Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Two Headed Fascist Monster That Has Taken Root Inside The Republican Party


Mainstream conservatives who know him best have long warned that Ted Cruz is more dangerous to American democracy than the buffoonish Herr Trumpf. In an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep over the weekend, President Obama started answering a politics question by contrasting the Democratic candidates in general with the Republican candidates in general but, like most Americans, was soon focussing on the dangers to American social cohesion posed specifically by Herr Trumpf's fact-free campaign. "I'm confident," he said, "that a Democrat will win the White House, and I think when you look at the quality of our Democratic candidates and what the Republican Party seems to be offering up, I think we will do well" and then smacked the party on their ostrich-like position on Climate Change: "keep in mind that the Republican Party in the United States is perhaps literally the only major party in the developed world that is still engaging in climate denial. Even far-right parties in other places acknowledge that the science shows that temperatures are going up and that that is a really dangerous thing we've got to do something about." Then Inskeep went directly the the national cohesion question that the GOP has assiduously been undermining since Obama was elected and reelected.
INSKEEP: Mr. President, we are nearing the end of a year where the question of national identity, who we are, has been a part of one large event after another. I made a list here, in fact. Gay marriage, the black lives matter movement, immigration, the question of whether to admit Syrian refugees into the country, the question of whether to admit Muslims into the country. All of them in some sense touch on that question of who we are.

What is the reason, the cause, what has caused that issue of who we are to come forward again and again and again at this moment in history?

OBAMA: Steve, it never went away. That's at the center of the American experience. You pick any year or any decade in American history and this question has been wrestled with. Sometimes it pops up a little more prominently, sometimes it gets tamped down a little bit, but this has been true since the founding and the central question of slavery, and who is a citizen and who is not.

It was a debate that took place when, you know, there were signs on the doors saying, no Irish need apply. It was a debate that happened during Japanese internment in World War II. It was obviously a debate in the South for most of our history and during the civil rights movement. And it's been a debate that we've been having around issues of the LGBT community for at least most of my adult life.

So I don't think there's anything new about it. I do think that the country is inexorably changing, I believe in all kinds of positive ways. I think we are-- when I talk to my daughters and their friends, I think they are more tolerant, more welcoming of people who are different than them, more sophisticated about different cultures and what's happening around the world.

But I do think that when you combine that demographic change with all the economic stresses that people have been going through because of the financial crisis, because of technology, because of globalization, the fact that wages and incomes have been flatlining for some time, and that particularly blue-collar men have had a lot of trouble in this new economy, where they are no longer getting the same bargain that they got when they were going to a factory and able to support their families on a single paycheck, you combine those things and it means that there is going to be potential anger, frustration, fear. Some of it justified but just misdirected. I think somebody like Mr. Trump is taking advantage of that. That's what he's exploiting during the course of his campaign.

...[K]eep in mind, Steve, I was elected twice by decent majorities. So the fact of the matter is that in a big country like this there is always going to be folks who are frustrated, don't like the direction of the country, are concerned about the president. Some of them may not like my policies, some of them may just not like how I walk, or my big ears or, you know. So I mean no politician I think aspires to 100 percent approval ratings.

If you are referring to specific strains in the Republican Party that suggest that somehow I'm different, I'm Muslim, I'm disloyal to the country, etc., which unfortunately is pretty far out there and gets some traction in certain pockets of the Republican Party, and that have been articulated by some of their elected officials, what I'd say there is that that's probably pretty specific to me and who I am and my background, and that in some ways I may represent change that worries them.

But that's not to suggest that everybody who objects to my policies may not have perfectly good reasons for it. If you are living in a town that historically has relied on coal and you see coal jobs diminishing, you probably are going to be more susceptible to the argument that I've been wiping out the economy in your area.

...I think that there's always going to be, every president, a certain cohort that just doesn't like your policies, doesn't like your party, what have you. I think if you are talking about the specific virulence of some of the opposition directed towards me, then, you know, that may be explained by the particulars of who I am.

On the other hand, I'm not unique to that. I always try to remind people, that goodness, if you look at what they said about Jefferson or Lincoln or FDR-- finding reasons not to like a president, that's, you know, a well-traveled path here in this country.

And that doesn't just describe Herr Trumpf, but also the anger-and-rage-fueled Cruz campaign. I know this is a total; violation of the already tattered Godwin's Rule, but if Herr Trumpf is a foolish Mussolini figure, Cruz is... well, the real thing. For the Sunday NY Times, Matt Flegenheimer was with him on the campaign trail in the Confederate heartland where his anti-American/anti-progress message has had great resonance, especially now that he's taken to parroting Trumpf, "in ways," wrote Flegenheimer, "cosmetic and substantive."
Cruz has sharpened his already uncompromising language, eager to retain his own hold on popular anger against the political class, and to demonstrate conservative purity amid attacks from Senator Marco Rubio over immigration and national security policies.

