It is hard not to admire the professionalism of the Republican Party. It has fantastic "message discipline"--Washington argot for the ability to develop a party line ("We're not cutting Medicare, we're saving Medicare") and stick to it. Republicans are skilled at dressing plutocratic policies (such as a capital-gains-tax cut) in populist clothing. Above all, Republicans refuse to let mere principle get in the way of political victory. I'm not talking about universal principles such as truth and intellectual integrity. Both parties are adept at abandoning these trifles. But the Republicans have a special gift for putting aside their own particular political...

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