Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bad for the Party

Republicans under Nixon and then Reagan recruited the useful idiots of the “moral” (moronic) “majority” (minority) to wrest control of Washington from the Democrats. In time, they took the Republican Party over too. In consequence, one would have thought that the GOP would have long ago divided against thanks to the cultural contradictions separating the nation’s rulers from the benighted souls who elect Republicans to do their bidding. But that rift has been slow to develop; no doubt because, in ruling circles, greed trumps all. However, with Obama in the White House, the useful idiots, reacting more to the promise of “change” than to the reality of it, have grown even more Angst-ridden, and also less cautious about expressing the racism Nixon set out years ago to exploit. Thus they are tightening their grip. The more they do, the more acute the cultural contradictions will become. It is happening already; the Scozzafava affair is a sure sign that a purge of “moderates” is underway. The pillars of the party can hardly be pleased. They could well turn to Democrats to fill the void; their traditional allegiances speak against it, but it would certainly be in their interest.

Thus it is becoming conventional wisdom that the Republicans are fashioning themselves into a mainly regional (Southern) party, and that they will therefore remain a minority party for an indefinite future. This is one instance where the conventional wisdom has gotten it right. So-called independents may be cool to Obama’s style of governance and to what they understand (or misunderstand) his policies to be, but the fact remains: the narrower the Republican tent becomes, the worse it will be for the electoral prospects of the Grand Old Party – all the more so, when the only ones let in under the tent are Palin-besotted, god-fearing, certifiable loonies.

But the conventional wisdom misses the point. For true believers, the idea was never just to elect Republicans. Why would any self-respecting reactionary care about that? The idea was and is to affect policy. This, the moronic minority has succeeded in doing beyond their wildest expectations of just a few months ago. With a Democrat in the White House and with Democrats in control of both houses of Congress, they have dragged the entire political scene to the right. They will likely continue to do so, no matter how well or poorly Republicans fare in 2010. Last week’s events illustrate the situation perspicuously: Republicans lost a Congressional seat in up-state New York, but they turned the Obama-Pelosi health care reform bill into an anti-abortion bill that solidifies the power of private insurance companies over health care while guaranteeing that pharmaceutical companies will continue to be able to charge extortionist prices for their wares. Which matters more?

What goes for the Republican goose goes too for the Democratic gander. By recruiting and supporting right-wing Democrats – in accord with the theory and practice of Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer and with the approval of liberal pundits – the Democrats did win control of the House of Representatives in 2006 and of the Senate in 2008. They have a good chance too of retaining control of both houses in 2010, even if ruling parties do generally lose seats in off-year elections. But why should anyone to the left of the Clinton family care if this only means that Blue Dogs and Liebermans rule the roost?

The tea-baggers et. al. have a point, and not just, as it were, on the top of their heads. A principled, organized cadre of legislators can affect policy mightily whether or not their party is in the majority. Progressives would do well to take that lesson on board – in this respect only to become more like the lunatics who have taken over the Republican asylum.

There is not much risk involved. Bush era incompetence and Obama era Republican insanity have provided Obama and the Democrats with an unending string of opportunities, most of which they have dutifully squandered. Count on the gift to keep on giving – all the more so as the erstwhile favored party of the ruling class is purged of anyone who, like Dede Scozzafava, is more or less reality-based. That’s why were liberals to stand up more for themselves – for what has come to be called “the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party” -- they would probably not put Democratic control of the House or Senate in jeopardy. But, again, that’s not the point. What matters is affecting policy. The idiots have shown the way.

No comments: