The naked evil of that scourge called the Republican Party

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Tiassa, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    It would be an understatement to suggest that people already know how I feel about the Republican Party and its lap-dog faithful; 'nuff said.

    There are, however, reasons. And unlike so many of my GOP-supporting neighbors, it doesn't actually have that much to do with self. That is, while Republicans seem to hate Democrats because government is too intrusive°, my loathing of American political conservatism derives from something much closer to its core. Some call it hypocrisy. Some call it greed. Some call it soullessness. It is a contradiction, this variable standard that always agrees with exactly what a person wants; I call it dishonesty.

    Glenn Greenwald is off on a tear about the latest FOX News atrocity, Glenn Beck's "war games scenario", wild speculation about how the Obama presidency will lead to a second Civil War in our nation. On the one hand, the premise is questionable enough; to the other, though, it seems right up FOX's sensationalist back-alley. I'm not particularly worried about it, though, at present. I don't intend to watch.

    But Greenwald opens his latest rant with a fairly astute observation about the variability of Republican standards:

    Bill Clinton's election in 1992 gave rise to the American "militia movement": hordes of overwhelmingly white, middle-aged men from suburban and rural areas who convinced themselves they were defending the American way of life from the "liberals" and "leftists" running the country by dressing up in military costumes on weekends, wobbling around together with guns, and play-acting the role of patriot-warriors. Those theater groups -- the cultural precursor to George Bush's prancing 2003 performance dressed in a fighter pilot outfit on Mission Accomplished Day -- spawned the decade of the so-called "Angry White Male," the movement behind the 1994 takeover of the U.S. Congress by Newt Gingrich and his band of federal-government-cursing, pseudo-revolutionary, play-acting tough guys.

    What was most remarkable about this allegedly "anti-government" movement was that -- with some isolated and principled exceptions -- it completely vanished upon the election of Republican George Bush, and it stayed invisible even as Bush presided over the most extreme and invasive expansion of federal government power in memory. Even as Bush seized and used all of the powers which that movement claimed in the 1990s to find so tyrannical and unconstitutional -- limitless, unchecked surveillance activities, detention powers with no oversight, expanding federal police powers, secret prison camps, even massively exploding and debt-financed domestic spending -- they meekly submitted to all of it, even enthusiastically cheered it all on.

    They're the same people who embraced and justified full-scale, impenetrable federal government secrecy and comprehensive domestic spying databases conducted in the dark and against the law when perpetrated by a Republican President -- but have spent the last week flamboyantly pretending to be scandalized and outraged by the snooping which Bill Moyers did 45 years ago (literally) as part of a Democratic administration. They're the people who relentlessly opposed and impugned Clinton's military deployments and then turned around and insisted that only those who are anti-American would question or oppose Bush's decision to start wars.

    They're the same people who believed that Bill Clinton's use of the FISA court to obtain warrants to eavesdrop on Americans was a grave threat to liberty, but believed that George Bush's warrantless eavesdropping on Americans in violation of the law was a profound defense of freedom. In sum, they dressed up in warrior clothing to fight against Bill Clinton's supposed tyranny, and then underwent a major costume change on January 20, 2001, thereafter dressing up in cheerleader costumes to glorify George Bush's far more extreme acquisitions of federal power.

    In doing so, they revealed themselves as motivated by no ideological principles or political values of any kind. It was a purely tribalistic movement motivated by fear of losing its cultural and demographic supremacy. In that sense -- the only sense that mattered -- George Bush was one of them, even though, with his actions, he did everything they long claimed to fear and despise. Nonetheless, his mere occupancy of the White House was sufficient to pacify them and convert them almost overnight from limited-government militants into foot soldiers supporting the endless expansion of federal government power.

    But now, only four weeks into the presidency of Barack Obama, they are back -- angrier and more chest-beating than ever. Actually, the mere threat of an Obama presidency was enough to revitalize them from their eight-year slumber, awaken them from their camouflaged, well-armed suburban caves.


    (Greenwald)

    I've told this story before in another variation, which is occasionally coupled with a time-machine scenario suggesting that had I told Republicans of the 1980s what they were leading us toward, I would have been laughed—at best—out of town.

    There was a time when you weren't supposed to speak so ill of presidents. The expectation was that the president and his men were good people, and they deserved that presumption. Of course, it all went out the window with Clinton's election; the right-wing sleaze machine kicked into high gear.

