Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Looking Forward At the Coming GOP Madness, Looking Back To See How Long The Madness Has Already BEEN Here

So I'm reading Driftglass' blog today and come across an article where he calls to task David Frum - conservative pundit of intraparty renown - for Frum's refusal to own up for causing the modern Republican Party to slide into batshit insanity:

As a former Dubya speechwriter and author of such books as The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush and An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror (with the monstrous Richard Perle)  Mr. David Frum is well-positioned to write a long article for The Atlantic (where he is now employed as a Senior Editor, because that is how the world works) about how fucked up the Republican party is...
...without any unpleasant or inconvenient references as to how it got that way.
Mr. Frum's article gives the reader a decent snapshot of what is happening right now inside moldering corpse of the Party of Lincoln, but it is also carefully calculated to leave the impression that the GOP just wandered in from out of town sometime around 2009, fully formed and neatly bisected between a hapless, out-of-touch donor class... and just-plain-white-folks who have grown intractably bitter and cynical for some reason.
Driftglass then pulls up a commentary he left on another blog back in 2005 as an example how far back in current history the progressive left has been screaming about this oncoming storm of racist logic-defying ignorance:

For the Suburban Gated, the non-deranged gunnies and the Tax Cuts Uber Alles Republicans, it’s all jolly good fun having a romp with the Fundies…as long as they keep delivering the 20% margin the GOP must have to win anything and as long as they stay the fuck away from my house and family, its all just good kinky fun…
…until the sun comes up, and you realize that the Electoral Candy you were offered was just bait to get you into the Windowless Fundy Panel Truck. Oops.
And now you’re waaaay out in the country somewhere you don’t recognize without your pants, and you start to figure out that all the Burning Crosses and Swastikas and Apocalyptic Paraphernalia that tricks out the inside of the van isn't tatted-up Goth Chick posturing.

Which got me remembering, Hey back in 2004 I had been pointing out some of this crazy stuff myself.

I wasn't blogging back then, but I had been paying for webspace with an address and had posted a page or three about my political leanings (I let it fall to disuse because I lost my employment in 2008 and am still too poor to re-fund the domain ownership). During the run-up to the 2004 Presidential election, I made a two-column chart about who should and who shouldn't be voting for Dubya and the Republican platform. If I go to the Wayback Machine, let me pull that page up and copy it here:

