March 28th, 2010
|01:15 pm - The Republican Party in a Nutshell|
The "hell no you can't" angry white guy is of course, Republican representative John Boehner, from an outburst during the healthcare vote last week. I'll be very pleased when the Republican party ceases being the party of angry white bigots. In any case, while I often think he's far too centrist, NYT columnest Frank Rich I think sums up the issues involved perfectly in his piece on the current right-wing rage, which includes the following quote:
That a tsunami of anger is gathering today is illogical, given that what the right calls “Obamacare” is less provocative than either the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Medicare, an epic entitlement that actually did precipitate a government takeover of a sizable chunk of American health care. But the explanation is plain: the health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964.
In fact, the current surge of anger — and the accompanying rise in right-wing extremism — predates the entire health care debate. The first signs were the shrieks of “traitor” and “off with his head” at Palin rallies as Obama’s election became more likely in October 2008. Those passions have spiraled ever since — from Gov. Rick Perry’s kowtowing to secessionists at a Tea Party rally in Texas to the gratuitous brandishing of assault weapons at Obama health care rallies last summer to “You lie!” piercing the president’s address to Congress last fall like an ominous shot.
If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.
I'll be very pleased when the Republican party ceases being the party of angry white bigots.
I have a grim feeling that that may never happen - because the tarnish on the brand may become so strong that it's impossible to call oneself a "Republican" without being instantly pigeonholed as someone not susceptible to evidence. So a certain political persuasion may need a different word for itself - and may need to take the difficult step of jettisoning the "Republican" brand despite its perceived value. It is pleasant to imagine this as part of America growing up out of the short-sighted and limiting two-party system, in which case a political persuasion like yours and mine might think a similar thing about the "Democrat" brand.
|Date:||March 30th, 2010 09:54 am (UTC)|| |
I doubt the two party system will go away quite so easily. My guess is a gradual (or perhaps swift - if we're lucky indeed) dwindling of the Republican Party to a party with purely regional influence for the next 10-15 years, followed by a revival, where they jettison the remaining bigots (who by that time will be even more of an anachronism than they are already), and become something else.
With luck the something else will have nothing to do with either fundamentalist Christianity (likely, since it's also gradually fading away as young people fail to follow their parent's vile faiths) or libertarianism (which I sincerely hope collapses under the weight of its own greed-ridden idiocy), and will be some other path. Of course, this will then inspire change among the Democrats, and so the result, like has happened before several times a century for the last 150 or so years will be two effectively new parties with the same names. As with everything else, there's a lot of value in an existing political Brand.
|Date:||March 30th, 2010 12:31 pm (UTC)|| |
I think it's almost inevitible for things to get a little better, by and by. While the Republicans smell blood in the water right now, I suspect that at least one or two candidates are going to drink a little too much tea during the primary and lose the general election. Over the next five years, the party will probably soften, and as it does, even the hardcore types will have to tone it down in order to stay on party messge. In the meantime... well, even lynch artists get nostalgic, I suppose.