From Pine View Farm

The Devolution of Republicanism 0

In some ways, the atmosphere among yesterday’s Teapot Gnomes reminded me of ’60s radical groups. They were generally in good spirits, courteous, and happy to be surrounded by three or four hundred of their fellow travelers.

Now, I was never a 60’s radical, but I knew persons who fancied themselves as such. I wasn’t even particularly liberal, except on questions of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (I have detailed my path to that position elsewhere in these pages). If I am much more liberal today than I was even eight years ago, it’s from watching Republicanism come close to destroying my country through greed and unjust war.

(I was also quite opposed to the Viet Namese War, but those who know their history know that that was not a “liberal” position, despite the efforts of the wingnuts to refashion it as one. A moderate Republican (Eisenhower) laid the groundwork for it, two liberal Democrats (Kennedy and Johnson) expanded it, and a cynical manipulator (Nixon) was ultimately forced to recognize that it was “lost,” though it could never have been won, not from when the American war started with the collapse of French colonialism in Viet Nam in 1954.)

Even then, I knew that the idea that American workers and peasants might unite to overthrow the state was so far on the other side of Fantasy Land was to put stupid to shame.

For one thing, no American will admit to being a peasant, even if, by any rational definition, he is–even if, were he to meet his double in some foreign land, he would describe that double as a “peasant.” And the workers (known as “hardhats” in the slang of the day) distrusted and disliked anything labelled “radical,” even if, in truth, it may not have been radical in any sense.

I also knew who had the guns. And, despite gun nut wankery, a bunch of rag-tags in A&N store camos with basements full of canned goods won’t do much against an Abrams.

But those “radical” groups would meet quite happily, be in good spirits, enjoy the camaraderie, spread their fliers and hold their little demonstrations, while managing to convince themselves that they were going to Change the World. In the end, they changed nothing. What positive stuff came out of that era came from and through the mainsteam of American politics.

Dylan Loewe in the Guardian:

On closer inspection, however, there is little good news for Republicans, tea party or not.

The Republican party has retracted so dramatically in the last two years that the only base it has left to mobilise is a group of voters with vastly different viewpoints than the rest of the country. According to the latest opinion polls, 71% of the country trusts the president on the economy. Half the country believes their taxes are just right where they are. And 95% of Americans just got a tax cut, which started showing up in their payslips this month. But at the same time, the right is dumping tea bags on tarps, demanding an end to high taxes, surrounded by people demanding Obama’s birth certificate, surrounded by people who have misspelled “End Socialism” on their t-shirts. This is the kind of marginalisation that is the product of Republican organising efforts. And it helps underscore why the party is in so much trouble.

One can only hope.

Also posted at the Great Orange Satan.


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