Zakaria: Rhetoric a problem for GOP
October 18th, 2013
10:49 AM ET

Zakaria: Rhetoric a problem for GOP

CNN speaks with Fareed about the shutdown in Washington and why the Republican Party is struggling to maintain unity.

You wrote in the Washington Post this week: “Over the past six decades, conservatism's language of decay, despair and decline have created a powerful group of Americans who believe fervently in this dark narrative and are determined to stop the country from plunging into imminent oblivion."

"At some point, will they come to recognize that you cannot love America in theory and hate it in fact." You also want conservatives to lighten up, Fareed. Explain what's going on here.

Well, I think there are two things going on. One is the kind of institutional collapse of authority in the Republican Party so that as you know, on immigration, the leadership of the party wanted to make a deal. Most senators, most of the leaders in the House, but they can't because there's no structure. This is not Newt Gingrich's Republican Party anymore.

The second piece is that there is this extreme wing within the party, the Tea Party, which really believes that America is going to hell in a hand basket – and tomorrow. You know, as Ted Cruz said at the Values Voter Summit, we've got two years to stop this country from plunging into oblivion. Well, if you use rhetoric like that, if you work people up like that, it's very tough to see how you could compromise.

More from GPS: Conservatism needs to lighten up

You're telling them that what they're doing now by refusing to raise the debt ceiling is noble and heroic and is saving the republic from imminent oblivion. How do you dial that back? You know, that second piece is really worrying because most of the Tea Party come out of this feeling, you know, this just means we have to fight harder the next time around.

After the government shutdown in early 1996, when Bill Clinton was president, the House speaker was Newt Gingrich, and they had a bitter fight – the shutdown lasted for more than 20 days. But after that, cooler heads prevailed. Obviously, Bill Clinton got re-elected and then they worked together, Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton. Welfare reform was passed. All of a sudden, four years of budget surpluses, all of a sudden came into being. There was great cooperation on many levels. Do you anticipate that is possible between this president and the Republican leadership in Congress?

I think it's going to be very difficult, because two things have happened. One is this fact that the leader doesn't have…Gingrich was a very powerful speaker. He could deliver the whole party. You saw what happened in this vote that took place. I mean, Paul Ryan didn't vote for this deal that Boehner brought.

But the second piece is that the Tea Party is new. The polls that just came out show something stunning – about 55 percent of Republicans say they don't consider the Tea Party to be part of the Republican Party. That's probably half Republican moderates and half Tea Party members who also agree that they're not really part of the Republican Party.

So, you have this strange internal dynamic within the Republican Party that probably has to sort itself out before it can really become what we're looking for – a party that thinks of itself as a governing party, that judges itself by the results it delivers, not the level of obstructionism it can produce.

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Topics: Politics • United States

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soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Cathy

    It's not about 'love and hate'. We want one America that is: *one success, *affordable, *recognized for accomplishment, *no fooling, *renowned internationally.

    October 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Reply
    • Blake

      I just wanted to say, wether you're a liberal, conservative, moderate, republican, tea partiuer, or democrat, I think we can all agree to that.

      October 19, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        Let's hope that the political circus in Washington wouldn't repeat itself. The world is fed up with the partisan brinkmanship. Many countries have enough problems of their own and could do without any turmoil from Washington. The Tea Baggers have to be aware of the consequences of their irresponsible actions. They should think more about others and not just be so selfish and ego-centric.

        October 20, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • Science

      Hey Cathy

      And it ALL starts with education !!!
      Good news for education !

      Texas Textbook Publishers Say No To Creationism: Watchdog Report ............where Cruz is from.

      October 20, 2013 at 10:29 am | Reply
  2. rightospeak

    You have a problem manipulating comments to fit your propaganda.

    October 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  3. Rick McDaniel

    The truth is........Obama has built such a huge political machine, that the GOP has neither the organization, the manpower, nor the IT, to do battle with the Dem machine.

    Obama has won......he is a bona fide dictator, in full control of America.

    October 18, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Reply
    • Donna

      you are a sad fool

      October 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Reply
    • Blake


      October 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Reply
    • Emily


      October 18, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Reply
    • joel

      I see you don't have an open mind. You bought into all the propaganda

      October 20, 2013 at 1:57 am | Reply
    • Greg Kiger

      RNC much better at Gerrymandering, huge factor.

      October 20, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Reply
    • J. Smith

      You know what.... it's called being President. He won the election by a majority. That's democracy. When you disagree in you're in the minority, it's called whining. You can't claim to love America as far as it fits some abstraction in your head. America is a melting pot and elections go back and forth. Millions of moderate voters are sick of all the GOP whining - I mean just sick of it!!!

      October 20, 2013 at 10:18 pm | Reply
  4. Blake

    "At some point, will they come to recognize that you cannot love America in theory and hate it in fact."

    Why not? That's a ridiculous and misguided statement.

    October 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Reply
  5. ✠RZ✠

    Fareed, most of us here with a brain that might at least rattle, have much appreciation for your wonderful work and abilities. But if you read the writing on the wall, which no doubt you can, it seems quite clear that there is far to much criticism taking place rather than any possible solutions. Understandably, your need to present an issue and try to remain completely unbiased is difficult enough. But the posting of articles and interviewing of guests that only continue on with the incessant criticism of a problem and others, is typically mirrored in the myriad of responses in your blog (with some being nothing more than the relentless splatter of insanely idiotic verbal diarrhea). So, is it at all possible instead of continuing on with this current trend, much like the nonsense we see in government, that you try to post articles and have guests on that might at least be able to offer some respectable solutions and sound advice? Goodness knows we are all in desperate need of such, especially Washington. It's high time we started solving problems rather than continually complain about them. Thank you.

