"But this time he really means it!"?
far, far away from the the beltway
hope for the Empire rests
Fluke Lietalker (AKA George W. Bu$h)
One of the main themes that I continue to read in the lefty Progressive stuff I admittedly devour is how the "Big Money" wing of the modern Republican Party literally uses the "base" to remain in power. Although the Democrats also at times work around issues to try to rally their bases (note the plural please) I'd argue there can be little doubt that the right has truly mastered the art of scaring the hell out of their often less sophisticated yet generally passionate supporters. Indeed there are some fellow travellers elected and serving today in rather high leadership positions that "think" like many social conservatives. However, I'm often wondering if some aren't playing that role just long enough to get and remain elected. Locally, while it has been some time since I looked at the numbers, I'd expect Randolph County voters follow the Red State trends in national elections. While I especially lament Jeff Sessions serving my interests in DC, the fact that we've two Senators and our one Congressman from the GOP says much about how "the base" is voting against their economic interests.
Using Bu$hCo as probably our most extreme administration yet, and I fear yet given the lack of voter awareness, once in power they let Big Pharma essentially draft Medicare legislation that is dreadfully expensive, complicated, ... but most of all protecting this cash cow. They let the credit card industry draft bankruptcy legislation. Big Oil, including Enron's Kenny Boy Lay, came in and met with Dead Eye Dick to get the energy policy that is working so very well these days, although Cheney has fought off efforts to release the facts of those meetings. They have relaxed the enforcement of some environmental and workplace safety and Civil Rights and ... laws to the point where they might as well not be on the books. Painful pensions? Let's let our business class buddies shed them as our base is focused, with a little help from our Dobsonites, on abortion and boys marrying boys. They've ran up a debts by giving tax cuts to the most wealthy, with special benefits for the investor class and even attempting to do away with the Progressive Estate Tax. (They have managed to label it the "death tax" yet some of the left have recently suggested it be called the "Paris Hilton Inheritance Tax".) They've let the Tom DeLay K Street Project create such scandals as Jack Abramoff and yet the revolving doors from government to and/or from big business would require much to explain. Cronyism is common as Bu$hCo has long favored loyalty over competency. Exhibit A might be how poor a job the Homeland Security/FEMA crowd did with Katrina. Science has been stifled, often to keep the base happy yet likely the main area where this has occured is with Big Oil making sure global warming facts remain disputed. Student loan rates are through the roof with tuition rising nearly as fast as health care costs. These working men and women often no longer have options in industry and agriculture due to the very policies put in place by the fat cats they helped elect. That real income for the working class has remained stagnant, or backed up, in the two plus decades of conservatism seems to be accepted. Income gaps and shrinking middle class are at least partially due to the supply side fantasy going back to Reagan's team yet embraced again by Bu$hCo. Government contracts for Halliburton and other profiteers! There is also... OK, that's plenty enough for now as I likely need to go back to bed. Woke up and figured I'd post yet thinking about these actions, and I really think I could label them as "facts", might have depressed me enough to want a little nap before dawn.
Constitutional issues, diplomacy/foreign policy and militarism are off the charts with this White House yet I'm trying to stick with economic concerns. But before I leave this however, I'll add "Radical appointments to various agencies and especially the federal bench!"
Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter with Kansas" and Steve Jarding and Dave "Mudcat" Saunders' "Foxes in the Henhouse" really drove this point home for me. One of the reasons I'm willing to confront, or merely moan and groan via this blogging effort, the shameless tactics of the ReThuglicans is that until the base sees they are being played then they'll likely continue to vote against their economic interests. They'll hear tough talk and vote these Republicans in on social issues and then see Big Money call the shots on policy and law. With but a few exceptions do they ever really try to deliver what they say they want? I know the "faith based" programs help keep your leaders happy and there's a crumb every do often yet this seems like a facade at times. The thing is that the GOP controls essentially every branch of government. While I want the Left to stop the Right from many actions, using what few tools are available, I know Rove wins even when he loses since that gives him even more meat for the base. "Liberals kept us from ..." is the language used yet many folks figure the base is simply being punked.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, although I know fear about the direction of our society, and likely also the faith that many in the GOP base may very well have, is at least reasonable from their perspective, channeling those fears in such ways that are often hateful and misguided needs confronting at times. This is simply for the sake of seeking justice and preserving our traditions of equality. I'll not shy away from confronting "faith" when those beliefs bump up against the secular traditions that are the foundations of this nation plus other generally enlightened societies. Peace ... or War!