...the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support. Geo. Washington Feb. 22, 1732
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Robert Kennedy, South Africa 1966.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
An Earthquake in Florida
Annie E Noimus sent me the following. It is a good thing this is an eclectic Blog so I can post it. We can't discuss politics in the Lodge
A very interesting day in Florida yesterday!
Partisan politics aside, the results of the Republican primary in Florida are very interesting.
John McCain won, and despite an “only 5%” difference between him and the reprehensibly-nicknamed “Mitt” Romney, that difference is of great significance. Add to that the fact that Sen. McCain can boast of substantial victories in New Hampshire and South Carolina, he is the clear Republican front-runner a week before Super Tuesday.
What does this say about the Republican party today?
That takes a little background.
Beginning with the 1980 election, the GOP took a decided turn to the right with the nomination and election (for two terms) of Ronald Reagan.
Now, it is very stylish these days to beatify Reagan as St. Ronald, the patron saint of the rabid right. In fact, he was—at best—a mediocre president. His being credited with the fall of the Communist eastern bloc is pure fiction (the fact is that the Soviet “Evil Empire” collapsed from within because of its own failed policies, and Reagan just happened to be the opportunistic American president when the downfall occurred). In addition, it was Reagan whose truly foolish economic policies lead quite directly to the economic problems we face today.
Yet, in the firmament of the Republican party, St. Ronald rules as one of the brightest recent stars, and the one most emulated by perhaps the worst president in the country’s history, George W. Bush. In fact, the last effective Republican president this country had was Dwight D. Eisenhower, and he wasn’t really much to boast about. At least, however, he and Gerald Ford were decent men.
Reagan’s election in 1980 was the first effective salvo in the hijacking of the Republican party by dangerous forces, commonly known today as “neo-conservatives.” For more than 25 years, these reactionary forces have controlled the party of such genuinely great men as Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.
The American electorate has historically been long-suffering. When demagogic political forces have been in power for a time, it has often taken several decades to right the ship of state. The fact is, thankfully, that the people have always eventually seen fit to return from the extreme to the center.
And that is precisely what Sen. McCain’s ascendancy in the 2008 election cycle signifies—a return to some semblance of good sense.
The radical right, including most Washington Republican insiders and almost every right-wing media pundit (Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and so forth) have been virtually unanimous in their vehement opposition to Sen. McCain, seeing him as a traitor to their far-right goals. They have been MUCH more supportive of Gov. Romney, Mayor Giuliani, and even Gov. Huckabee. Despite their unending, vociferous outbursts, the Republican electorate is clearly of a different mind.
What is happening before our eyes is the repudiation of the neo-coms by Republican voters. The cycle is coming back to center. The truly far-right agenda of Reagan and his followers, having been discredited almost completely during the administration of George W. Bush, is being pushed aside as these same voters return to the more reasonable and historic beliefs of their party.
The firmly-entrenched Republican neo-coms will continue to resist this ineluctable movement, because their very paychecks are being threatened. Many of these people are complete cynics, looking, Carl-Rove-like, to establish a permanent Republican control of the country (does Hitler’s “Tausand-jähriges Reich” ring any bells?). And it was their greedy intent to feed from the rich trough of this establishment for the rest of their lives.
As usual, it is their own party—but the reasonable, nameless, voting Republicans who pay their taxes and finally determine party policy—who are overthrowing the loud and the mighty ideologues.
It’s the same way Iowa caucuses work: neighbors gathering together in their own neighborhoods to determine the direction of their parties at the local, the county, the state, and—eventually—the national level. This is done soberly and collegially, and there is no assumption on the part of participants that they will somehow benefit financially from their deliberations.
Slowly, at first with faltering voices, but eventually with a single ringing voice that can bring down the walls of Jericho, the people DO speak.