Mike the Mad Biologist

Because ScienceBlogs borked this post yesterday, I’m reposting it here. ‘Upgrade’ is a four-letter word as far as I’m concerned. Anyway…

Retiring Republican Senator George Voinovich lashed out recently at the Southern influence on the GOP. As Steve Benen noted, while Voinovich didn’t make the point very tactfully, the GOP has become a regional party. Where I think Benen goes wrong is this (italics mine):

Voinovich will no doubt get slammed for his remarks, but it’s not his fault the party’s power base has become focused on one conservative region.


So whose fault is it? Mine? Benen’s? Of course, this is Voinovich’s fault. He’s a senior senator from a politically critical swing state. While manufacturing has been clobbered over the last two decades, Ohio still makes a lot of stuff.

You didn’t hear Voinovich complaining about the Southern theopolitical right when he rode that wave to a Senate majority. You didn’t hear him complain when Little Lord Pontchartrain was wreaking havoc hither and yon. Let me turn it over to driftglass, who describes the three central realities of the burnt out husk that was once home to Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt:

1. On issue after issue, the reason things get and stay so completely broken in this country is that Republicans can only get ahead in the Modern GOP by doing the political equivalent of standing on our cultural overpasses and lobbing cinderblocks into rush hour traffic.

2. The more havoc Republicans wreak, the more their base rewards them because the GOP is now mostly made up of zealot Christopaths, bigots, moral imbeciles, gun nuts and the generally cactus-fuck-crazy scum of the nation.

3. Every major media outlet knows the minute they acknowledge the incredibly dangerous reality that 1/3 of the American electorate are zealot Christopaths, bigots, moral imbeciles, gun nuts and the generally cactus-fuck-crazy scum of the nation – and that they are not evenly or randomly distributed across the political spectrum, but instead have been carefully and deliberate recruited en masse by the Right for the last 30 years – they will instantly lose millions of readers, listeners and viewers – along with the billions of dollars in ad revenue that come with them – and will instead be subjected to an around-the-clock cry for their blood by the orc armies of the Right that would make the Kill Bill havoc of the anti-Clinton crusade look like a friendly round of nude Stratego.

While drifty, in #3, was writing about the media, the same applies to Republican politicians: they dare not challenge their base.

This was not an accident. This was not a thunderbolt strike on a clear blue day. This was not a hostile takeover. The Republican base which he decries was invited in. It was courted. The Republican party, rather than relegating the dregs of segregation to the ash heap of history, fed them dishonest pabulum about ‘real Americans.’ This was a deliberate and orchestrated attempt to woo the sons and daughters of segregation and, later, of the Christianist segregation academies.

Voinovich never said a damn thing about the batshit lunatic wing of his party when it mattered. Voinovich never switched his party allegiance. He never declared, never mind acted upon, the conviction that certain ideologies and political beliefs are beyond the pale.

Instead, he profited greatly from this alliance, even if it left a bad taste in his mouth.

Sorry, Benen, this is his fault.

Comments

  1. #1 NewEnglandBob
    July 30, 2009

    I repeat my comment from the first copy of this post:

    I loved the description of the three central realities. I laughed, but is is so true.

    I wonder if now is the time for a new party in the US. A party of secular rationalists. Of course it can not be labeled as such. It is time to bring back rational discourse and fruitful discussions to the country. It needs to leave behind the divisive issues or to couch them in terms of true freedom of repression. I would suggest a name like the “Common Sense” party.

  2. #2 SDTG
    July 30, 2009

    The death of the Republican party has been greatly exaggerated. To be clear, I am one of those ex-GOPers driven out by its sharp tilt culturally right, and I have no intention of voting for them again, as long as they cater to that “base.”

    However.

    Saddled with the least popular incumbent of modern times *AND* the worst possibly timed financial catastrophe, John McCain still garnered 45% of the popular vote. Yes, I know it was an electoral, if not popular, landside, but it is foolish to bury a party that 60 out of 130 million people selected last fall. Had voter turnout been less, or the banks held on another six weeks, the numbers may have very well reversed. The hubris in Democratic circles that the 2008 victory signifies some permanent crumbling of the GOP is staggering. If Democratic leadership acts as if the Republicans are finished nationally and eases off their efforts, they will find themselves out of power much sooner than they expected.

  3. #3 Terry
    July 30, 2009

    The Republicans roll along shedding voters at just about the rate that thinking Americans are shedding Xianism, and all other mystical bull. As long as the Limbaugh crowd can turn up the heat, guys like Voinovich will never be able to say what they really think.

  4. #4 abb3w
    July 31, 2009

    NewEnglandBob: I would suggest a name like the “Common Sense” party.

    “Pragmatists”. Common sense is utterly wrong far too often; a pragmatist accepts this, and learns to adjust his/her understanding of the world based on experience and history.

  5. #5 abb3w
    July 31, 2009

    By the way, anyone have a suggestion for a well-researched book tracking the ties/evolution of racist right and religious right?

  6. #6 magicnusret
    August 9, 2009

    very thanks for article sesli chat

  7. #7 Nelson Chamberlain
    August 16, 2009

    “…a well-researched book ….”

    You might look at “American Theocracy The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21′st Century” by Kevin Phillips. Part II is titled “Too Many Preachers” with chapters on “Radicalized Religion”,”The Southernization of America” “The new Religious and Political Battlegrounds” There are 34 pages of bibliographic references in little tiny print.

    You could also consider “The Battle for God, A History of Fundamentalism” by Karen Armstrong. She begins with 100 pages summarizing the major religions, followed by 200 pages describing the rise of Fundamentalism. She has 30 pages of notes and 15 pages of bibliography, both in little tiny print.

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