There’s been quite a bit of good analysis in the wake of the Republican implosion on health care, and the pant-shittingly hysterical psychotic meltdown that accompanied it. I particularly liked what Bob Herbert had to say in his New York TImes op-ed today. Here, for those of you who didn’t see it, is a clip:
…At some point, we have to decide as a country that we just can’t have this: We can’t allow ourselves to remain silent as foaming-at-the-mouth protesters scream the vilest of epithets at members of Congress — epithets that The Times will not allow me to repeat here.
It is 2010, which means it is way past time for decent Americans to rise up against this kind of garbage, to fight it aggressively wherever it appears. And it is time for every American of good will to hold the Republican Party accountable for its role in tolerating, shielding and encouraging foul, mean-spirited and bigoted behavior in its ranks and among its strongest supporters.
For decades the G.O.P. has been the party of fear, ignorance and divisiveness. All you have to do is look around to see what it has done to the country. The greatest economic inequality since the Gilded Age was followed by a near-total collapse of the overall economy. As a country, we have a monumental mess on our hands and still the Republicans have nothing to offer in the way of a remedy except more tax cuts for the rich.
This is the party of trickle down and weapons of mass destruction, the party of birthers and death-panel lunatics. This is the party that genuflects at the altar of right-wing talk radio, with its insane, nauseating, nonstop commitment to hatred and bigotry.
Glenn Beck of Fox News has called President Obama a “racist” and asserted that he “has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”
Mike Huckabee, a former Republican presidential candidate, has said of Mr. Obama’s economic policies: “Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff.”
The G.O.P. poisons the political atmosphere and then has the gall to complain about an absence of bipartisanship.
The toxic clouds that are the inevitable result of the fear and the bitter conflicts so relentlessly stoked by the Republican Party — think blacks against whites, gays versus straights, and a whole range of folks against immigrants — tend to obscure the tremendous damage that the party’s policies have inflicted on the country. If people are arguing over immigrants or abortion or whether gays should be allowed to marry, they’re not calling the G.O.P. to account for (to take just one example) the horribly destructive policy of cutting taxes while the nation was fighting two wars.
If you’re all fired up about Republican-inspired tales of Democrats planning to send grandma to some death chamber, you’ll never get to the G.O.P.’s war against the right of ordinary workers to organize and negotiate in their own best interests — a war that has diminished living standards for working people for decades.
With a freer hand, the Republicans would have done more damage. George W. Bush tried to undermine Social Security. John McCain was willing to put Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the Oval Office and thought Phil Gramm would have made a crackerjack Treasury secretary. (For those who may not remember, Mr. Gramm was a deregulation zealot who told us during the presidential campaign that we were suffering from a “mental recession.”)
A party that promotes ignorance (“Just say no to global warming”) and provides a safe house for bigotry cannot serve the best interests of our country…
Fear is the key to understanding the whole thing. On the subject of fear, and how it’s wielded by the Republicans, I also liked this piece by Allison Kilkenny. Here’s a clip:
…Here is Nixon’s political strategist, Kevin Phillips, explaining the strategy to the New York Times in 1970. But really, with the antiquated term “Negro” swapped out for something less glaringly racist, this is almost identical to the Republican strategy today.
“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.”
…Less savvy Republicans, say Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck aren’t politicians and so they don’t have to behave as centrists. As a result, they let their true ignorant, bigot colors show on a daily basis. Their niche is the White Disenfranchised Male, and their product is fear. The problem is, their audience develops a resistance to the same hysterical accusations week after week after week…and so the Fear Peddlers, Limbaugh and Beck, have to constantly increase the dosage of hysteria.
And when something bad happens, ranging from someone shouting “nigger” at John Lewis to shooting some of their fellow citizens, the right-wingers claim they have no idea where this hate and paranoia came from…
Which brings me to this brilliant, insightful little quote from Republican strategist David Frum:
“Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we are discovering we work for Fox.”
Think about it.