    It's hard to figure what to highlight in Greenwald's indictment of the right wing. He suggests a core hypocrisy that has played out over the last sixteen years, one that is readily visible to those for whom history begins sometime before January, 2007, when the Democratic majority was sworn into Congress, or September, 2001, when terrorists kicked us in the teeth. And while plenty of people across the political spectrum realized that much changed in 2001, there remains a question of what actually changed. Our presuppositions? Most assuredly. Our rules? Well, why?

    We don't torture like tyrants and terrorists. Except that we do. But what makes it different is that we're Americans. We don't spy on our own people like the Communists did. Except that we do. But what makes it different is that we're Americans. We don't hate like Muslim fanatics. Except that we do. And what makes it different is that we're Americans. And in that difference is all the explanation we need, right? We're Americans, and therefore we do no wrong.

    This fallacious belief seems to be popular among Republicans, and is often applied to their own party. Government is too intrusive, so we're going to regulate who you can sleep with. Government shouldn't be handing out money to the undeserving—unless they're rich. There's a liberal media conspiracy that can't be demonstrated, thus justifying a Republican propaganda campaign on cable news outlets.

    And what is disgusting about the rank-and-file Republican is that so many of them know this. They're aware of it, and what it means. And despite the popular appeals to Christian sentiment, these Republicans are still going to vote their ticket because, well, when you come down to it, they're voting their pocketbooks and bank balances. Many middle class Republicans believe that they will fare better under the GOP when they are, in fact, the most obvious targets of the giant pyramid scheme known as trickle-down. They send their kids to church to learn about the supreme importance of charity, compassion, and community. And then they vote for greed.

    Democrats in Congress and state houses might be blithering idiots at least as many days as not, but their fundamental problems are different. They can't agree and march in lockstep because they're not supposed to. While the so-called "Christian right" and the economic conservatives have long walked together because, despite their differences, both are willing to make certain compromises in order to advocate an identity politic (e.g. the Republican Party), Democrats are a necessarily disorganized bunch. The Greens don't necessarily agree with the Socialists, who manage to find a reason to clash with Labor, who grate on the Feminists (and the Greens) while the Gays stand in the corner and protest that belt and those shoes with that jacket. Think about it: the Democrats have abandoned the gays; there are Labor Democrats who rejected Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate because she was a woman, and just about any of them will puff their chests and cause how much disaster in order to defend against the emotional appeals about war and crime. It's a fucking mess, but even as sellout centrists, the Democrats have something that the Republicans don't.

    In the end, if a Democrat stands up and fulfills his liberal label, the policies he advocates will improve the quality of life for the vast majority of those affected. If a Republican stands up and fulfills his conservative label, the policies he advocates will hurt the vast majority of those affected.

    Look at what we've got now. A trillion dollar war? Go for it! A multibillion dollar grab-bag for Wall Street? Sure; after all, the only alternative is more tax cuts for the wealthy and the invention of a new insurance line to feed the rich. A bailout for those hurt or conned by the grand pyramid scheme of conservative economic policy? Hell no! The working classes need to give more money to the rich.

    This is a desperate stand for conservatives, and hopefully the last before a major transformation. Their system broke. The economy is in ruins, and all they can think of is more of the same. The war we shouldn't be in is a money pit and a human disaster, while the one we can justify is nearly starving after years of neglect. So maybe we need to torture some more people, eh? After all, we're Americans, and nobody's going to push us around. Unless, of course, they force us to torture them. But then torture is a good thing.

    Republicans are scraping the bottom of their barrel right now, and there is a vague notion about it similar to measures of respect. Some people puff their chests and say, "I don't need to show you any respect because you haven't earned my respect." The counterproposal, framed in political terms, is that all humans deserve certain respect, and the only way to exempt oneself is to deliberately opt out.

    And this is where my loathing of the Republican Party comes from. Everyone needs to buy into their club, but like a pyramid scheme, the lower tiers are only accepted because they are needed to prop up the elite echelon. In other words, what Republicans advocate restricts prosperity and freedom. Certainly it can create great prosperity and freedom, but these are restricted to the fewest number of people possible. So the vast majority suffers under Republican ethics. This is enough to set me in opposition, but the nails in that coffin are constantly driven, and to excess, by the Party's operatives and proxies who, as Greenwald notes, will say anything in order to succeed. Integrity? It's not profitable, except that people expect it, so conservatives generally put on a mask of respectability and honesty much akin to any political façade. But that mask has been cracking and peeling away for years, and presently we see conservatives—hoping America fails so that they can consolidate their wealth and power—in their grotesque, naked reality. The difference between principle and cheap politics is a party label to them. What is evil if a Democrat does it is good if a Republican does. In fact, if a Republican transcends that Democratic evil°, they should be applauded for their virtue.