Those With Reason to Support Bush
Those Who Want Bush Gone (or ought to)
Religious/Social ConservativesGays
Bush projects a public image of devout religious belief, using that to define his position of fighting as Good against the Evil of terrorism. He's promoting an amendment to define marriage as between a man and woman only (meaning gays/lesbians will be denied). He pushes a lot of 'faith-based' initiatives, and pushes for more church interaction with government services. He's on their side of the Culture War being fought in this country.Are you kidding me? He's practically declared war on you! His Defense of Marriage amendment doesn't really defend marriage at all (uh, guys, where's the provisions on stopping adultery and divorce and domestic violence?). His pandering to social conservatives on this issue ought to let you realize which side of the Culture War he's on (hint: it's not yours). You're his favorite target outside of Saddam (you probably rank higher than that one guy whose name he doesn't even mention anymore). There's a reason why the Log Cabin Republicans openly refused to support the GOP candidate this year: they've backed the others even when they were being lambasted, but boy-o this time....
Religious/Social Liberals
There are faiths in this country that agree to the idea of the Separation of Church and State, and a good number of churches were appalled when the Bush/Cheney campaign recently asked them to forward their parish directories to the campaign for fund-raising purposes (seeming violation of that Separation concept). Not all Christians, and certainly not all faiths, are comfortable with the way Bush expresses his beliefs when it comes to political decisions (Muslims were outraged when he called the War on Terror a 'Crusade': it's still a sore point between Christians and Muslims).
The Immensely WealthyFiscal Conservatives
"I call you my base." Bush was only half-joking, or even not at all, when he said that: he plays to and receives a lot of support from this particular group. His tax cuts benefit the wealthy most of all, and he pushes for more cuts (especially cutting taxes on dividends) that would generate more wealth. This group has already proven their devotion by helping raise more money for his campaign than any other Presidential campaign ever.Fiscal Conservatives take one look at that deficit Dubya's been running for 4 years and suddenly start thinking socialist. While Fiscals like the tax cuts that Bush pushed, they abhor the massive spending that SHOULDN'T HAVE OCCURRED with the cuts that were made. Fiscals are thinking about how the economy is going to be affected 10 years, even 5 years down the road thanks to all the uncontrolled pork It's this group within the GOP party faithful that has been making the most griping noises without openly questioning Bush's competence, but it's there and the discontent is brewing (when Fortune magazine starts op-editing that the Dems should control either the White House or Congress to re-establish a balance of power with the checkbook, that's a huge honking sign of discontent among the Fiscals).
'Neoconservatives'Pat Buchanan ('Paleoconservatives')
And why not? This has been their administration. 9/11 their Pearl Harbor. Aggressive foreign policy backed by the US War Machine. Who cares for subtlety and diplomacy? Old Europe, that's who. Meanwhile, WE'RE getting the bad guys: Iraq (done), Iran (next), Syria (on the list), North Korea (okay, so China's a bit of problem on that one), and...and...Well, Pat's always been a bit bitter, but still... This group should actually be known as the Isolationists, the ones who think America shouldn't go empire-building/nation-building (in their minds one and the same). While they wouldn't have sat still after 9/11, they would have only stopped at Afghanistan and securing Osama's sorry butt for execution. They recognize foreign policy as a more demanding requirement in assuring the US doesn't get hurt again (an America First position), and actually do respect the Old Europe governments (on which they believe our government should be modeled). Buchanan has been the biggest non-Democrat to openly and consistently question Bush's war in Iraq, and clearly shows no love for the guy.
Ann CoulterDemocrats
Her position: Anything not Republican should be executed for treason. No, really, read her stuff, then wash your eyes with holy water.Let's see: Bush steals the 2000 election thanks to a GOP-controlled Supreme Court; he claims to be a 'uniter' but shuts you guys out from providing any input; his buddies in Congress hack into your records and find out your talking points on issues, giving them an advantage in any debates you can muster; his buddy DeLay openly redraws the congressional voting districts in Texas to give the Republicans the advantage (in some cases drawing gerrymandered districts that would give mapmakers hissyfits); you've been labeled traitors and liberals and un-American by third-party proxy. Sure you don't want to vote Kerry all the way...?
Al Sharpton is a blowhard, but he did get one thing right at the Dem convention: the Republicans have abandoned and ignored this voting block for years. The GOP's Southern Strategy has essentially turned the Republicans from the Party of Lincoln into the Party of Thurmond. Civil rights and social issues that are of paramount concern to Blacks are not on the list at all for this administration. Government spending has gone up (see deficit) but social services that minorities rely on have been slashed.
SaudisIraqis / Arabs
The specifics of this relationship are classified and deemed 'NATIONAL SECURITY'. Any attempt to request this data will have you identified as a threat to our security. You have been warned.Sure. Saddam's gone. But there's a lot of people still dying in Iraq, either from bombing raids by US troops or from the inter-community fighting between various militia groups rising up to seize control of this city and that. Bush didn't really do a good job liberating your country, did he? In the meanwhile, if you're Arab in this country, expect your phones to be tapped, your refrigerator wired for sound, your job under surveillance, and your cousins and brothers locked away without warrant and without access to lawyers (unless you are already there in the undisclosed 'detention center'...but then you wouldn't be able to read this...or anything else while that potato sack is over your head...). Just keep the image of the Iraqi Soccer Team telling Bush not to use them for getting re-elected (and these guys really suffered under Uday) as a reminder of how Arabs REALLY feel.
Of the groups here, yours is the hardest to nail down as either/or. Hispanics tend to be more socially conservative than other minorities in the US. However, there's still a lot of Hispanics needing social services that Bush's administration doesn't take care of. There's also that illegal immigration policy he supported a while back that most illegal immigrants (as well as immigration experts) claimed made things worse. Of this group, when broken down to nationality, only the Cubans can be counted on to vote Bush/Republican (and even then, guys? He got rid of Saddam. Castro's still sitting there. Until Havana starts drilling up oil, Shrub ain't interested).
Families of the Military and National Guard
Bush has assigned your men and women, your sons and daughters, your mothers and fathers, into war zones. That was expected, after all, it's the military, it's their job. But the administration's mismanagement of the Iraqi invasion has forced your loved ones to extended tours far longer than expected, has brought shame on the image of the military by encouraging torture of Iraqi prisoners, and for National Guard families cut hard into your home budgets because those serving were also the primary bread-winners in most families (National Guard was/is reservist duty: these guys have other jobs and responsibilities after all). That same mismanagement of the war and occupation also means your loved ones are undersupplied, running out of vital materials or not even garnering access to needed equipment. The administration also isn't doing or saying much in the way of respect for the dead and wounded: the Bush admin is actively hiding the coffins of our honored dead, and when was the last time you saw Bush or Rumsfeld or Cheney or even an undersecretary visit the wounded for a photo op?
There are now reports of troops being threatened to re-up with the army or else find themselves immediately transferred to units being sent to Iraq, which means they'll be forced to stay in the army anyway. Any surprise there? This will be much like the draft, when you had guys in the service not wanting to be there being forced to do stuff they didn't want to do. The resentment levels will be off the charts, and the quality of service will suffer. All because Rumsfeld and his 'experts' underplanned the war effort, believing they could do with less manpower than more, and now that they're stuck needing more manpower they're overusing the troops getting tired of it all.
