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Republicans Act Like Addicts | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

Republicans Act Like Addicts

I'm beginning to grow concerned for the Republicans. They can't stay on message, they can't pass any reforms, they can't support their President, they can't whip count and they can't get along. They are starting to act like, well, Democrats.

The seven moderate Republicans who compromised on the filibuster were savaged first as traitors, then as dupes. There have been threats of reprisals and primary challenges. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has been mockingly nicknamed "The Senator from New York." An Anybody-But-McCain movement looks to be gaining momentum within the party's base.

The relationship between Congressional Republicans and the White House doesn't look much healthier. Congress has refused to deal with Bush's privatization reforms. A teary-eyed Senator George Voinovich wouldn't switch his vote on John Bolton, delaying a vote. And despite the President's strong support for the zygote, Congressional Republicans defied his veto threat and voted in significant numbers to pass funding for stem cell research.

This issue caused particular acrimony among Senate Republicans Sam Brownback and Arlen Specter, who nearly got into a shouting match over the issue. When Brownback haughtily asked Specter when he thought his life had begun, Specter, who has been fighting cancer, shot back, "I'm a lot more concerned at this point about when my life is going to end."

Power seems to have made the Republicans mad. They are behaving as erratically as drug addicts. But I know a good way to make Republicans right as rain again--a bracing trip back to minority status. Let's plan the intervention for 2006.

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