The Seeds of a Poison FruitPosted: December 22, 2012
Many of you may know that I was a Republican back in the day and that I even ran for office as a Republican. I was continually sent to county and state conventions by women’s groups to try to stop the party from systematically eliminating its historical positions on the ERA, reproductive health, and just general civil rights positions that once were the hallmark of the party. The position of Senator of the Nebraska state unicameral is nonpartisan which is how I got marginally beat by a combination of Michelle Bachmann/Sarah Palin whacko that had lived in the state less than a year and ran one the nastiest campaigns in the state’s history that was primarily fought from church and parish pulpits. She was brought in by the fetus fetishists who were in full on purge mode by the early 1990s. Nearly every elected official I spoke to was not very big on them but feared them and said they agreed with them just to make their re-elections easier. Having two catholic parishes, two big barn evangelical churches and some Southern Baptists run a religious witch hunt on you is absolutely traumatizing. It’s worse than dealing with the Taliban because at least the Taliban wear beards and are easy to identify. No one wants to believe they have a whacko living next to them in a suburb and that’s the hardest thing to fight about them. They used to use code words and they tried to fit in. They looked normal. After 20 years of plotting take overs and purges in state after state with no one really taking them very seriously we arrive at the position we are in today. They’ve broken their strings and no longer serve plutocrats that empowered them. We have a democracy that is a duopoly of two parties. One of our parties has gone insane. The result is complete dysfunction.
It’s not like the establishment republicans don’t deserve this. They really let it happen. They laughed at their crazies and gave them just enough lip service that they thought they’d keep them in their little corners. Now, they’ve been cornered themselves and there doesn’t appear to be much they can do about it. Andrew Sullivan has an eloquent piece about about the unhinged among them. Really, the rise of the unhinged is the poison fruit of the tree of greed. The establishment never thought they’d have a revolt on their hands. They always thought those little puppets were so dumb they would never attack their corporate establishment masters.
Between the humiliating and chaotic collapse of Speaker Boehner’s already ludicrously extreme Plan B and Wayne La Pierre’s deranged proposal to put government agents in schools with guns, the Republican slide into total epistemic closure and political marginalization has now become a free-fall. This party, not to mince words, is unfit for government. There is no conservative party in the West – except for minor anti-immigrant neo-fascist ones in Europe – anywhere close to this level of far right extremism. And now the damage these fanatics can do is not just to their own country – was the debt ceiling debacle of 2011 not enough for them? – but to the entire world.
Those of us who have warned for years about this disturbing trend toward ever more extreme measures – backing torture, pre-emptive un-budgeted wars, out-of-control spending followed, like a frantic mood swing, by anti-spending absolutism of the most insane variety in a steep recession, vicious hostility to illegal immigrants, contempt for gay couples, hostility even to contraception, let alone a middle ground on abortion … well, you know it all by now.
But the current constitutional and economic vandalism removes any shred of doubt that this party and its lucrative media bubble is in any way conservative. They aren’t. They’re ideological zealots, indifferent to the consequences of their actions, contemptuous of the very to-and-fro essential for the American system to work, gerry-mandering to thwart the popular will, filibustering in a way that all but wrecks the core mechanics of American democracy, and now willing to acquiesce to the biggest tax increase imaginable because they cannot even accept Obama’s compromise from his clear campaign promise to raise rates for those earning over $250,000 to $400,000 a year.
The worse thing is that most of the deranged think some kind of magical being is on their side and they can’t believe they’ve lost the last election and lost it badly. This has caused a lot of deranged behavior that’s hard to fathom in a first world country. If there is a gawd, she’s obviously not on their side. They don’t like the outcome and an insurrection is the only answer. Most of them have neoconfederate mindsets any way so they think bringing down our government is some how a patriotic duty.
Though it has been 45 days since voters emphatically reaffirmed their faith in Mr. Obama, the time since then has shown the president’s power to be severely constrained by a Republican opposition that is bitter about its losses, unmoved by Mr. Obama’s victory and unwilling to compromise on social policy, economics or foreign affairs.
“The stars are all aligning the wrong way in terms of working together,” said Peter Wehner, a former top White House aide to President George W. Bush. “Right now, the political system is not up to the moment and the challenges that we face.”