    In a prior age, when people could be convinced by superstition that the poor enjoy poverty, the mentally ill enjoy their maladies, and homosexuals choose a lifetime of hatred and discrimination for its glamourous appeal, Republicans found ready audiences to wallow in their disease. But the cycles of fear have synchronized for the moment, and amid a wrecked economy, facing disastrous wars and the countenance of torture, the produce of this hateful way are glaringly apparent. The GOP might choose to redefine itself according to observable reality, and this decision at least has the potential to bring some improvement. But for now the party seems largely content to push the old line, hoping that people will sink back into their uneasy slumber. They pray for the easy route, that they might resume their vicious agenda with minimal effort and expense. Pride mingles with the bottom line and bellows a fearsome demand.

    It would be tragic if they win out. But it is a testament to the lowest character, the deepest and foulest sleaze, the most disgusting aspects of human nature, that they should even try.

    And it is up to them. The rest of us can only hope that they choose something better.
    _____________________

    Notes:

    ° government is too intrusive — Government shouldn't tax, regulate, or inform, according to many conservatives. To the other, it certainly should go around snooping after who you've been sleeping with and what you're reading. It's all a matter of priorities, I suppose.

    ° if a Republican transcends that Democratic evil — To reiterate one of Greenwald's examples:

    They're the same people who believed that Bill Clinton's use of the FISA court to obtain warrants to eavesdrop on Americans was a grave threat to liberty, but believed that George Bush's warrantless eavesdropping on Americans in violation of the law was a profound defense of freedom.​

    Works Cited:

    Greenwald, Glenn. "Fox News 'war games' the coming civil war". Unclaimed Territory. February 22, 2009. http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/02/22/militias/index.html
     
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  3. kmguru Staff Member

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  5. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

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    This is just wrong. Yes, there was a popular militia movement during the Clinton administration. As a conservative, midwestern, suburban guy, I knew quite a few people who were involved in them. Many were my friends. While I agreed with them on many issues, I had neither the time nor the inclination to go running around the woods in army fatigues so I never joined any of these groups. Anyway, what put an end to them was not the election of GWB, it was the Oklahoma City bombing. Seeing the carnage created by McVeigh suddenly made these "militia" groups seem more like terrorists and less like patriots.
    No matter how fond you are of saying that, it doesn't make it true.
    I don't know if you recall, but there was quite an uproar about the passage of the bank bailout too. And these things have a cummulative effect. First we blow a trillion dollars to save the banking system. Of course, we'll probably need even more. Having blown that first trillion, you can't see why we might be reluctant to blow another trillion on pork (or on anything, considering that WE DON'T FUCKING HAVE THE MONEY!) This policy of printing money is dangerous as hell and may well see our republic go the way of the Weimar Republic. You simply can not spend money you don't have without consequences no matter who you want to help.

    You can call that evil if you want, I call it facing reality.
     
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  7. eddie23 information sponge Registered Senior Member

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    my only problem with bush ( and before you ask. No I do not capitalize that idiots name.) is that he stole the election. We as a people should have stood up for our rights and demanded he step back down. The only vote that should count is the popular vote. 1 person 1 vote. no grand jurys no electoral colleges or any of that bull shit. Just plain, simple, and honest.
     
  8. PieAreSquared Woo is resistant to reason Registered Senior Member

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    You know everything was still in place at that time to have a run off election


    why we didn't ... I have no idea

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  9. eddie23 information sponge Registered Senior Member

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    Gore gave up when it was clear the even if he won he would lose the respect of the people.

    People can say what they want about Gore, but you have to admit the man does have the ability to come out on top in the respect catagory.
     
  10. PieAreSquared Woo is resistant to reason Registered Senior Member

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    I totally agree with you on the no electoral vote, in this day and age with instant newsand results .... it's really a antique.

    I don't really don't know why Gore caved in so easy.
     
  11. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    Mega Dittos Tiassa.
     
  12. Tyler Registered Senior Member

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    A fine mahoke to you as well, tiassa.
     
  13. ashura the Old Right Registered Senior Member

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    Heh, I agree of course. But, it's a damn shame we're seeing this sort of conservatism now and not during the Bush years and our recent (IMO unnecessary) wars. It's an easy thing to cry for principle and rally against the opposition party, but another thing entirely to do it against your own. While I may be supporting some of the positions taken up by certain Republicans at the moment with regards to new spending, I wholeheartedly believe that most deserve every bit of scoffing, cynicism and scorn being thrown at them if not more. Had they actually stuck to their integrity and governed conservatively, and by conservative I don't mean the ridiculous lower taxes while increasing spending to massive levels BS we've endured since Reagan, then they'd have the credibility they need now to combat bigger government.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2009
  14. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    I am not convinced there has been any change in the Republican Party yet. It is one thing to mouth something. It is quite another to do it.
     
