Friday, November 15, 2013

On the GOP Drowning in Tea

Here is an interesting tidbit I dug up on the interweb today:

Wherein we get the details of a Tea Party plan to give proper comeuppance in the mid-term elections to those 87 traitorous Republican house members who "caved" to the outrage of the American people and voted to end the government shutdown last month. 

All I could think was, “Karma’s a bitch.”

Back in the early eighties, I was a Pentecostal Christian with a keen distrust of Ronald Reagan.  I never actually subscribed to right-wing politics, even though I was exhorted from the pulpit the Sunday before election day 1980 to go to the polls on Tuesday and cast my ballot for “the Ronald Reagan of my choice,” and for the next four years, I spent a goodly portion of my waking hours among folks who fawningly referred to Reagan as “God’s man in the White House.”

I may have been young and callow—and, back then, not nearly as politically aware as I am now.  But even I could see that the Reagan campaign had rolled out enticements to the Christian right—abortion limitations, government sanctioned school prayer, contempt for the ERA—but once safely in office, The Great Communicator conveniently forgot to go anywhere near those political third rails.  And had the audacity to pull the exact same bait and switch in 1984.  But the Christians ate it up with a spoon.  Politically, I couldn’t figure out which frustrated me more:  Reagan  making promises he never intended to keep, or my Christian brothers and sisters being hoodwinked by his campaign speak.  Twice.

I’m not sure if the Reagan presidency was the genesis of the unholy alliance between the ultra-right-wing fringe and the Republican Party.  Some sources hold that it was the Nixon campaign that originated the idea of “values” voting—mostly by appealing to “conservative” voters in the South (read: white southerners disenchanted with the Civil Rights Act that passed under the previous Democratic administration.)  Wherever the idea came from, the Republican Party of the late 20th century adopted as its mandate the conscription of every ragtag sub-group of whackadoodle right-wingers it could dig up into the ranks of GOP faithful.  No fear was too outlandish, no prejudice too appalling, no hatred too sociopathic to be welcomed under the umbrella of political “conservatism” that the GOP offered to anyone who would mark a ballot in the appropriate column.

Because the GOP was interested in numbers.  It needed control of Congress, of the White House, of both at the same time if the gods really smiled upon them, in order to advance the aggressively pro-business agenda of wealthy corporate backers.   The Republican Party at large had no real interest in the political agendas of this disparate collection of ideologues they had gathered into the fold.  They simply wanted their votes.  So the GOP would promise them anything, and give them nothing.

And it worked.  For a really long time.  All during the Reagan years, on to Bush One, and along through the Clinton Administration, the GOP promised and gathered, gathered and promised.  Talked the talk, and walked the other way.  And the wingnuts sat on the sidelines and nodded, smiled, marked their ballots as requested, and held out their hands…and got nothing.  Until 2001.  Empowered by nationwide fears that an angry god had obviously passed judgment on our fallen nation by allowing jihadists to blow up Manhattan, and by an administration that took every opportunity to exploit those fears,  the ultra-right wing rose up and commenced to demand  everything it had been promised.    

This morning's headline is proof positive, as if we needed it, that those folks are done getting stiffed.  Finally.  Today’s Republican Party is rapidly becoming victim to the most nuclear demonstration of karma in the history of government. 

The GOP has not merely caught fleas from sleeping with dogs.  It has contracted distemper.  Possibly even rabies, from all those vicious bites in the ass inflicted upon it by forging, and then reneging on, deals with the lunatic fringe.  The Republicans traded a couple of decades of unmolested hands in the cookie jar for…what is about to befall them now.  And it may be as serious as the collapse of the party altogether.

I'm tempted to say "Good riddance," but in my heart, I know that there was a day when America's two political parties complimented each other, challenged each other to better performance, even worked together for the common good.  It will be a sad day for the entire country if the Republican Party fails.  REAL Republicans---like Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and even Ronald Reagan--are definitely spinning in their graves.   



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