Friday, January 30, 2015

2016 - The GOP's Gospel of Fear...

There is nothing that scares the American Media more than a slow news day. So even though 2015 is not even one month old, the media on all sides of the political / ideological spectrum have all moved on to obsessing over the 2016 election.

Show of hands… anyone really surprised? Anyone? Didn't think so...

Politics in the United States used to be about the art of the possible. What people of divergent opinion but unified intent could accomplish for the country,  when they worked together. Even from this side of the Atlantic I can hear many of you snickering and saying; “Dave, Dave… what are you smoking?”. Yeah, I know. It’s safe to say those days are clearly long gone. 

Politics in America is now a blood sport, and has been for some time. One of the interesting side effects of this is  the impact  on America’s two political parties.  I have blogged at length about how the Republican Party I knew in my youth,  bears no resemblance to the GOP of today.   The  last three months since the 2014 midterm elections  have provided a fascinating glimpse into the inner mind set of the GOP and its "Conservative Base" .

If there is one clear theme that has emerged from the crowded flashmob of GOP 2016 Presidential hopefuls, it is that America is under "attack", or  is  about to be  under "attack".  America's  freedoms, values, families and "job creators" are all under dire threat.

From what you ask?   America is under threat from; 1) Anyone who doesn't believe in a narrow exclusionary definition of Christianity. 2) Anyone who hasn't been born in the United States.  And last but not least,  3) Anyone who is LGBT,  or believes that  LGBT Americans deserve the same civil rights as everyone else.

The would be standard bearers of Republican Party believe that they are not just defending America from various "attacks" , but that they are truly "defenders of the faith", and by faith,  they mean their specific definition of who is a "Christian".   Comedian Will Ferrell's take on this would be funnier if it was not so close to reality.

As recently as the past two weeks,  we have seen  how clearly the GOP is connected to America's own brand of fundamentalist Christian extremism.  While at the same time claiming America is under dire threat from non-Christian religious extremism.   In the 1980's the GOP ran against the threat of Soviet Communism.  In the 1990's  the GOP ran against the threat of  Gay people. After 9-11 it was the threat  of "Islamo fascist terrorism"  and  then in 2004 it was both Islamic terrorists AND the Gays.  2008 and 2012 saw the GOP come full circle  and run campaigns that all but screamed "Vote against the SCARY Black Man!  (Who is probably a Muslim too!)".
Last week it was Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal who decided the best way to grab the attention of likely GOP voters, was to claim that America was in serious danger of Muslims establishing "no-go zones" in major American cities.   Areas where non Muslims (i.e. white conservative evangelical Christians) would be in danger if  they tried to enter.  As evidence,  Jindal simply  repeated a  disproved lie claiming  such zones already existed in many  European cities.  
When confronted by reporters in London with  the facts,  Jindal squirmed  pathetically.    Yet once back in the US, Jindal doubled down, repeating the lie and standing by his ridiculous assertions.  What is interesting here is his devotion to the talking point,  even when it contradicts reality.  It's  clear that the Governor Jindal feels the path to the GOP Nomination is to  run against "scary Muslims" as much as it is  to run against any other Republican or eventual Democratic Presidential candidate.
This week,  it was the Republican Party itself that was caught with their hands in the extremist cookie jar.    The Republican National Committee, along with the party's. National Chairman,  Reince Priebus were revealed to be participating in all expenses paid junket to Israel.  Paid for by the hate group, the  American Family Association.   An organization that claims the First Amendment to the United States Constitution only applies to Christians.  When caught out on this,  the AFA's response  has been to try  to spin some distance between themselves ,  and the things they themselves have been saying for years.  MSNBC's. Rachel Maddow has the very interesting details.

As of this posting, the RNC still has not pulled out of the AFA funded trip, nor has RNC Chairman Reince Priebus responded to reporters questions now that is clear that Bryan Fischer is still very much the face and voice of the. AFA.   Right now,  the clear message of  the Republican Party is that they subscribe the position that  America is a Christian Nation,  and basic civil rights only apply to people of the Christian faith.   
Compounding this message is the GOP position on the threat to America posed by immigrants.   GOP 2016 Clown Car occupant and attention seeking cartoon character Donald Trump,  has made "building a fence" (to keep out the scary brown people),  the centrepiece of his attempt to woo attention from  the Republican base.
The GOP has a problematic relationship at best, with the Latino community.  Demographically one would think it's political suicide to work so hard to alienate the largest voting block in the United States.  Yet, apparently in the GOP mind set,  its more important to have something you can  scare your base with, than it is to expand your electability beyond that base.
Setting aside the GOP's obsession with all things LGBT for the moment, when we look at the rest of the would be Presidential Candidates for the Republicans,  we see the clear trend of not, what they each stand for, but rather what each one hopes will resonate with "the base", because of what they are against.
Sen. Rand Paul - Running against poor people and Immigrants who he says want to steal your jobs and tax dollars.  Gov. Chris Christie - Running against Courts, Judges and Prosecutors who keep looking into possible crimes committed by his administration.  Sen. Ted Cruz - Running against Science and Affordable Health Care.   Gov. Mitt Romney - Announced today that he IS NOT Running. Probably due to the fact he couldn't run against the opponent he wanted. (Barack Obama).  Gov. Scott Walker - Running against Unions, Public Employees  and anything else that might upset the Koch Brothers.  Gov. Jeb Bush - Ok lets be honest here,  Jeb is really running to save his Father's legacy and family name.  He is running  against his brother,  George W. (Good Luck with that one, Jeb.)   Gov. Rick Perry- Running against Science,  scary Muslims and Medicare, .   Gov. Sarah Palin - Running against grammar, syntax and the "Liberal Media".   Gov. Mike Huckabee - Running against anyone who isn't a Christian and those non Christians  having any sort of civil rights. Dr. Ben Carson - Running against Muslims,  the minimum  wage, and oh yeah,  Benghazi. 
And all of the GOP hopefuls  want the good citizens of Teabagistan, (and Iowa), to know that they hate those icky Gay people and Women being able to control their bodies, just as much as they do, and have no reservations taking a felt tip marker to the US Constitution to put those pesky Gays and uppity feminists back in their place. And any attempt to protect the rights of people who think differently is clearly an "attack on Christians!!"

Now lest you think I am completely one sided here, I consider the Democratic side to be just as incoherent.  All I really know about Senator and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at this point is, that   she is clearly  for winning and against losing.

Yet  compared to the GOP's clown car of "Pick  me because here's who / what you should fear / hate",  even the say nothing, do nothing, but raise lots of money -undeclared Clinton candidacy, is infinitely preferable to the cirque du insanity currently gearing up on the Right.

The United States of America is not a fundamentalist  Christian theocracy.  The unmistakeable message  coming from the Republican Party at this stage is, in 2016 they want to elect people who think it should be.

1 comment:

biki said...

Not a fan of the Clintons, they come off as plastic, willing to meld themselves into any shape to win an election, approval points, etc. But if it comes down to a choice between which ever GOP hate monger is chosen and Clinton, then I'll choose her.