He has coined a new phrase, “undocumented Democrats,” to describe those in the country illegally, and beefed up sections of his stump speech focused on immigration. He expressed amusement that Mr. Rubio had at last described his views on immigration “not only on Spanish-language television but on English-language television,” echoing some far-right commentators who have suggested that Mr. Rubio is more willing to present himself as a pragmatist on the issue when speaking Spanish.

And in a turn that called to mind, for some, Gov. George Wallace’s famous 1963 refrain in praise of segregation during the civil rights movement, Mr. Cruz pledged to oppose legal status for undocumented immigrants “today, tomorrow, forever.”

If the Cruz campaign fears that his words will narrow his path in a possible general election, the candidate has betrayed little unease. His crowds during the swing have been among his most enthusiastic in recent memory, if not as large as many of Mr. Trump’s, as the campaign delivers a taste of the primary season to parts of the country often ignored in the weeks before states like Iowa and New Hampshire go to the polls.

In Daphne, Ala., a standing-room crowd packed a civic center, listening raptly as Senator Jeff Sessions outlined Mr. Cruz’s role in the 2013 fight over immigration reform and rising for several ovations during the candidate’s stump speech.

“Let me tell you what I intend to do on my first day in office,” Mr. Cruz began at one point.

“Put Hillary in jail!” a man shouted.

Mr. Cruz smiled. “She may already be there,” he said. “But if so, I’ll be sure to bake her a cake and send it to her.”

Several voters interviewed across three states on the trip so far said they admired Mr. Trump, and had previously considered supporting him, but had found themselves drifting toward Mr. Cruz. “He’s a Southern guy,” Frank Dolhan, 50, said of Mr. Cruz in Kennesaw. “Trump’s a Northern guy.”
Schlafly is still alive-- and filled with rage and hatred

I suppose, technically, Calgary in Alberta, which is where Cruz was born and raised, is southern Canada. But one thing is indisputable, he has fully absorbed the Confederate mindset. And yesterday, the spokespersons for many of the most far right organizations in the country all finally made it official that they're in the bag for Cruz. Cruz now has the most extremist elements of U.S. politics in his corner: James Dobson (Focus on the Family), Tony Perkins, albeit still unofficially, (Family Research Council), Brian Brown (National Organization for Marriage, the most over-the-top anti-gay group in GOP politics), Bob Vander Plaats (Iowa Family Leader), all innocuously-named hate groups.
About 50 conservative leaders had met periodically since 2014, referring to themselves simply as “The Group” [Die Gruppe]. Early on, participants settled on three criteria for backing a candidate: electability, reliability in support of positions important to social conservatives, and having the financial and organizational capability to be competitive in as many as 30 states.

Last week, Dobson, one of the most influential social conservative voices nationally, issued a statement distributed by the Cruz campaign saying he had met with the candidate multiple times. Dobson said that he and his wife, Shirley, had “been praying for a leader such as this” and that they asked “conservatives and people of faith to join us in supporting his race for the presidency.”

...[Die Gruppe's] gathering in Texas will include a private fundraiser attended by Farris and Dan Wilks, who have underwritten [$15 million dollars] one of three super PACs backing Cruz. The Wilkses have funded conservative causes using the fortune they made from several energy and real estate companies they founded in Cisco, population 3,800.

Although much of the two-day gathering will be private, it will end with a public rally that will include a speech by Cruz and music by the News Boys, a popular Christian rock band.

David Barton, an organizer of the event who leads one of the super PACs backing Cruz, said he would not be surprised if more than 1,000 people attend the rally and concert, in addition to those who will be at the invitation-only meeting at the Wilkses’ ranch.

“We were blown away by the RSVPs,” said Barton, a former vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party who has written books about the Christian heritage of the United States and encourages church leaders to engage in politics.
Although many Democrats can't stop obsessing over Herr Trumpf, savvier ones are realizing the existential problem is a dual headed fascist monster. Vote Vets, for example, sent their members a note yesterday reminding them that "Last week, a poll came out showing 30% of Republican primary voters want the United States to bomb the city of Agrabah. The only problem with that is Agrabah is a fictional location from the movie Aladdin. These are very dangerous times and there is a lot at stake in this election. From Donald Trump to Ted Cruz, irresponsible candidates across the country are preying on the fears of Americans and hoping tough talk will guide them to electoral success." The best way to eliminate that threat isn't to cheer for a less extreme Republican like Kasich or the poor Jebster, but to help make sure the electable Democrat who embodies progressive values in the Democratic nominee and to help elect proven progressive senators as a backup... just in case the unthinkable happens.

Labels: , , , ,


At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OBAMA: and that particularly blue-collar men have had a lot of trouble in this new economy, where they are no longer getting the same bargain that they got when they were going to a factory and able to support their families on a single paycheck,....

huh? bargain? unfortunate choice of wording by Obama, IMO. Where they are no longer getting the fair pay that they did, once upon a time?

At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give it a break.


Post a Comment

<< Home