“Two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the Republican crackup threatens the future of the Grand Old Party more profoundly than at any time since the GOP’s eclipse in 1932. That’s bad for America.
“…The underlying conflict lies deep into the nature and structure of the Republican Party. And its roots are very old.
“…The watershed event was Newt Gingrich’s takeover of the House, in 1995. Suddenly, it seemed, the GOP had a personality transplant. The gentlemanly conservatism of House Minority Leader Bob Michel was replaced by the bomb-throwing antics of Gingrich, Dick Armey, and Tom DeLay.
“Almost overnight Washington was transformed from a place where legislators tried to find common ground to a war zone. Compromise was replaced by brinkmanship, bargaining by obstructionism, normal legislative maneuvering by threats to close down government – which occurred at the end of 1995.
“…America has had a long history of white Southern radicals who will stop at nothing to get their way – seceding from the Union in 1861, refusing to obey Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s, shutting the government in 1995, and risking the full faith and credit of the United States in 2010.
‘Newt Gingrich’s recent assertion that public officials aren’t bound to follow the decisions of federal courts derives from the same tradition.
“…We need two political parties solidly grounded in the realities of governing. Our democracy can’t work any other way.”