Friday, March 17, 2006

Republican news

The Associated Press reports that Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, the longest-serving New York Republican in Congress and outgoing chairman of the House Science Committee, will retire from the office he has held since 1982.
Boehlert is a leader of the small moderate Republican faction in Congress that has clashed in the past with Bush over such issues as global warming and spending for social programs.

Boehlert said Friday he was proud to be labeled a moderate.

"I think most people reject the extremism of the left and the right. They find stalemate insufferable. They want us to find the common ground," he said.

Read more here.

Also, read this review of American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century, by Kevin Phillips.
As he's done in so many of his earlier books, Mr. Phillips draws a lot of detailed analogies in these pages, using demographics, economic statistics and broader cultural trends to map macropatterns throughout history. In analyzing the fates of Rome, Hapsburg Spain, the Dutch Republic, Britain and the United States, he comes up with five symptoms of "a power already at its peak and starting to decline": 1) "widespread public concern over cultural and economic decay," along with social polarization and a widening gap between rich and poor; 2) "growing religious fervor" manifested in a close state-church relationship and escalating missionary zeal; 3) "a rising commitment to faith as opposed to reason and a corollary downplaying of science"; 4) "considerable popular anticipation of a millennial time frame" and 5) "hubris-driven national strategic and military overreach" in pursuit of "abstract international missions that the nation can no longer afford, economically or politically." Added to these symptoms, he writes, is a sixth one, almost too obvious to state: high debt, which can become "crippling in its own right."

For those who might not know it, Kevin Phillips is a former Republican strategist who helped design the GOP's Southern strategy. He made his name with his 1969 book, "The Emerging Republican Majority," which predicted the coming ascendancy of the G.O.P.