  15. ashura the Old Right Registered Senior Member

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    Agreed, the second the current Republican leadership gets back into power will be the second we resume business as usual for these crooks and liars.
     
  16. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    I think the nation became fearlful of the right wing militias supporting Bush. The nation was not prepared for the coup.
     
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    You might be incorrect, but it's not your fault if you are.

    In the first place, you need to read more carefully:

    • "Anyway, what put an end to them was not the election of GWB, it was the Oklahoma City bombing." — An interesting assertion on two counts. First, as I recall, militia mentality flourished in the wake of Oklahoma City. What pushed it into the background was, eventually, indifference. Just like any pathetic bully, if you ignore it long enough, it either does something spectacular or goes away. In this case, they seem to have faded away somewhat. But what put an end to them is irrelevant to Greenwald's point. Or, rather, the relevance is based on misconstruing the point:

    Those theater groups -- the cultural precursor to George Bush's prancing 2003 performance dressed in a fighter pilot outfit on Mission Accomplished Day -- spawned the decade of the so-called "Angry White Male," the movement behind the 1994 takeover of the U.S. Congress by Newt Gingrich and his band of federal-government-cursing, pseudo-revolutionary, play-acting tough guys.

    (Greenwald)

    Greenwald asserts that the militia movement "spawned the decade of the so-called 'Angry White Male', which led to the Republican Revolution of 1994." It is the AWM culture, not the militias, that disappeared when Bush was elected.​

    And, yes, the general complaints about government intrusion did fade away. At a time when they were needed the most, these wanna-be libertarians scurried for cover and only emerged to cheer on the Bush Adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, the classification of their political enemies as potential terrorists, and domestic espionage. The people who were mortified that Clinton got warrants from the FISA court were absolutely silent—at best—when Bush decided to circumvent warrants. So, how is it that it's bad for one president to follow legally-established procedures to carry out surveillance, but good for another to bypass the law entirely to spy on his own people? That difference is apparently the political label. Clinton was a Democrat. Bush a Republican.

    Would you assert that nickel-and-diming schools with a policy suggesting that only after teachers show they don't need the money will the powers that be write the checks has had a positive impact? Is the widening of the wealth gap in society a positive outcome of trickle-down? Paying women less for equal work because they are women, that doesn't hurt anyone, does it? Persecuting homosexuals helps people, right? Oh, hey, and what about that broken economy? Deregulation, then, is the best thing for the people at large since frozen yogurt?

    More than three Republicans were willing to support it. And the lack of oversight regarding how the money was spent is straight out of the conservative playbook. And, besides, the most apparent counterproposal was yet another tax cut for the wealthy combined with the invention of a new line of insurance. Let me guess, all those new insurance premiums would have flowed into the already-burgeoning coffers of the poor? Bullshit: the counterproposal was to coddle the rich at the expense of everyone else.

    Quite an uproar, indeed.

    Japan, at the height of its financial crisis, saw its debt load equal something like 180% of its GDP. I've heard numbers (via NPR) suggesting that the current bailout plan will push our own debt load to around 90% of our GDP. We may be in freefall, but we have a long way to go before we hit bottom.

    But it's worth it if we get to send troops abroad to kill dark-skinned people?

    Imagine your employees calling you one day, furious because banks are refusing their paychecks. So you review your records and discover that you have plenty of money to cover the payroll. But your bank isn't releasing the funds because it's in the middle of a complete meltdown, and despite what your ledger says, they don't actually have the money to release.

    That's why the Wall Street bailout was necessary. Liquidity in our markets had turned to slush, and was in danger of freezing over entirely. Some doomsday lawmaker recently explained that the economy came within about two or three hours hours of absolutely, definitively collapsing. He's a Democrat from Pennsylvania, and even I question whether the scenario is even possible, but someone at Treasury believed they faced a possible $5.5 trillion dollar run on money markets.

    And we can choose to not believe him, but the only question of his credibility is whether he accurately related what he was told by Treasury.

