This column begins with this:
Over the past two weeks, both major American political parties held their nominating conventions – and that's pretty much where the similarities end. After interminable speeches, cloying videos and occasional moments of rhetorical eloquence, the philosophical and tonal divide between them has never felt broader. Quite simply, Democrats and Republicans operate in two completely distinct realms, one that is defined by an attachment to reality and one that is increasingly detached from it.I find it hard to disagree (with Cohen, not the nutty Republican).
If their three-day convention in Tampa is any indication, Republicans reside in a fantasy world where government plays no role but that of malevolence, where the free market is the salvation to all that ails this nation and where the country is locked in a Manichaean struggle between the forces of freedom and a failed, socialist interloper named Barack Obama.
It was a point driven home to me in Tampa when I overheard a Republican delegate declare in a sweet voice, reflecting more pity than anger: "There's a communist living in the White House."
The bits of the conferences that I saw are reflected pretty accurately in this part of Cohen's piece:
Moreover, a party once derided for playing interest-group politics showed no hesitancy about going down that road in Charlotte. The convention was full of obvious appeals to women, gays, blacks, Hispanics, young people and, in the constant references to the successful bailout of the US car industry, organised labour. These are the groups that form the backbone of the Democratic coalition and are essential to the party's long-term success. Democrats far better than Republicans appreciate the destiny of demographics and they have done a far more effective job of cultivating these voters. Indeed, the contrast between the hues in Charlotte and Tampa was remarkable. The Democratic party is a party that looks like the palette of the American experience, not just in skin colour, but in class level. The Republican party (the one in the Tampa convention hall) is one that looks like Sunday brunch at a country club.And yet, you have right wing commentators like John Hinderaker scratching their heads over why the polling between Obama and Romney is close. It should, according to JH, be an obvious walkover for Romney.
Funny, isn't it, how it doesn't seem to occur to those currently to the forefront of the Right in America that, you know, voters might actually be smart enough to realise that Republican policies such as:
a. at a time of serious government budget deficits, the first step should be to reduce taxes, especially for the rich;
b. at a time when both sides of politics agree that America is right to get out of Afghanistan, and defence spending should accordingly be able to be reduced, a permanent and substantial increase in the defence budget is the right thing to do
don't make any sense at all.
Honestly, I can't recall the Right of politics in the US ever looking as stupidly ideologically driven as it does now.
It surely cannot go on this way.