Howzabout that, Sports Fans? Amazing, right? This may be the first time that a Dem wins in this particular county since, get this: 1854. That's one hundred and fifty-five years ago, for God's sake! How can this happen???
Those of you who are regulars here at MP know that I have been convinced of late that the GOP are eating their own young...politically speaking, of course. While pandering to the base, the Republican Party has pushed the bounds of crazy far beyond the point of no return, by stirring up their base through propaganda and lies, revisionist history and encouraging the death of civil discourse. This divisiveness has grown over the past few years to a record high and and all the while, the GOP feeds this frenzy of uber-conservativism to the point that it has become a party tht folks accept as a legitimate alternative. They pulled the Conservative out of Republicans and made it their own party.
So, you ask, why have Dick Armey and his corporate Tea Party pals have been stirring up a hornet's nest if it is truly harmful to the GOP? Honestly, I think it was the proverbial tempest in a teapot, no pun intended...So let's start by taking a look back to the Primaries in '08. Hell, let's look further back than that. How about the seven years before, while Cheney ran the country into the ground. back then you had a Party so desperate for power in order to benefit the corporate few that they use fear as their ace in the hole. And there's nothing like a war to feed corporate profits, so let's acquire some intelligence that we know is dead-wrong and get one of our lackeys (AKA Colin Powell, that poor man, the way he was treated was criminal...he and Scooter Libby should form a club. They could have jackets...) to give it credibility. Next, invent a color-coded Terror Alert with which to terrorize our citizens "Okay, so every time the death toll in Iraq goes up, our polling numbers go down, right? So, all we have to do is raise the terror alert every time so our numbers will go back up, too! We can always claim to have discovered a sleeper cell if things get really bad. Then again, we can always play the 'if we don't fight them there, we'll have to fight them here' card and perpetuate our corporate welfare, uh, I mean 'War on Terrah,' sponsored by our friends at Halliburton, Blackwater and KBR."
Of course, there's nothing like fear to get people to surrender their civil liberties. And, hey, if you are an elected official and decide to do something truly suicidal like fight to preserve The Constitution of these United States or to defend our Bill of Rights, they'll run a smear campaign accusing you of Anti-Americanism, of holding favor with that abstract group known as "the terrorists" and try to defeat your next election bid by running horribly negative ads all over your home district. This is where it all begins.
So on to Election '08, my friends. In a race filled with racial undertones and accusations from the right wing nutjobs of "Muslim" and "friend of terrorists," the primary races have one of the lowest turnouts for Republican voters in the last twenty years. Perhaps it had to do with the choices available on the GOP ballot; maybe it had to do with ordinary Americans, the ones who send their sons and daughters, husbands and wives, moms and dads to war, realizing that the "Mission" of the past seven years of a Cheney-Bush White House was not "Accomplished" in the least. Or maybe it was the fact that the frontrunner was no longer the maverick he once was, having diametrically changed positions on most major issues (if it were a Dem, they'd call him a flip-flopper"), and the base felt he was no longer to be trusted. As early as the Potomac Primaries, voter turnout for the GOP was simply abysmal, while Democrats were infused with enthusiasm over a race that seemed to hold something for everyone in historical proportions. Democratic voters were out in record numbers, not boding well for GOP in the General Election.
This strange turn of events, an energized Democratic base and an apparently disillusioned Republican one, made for a strong mandate for the Dems in November. In the process, the desperation grew on the Red side of the fight, as some states became purple, then violet, then cornflower blue and on to a deep, rich hue of royal Democratic blue. The dissatisfaction of core Republican voters plummeted to an all-time low: according to Pew Research Center, only 27% of voters self-identified as Republican by the time the election drew near. I marveled at the number of my conservative friends (I do too have some!) who told me they'd changed parties and formally registered as Democrats. These were not malcontents, or rebels. These were lifetime Grand Old party supporters, born and raised. They told me they'd had it with the war, the corruption, the lies and the fearmonger politics of the right. It was the most amazing transformation I'd ever seen. And the Democrats won both the House and the Senate, as well as 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Wow. Just...wow! The nation was inspired with hope one again, we were surrounded by possibility, and America had overcome the stranglehold it had held on racism for so long, electing the first
African-American to the White House.
Now, fast-forward to January 2009. While hope reigned supreme, much bitterness swelled in the ranks of the conservative right. While mainstream Republicans polished their obstructionism, the seeds they had planted grew and bloomed. As in the case of the Moral Majority, which was simply a vocal minority with good PR skills, the rhetoric of the few became more and more dangerous. Tea Party politics began to rear its ugly head, encouraging the protesting of taxes, health care reform and anything else the present Administration wanted, watered and fed by Cheney and Armey and the rest. Anything to give the sitting President a black eye, to stir the base to action. But the spin machine began spiraling horribly out of control into whack-job-land and took on a life of its own. Self-deemed Teabaggers (Man, I hope they learned to google their chosen monikers from now on!) protested everything from so-called Obamacare to Secession, Confederacy to Gun Control, and came armed with an arsenal to do so. They protested the big government and deficit created by Cheney/Bush (and yes, they're deliberately placed in that order...) This fringe continued to bring guns to events where the President was appearing and to insist that a black man could be Hitler (what genius put that combination together??? Gotta wonder.) White supremacy groups were coming out of the woodwork at an alarming rate. And suddenly, the GOP realized they had created a monster that was dividing their party. The genie was out of the bottle, and not going back in without a fight.
And we've come full circle to the race you heard Rachel talk about in the first clip. The Republican Party has become a house divided. With its frustrated members on one side defecting to join the Democratic Party, and the far fringe voting for Conservative Party members for the first time, we see a rift that has split the votes of the Republicans to the point where the Democrat takes the lead in a district that hasn't voted Democratic since the Civil War. They've created their very own spoilers in the NY race, the first of what I predict to be a trend. Teabaggers, many more libertarian than the moderate "let's run McCain" faction of the GOP, are feeling their oats and realizing that there are many more angst-filled, dissatisfied Americans looking to blame someone other than the Bushes and the banks for the misfortunes in our nation today. And we all know that there's nothing like a strong dose of fear and a good scapegoat behind which to unite people to a cause. But who would have predicted the rise of a third party out of the ashes of the Republicans? And it is a real a possibility as ever before. As I have said before, we are watching the GOP unravel before our very eyes, and we are compelled to watch as if it were a bad accident. And I will say it again, and again, and again: not only will we be witness to the obstructionist downfall of what was once the Grand Old Party. But they will have no one to blame but themselves when they've decimated their political party, and the blood will be on their hands when the hate-filled, self-righteous crazies they've created rise up and and act upon the violence they eschew. May reason and the return of sanity come to light before it happens.