions in his state and who is kicking thousands of poor families off food stamps if the breadwinners don’t get a job or join an approved job training program pronto.

Obviously this man is no bleeding heart liberal. I wouldn’t even call him a moderate. Here’s what Salon’s Joan Walsh (one of my favorite pundits) says about the GOP governor:

I’m finding it hard to give Kasich a whole lot of credit for bucking his party and backing the poor. The son of a postal carrier, he turned his back on his working-class roots and went to work for Lehman Brothers Holdings after Congress (you can see my “Hardball” debate about that here). Then he turned on public employees when he gutted their collective bargaining rights soon after becoming governor; voters rebuked him the next year by passing a ballot initiative to reverse the measure. Kasich has been working hard to regain the popularity he lost in that battle as he gears up for reelection next year.

As for John McCain, well, I’m sure you know how “moderate” he is. This is the hawk who sang “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,” remember?

Yet he, too, has come out against the Cruz insurrection.

Kasich and McCain are not alone. Cruz and his ilk are inspiring significant – and growing – revulsion among Republican leaders.

You might think that I’m rubbing my hands with glee over the turbulence in the GOP. I abhor most of the party’s policies and (as Texas congressman Pete Sessions recently said of President Obama) I can’t stand to look at Republican leaders when they show up on my TV.

But I find the party’s civil war unsettling. It’s no secret that I vote Democrat but I suspect the party would quickly become insufferable without a valid opposition.

Sustained democracy depends on voters’ ability to choose between one power bloc and another. America needs a responsible Republican Party.

One thing America does not need is the likes of Ted Cruz.

Click for Joan’s column.

Click for McCain on Cruz.

Click for the Sessions story.