Oh, yeah, Bush has been showing the love, hasn't he? He's shown a lot of respect for McCain and Cleland and Kerry for the service they committed in 'Nam, hasn't he? And to top it off, there's been, what, how much money cut from veterans' benefits? Oh, yeah, he's really taking care of you guys...Dad, you're a veteran. Haven't YOU noticed anything wrong with your benefits yet...?
SadistsTorture Victims
Hey, any administration that condones torture in some way ain't all that half-bad. By the way, are they hiring...?Abu Ghraib. Plus the fact that evidence has shown the men photographed during torture turned out to be either common criminals (not terrorists) or utterly innocent (again, not terrorists). Plus the fact that his administration showed no respect for national/international law by finding ways to condone and encourage torture.
This one isn't so much directed at Bush as it is his administration, specifically AG John Ashcroft. His campaign to classify government documents and pull them from gov't depositories and libraries ticks off a lot of librarians who believe open access to information is a right under the First Amendment. Especially when said documents aren't related to security issues but to litigation issues (why prevent people from knowing how to file civil suits?). But the fact the whole administration practices secrecy and evasion and refusal toward any information requests suggests this is a philosophy starting from the top dog himself. The biggest surprise is that there ARE librarians (???) supporting Bush's efforts to clamp down on knowledge. Sheesh. At least it's only 5 of em. The 100,000-plus rest of us are not amused by this shrub...
Halliburton EmbezzlersThe Middle Class (what's left of it)
More no-bid contracts. More getting troops to spend money on food and supplies already paid for. More billing to the government on things done once but paid for thrice. More talking to other companies providing services into kicking back some fees to us. More money. More money. More money. Hey, let's hire that guy who used to work at Enron! He's good for business...!See that tax cut Bush promised you? It's pretty much $800 per year, right? Considering the top one percent of the wealth holders get about $50,000 in tax cuts, you're getting bought off awfully cheap by this administration, aren't you? Oh, and by the way, we're going to have to let you go because it's cheaper to hire...nobody, we'll just get another tax break and corporate credit from Bush and live off the embez...uh, profits for a few years. Good luck using!
If there's class warfare going on, guys, the upper class is winning in a shut-out.
Job Hunters
Losing jobs is nothing new: it's a part of the economic system we use in this country. Outsourcing jobs to other countries is inevitiable and a well-known fact (oddly, the jobs were supposed to be outsourced to Mexico, not India, but I digress). The deal is, there's supposed to be a steady form of job growth to keep up with the level of job loss to ensure people can stay employed (at good wages). Under Bush, there's been very little job growth, far below the projected growth levels. Enough experts have declared this to be one of the weakest job markets in years. Yet Bush doesn't have a specific plan on job creation/job growth (he's more into promoting investing, private ownership, and self-sufficiency).
PharmaceuticalsThe Elderly (Medicare)
Pricing fixing? Nah, never heard of it. By the way, we're going to get Bush to close down the border to Canada to stop you cheapskates from crossing over and getting a $200 US bottle of aspirin for $2.99 Canadian.Wonderful Medicare package. Not only does it add more bloat to the deficit, it restricts your ability to shift to potentially cheaper or more reliable services, it adds more paperwork and card IDs to keep up with, does nothing to reduce the costs of pills and meds, and essentially ticks off everyone except for the drug companies. And that still doesn't include the fact that Bush's people LIED ABOUT THE COSTS when Congress considered the package...!
Victims of neurological disorders (stem cell research)
Bush's adamant opposition to expand the strict limits he imposed on stem cell research (he limited it to pre-existing strands, which turned out to be mostly useless) has hurt attempts to develop cures for Alzheimers and Parkinsons. His opposition comes purely from the fact that stem cells only come from fertilized eggs, meaning the extraction of stem cells a form of abortion. Other countries that do not share such concerns have begun work into stem cell research while the US, obstensibly the leader in science on the planet, has its collective thumbs tied. While a compromise of sorts is available (working with embryos from couples that have already successfully used artificial insemination to carry a child to term (thus fulfilling religious requirement to multiply), and that said embryos can only be donated to ensure people don't do it for money), his strict religious belief (and political support of that) refuses to let him even consider that.
Tom DeLayRepublicans in Congress who were repeatedly LIED TO over the Medicare package, Iraqi WMD, Abu Ghraib, and pretty much everything else
I'd include Zell Miller in this, but I don't want him challenging me to a duel so...Okay, don't you guys get it yet? He doesn't respect you or your input. Even as leader of the party he should still respect you enough to listen to advise and commentary from the ranks, but outside of his Inner Circle he doesn't hear a damn thing. All he wants you to do is rubber-stamp his pork and his tax cuts and his War on Countries That Have Oil Halliburton Can Steal. He doesn't have exchanges of ideas, he issues marching orders. Try to remember: Leadership and Loyalty are earned, not enforced.
The Kyoto accords: yes, it was unfairly tilted to already-developed countries such as the US, but we have yet to offer a reasonable alternative or stuck to our own environmental program. Scientific studies proving the increase of pollutants, and threat of such pollutants in our air and water, are routinely ignored, re-written, abused, shredded, filed under X for 'Lost', and then deemed classified by Ashcroft so that libraries can't shelve them. Then there's the arctic drilling that gets environmentalists into a tizzy. Bush makes James Watt look like a tree-hugger.
Scientists and Doctors in nearly every field of knowledge
See Environmentalists. Your studies into human health and psychology, the severe threat of Global AIDS, all of that...Bush won't read 'em unless you already tack to HIS view of things. Since a lot of experts DON'T tack to HIS view of things, said reports are filed under X for 'Lost' along with the environmental warnings.
Educators / School children
The No-Child-Left-Behind program seems to be leaving a lot of children behind. There is growing evidence that the school voucher system always promoted by Republicans isn't working the way they'd claimed, and even though Bush publicly supports his education programs he's been caught cutting funds to said programs (and yet we've got a big-ass deficit? Just where is the money going if not to our kids? Anybody got the accounting ledger?). Teachers wages' still stink, schools are still crumbling and outdated, and our kids kant speel anymore.
Those who abhor incompetence
The Bush administration makes far too many mistakes, shuffles the blame towards others rather than admit to their own, attack and accuse their critics rather than answer the questions, leak information on people to embarrass them (and in the process break the law), and claims effective leadership even when half the country, and most of the world, hates their guts for the bloodshed, misery and anger coming from all the mistakes they've made. Even Clinton never got accused of this level of incompetence. The last administration to look this sloppy, inept and corrupt?! Warren Harding's (hey, even Nixon did things right...well, other than Watergate...).
Here's something you should be asking yourselves. All sitting Presidents running for a second term always ask this question: "Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?" Has anyone noticed that Bush/Cheny HAS NOT asked this question, or even answered it in any way? That's because we're NOT better off: the economy is too shaky, the job market too feeble, our military stretched thin, our national security weakened (and this is supposed to be their strong suit! The 'They've Made Us Safe' argument. Really? Are we? Just look at that Dept. of Homeland Security and its failures and understaffing...), our allies too few, and our future too dispiriting. And they're asking us to give them four more years of this crap?!?!

