Thursday, September 8, 2011

Republican operative tells us it IS as bad as we fear

When the sensible Republicans start to say the same thing as liberals like me, you KNOW we're in trouble.  (H/T JCF for this one).

From the article Goodbye to all that: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult
But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP.

To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. ....

It was this cast of characters and the pernicious ideas they represent that impelled me to end a nearly 30-year career as a professional staff member on Capitol Hill.....

It should have been evident to clear-eyed observers that the Republican Party is becoming less and less like a traditional political party in a representative democracy and becoming more like an apocalyptic cult, or one of the intensely ideological authoritarian parties of 20th century Europe. This trend has several implications, none of them pleasant.
The author goes on to enumerate the implications, and you should read them. He points out the failings of the Democrats, and the media, to provide a needed counterweight to the extremism.
As for what they really believe, the Republican Party of 2011 believes in three principal tenets I have laid out below. The rest of their platform one may safely dismiss as window dressing:

1. The GOP cares solely and exclusively about its rich contributors. ...

2. They worship at the altar of Mars. ....

3. Give me that old time religion....
Indeed, although it seems to be common wisdom that eventually the business and religion ends of the Republican tent will separate, the author is not so sanguine.
It is my view that the rise of politicized religious fundamentalism (which is a subset of the decline of rational problem solving in America) may have been the key ingredient of the takeover of the Republican Party. For politicized religion provides a substrate of beliefs that rationalizes - at least in the minds of followers - all three of the GOP's main tenets.
He sees clear links between the Prosperity Gospel and apocalyptic end-times thinking, with the care for the rich and the war machine.

And he left because he feared for his own retirement.

While his report is itself somewhat apocalyptic, what is missing is any sense of what to do about to regain the "low information voters" from the cynical manipulation of the GOP (whose ability to make people vote against their own interest is remarkable), and how to recover a functional democracy from a political disaster.

Remember, this is a closely divided country, and not one that is going to vote in favor of a more progressive Utopia. We have to meet them where they are, which is in the middle, and expose the right wing for what it is.

Any suggestions?


it's margaret said...

Doxy pointed me to this article a couple of days ago... I'm still thinking.... I have no suggestions. Yet.

dr.primrose said...

Two things that come immediately to mind.

1. Whenever someone does the routine of "a plague on both their houses," strongly protest that (as the author notes) both parties here are not equally at fault for the current mess. If the Republican base has the choice of doing something that would help the country or destroy the country, they will do the latter every time if Obama supports the former.

2. Kick Democratic butts of those who have decided to give up and stay out of the political process because the Obama's election did not result in the second coming of Jesus and the descent of the New Jerusalem. People who are disappointed in Obama need to be reminded that they're going to be really disappointed when a President Perry or Bachman destroys collective bargaining and the social safety net, works hard to repeal social security and medicare, emasculates the EPA, gives further tax breaks to the super-rich, and pushes the U.S. into further needless wars.

IT said...

Primrose, I agree. The consequence of all those Nader voters "teaching the Democrats a lesson" was 8 years of GW Bush. Some lesson. How'd that work out?

The progressive liberal viewpoint is not in the majority, nor even a plurality. The president can't be elected by left-wing purists because there simply aren't enough of them. I am very disappointed in some of Obama's cave-ins, too, but democracy is messy: you get to chose one from the R or one from the D, and "none of the above" is as good as an R.