Stephens: But there's a second reality that we need to address squarely...
Stephens: ...which is that, in order for the moral bankruptcy of the Republican party to be exposed...
Stephens: ...we also need a healthy Democratic party. And right now I'm not sure we have it.
Stephens: I don't mean a morally healthy -- although that is an argument worth having -- but a Democratic party that in its own way represents the great liberal but squarely American traditions of FDR and Harry Truman and Bill Clinton...
Stephens: ...and indeed, in many ways, President Obama.
Stephens: Right now we don't quite have that. And so the currently Republican party is going to gain strength simply because...
Stephens: ...it is the likely obvious opponent of a Democratic party that is, right now, seems to me, overreaching and flailing. I know a lot of readers of the Times -- Liberal readers of the Times -- despair of the advice that I freely give to Democrats, but I'm giving this advice...
Stephens: ...but I'm giving this advice to Democrats because I fear that their own missteps politically are leading to nothing except the strengthening of the Republican party in its current form.
Charen: And it's an excellent segue into our next topic.
Charen: So the situation with the Democratic party is something I'd like us to turn our attention to.
Charen: Because I've been saying many of the same things that Bret just said. In fact I was at a meeting of Liberals and Conservatives who get together every six months or so to discuss how we should move forward and try to save democracy in these difficult times...
Charen: ...and when I gave a little speech the them about how, basically, the one and only job of the Democrats in power is to govern in such a fashion that the current iteration of the Republican party doesn't return to power, um, it didn't go over well. Let's put it that way. They don't see it that way!
You know what? I've changed my mind. Whatever outfit it was that booed Ms. Charen is an outfit I'd be happy to join.
Ms. Charen then went on to charge Democrats with "dereliction" for not dropping everything else and going about fixing the Electoral Count Act, and turned to Norm Ornstein for support.
Except Mr. Ornstein said, nope. And good for him.
Because while reforming the Electoral Count Act may be necessary, it is nowhere near sufficient. Because the real danger is coming from battleground states where Republicans control the government and are passing state-level laws that would permit them to just throw out election results they don't like.
Brief aside: Ironically, the only federal remedy to a rogue state that decided to ignore the will of people and declare the loser of an election to be the winner would be the (you guessed it) Electoral Count Act. So you need to fix all of it, which included passing some version of the Freedom to Vote act, which is exactly what Ms. Charen is scolding Democrats for trying to do.
This revelation doesn't slow down the Bash The Dems brigade
After awhile the intellectual darling of the Never Trump cult, Yuval Levin, was dragged into the discussion because he wrote a column in The New York Times scolding the Democrats.
Brief aside: Never one to let a Democrat-basing bandwagon go unjumped-upon, David Brooks hurried out his own Copy/Paste/Change version of the same column:
Why Democrats Are So Bad at Defending Democracy
Then Linda Chavez scoffed as Democrats who think that gutting the Voting Rights Act was a bad thing. OMG, Democrats are always crying wolf! OMG, Democrats are always claiming racism. And so forth.
Norm Ornstein, bless his heart, brought a satchel full of receipts and methodically debunked most of these talking points. And you know what? It didn't make the slightest difference.
Because your Never Trump allies wanted to spend the one-year anniversary of the bloody GOP Insurrection doing what they do on every podcast: getting tipsy passing around a jug of their favorite rotgut talking points and bitching about how Democrats were not catering sufficiently to their priorities. And that is exactly what they did.
I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere.