Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Republican Medicine Show

For months now MSNBC has concentrated most of its time on following the Republican Party's raucous campaign to choose a presidential candidate, turning the whole scene into low-camp comedy. Well, that isn't hard to do, seeing the hole that the GOP has dug itself into.

The problem started back in the late 1960s, when America's Religious-Right entrenched reactionaries finally decided -- a century after that fact -- that although Lincoln (who had defeated the Confederacy and freed the slaves) was a Republican, the Democrat party was no longer a comfortable home for troglodytes like themselves. So they moved en masse to the Republican Party, where they renamed themselves NeoCons. The GOP made the mistake of welcoming them, in order to win elections, and it's been saddled with them ever since.

Now surely the Republican National Committee knows very well that it can never give the NeoCons what they want. The majority of Americans simply will not put up with sending our society back 150 years. They won't tolerate turning women back into second-class citizens and Blacks into third-class, nor imprisoning Gays, nor completely banning abortion, nor allowing unlimited pollution of the environment, nor making the Baptist Church the official religion of the US and preaching the word of Jesus in every public place. It simply won't happen, no matter how much the NeoCons lust for it.

Nonetheless, the GOP has to make some efforts to placate the NeoCons in order to keep their votes. This explains the string of bizarre candidates the GOP has put up in the last several months. It started with Michelle Bachmann, easily the furthest-out Religious-Right nut holding major public office. Before she was thoroughly shot down, it allowed in the incredibly self-propelled Donald Trump. Before Trump was out of the picture, it brought in Herman Cain: suitably right-wing, but daringly Black. Before Cain went down, it brought in Newt Gingrich -- medium-right-wing -- along with Perry and Santorum. Last, it brought up the possibly electable Mitt Romney. Has anybody else noticed the progression in this? The GOP deliberately moved from far-out right-wing to moderate, letting the NeoCons have their time in the sun and exhaust their passion, before finally trotting out the candidate it had been planning to run all along.

Why Romney? Because, like Obama, he's a weathervane. His career has shown that he'll shift with whatever wind blows, faithfully follow instructions from the party's elite, and otherwise not make waves. In short, he's a party hack: just what the RNC wants.

Of course, what's thrown a monkey-wrench into the game is Ron Paul. Paul, in his polite way, is the real revolutionary in the pack. Purely a populist candidate, Paul has raised his campaign money almost entirely from public appeals on the Internet. Carefully blacked out by the media, both Liberal and Conservative, Paul has advertised his campaign -- again -- almost entirely on the Internet. His radical back-to-the-Constitution, reduce-government, Libertarian message appeals to a broad spectrum of voters: disgruntled ex-Democrats, non-NeoCon Republicans, the undecided young and the growing number of Independents. (Note: here in Arizona, a recent poll showed that one-third of the voters consider themselves Republican, one-third Democrat, and at least one-third call themnselves Independents. It's a mistake to consider this a "Red" state.)

When Paul came in third in the Iowa primary, the news media were obliged to notice him. Political pundits/manipulators, caught by surprise, scrambled to find some dirt they could throw at him, and could come up with nothing better than his being one of the editors, 20 years ago, of a newsletter which occasionally published letters by nuts. When he came in second to Romney in New Hampshire, they tried harder -- hammering on his so-called "isolationism", supposed "anti-Israel" stance (even trying to stretch that to "anti-semitism"), and trying for "racism". Since all of these are easily disproved by looking at his position statements on his own website, or following his actual speeches over the past ten years, they haven't worked very well. The one theme they keep falling back on is "he's un-electable, he can't win", which clearly isn't the case.

Ron Paul is the wild card in the deck, who upsets political business-as-usual. This is what frightens the RNC, the DNC and the media so badly -- and it's what appeals to the public at large. I think I can safely predict that, if Paul comes in first in the South Carolina primary, the political establishment will try everything -- from outright lying to blackmail to even assassination attempts -- to stop him.

If they don't stop him, I predict that Ron Paul will beat Obama in the 2012 election -- unless the Democrats pull off a truly massive election fraud.

For just that reason, I'm hereby appealing to everybody who's dissatisfied with politics-as-usual to volunteer to be poll-watchers, ballot-counters, and every other job that can possibly prevent vote-fraud. The 2012 election is going to be not just interesting but downright fascinating.


Aya Katz said...

Leslie, I'm behind Ron Paul all the way. I'm appalled, however, by the number of both left wing and right wing voters who say they would not vote for him, even against Obama or Romney. Never mind the establishment, for a moment. We know why they don't want us to think Ron Paul is electable. But what do we do about rank and file voters, both liberals and conservatives, who think the U.S. should play police man for the world?

Tom Dickson-Hunt said...

I quite like Ron Paul, on most of his positions, and those which I disagree with him on are still vastly better than pretty much anyone else, but it strikes me that most people are not going to vote for him in the general election. Too good a job has been done, over the past hundred years or so, of making the current status quo of the-government-can-do-anything-and-how-dare-you-protest into the 'obvious' and 'common sensical' position for everyone, to the degree that strict constructionism of the sort that should be basically axiomatic is instead a really radical position and many of our lawmakers don't actually consider whether or not the Constitution actually grants the government the right to carry out their latest pet plan. I think the best that we're likely to do is get a conservative who regardless of other failings at least wants the government smaller than it is now. (Romney, of course, does not qualify.)

Leslie Fish said...

Hi, Aya. I can think of a cute propaganda trick which might cure that: a slow pan of the Vietnam War memorial, then some shots of Vietnam today, with a voice-over saying: "This is what comes of being the cops of the world."

Hi, Tom. Again, I think this could be countered by a campaign of ads showing a montage of other politicians' lies about What The Govt. Will Do For You, followed by a portrait of Ron Paul and the voice-over: "Just this once, vote your conscience."

--Leslie <;)))>< Fish

Paradoctor said...

Leslie, I think you got the neo-cons mixed up with the theocrats. The neocons are the imperialists; the theocrats are the Christianists. Right now the Republican power structure is an uneasy combination of neocons, theocrats, and the corporadoes. Nixon's Southern Strategy involved taking in the theocrats, which Carter tried to do for the Democrats, and failed.

The net political effect is that the R's and the D's have switched geographical and economic bases.

As for Ron Paul, I doubt he'll win, but he'll certainly influence. I regard his role as like OWS and the Tea Party; less 'revolutionary' than 'revelationary'. Their role is to speak the unspoken.

Leslie Fish said...

Hi, Nat. I doubt if the Republicans themselves can differentiate anymore between the theocrats, the imperialists and the corporadoes. After all, expanding a corporation nowadays requires imperialism, and the imperialism needs a God Wills It excuse -- as any Arab businessman can tell you. The GOP has slung this albatross around its own neck, and now has to deal with it.

There's still a chance that Ron Paul might win, especially since he's the only candidate who can draw votes from outside the GOP. If he wins in South Carolina -- which has open primaries, so all those outside-the-GOP voters can join in -- everybody, including the RNC, is going to have to take him seriously. He'll finally have the mass-media to carry his message, which has across-the-board appeal. Did you know that Paul was the only candidate to actually go and talk to the OWS protesters? He talked to them and actually listened to them, and they listened to him. Now, how much support do you think he raised thereby?

Paul just might win, and we really should push for that.

--Leslie <;)))>< )O(