Editorial: Extreme ideas doom both parties

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The history of politics in America is one writhe with eras and movements where extremism cost those propagating their agendas, sent them down to defeat and cast them onto the fringes of power and influence. In 2013, with a looming battle over the debt ceiling and the Affordable Care Act once more under fire, we find ourselves in another such push of extreme policy and method.

There's no question the spectrum of politics in this country has shifted rightward over the last 30 years. The terms "RINOs" and DINOs" were not part of the vernacular in the 1970s and for a significant portion of the 1980s. They came to be as Republicans and Democrats each reacted to the changing climate, a result of what many believed was the nation's far-too leftward push in the 1960s.

Democrats have embraced many positions in the middle, which have left "true" liberals troubled. Much of the party's move to the center was derived from its considered embrace of "big" government, of 60's "radical" elements and from being shut out of the White House for the better part of 25 years.

And Republicans, especially, have crawled over one another in the name of "real" conservatism, attempting to expunge any remnants of the party's once considerable moderate wing while embracing seemingly untenable positions on social issues and what can only be referred to as anti-government rhetoric.

There's a significant failure in the latter mindset, however. While most people, including here in East Providence, believe we are overtaxed and underserved by government, they still believe in and desire the institution to exist, although maybe on a less intrusive level.

Attempting to implement a "slash-and-burn" approach to governance is a losing proposition. The Republican Party will eventually understand that reality. It might not in local elections in so-called "red" states any time soon, but it will as it continues to lose national races, presidential and congressional, as well as those state-wide in "blue" and "purple" ones in the near term.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.