Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult reads like a Cliff Notes version of all the Democratic blogger posts, Krugman, the columns by political analysts at Salon, The Nation and other web magazines for the last two years.
To those millions of Americans who have finally begun paying attention to politics and watched with exasperation the tragicomedy of the debt ceiling extension, it may have come as a shock that the Republican Party is so full of lunatics. To be sure, the party, like any political party on earth, has always had its share of crackpots, like Robert K. Dornan or William E. Dannemeyer. But the crackpot outliers of two decades ago have become the vital center today: Steve King, Michele Bachman (now a leading presidential candidate as well), Paul Broun, Patrick McHenry, Virginia Foxx, Louie Gohmert, Allen West. The Congressional directory now reads like a casebook of lunacy.
Modern conservatism was willing to send the country into another, even deeper economic ditch because ….well just because. Those following the debt ceiling talks could go to most of the conservative websites and find pundits and commenters who hoped for economic calamity. You can’t argue with that. By that I do not mean that a thoughtful Democrat could not make a logical fact based argument. I mean that you might as well have been yelling at a cheese wheel. Mr. Lofgren makes a good point about Democratic messaging. On the other hand it is not just the right-wing elected officials it is a large minority of voters who would commit financial suicide in the name of their lunacy. They are driven by an ideology that is the total antithesis of a modern democratic republic. They have nothing but contempt for the ideal of informed rational citizens.
Far from being a rarity, virtually every bill, every nominee for Senate confirmation and every routine procedural motion is now subject to a Republican filibuster. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that Washington is gridlocked: legislating has now become war minus the shooting, something one could have observed 80 years ago in the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic.
Comparisons to the Weimar Republic and the Reichstag are tricky because of the genocide which followed. Yet it is a fair comparison just on the political science plain. When they are out of power Republicans make sure government does not work. When they are in power they expand government powers in a way that benefits them – voting rights are mentioned in the original column and are a good example. Every state that has a conservative governor and legislature has attacked voting rights. It is not a coincidence that large voter turn-outs favor Democrats. With many elections won by hundreds or even dozens of votes in local elections, one can see why disenfranchising as many voters as possible benefits conservatives. One more excerpt,
There are tens of millions of low-information voters who hardly know which party controls which branch of government, let alone which party is pursuing a particular legislative tactic. These voters’ confusion over who did what allows them to form the conclusion that “they are all crooks,” and that “government is no good,” further leading them to think, “a plague on both your houses” and “the parties are like two kids in a school yard.” This ill-informed public cynicism, in its turn, further intensifies the long-term decline in public trust in government that has been taking place since the early 1960s – a distrust that has been stoked by Republican rhetoric at every turn (“Government is the problem,” declared Ronald Reagan in 1980).
Government is an easy one word way of saying public institutions – the courts, education, the legislature, the military, emergency and catastrophe response. If those things are broken they cannot respond to the people. Without those institutions there is no social contract to speak of. A democratic republic simply does not operate without a social contract. We’re left to what Garrison Keillor described, “We’re Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore,” In These Times,
The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk.
The Right wants the “Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons” to run America. These are the people the Right thinks are best suited to be in charge of our lives. Make government even worse than these people and that is all you have left to have faith in. These are the people who don’t care if your drinking water is radioactive because regulations against it cut into their profits and power. These are people who do not want minimum wage for the same reasons the Confederacy gave for protecting slavery – free people and a minimum wage are bad for business. At least one major star of the tea smokers elected in the 2010 elections wants kids back in the coal mines. Those opposed are against capitalism. They do not want business regulated because while business profits are at historic highs, they are not high enough. Taxes are at historic lows. Still not low enough for the greedy lunatics who depend on labor to generate their wealth – either as workers or customers.
Rick Perry’s sugar daddy is the cause for the line about radioactive contamination – Meet the Shady Dallas Mega-Billionaire Industrialist Pouring Money into Rick Perry’s Coffers
In D magazine, reporter Laray Polk explained how Simmons and a company he owns—innocuously named Waste Control Systems—manipulated state and federal law to allow him to build a nuclear-waste disposal site in West Texas. But construction has been delayed for years in part because the site appears to overlay the Oglalla Aquifer, an underground water supply that serves 1.9 million people in nine states, raising obvious concerns over radioactive contamination. In the Simmons profile and subsequent posts on the Investigative Fund website last year, Polk explored the controversy over the proposed WCS facility, including strong objections by staff analysts at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality who found evidence that atomic waste might indeed leach into a huge pool of drinking water.
What kind of monster thinks making money trumps contaminating drinking water for people. The people who oppose this are – according to the mindset and rules of conservatism – not just anti-business, but Red Book worshiping Maoists. Who are the fanatics in scenario after scenario like this – the people who think we can find better ways to make money or Perry and his pal Simmons. If you’re one of those Fox/Limbaugh/Washington Times low information voters – hey you can all just man up and drink some radioactive waste for God and country. With the possible exception of one conservative presidential candidate – they all believe that government regulations that protect life and property must be done away with in order to create larger profits for business. Don’t at least the median wage conservatives realize they’re hurting themselves and their families. The same bring on economic Armageddon during the debt ceiling talks is also in play when it comes to regulations. For some reason many blue-collar conservatives think they are immune from toxic waste and economic calamity. And if civilization does starts to fall apart than that means the End Times are near, oh boy. Thus a conservative questioning anyone’s patriotism is like the pig people would do in a real life Twilight Zone, they are not just trying to make you believe they’re normal, they’re kidding themselves.