You probably missed it…

Last night I watched ABC News 24 at 9.30pm because I had seen this promo:

It was one of the most informative features on the current US election that I have seen. It added considerably the what I knew about the 21st century Republican Party, aside from its amazing array of total nutters of whom Romney is one of the best of a bad lot. Is it true that most of Middle America rely on Fox for their knowledge of the world, that in places there is hardly any alternative? If so, that is beyond sad… And for the world, as well as the USA, it is an appalling thought.

So glad we have ABC, SBS, and through both even things like Al Jazeera – and easy to see just about anywhere in the country with access to digital, cable or satellite—not to mention via the Internet.

The Republican Party is at a crossroads, and regardless of its chances of retaking the White House next week, its future is far from assured.

On the eve of what may be one of the most remarkable comebacks in American political history, some long-time conservatives fear their party has been drawn too far away from the political centre.

It may not stop Mitt Romney being sworn in as president in January 2013, but it may in the future confine The Grand Old Party to permanent opposition.

And that wouldn’t just be bad for conservatives, it would be bad for all Americans, because while the minority party may not be able to get much done on Capitol Hill, it can exert tremendous power to obstruct and prevent anything being done.

The unprecedented use of the filibuster in the US Senate since the Republican Party went into the minority in 2006 could be just a prelude to the profound dysfunction and gridlock that would bring the federal government to a complete halt.

And most worryingly, that would suit some Republicans just fine.

The Republican Party, once proudly the party of Lincoln, has now become the party of Reagan.

It still stands philosophically for individual freedom, but to current conservatives the modern slave-master is the government itself and taxation is the whip and yoke.

Yet Reagan’s record of cutting taxes has been distorted, proponents of the new orthodoxy that no Republican will even support a tax increase conveniently ignore the fact that while Reagan cut taxes sharply in 1981, he raised them 11 other times.

But his legacy has been streamlined into a tax-cutting, cold war-winning all-American hero.

And to be sure, president Reagan achieved many things, but also blew out the deficit and amplified the gap between rich and poor.

Still, that trickle-down, low-tax message has made a comeback in recent years with the rise of the Tea Party Movement, but it is out of step with many Americans who value the role government plays in ensuring they can get health care and other social services especially into their old age…

I examine the forces driving the Republican Party further to the right and the legacy of president Reagan in a new documentary, The Party Of Reagan, featuring interviews with the most influential conservatives in America today, leading members of the Reagan administration and Reagan’s son Ron Jr…

Ron Reagan Jr.
Sen. Alan Simpson
Edwin Meese III.
Sen. Arlen Specter
Prof. Roger Porter
James Fallows
Patrick J. Buchanan
Bruce Bartlett
Mike Lofgren
Grover Norquist
Gary Bauer
Matt Kibbe

Well done, John Barron.

I earlier caught up with the moving Australian Story on Journalist Malcolm Brown.

DARREN GOODSIR, SMH NEWS DIRECTOR: We’re now in a period where we’re considering who is going to stay and who is going to go.

MALCOLM BROWN (throwing papers into a recycling bin): Well that’s it. That’s my life’s work. I don’t want to be compulsorily made redundant so I decided ‘Well, it’s time to move on’.

DARREN GOODSIR, SMH NEWS DIRECTOR: It’s not just Malcolm who’s affected. It’s a tough decision to make.

KATE MCCLYMONT, SMH SNR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: It’s been incredibly difficult to work today. In fact no one seems to be doing much work. There are little pockets of people and somebody will come back from the Editor’s office waving their white envelope, saying ‘I’ve got redundancy’. Other people are just putting their white envelopes under their coats. People have been in tears. (choked up) It’s been… It has been really difficult, incredibly difficult thing. Because you look at these people who are going, it’s people you’ve worked with for years and you think ‘I can’t imagine what…’ You know, how are we actually going to get this paper out without the experience of the education reporter, the medical reporter, Malcolm Brown’s work?

MATTHEW MOORE, SMH URBAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: I’ve been married to this joint for nearly three decades now. So it’s been… it’s been my life.

DEBORAH SMITH, SMH SCIENCE EDITOR: It’s a sad day but it’s also a good day because I’m confident that science and environment, which is my passion, is going to continue at the Herald and we’re going to do it well here. And we’ll continue to lead the country in that coverage, which is what throughout my career I’ve always (choked up) wanted to achieve.

Next Sunday’s must see: This ABC mini-series on the James Hardie asbestos scandal packs a punch.


Nailed it … Anthony Hayes stars as Bernie Banton in Devil’s Dust.