    October 19, 2013 at 1:27 am | Reply
    • True. Words

      RZ, Excellent feedback to FAREED, and great articulation, it could not be said better and to the point, ZAREED is and always has been part of the democrat propaganda. some reporters as much as they try, just won't inspire any credibility....specially if we have some brains and common sense, the elite cable media and most of its reporters ( fox! CNN, MSNBC,etc) just can't seem to get it that we Americans are feed up and tired of all this non-sense reporting, we the middle class want the media and Washington to focus on the countries economic and infrastructure problems so we and our children, grandchildren and generations to come of Americans can live the American dream our founders intended for us.

      October 20, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Reply
      • J. Smith

        It's not bias - it's called being realistic. Seems to me that conservatives love an America that doesn't exist except in their minds. They are living in a conservative Camelot that has been supported by talk radio and Fox News. To the outside world, this new brand of Republicanism is frighteningly bigoted and racist. The voice that isn't being heard in all the 24/7 news hype is that Obama won the election by a large majority. The GOP has turned into an obstructionist party bereft of any ideas - they want to shut down government and allow the rest of the world to create all of the future great ideas. The GOP is dying and desperate. The reason conservatives can't see it is because they are sheltered by a bubble of radial politicos, millionaire radio celebrities who make money by feeding red meat to an angry conservative base and by Fox News who only delivers a message that reinforces this Camelot instead of dealing with the real news of the day.

        October 20, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
  6. Phelix Unger

    I don't understand how hate became a good thing to have in any political body. This fear of the destruction of the US is a manipulation of the media and the constant message of the republican party. No though they have someone who even takes their message further, saying its going to happen any day, maybe tomorrow, thanks tea party. America is more then these dinosaurs of the political world would have you believe. The world's largest financial powerhouse, a leader in innovation, and research that drives that financial structure, and some of the best and brightest minds on the planet. Not to mention a very highly skilled workforce, nope all the tools are there to keep America ahead of the game well into the next century.

    The idea behind this whole default business was introduced almost a hundred years ago, and in order to get rid of it America will have to wrest control of their country back from the corporation, people are at each others throats, working people take exception and berate other working people who have just a little bit more, the more America fights with each other the easier the public is duped and continue in a vicious circle. Wages are going backwards as companies say they can pay their bills, but they sure can pay the shareholder, banks make billions and billions of off every American, but oh the banks should be protected. You have the largest and biggest producer of electrronic tablet in America, you know apple, but where are the jobs making those computers, half way around the world. The idea that the corporation continues to lead politics in America is very very sad.

    You know at one time corporations had to be good global citizens and participate in the growth of their country, not just gut it and carry on. At one time less then fifty years ago they also paid close to seventy percent of all income made by the federal government, well their greed is finally catching up them. This was something no one would talk about but their are enough who remember, asking Americans to take less money is now the only way left for them to increase profits. Wake up and work together and change the future.

    October 19, 2013 at 1:36 am | Reply
    • ✠RZ✠

      The individual taxpayer - you - provides most of the income for the Federal Government’s budget. That's because income taxes contribute 46%, or $1.383 trillion, toward total FY 2014 revenue receipts. Social Security, Medicare and other payroll taxes (still mostly you) add 34%, or $1.031 trillion. Corporate taxes toss in $333 billion, or 11% toward the total. Excise and estate taxes contribute $105 billion, or 3%.

      October 21, 2013 at 12:09 am | Reply
  7. Steven

    America is gonna be one great success, if: No.1: says 'no China – sorry we cannot collaborate with Chinese inside the NATO alliance'; No.2: says 'no S.Korea – sorry we cannot collaborate with Koreans inside the NATO alliance; No.3: Limits imports and sets import quotas of imports from non-NATO-alliance countries, such as Asian countries in particular China, Vietnam, S.Korea; No.4: Invests heavily in NATO alliance; No.5: Find new alliance markets based on cultural similarities and interests – not differences;

    October 19, 2013 at 5:53 am | Reply
  8. irTravis

    I'll wait for what an American thinks rather than taking heed to another foreign mouthpiece for globalist anti-Americans. Also notice the mouthpiece stresses the corporate shills of the Republican Party should be listened to on immigration and rather than listen to the will of the majority of the People? This is because the people support neither fair legalization nor race based preferential treatment in US immigration policies and the corporate shills needed the cheap labor.

    The Tea Party places America and America's people ahead of illegals, Democrats trying to buy votes, and the old Newt Gingrich shills looking for their corporate masters a cheaper servant.

    October 20, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  9. paul digrande

    Does this man even understand what America is all about. Maybe you are too young/naive. but we are tired of Liars in the White House-Clinton, Bush Jr., and now the biggest liar of them all, Obama-he's lied about Benghazi, IRS, NSA, the oil boom, Obamacare, etc. The dark narrative is coming from his agenda-"Let's turn America into a socialist country" I'm sick of all the current Congress people-and why the hell should their staff people get exemptions, they are no better than me. Pllease read about the disorder Narcissism, and you will find all the adjectives that describe Obama Perfectly. And remind me what a great job he has done with out foreign pollicy, too. Find out what a free America means-do your homeowrk. thanks

    October 20, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  10. True. Words

    ZAREED is and always has been part of the democrat propaganda. some reporters as much as they try, just won't inspire any credibility....specially if we have some brains and common sense, the elite cable media and most of its reporters ( fox! CNN, MSNBC,etc) just can't seem to get it that we Americans are feed up and tired of all this non-sense reporting, we the middle class want the media and Washington to focus on the countries economic and infrastructure problems so we and our children, grandchildren and generations to come of Americans can live the American dream our founders intended for us.

    October 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Reply
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