Reading Thomas Edsall's op-pieces during his current tenure as a guest columnist at The New York Times is sort of a tense experience for me. The same kind of anxiety was provoked when I saw a Tennessee Williams play this summer in Williamstown, MA. As the show begins everyone on stage has a perfect southern accent, but starting in the second act you're anxiously waiting for them to lose it and their true voice to emerge.
Edsall is still in his first act; and I can feel him striving to appear reasonable. But if he gets a permanent slot, how long before we discover that he's as much a wing-nut as Safire, without even that hint of charm from being a word smith?
In today's piece he paints a picture of a Republican Party that should never have been allowed behind the wheel of a car. It's a completely accurate and damning portrait that we mustn't forget when we need to define just who it is that we oppose.
The G.O.P. is the party of risk, aggression, military assertion and dominance - an approach that led to the implosion in Iraq and the Republican's defeat in November...
While inflicting destruction on the Iraqis, Bush multiplied America's enemies and endangered this nation's military, economic health and international stature. Courting risk without managing it, Bush repeatedly and remorselessly failed to accurately evaluate the consequences of his actions.
The embroilment in Iraq is not an aberration. It stems from core party principles equally evident on the domestic front. For a quarter-century, the Republican temper - its reckless drive to jettison the social safety net; its support of violence in law enforcement and in national defense; its advocacy of regressive taxation, environmental hazard and pro-business deregulation; its 'remoralizing' of the pursuit of wealth - has been judged by many voters as essential to America's position in the world,. producing more benefit than cost...
In November, voters concluded that the Bush administration had run one risk too many.
So let's hope that I'm wrong about this Edsall guy, and that he's not actually the wolf in sheeps clothing.