House Republicans argue that voters handed their members a mandate as well, granting the party control of the House for another two years and with it the right to stick to their own views, even when they clash strongly with the president’s.
And many Republicans remember well when the tables were turned. After Mr. Bush’s re-election in 2004, Democrats eagerly thwarted his push for privatization of Social Security, hobbling Mr. Bush’s domestic agenda in the first year of his second term.
New polls suggest that Mr. Obama’s popularity has surged to its highest point since he announced the killing of Osama bin Laden. In the latest CBS News survey, the president’s job approval rating was at 57 percent.
But taken together, events suggest that even that improvement in the polls has done little to deliver the president the kind of clear authority to enact his policies that voters seemed to say they wanted during the election.
A group of tin pot congressmen from gerrymandered districts appear unwilling to work the system. They want to follow the mandate of the craziest among them and drown our country in their personal bathtubs. The GOP is in utter chaos and its taking the country down with it. We can’t get even the slightest bit of sane policy. If you look at the state level, its even worse as Republican governors and legislatures work hard to bring their local school systems, health systems, and economies down to enrich their ALEC donor base.
Disarray is a word much overused in politics. But it barely begins to describe the current state of chaos and incoherence as Republicans come to terms with electoral defeat and try to regroup against a year-end deadline to avert a fiscal crisis.
The presidential election was fought in large measure over the question of whether some Americans should pay more in taxes. Republicans lost that argument with the voters, who polls show are strongly in favor of raising rates for the wealthy.
But a sizable contingent within the GOP doesn’t see it that way and is unwilling to declare defeat on a tenet that so defines them. Nor are they prepared to settle for getting the best deal they can, as a means of avoiding the tax hikes on virtually everyone else that would take effect if no deal is reached.
When Boehner tried to bend even a little, by proposing to raise rates on income over $1 million, his party humiliated him, forcing him Thursday night to abruptly cancel a vote on his “Plan B.”
“We had a number of our members who just really didn’t want to be perceived as having raised taxes,” Boehner said Friday. “That was the real issue.”
It’s hard to predict what will come of all of this. It’s pretty clear that Republicans in congress and in many states are about as interested in serving their electorate as a devout Theravadan Buddhist monk would be interested in a well cooked steak and a hooker. It’s going to take awhile to purge statehouses and congress of these problems. Some of the more obvious nuts–like Allen West–were ousted. Still, Michelle Bachmann snuck through feeling strong enough to run for speaker of the house and emboldened by the crazies in my old haunts. Can you imagine a person that out of touch with reality being third in line to the presidency?
Yes. The Republicans have problem that started with Pat Robertson’s run for the presidency and the embrace of a major political party of the American Taliban and Fascist movements in the name of garnering enough votes for greed that’s best characterized by the likes of Santorum, Perry, Buchanan, and Romney. But, it’s had a lot of negative impact already. There are a lot of folks that would be Nixonian Republicans running for office and holding office in the Democratic Party. Senator Ben Nelson comes to mind. The Republican party wanted none of him so he and the dead animal on his head went to the welcoming arms of the Democrats. His votes were still reliably Republican. Now he’s been placed by a tea party whacko. So, these are our choices these days. Republians running as democrats or theocratic fascists running as republicans. Just think of it. Eight years ago Dubya Bush was trying to ‘reform’ social security and none of us wanted any party of it. What’s going on today? We have the American Heritage Plan Health Care Law and a president who has no qualms chopping into key Democratic legislative and judicial battles from the past. The Democratic Party has become home to the Richard Nixon Republicans. This has virtually left us with a center right party and a party of the extreme right. Our discourse on policy is extremely limited. I had to choose the lesser evil but it truly sucks that we never have a better choice
So, it’s nice to think about bringing out a bowl of popcorn and watching the internecine republican fight of the century. However, living with the results of this chaos are going to be much more far reaching. I’m not sure the party will go the way of the Whigs but I’m pretty sure we’re going to be dysfunctional for at least another two years. Given the weakish state of the economy and the craziness going on in the Middle East, we just might find ourselves increasingly irrelevant in the world. After all, it’s usually by check and military might that we throw ourselves into every world event. Now, it seems there will only be a bath tub, a group of nuts, and our government trying not to drown.