    Many economists, like Paul Krugman, suggest the bailout isn't big enough to work. And here we come again back to GDP. Any Marxist will tell you that credit taken represents a promise against future labor. (This is the fundamental problem of NINA loans; with no evidence of income, there are no future labors to promise toward paying back the loan.) In theory, we can pump a lot of money into the system—even money we don't have—if our future labors warrant it. But if we recover at home while the rest of the world is still in the ditch, we're screwed because all of that product will sit. And it doesn't matter how much we produce if nobody can buy it.

    The reality is that the system conservatives have advocated broke. And the thing about it is that it's guaranteed to break periodically.

    We were told, starting in September, that this was the worst since the Great Depression. Some Republican on NPR pointed out that things aren't as bad yet as they were in 1982. Okay, so let's think about this. We didn't even get fifty years coming out of the Depression. And we got maybe twenty-five years from 1982. What will we get this time? Fifteen years? It's a cycle, and it appears to be accelerating.

    And each time the cycle breaks, the rich come out okay. Comparatively few of them are wiped out the way the working classes can be. A billionaire who loses a house in an economic crisis usually has one or two to spare. Not so if you package brake pads or taillights for GM at a satellite unit in Oklahoma or wherever.

    So simply patching up the same old system works just fine for the rich. After all, when they run it into the ground the next time, it won't be them taking the brunt of the impact. It will be the labor and small business.

    And maybe touting small business is an effective rally cry when pandering for votes. But as far as the rich are concerned, it's better if others take the fall for their mistakes.

    Like anything else, conservatives want other people to suffer for their own mistakes, and ... oh, wait, what are we talking about? Conservatives don't make mistakes. Like Fannie and Freddie. Even though they don't write loans, or package or rate assets, it's still Fannie and Freddie's fault for writing all those risky loans, packaging the problematic assets, and rating them AAA. And that means that even though this was all what conservatives wanted, it's still the Democrats' fault. And, hey, it's not the fault of the United States if our agencies commit torture. Sometimes in war, you have to. Someone else apparently forced us to torture people.

    It's the odious hypocrisy and the nearly sociopathic cruelty of the conservative politic that makes it evil. Oh, wait, but it's not conservatives' fault, is it? Someone is forcing you all to be greedy and cruel, right? After all, you only do what you have to.
    _____________________

    Notes:

    "The world economy was 'hours' from collapse". The Financial Services Club Blog. February 8, 2009. http://thefinanser.co.uk/fsclub/2009/02/usa-lost-550-billion-in-two-hours.html
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  18. Slacker47 Paint it Black Registered Senior Member

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    Ron Paul
     
  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    Indeed

    Well, Paul was included as one of Greenwald's "isolated and principled exceptions" (a Cato Institute white paper by Gene Healy and Timothy Lynch being the other example he provided).

    But what do you mean by that?
     
  20. TW Scott Minister of Technology Registered Senior Member

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    Actually, i do have a problem with current Republican leadership. They have caved into being fiscally irresponsible. Which is sad considering the Democrats are just as bad, but try to hide it behind the Social Secuirity surplus. Neither party understands fiscal conservation. Neither party has practiced smaller, less obtrusive governement. and both parties have viotlated the most important parts of the constitution repreatedly. Democrats are no less guilty than the Republicans. In fact i dare say there is a not a single untaited political party left in America. Everyone sold out to someone else. So now we are stuck with the lesser of two evils.

    I firmly believe that if Gore had won in 2000, today would be a much darker and danker day than it already is. Same with Kerry.Neither one of those men would have made the hard and unpopular but completely neccesary choice that Bush jr did. In fact the thing Jr. did wrong is he did not have a proper plan for rebuilding Iraq and sent the wrong guy to do it. Then he played ostrich for a while.

    As for our current President, i only wish he'd waited eight years for wehn he would be most effective. As it is we have an idealist in the White House wiht so little experience that I'm sure by the end of the term people are going to regret voting Obama. Not becuase he is bad, but becuase he'll have to fight to get even the most obviously beneficial things done, even with his own party.
     
  21. nietzschefan Thread Killer Valued Senior Member

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    Might be right, consider this : Dems started the de-regulation with Banks. Started the war with Osama. Engaged in foreign wars with foolish abandon.

    Wait and see, I say.
     
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Say what?
     
  23. TW Scott Minister of Technology Registered Senior Member

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    Truth hurts doesn;t it. Oh and they did. At the time it was harmless enough and it saved us money. Problem was we never , ever imagined the banks would do the stupid shit they did. Republicans were first to notice and even they did very little once informed of the problem so in the end both parties get equal blame for the banks fiasco which really means the political parties are about 1% responseble each.
     

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