Dem 51
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GOP 49
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There Is No Republican Party

Now that you've had a dumb take from a conservative about the modern Republican Party, how about a more reasonable take from a conservative? There is little doubt that former federal judge J. Michael Luttig is staunchly conservative. There is also little doubt that he despises Donald Trump and Trumpism. Recently, Luttig sat for an interview and opined: "American democracy simply cannot function without two equally healthy and equally strong political parties. So today, in my view, there is no Republican Party to counter the Democratic Party in the country. And for that reason, American democracy is in grave peril."

Luttig's assessment is based on policy and principles. That is to say, he thinks (rightly) that a political party is supposed to be a vessel by which disparate interest groups are unified in support of a reasonably cohesive policy agenda. Since the modern Republican Party has virtually no substantive policy goals, it's not a party in the customary sense. Hence the conclusion that there is no Republican Party.

About a month ago, we wrote an item in which we said much the same thing as Luttig, observing that the Republican party has largely become a party without principles. In support of that, we listed the 25 most important Republicans in the country, in our view, along with notes about the undemocratic, unprincipled behavior from most of them. The only two principled folks to make our Top 25 were Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH). We welcomed comments from readers, and we thought we would take this opportunity to run down some of those.

To start with, numerous Republican (or formerly Republican) readers wrote in to agree with us (and Luttig):

It would seem we are on to something.

There were also numerous readers who wrote in to point out we did not define our parameters properly:

We should indeed have done a better job. We intended to include a paragraph in that piece in which we explained that because so much of modern Republican politicking is purely performative, we assigned high ranks to the most skilled performers.

There were also, of course, many suggestions for additions to the list:

We are irritated with ourselves that we forgot to add the Supreme Court justices to the list. We will point out, however, that Ken Starr and Lee Atwater are dead. If we're allowed to pick from the Ouija Board set, then surely St. Ronnie of Reagan is the first to make the cut.

And, finally, one last word:

Maybe next week, we'll do a list of the Top 25 Democrats. (Z)

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