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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

NEVER TO AGAIN BE THE MAJORITY PARTY






"Ignorance is not bliss - it is oblivion."
- Philip Wylie -


If we look at the four men pictured here, we see they were all Republicans, and 3 of 4 were Presidents. They were, however, nothing like those who currently refer to themselves as Republicans. No, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt were economic liberals, who believed that government power trumped that of big business, and that excessively concentrated capital was undesirable and must be regulated by government. Dwight Eisenhower and Nelson Rockefeller were economic and social moderates who understood that organized labor and government must both have a valid role in bettering peoples' lives. All of these men would be thoroughly rejected outright by the GOP of today. For the shrinking, increasingly bitter and intolerant current Republican Party has very little in common with its great predecessor in earlier days. That is precisely why it has lost power and fallen into such great disfavor. I dare say that, barring an unforseen miracle or radical makeover, it will soon die and fade into history, as did the Federalist, Whig, and Know-Nothing parties in prior history when they lost relevance with voters and became too doctrinaire and too limited in focus.

The switch to the Democratic Party by long time Republican Arlen Specter proves there is no longer any room for moderates or progressives in the GOP. For conservatives now exert a stranglehold over the party. They do not mince words when chastising those who dare to drift from their rigid orthodoxy. Specter was roundly criticized by them for his opposition to their obstructionism, which he exhibited by voting for President Obama's recent economic stimulus plan. He, and other long time Republican moderates like Colin Powell and Susan Eisenhower, have all decried the vicious and uncooperative demeanor the party has taken on. It has become a party of bigots and bullies. Just yesterday, conservative Republican commentator Rush Limbaugh instructed his hard core followers that the loss of Specter was a good thing, and wished that Specter would "take McCain and his daughter with him." Limbaugh, like Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Michele Bachmann, Dick Cheney, John Cornyn, John Boehner, and the rest of their ilk, are each clueless as to the current needs of the overwhelming majority of the population, who are hurting from massive unemployment, ever-rising health care costs, and frozen wages. They repeatedly and uniformly call only for more tax cuts as the one action needed to turn the economy around. They stand as a solidly immovable bloc, opposed to changes that people want. This has not, and will not, gain them voter support.

The current conservative-controlled Republican Party does NOT share the wishes or values of the vast majority of people. Most people are opposed to free trade deals that send American jobs overseas, but the GOP still supports those free trade agreements. Most people want universal health care for citizens, but the GOP and shadowy conservative groups are already mounting an ad campaign in an effort to prevent passage of such legislation. A large majority of Americans favor the right of workers to organize into labor unions for collective bargaining purposes to raise wages, but the GOP hates unions and wants them to wither away altogether. Most people do not want the filthy rich or major corporations to receive any more tax breaks or subsidies, but the GOP is still pushing its beloved tax-cut philosophy. Most Americans do not favor pre-emptive war, the use of war as an ongoing profit center for arms merchants and huge weapons manufacturers, or the use of torture as a tool of policy, but here is the GOP advocating military force over diplomacy, and endorsing "the ends justifies the means" philosophy when it comes to using torture, at every opportunity. Americans want cooperation in government and a united front in our effort to restore prosperity and secure the country from terrorism. Yet here is Rush Limbaugh saying he hopes President Obama will fail, Sarah Palin saying he "pals around with terrorists", Dick Cheney saying his policies are leaving the country less safe, Michele Bachmann questioning how pro-America he is, and the rest of the far-right contemptuously criticizing him, liberals, progressives, and anyone else who isn't a modern-day conservative Republican. Senator Olympia Snowe, one of only two remaining moderate Republican Senators, was quoted recently as saying "Ultimately, we're heading to having the smallest political tent in history, the way events have been unfolding. If the Republican Party fully intends to become a majority party in the future, it must move from the far right back to the middle." She is absolutely correct.

I predict, though, that the Republican Party will never again be the majority party. For many decades, when given control of the White House and Congress, they have delivered legislation beneficial only to special interests representing the rich and powerful, not the majority of the country. They have implemented economic policy which has neglected or hurt the poor and those on fixed incomes. They have actively supported union-busting and outsourcing American jobs. They have tried to socially and culturally force this diverse country into artificially rigid and narrowly restricted confines of their own authoritarian social and religious right beliefs. In doing all of these things, they are running contrary to America's will and to her very nature. Majority parties do not behave in such a manner.

Arch-conservative Republican Governor Rick Perry of Texas recently complained about how the Federal Government in Washington, D.C. was trying to run everyone's lives, and that if things didn't improve soon, Texans may wish to secede from the Union again, as they did in 1861. He was offered philosophical support from a number of far-right pundits and mainly fellow southern conservative Republicans. This, too, runs counter to what the overwhelming majority of Americans believe. But perhaps Perry and his cohorts SHOULD be allowed to follow through with their desire. America and its people would be far better off without a conservative power base obstructing progressive legislation and continually enabling corrupt, big business interests. Go set up a modern-day Dark Ages nation of serfs with masters, and and feel free to restore feudalism. Populate it with all the Rush Limbaughs, Sarah Palins, Joe the phony Plumbers, Glenn Becks, and John Boehners you can find.Just don't let our door hit you on the ass on your way out. Good riddance - the rest of us want to get something constructive accomplished!

8 comments:

SJ said...

