I have to say that I have been enjoying watching Republicans squirm while they try to figure out what to do about the fact that pandering to the worst elements among their base for decades has put them in the position where they're going to have to decide how to deal with this Frankenstein monster that they've created, or eventually all of the gerrymandering and election rigging in the world isn't going to keep them from going the way of Whigs.
I also thoroughly enjoyed seeing a conversation about their predicament end up leading to Republican history revisionist and head turd-polisher David Brooks inadvertently admitting to something I'm sure he'd rather not talk about at all -- which is the fact that these politicians calling themselves members of the "tea party" are actually just Republicans.
Sadly you're never going to hear Brooks or anyone on PBS admit that there is no "tea party" and that it's just an AstroTurf rebranding effort by the Koch brothers and their allies to get people to forget that George W. Bush ever existed after the damage he did to their party.
And as my fellow C&L contributor Driftglass has reminded his readers on a regular basis, they built this, and what they are finally being forced to confront right now is nothing new by any means: The Fall of the House of Bircher:
They built this.
Yes they did.
A long assembly-line of Conservative miners, smelters, cutters, assemblers, welders and polishers stretching back through Fox and Rove and Bush, through Falwell and Weyrich, through Atwater and Limbaugh, through Reagan and Nixon, though Wallace and Thurmond...all playing with the awful tools of paranoia, rage, white supremacy and faith...all scavenging the barking mad remnants of the Confederacy and the Jesusland dreams of Christopaths to forge for themselves a mighty machine.
A mighty, angry, crazy, bigoted reactionary electoral beast fed on drivel and dung and led by the nose from cause to cause and candidate to candidate, getting a stronger and wilder and more anxious to spit out the bit and run amok every day.
They were warned.
Yes they were.
They were warned -- by Liberals -- as far back as the 1960s that they were tampering with terrible forces (from me, five years ago):
From Rod Serling writing in an editorial in the (then very right-wing) Los Angeles Times in 1964, in response to a series of articles by wingnut-apologist Morrie Ryskind:
What Mr. Ryskind seems constitutionally unable to understand is that there is a vast difference between the criticism of a man or a party, and the setting up of criteria or patriotism which equates differences of opinion with disloyalty.
We have need in the country for an enlightened, watchful and articulate opposition. We have no need for semi-secret societies who are absolutist, dictatorial, and would substitute for a rule of law and reason an indiscriminate assault on the institutions of this republic that should and must be held sacrosanct. …
“[The far right cannot] discount the fact that sitting it their parlor is the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party, every racist group in the United States and not a few of some Fascist orders that have scrambled their way up from the sewers to a position of new respectability.”
Modern Conservatism was born steeped in original, bigoted sin ever since Lyndon Johnson and the 1964 Civil Rights Act --
In conjunction with the civil rights movement, Johnson overcame southern resistance and convinced Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed most forms of racial segregation. Johnson signed it into law on July 2, 1964. Legend has it that, as he put down his pen, Johnson told an aide, "We have lost the South for a generation," anticipating a coming backlash from Southern whites against Johnson's Democratic Party.
-- and the rise of the Southern Strategy --
From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that... but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That's where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.
-- and has been sliding deeper into the septic tank ever since.
They were warned, but they did it anyway. Kept mollifying thugs. Kept flattering bigots. Kept slaughtering science to appease the theocrats and the garden-variety stoopid. Kept whispering to the stone crazy that their paranoia was patriotic. And, of course, kept on dehumanizing and demonizing patriotic, reality-based Liberals who were trying their damnedest to keep their Pretty Hate Machine from rolling back the whole Enlightenment.
More there so go read the rest. And never mind all that according to David Brooks "the establishment is going to have maybe an easier time of it than some might think" with reigning these people in and there's going to be some "new wing that's going to rise up and change the party from the outside." That's going to be a neat trick without completely alienating their wingnut base they've been pandering to for ages now. Sounds like Brooks is still pushing the same "Third Way," "No Labels" crap we've been hearing from him and his ilk for years now.
Full transcript below the fold.
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