Months ago, when I first launched Green Dragon, I wrote a post about the implications for the future of the Republican Party of the effectiveness of the Obama campaign’s critiques of Bain Capital and its vulture capitalism. I said a civil war within the Republican Party was coming…one that would make the Tea Party split look like a garden picnic.
Well, it’s here.
Each of the GOP’s three major blocs is reeling, trying to make sense of a campaign result it did not anticipate and which flies in the face of its core beliefs. With the reelection of the President, trouncing of anti-abortion candidates and unprecedented approvals both of marriage equality and election of openly gay legislators, Republicans now know that 2008 wasn’t a fluke. It appears finally to be dawning on conservatives that their imagined version of the United States simply is not real.
Take the Christian right, for example, who seem at last to be figuring out that they do not represent the values of most Americans. Their internal narrative has always been that if they can just get out their message, most Americans will agree with them. But this time they turned out more than ever, and issues like women’s rights to contraception and abortion and gay rights were front-and-center in the national campaign narrative. And they got their clocks cleaned.
I think many of them are now realizing that America isn’t what they always thought it was. Some have begun thinking that they don’t want to be Americans any more (though they wouldn’t say it that way)…instead, they want to carve themselves away from the places that aren’t “real” America, and create that imaginary Christian Murikkka they’ve always hoped for.
All three of the major GOP constituencies are in a world of hurt and confusion. The Plutocrats got nothing out of all that Citizens United spending; the Teahaddists saw broad support for a party that put itself squarely behind higher taxes on the rich as well as progressive social issues…and now they’re having to listen to party leadership opining that they must make common cause with a buncha dirty Meskins in order to have a prayer of succeeding.
This is a storm long brewing, and it is definitely here. None of these constituencies has anywhere to turn in a quest for a return to national political viability that doesn’t put a dagger through its most cherished nonnegotiables: backing away from attacks on women’s health rights and civil equality for the Christian conservatives; accepting higher taxation and regulation of industry and markets for the corporatist Plutocrats; abandoning racism and extremist positions on taxation and the role of government for the Tea-Party types.
I don’t see any of them but the Plutocrats being smart or realistic enough to be able to make those moves. Sure enough, today Bill Kristol says that raising taxes on millionaires won’t destroy the country. Not that Kristol is either smart or realistic—in fact, he’s so reliably wrong that when he says this, it give me pause—but he’s a sure indicator of what the Rulers of the Universe are willing to go for.
For 40 years, Republicans have succeeded by feeding voters a steady diet of dog-whistle racism, empty gestures to social conservatives, and anti-government rhetoric, all the while taking a wrecking ball to our national institutions, previously inviolable values, and the very Constitution itself. It was a strategy of division, and now it has come home to roost: increasingly in the minority, Republicans are divided not only from the majority of the country, but from one another.
I wouldn’t say it is what they deserve, because frankly, those who devised and pursued this strategy deserve far worse. But I will say this: it’s about damned time most of the country can see how bloody awful these people really are.
At publication, the Dragon was EATING POPCORN