@Jack,
it's sad looking at that picture of Eisnehower isn't it? Let's face it, no Republican today would have the guts to warn us about the military industrial complex in a farewell speech.
As a Liberal and Progressive who votes for Democratic Party candidates 99.99999% of the time, I think it's sad that there's no room for people like Lincoln Chaffee on the Right.
But you're right, -they did this to themselves. When Lyndon B Johnson said he was giving away the South by signing Civil Rights legislation into law, it wasn't entirely accurate. The Republicans of that era and thereafter have courted the fearful and resentful demographic in ALL regions of America that want to leave the rest of the country behind, while a precious few prosper from within.

I don't agree that the punditry and the McCarthyite blowhards like Coulter, Limbaugh, Malkin and that Clown Governor Perry and his fellow lunatic in the north, Bachmann should be allowed to secceed.
Let the words they've screamed at every American who has criticized their criminally unethical and abusive vertical politics ring in their pointy little ears:

"AMERICA LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT."

and no, they don't get to take any land with them. I really like Texas, so it stays right were it is, Perry can start packing his bags if he likes. Contrary to most impressions held by the public, not everybody there, or from there is crazy or backward in their thinking, there's too much great writing and thinking coming out of that region.
Since Sarkozy basically thinks he's Rudolf Giuliani, let the followers of Hannity and Limbaugh "move to France," as they've been so glibly telling anyone who criticized George W. Bush, or Dick Cheney.

-SJ

Mycue23 said...

Jack, I have a couple of thoughts. I bemoan the current state of the Republican party because I think that our country needs a vibrant and active opposition. When the minority political opinion feels that they have no voice in the running of the government we hear calls for "revolution", "taking our country back", "cessesion" and "revolt". I think that talk is basically the result of the lack of a coherant message from the opposition. Also I am cautious when it comes to talk of any type of permanent majority. It was only 3 years ago that the Republicans were floating a similar idea. If we have learned one thing from history, it is that political fortunes can change very quickly. Given all that, the Republicans are in a very sorry state and I do believe that they need some moderating influences in the party. Perhaps Senators Snow and Collins can bring some semblance of reason to the Republican cause.

Jack Jodell said...

SJ, great points as always, and you're right about Texas. It's a curious blend of many turbulent forces, and we DO see great thought come from there now and then (Manifesto Joe and Molly Ivins are two shining good examples). But for so long it seems that the Rick Perrys and Tom DeLays have overwhelmingly dominated the scene, and I am glad they will soon be receding into a dark corner of history.
--------------
Michael, thanks for your thoughtful analysis, and I do share your belief that a permanent majority by one party is not a good thing. It can and does lead to complacency and excess. In the case of the current GOP, they aren't even acting as a legitimate opposition party though. They are contributing virtually nothing, because all they have to give is the same old failed policies of the past 8 years. Even worse, all they're doing is collectively digging their heads into the sand and saying "no" to virtually everything put forth by the President without even a discussion. And their claim of being completely shut out of the process is absurd. NOBODY was as exclusive or totally domineering as they were when the Senate was ruled by Bill Frist and the House by Tom DeLay and Dennis Hastert! Obama, Pelosi, and Reid have all been far more inclusive and inviting than were Bush and his GOP-controlled 201-2007 Congresses. We do indeed need a constructive opposition, but not the pouting and uncooperative crybabies dominating the GOP right now. Were the Republican Party composed of many more Collinses, Snowes, Hagels, Chaffees, Pauls, Weickers, Eisenhowers, and even Goldwaters instead of the extremists they have today, their party would be far better off and not in danger of extinction. And our country would be better off too. Let us hope they moderate and come to their senses as you suggest. We definitely need that.

SJ said...

@Jack, @MyCue23,
we all saw this collapse of the Right coming, but looking back I guess we were too "conservative" in our estimations of their troubles, and even wrote about it last fall:

http://hamsandwich66.blogspot.com/2008/10/east-coast-liberal-angered-about-whats.html

and after the election:

http://hamsandwich66.blogspot.com/2008/11/what-it-means-part-3.html

how's that for armchair quarterbacking with 20/20 hindsight?

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

Once again, well writ! A fine piece and the distinct type of education that will benefit so many. Jack... keep it up! on the personal side... for six months I've been trying to make extra$ during the downturn driving a cab on the side... (I am building my own small business) family and friends worried, I felt it was an adventure and education...alas, that is over (what a blog that would make!). Health is already better and now I am taking my time back to write. Reading you has kept me fired up when me own cooker has been a bit less kindled. So, many thanks for the brainstormers that do so much to keep me thinking... ghb

Jack Jodell said...

Hey Gwendolyn, thank YOU for the kind words! Sorry things have been a bit down for you and it's always great reading your posts. Maybe together, if we keep givin' 'em hell, we might make a tiny dent in their very, very thick skulls. And good luck on the new business---keep me posted!

Yellow Dog said...

Don't forget Barry Goldwater, who more than compensated for the divisiveness of his 1964 campaign with three decades as the conscience of the republican party.

Nothing so decisively proved the evil of the Reagan era as Goldwater's constant objections.

If he weren't already dead, Smirky/Darth's maladministration would have killed him.

Jack Jodell said...

Good point, Yellow Dog! Goldwater came to his senses in a number of ways after 1964. Today's "conservatives" lack a person of his vision, substance, and character. They are too narrowly-focused and too bought out by big money.