Turn of Phrase

But politics in a democracy is inherently a team sport, and parties are the most important of the teams in the game. Team sports never offer the option of playing alongside only people you like. To effect sustained political change, you have to build broad coalitions. Tea Party Republicans invested great energy in the first Obama term trying to drive out of the party all who dissented from their extremist minority program. They largely succeeded. They built just what they wanted: an extremist minority party. Their hope—and Paul Ryan was very much a proponent of this fantasy—was that they could mobilize a majority coalition for a minority program. To their surprise (but nobody else’s), they have failed. The mission ahead for conservative Americans is to open up their closed ideology enough to attract a majority that agrees on some things, but not on everything. Governing parties can never be doctrinaire parties—and a better memory of the actual record of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher confirms the observation.

Via I’m Still a Republican—and I’ll Fight to Reclaim My Party by David Frum published by The Atlantic on July 1, 2016.

The point Mr Frum excludes from the above paragraph, but one he has made repeatedly in previous writings, is that the fuel for the Tea Party was right wing talk radio and Fox News. The trap that Paul Ryan finds himself in today is a direct result of Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck and others of their ilk. What is sometimes lost in a discussion of the role right wing talk radio has played in the imminent destruction of the Republican Party is that right wing radio’s business model was entirely rational. In subsequent posts I will expand this point and (eventually) develop a coherent argument. In this post let me simply observe that the self interest of right wing talk radio and the best interests of the Republican party were never aligned in any meaningful way.

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