July 5, 2011
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We prefer to think of the Supreme Court as an institution apart from politics and above its struggles. In the wake of this week's decision gutting the heart of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, its actions must now be viewed through the prism of the conservative movement's five-decade-long quest for power.
In politics, we often skip past the simple questions. This is why inquiries about the fundamentals can sometimes catch everyone short.
What the country yearns for is moderation. What we hear about is the political center. But centrism has become the enemy of moderation.
True, Obama has to govern and Romney doesn't. But for now, Romney is making the most of a mess his party helped create but from which he will try to keep a happy distance.
Republicans need to decide whether they want to be responsible conservatives or whether they will let the tea party destroy the House that Lincoln built in a glorious explosion. Such pyrotechnics may look great to some people on the pages of a novel or in a movie, but they're rather unpleasant when experienced in real life.
The House Republican strategy to link a normally routine increase in the nation's debt limit with a crusade to slash spending has already had a high cost, threatening the nation's credit rating and making the United States look dysfunctional and incompetent to the rest of the world.
I'd actually feel bad for Boehner -- an old-fashioned sort who'd normally reach for a deal -- if he and his party had not shamelessly stoked the tea party to win power. The GOP is now reaping the whirlwind, and Boehner may be forced to choose between his country and his job.
Our nation confronts a challenge this Fourth of July that we face but rarely: We are at odds over the meaning of our history and why, to quote our Declaration of Independence, "governments are instituted."