To the Editor:
The year 2012 is likely to be viewed as a watershed year politically by historians for several reasons.
I say that because not only did President Obama defeat Mitt Romney; the Democrats held on to their majority in the Senate and, in fact, they expanded upon it. Not unexpectedly, the Tea Party/GOP reactionaries maintained control of the House but, even there, Democratic gains reduced the right wingers’ margin of control in the House by a few seats.
One reason historians will likely view 2012 as a watershed political year is that it was in 2012 the Tea Party succeeded in silencing and driving many, if not most, conservative voices of reason out of the once great party of Abraham Lincoln — while, at the same time many voters pushed back, telling the overwhelmingly white, far right, Tea Party that they were sick of its intransigence, obstructionism, and extreme positions on many social issues.
For example, in Indiana, Richard Lugar, a widely respected, conservative stalwart in the Senate, was defeated in that state’s GOP primary by Richard Mourdock. Mourdock was a raging Tea Party type who vowed he would never compromise with Democrats if elected, and stated that a pregnancy borne of rape is part of “God’s plan” and should not be terminated. Yet Mourdock was defeated by his Democratic opponent by a comfortable margin.
In Missouri, the Democratic incumbent, Sen. Claire McCaskill, had been written off as political toast just six months ago. Yet she defeated her Tea Party, Christian extremist opponent Todd Akin in the wake of his bizarre comments that a woman’s body can prevent conception if she has been the victim of a “legitimate rape” by nearly 20 percentage points.
Those are but two examples of the growing trend away from the right-wing extremism we’ve seen across the country.