Again, that was what I wrote back in 2004, when I had become "disenchanted" with the Republicans and had dropped out to be NPA. Looking back, I really wasn't exaggerating about what I saw coming out of the GOP and their inept handling of nearly every issue - economy, social equality, environment, the war effort, the illegal use of torture, the sheer unpleasantness of the Bush the Lesser administration - and in some ways a lot of those sins have never been resolved.

And that was before the Katrina disaster truly exposed the Bush/Cheney people for what they were: uncaring, self-serving screw-ups.

And what I wrote in 2004 is still true today, only worse. Even in the face of gay marriage equality, the Republicans wage war against that. Even with the reality that our immigration policies need urgent reforms, the Republicans would rather pursue inhumane and wastefully expensive efforts in a racist, ham-fisted way. Even with our economy still shaky and our nation's personal debt woes left unanswered, the Republicans would prefer unleashing economic chaos that would bring back the horrors of the Great Recession of 2007-09. Even with the nation's citizenry becoming more left-leaning and progressive, the Republicans are convinced to go further right on every social and economic issue.

I'm looking at what I wrote for 2004 and see so much of it still applies in 2015: the Republicans are at war with immigrants and Hispanics, Muslims, women, the college-age, Blacks, the environment (hell, the totality of science and facts), our educational system, our civil liberties, our tastes in music and movies, our health care needs, our children's needs... hell, let me just list it as "The Republicans are at war with everything."

So why should it be any surprise to Frum - or to anyone else with the Republican establishment and media apologists - that their war is starting to cause blowback within their own ranks? That their war, using terms of absolute US vs. THEM, would devolve into shouting, racial slurs, and outright violence?

Driftglass is right about how everyone else in the Real World was calling this more than a decade ago. It's a pity we're facing a future of this all because now that the bill's come due Frum and his fellow conservatives aren't able or willing to pay the costs to fix their own wreckage.


Pinku-Sensei said...

That's quite the airing of grievances for Festivus.

Paul Wartenberg said...