Today at UCLA:
“The Republicans aren’t a party, they’re a cult.”
“The moderates aren’t a wing of the Republicans, they’re a feather.”
In each case, Schneider said he was quoting what people in Washington are saying to him. But he didn’t seem to disagree.
Schneider is certainly no drinker of Democratic Kool-Aid; his home base is the American Enterprise Institute. So the belief that the GOP is up the proverbial polluted estuary with no visible means of propulsion must be pretty widespread within the Beltway, and not just among those for whom it reflects wish fulfillment.
Schneider also had a good line about what “pragmatism” means in American politics:
“Americans are pragmatists. A pragmatist thinks that if something works, it’s right. An ideologue believes that if something is wrong, it can’t possibly work, even when it’s working.”
The possibility that something might “work” in the short term and be morally wrong or disastrous in the long term or both wasn’t mentioned. Yes, there are ideologues who insist on fitting the world to their views rather than vice versa. But the belief that whatever works is right, no matter how well that belief “works” politically, is wrong.
Update Kevin Drum points out that the GOP lacks one of the defining characteristics of a cult: a strong focus on recruiting new members.