The Best Answer to the Tea Party

I imagine I am not the only Republican/conservative who is pained by the rightward lurch of the GOP, or of that movement’s reactionary shock troops, the Tea Partistas. I am equally dismayed, however, by the Democratic response to it: an institutionalized Occupy movement as a new radical force designed to “counterbalance” the reactionary right.

Tit-for-tat extremism is no basis on which to build a stable polity. It is, however, a great way to bring to America the political deadlock of Weimar Germany, and we all know how that turned out for both Germany and the world.

The appropriate response to the Tea Party is reasoned dialogue driven by a better, more attractive vision that will neuter the shrill “burn it all” demagoguery of the reactionary right. We need to build a big tent under which the vast majority of Americans can be comfortable knowing that the nation is on a strong course for the future, a future where we agree on the same principles and spend our energies debating how best to put those principles into action.

We have a choice: a nation in decline that is gridlocked by extremists, or the systematic neutering of the extremists through a clear, practical, and attractive vision, even if that means having to compromise and break bread with some Democrats.

I’m for the latter. Who else is on board?

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