In Defense of Extremism
It is never difficult to gather what is being circulated in a political party’s Talking Points Memo. One simply has to watch a few of the cable political chat shows and one will hear the same arguments made by a variety of the guests, either by politicians, the political blogosphere, or by these strange groups of men and women who call themselves “political strategists” – who, as far as I can tell, do nothing else but recite verbatim what they’ve been able to memorize from the Talking Point memos on cable political chat shows.
One of the newer talking points being promoted by Democratic pols and strategists is the notion that any and every conservative seeking political office is an extremist. One of the most obvious examples of this comes from the Harry Reid in attacking his Republican opponent, Sharron Angle. This video, from some group called the NAKED NEWSi, makes the point that, although ‘you may not love Harry Reid or admire all of his policies’, at least he isn’t the “radical extremist Sharron Angle, who will bring her dangerous delusions, her unbalanced ideologies, and her irrational Scientology practices into Nevada state politics.” President Obama didn’t hesitate to further this notion, reading this about Ms. Angle from his teleprompter: “She favors an approach that’s even more extreme than the Republicans we’ve got in Washington. That’s saying something.”
And so it goes. Sharron Angle is an extremist, according to the talking point, as are Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, Michele Bachmann, Star Parker, Sarah Palin, and many others. Just about anyone in politics who is the least bit conservative is an extremist. Glenn Beck is called an extremist so often that I suspect he has taken to answering to “extremist” at this point. Allen West was attacked by Sarah Rothschild, communications director for the Ron Klein campaign, in the Broward Palm Beach NewsTime blog immediately after our last interview with him: “Allen West's positions are extreme, radical and beyond the mainstream.”
One could hardly miss the irony of being called an extremist by supporters of the most extreme agenda in our history. What could be more extreme than the Obama agenda? In less than two we have seen a one trillion dollar stimulus passed, which burdens us with debt while doing nothing to stimulate the economy; a healthcare reform law that provides the pathway to a government run, single payer health care system which will mandate we all participate in; and a greenist agenda that will give the government control over everything from how business operates to what sort of light bulb we use. That’s pretty extreme, no?
Ask Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano and she will tell you how she, like many on the Left, considers pro-lifers to be extremists. In fact, she included them in her agency’s report on possible terrorist threats. Yet pro-abortion groups, including a president who even supports abortion when the baby is taken out of the mother’s womb, living and completely viable, hold the moderate, mainstream position on abortion, apparently.
I argue that because of this extreme agenda, and problems in our economy and our system of government evident even before Obama became president, we are faced with a set of circumstances that require an appropriately extreme agenda, not the typical Washington half-steps. Faced with recession, high unemployment, and, eventually, an unsustainable budget deficit, we must consider “extreme” measures. Among the measures we should consider in responding to these problems are: a flat tax; cuts in the corporate tax rate and the capital gains tax; allowing the free market to pursue energy production more vigorously; free trade (even with Cuba); cuts in our military; a partial privatization of Social Security; and a significant cut in the size of our federal government, including the elimination and/or paring down of the Departments of Education, Agriculture and Labor.
Unfortunately, Republican politicians, even those who might privately support some, or all, of these measures, are hesitant to call for them, or for anything beyond extending the Bush tax cuts. The Republican leadership have been too afraid to even mention Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap for America,” for example, as if that might contain the stench of extremism, although it is in fact so moderate it does not even balance the budget until 2060. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in particular has made his disdain for the conservative movement known, and Trent Lott, former Senate Majority Leader, even more bluntly expresses his disdain of the candidates associated with the Tea Party movement, saying “We don’t need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples. As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them.” Of course it is this ‘co-opting’ that lead Republicans to cheerlead the extreme spending increases of the Bush Administration.
We should not run and hide from the label of extremist, but rather embrace it, and make it our own. I consider myself to be an extremist, just as my fellow co-founder is proud to be a big, fat, rightwing extremist, because moderation -- at this point in history -- is nothing more than kicking the problems of today down the road for future generations. This is not acceptable. The problems of today are worsening under the radical leftist agenda of this White House and Congress, but at least they had the courage to attempt to address them. The tepidity of the so-called Republican Leaders have made it clear that they do not.
I support these so-called extremist conservative Congressional candidates. They see -- as I do -- that the time to act is now. To paraphrase President Obama, we are the ones we have been waiting for.