9 February 2015
The Party of God, Profanity, and Anarchy
“The white establishment is now the minority…The demographics are changing. It’s not a traditional America anymore.”
-Bill O’Reilly, FOX news commentator, 2012.
So-called moderates in the Republican party will occasionally talk about “adjusting” their message so as not to alienate—well, everyone—except middle-aged, upper class white males.
“It’s not about nominating less conservative candidates, moderating our messaging or changing our principles. It’s about effectively connecting with voters on issues they care about,”
-Phil Cox, executive director of the Republican Governors association (2 November 2013, Politico), a few days before the Virginia Governor’s election. (The Republican candidate lost.)
How, exactly, do you go about “effectively connecting with voters” when your message is racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, and elitist? How do you spin bending over backwards to deport 11,000,000 Hispanic immigrants, denying minorities their voting rights, intruding on women’s rights to make reproductive decisions, and denying equal rights to homosexual couples? And climate change isn’t real? Still? What about gravity? When you deny the laws of physics even your friends will shake their heads and walk away.
Over the last 30 years, Republicans, with the complicity of many Democrats, have systematically gutted the financial regulatory system while securing major tax advantages for the 1%, all the while whining about how government regulations are ruining their lives. Please. They’ve never had it so good. In fact, it looks like they’ve already won. But no, they find themselves to be sorely abused. They portray themselves as victims, invoking the notion of “class warfare.” They think we can’t tell we’re losing?
The GOP has stoked the largely religious Know Nothing wing of the party to such a fevered pitch that they can no longer be controlled. The Know Nothings are not going away, but the problem for mainstream Republicans is not that they disagree with the views of the Know Nothings. Rather, it is the opposite. O’Reilly is right. He also said that, 20 years ago, a Romney-esque candidate would have defeated Obama. Right again.
And so long as O’Reilly, and most of the rest of the GOP, continue to wax nostalgic for the days when their party was the party of the white establishment, they are likely to continue their frustrated decline, kicking and screaming perhaps, into irrelevancy. People adopt conservative values when they are comfortable with the status quo. The majority of blacks, Hispanics, women, gays, and perhaps just young people in general, are anything but comfortable with the Republican party.
Democrats should not see this as good news. Given the early promise of the Obama presidency many liberals feel disappointed, even betrayed. Then again, the Know Nothings’ sole aim since Obama assumed office has been to obstruct. Obstructing is not leadership. The 80 Know Nothings who signed the shutdown letter sent to John Boehner care little for democratic process.
They claim to be Constitutionalists but run roughshod over that sacred document when it suits their purpose. They do not contribute; they only proscribe. They do not negotiate; they only blackmail. They preach God and country while practicing profanity and anarchy. They feel disconnected from the world and from their countrymen who defend their right to behave irresponsibly. They are a minority, but they are a force to be reckoned with because they have the unreasoned self-righteousness of religious zealots who know the true way.
International observers exercised their prerogative to look down their noses at us as they contemplated the wisdom of the US dollar as the default world currency. Writing for Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, Liu Chang suggested the need for a “de-Americanized world” and writers from Athens to London wondered that the world economy could be placed at risk by an unsophisticated minority of US lawmakers who don’t seem to “get it.” The opinions of others matter—outside the bubble.