Will Right Wing Madness Totally Consume the Republican Party?
Awhile back, two years ago, I wrote The Politics of Fear. I noted in my article the trend of whipping up fear for fear's sake, illustrating fear that plays upon unknown, often illogically exaggerated 'Boogeyman' variables.
I noted the items that were not to be considered Boogeyman fears; fear of an uncertain economy, various methodologies and policies set to address or used to address any number of issues facing the United States, at that point in history, to name a few.
A strategy to inspire fear of Obama and an Obama administration was fully implemented shortly after the first Republican female nominee for Vice President of the United States, the now resigned former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, began taking to center stage, cheerleading her audiences to embrace the spookiness and danger of that 'other' guy heading up the Democratic ticket for President of the United States during the 2008 presidential campaign.
She and her efforts were heartily approved of by the base of the Republican Party, targeting the candidacy of the first African American nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States.
Her efforts were aided by the Religious Right's umbrella organization Focus on the Family, founded by Dr. James Dobson. The organization widely distributed its point by point doom and gloom scenario of the fall of the United States under the stewardship of Barack Hussein Obama for months before the election of November 2008.
A key point for understanding the most recent plunge of the Republican Party into Right
Wing madness requires a look at the Party's so called Southern Strategy, as it came to be known upon its articulation by late U.S. President Richard Nixon in the 1960s.
After the Democratic Party adopted a Civil Rights platform for their party in the 1960s, the majority of Republican ideologues agreed with the strategy advocated by Richard Nixon. As the GOP utilized its adopted plan for four decades, the party's focus shifted to advocate and enact policies and tactics meant to attract the vote of White, southern men.
In an interview included in a 1970 New York Times article, Richard Nixon touched the essence of the southern strategy:
(Note: The quote is actually from Nixon strategist Kevin Phillips, reported to have coined the phrase 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.
- Nixon's Southern Strategy: It's All in the Charts (Note: This is a link to an article that provides insight into the mindset of Nixon strategist Kevin Phillips and a behind the scenes look at the nativist attitudes that have influenced and guided the GOP for 40 years.)
Regarding the GOP's Southern Strategy, after the U.S. presidential election in November 2008, it was noted by Harper's Magazine:
When the votes have been counted tonight, the G.O.P. will reap the final fruits of its Southern Strategy. The Republican Party will have transformed itself from the Party of Lincoln into the Party of the Old Confederacy. We will find that John McCain has achieved his best results in the Old Confederacy—to which only a sprinkling of thinly populated states of the Plains and Mountain West will be added (states that share strong demographic similarities with the “Confederate” states). The core of the congressional G.O.P. will be drawn from the Old South.
The first African American head of the Republican National Committee (RNC), Michael Steele, criticized his party's adoption of the Southern Strategy in April 2010.
Throughout the years since adopting the Southern strategy, in addition to mainstream conservatives, the Republican Party has attracted more anarchistic anti government adherents from those previously inhabiting the Republican Party. Yet, all were united in the belief that many of the policies pursued by the Democratic Party were not policies that would preserve what many referred to as traditional American values.
The Republican Party today has currently developed a deep fissure that may not be healed, which seems to motivate their willingness to leap into the arms of the Right Wing of its party, disregarding the ultimate detriment that will result from their shift in focus and direction, enacting legislation and policies not in line with the desires of the majority of the American populous.
At present, the Right Wing of the Republican Party, with polling suggesting them to be the majority within the Republican Party, are represented by anti government militia types, secessionists, birthers and nativists, with all of these elements heavily represented in the make up of the TEA Party, the Party's most extreme Right Wing expression.
All other elements at present within the Republican Party, including those characterized as mainstream Republicans, are being overshadowed by the alleged energy of the
Right Wing of the Republican Party.
On more than one occasion, those identifying as conservatives, those among the Republican Party and the Right Wing represented among those segments mentioned previously, have lamented the loss of their country and the desire to want to take the country back.
The follow up question never asked by any interviewer that received the 'I want to take my country back!' response from some individual in attendance at any of the Take America Back national rallies, sponsored by the Republican Party and the billionaire Koch Brothers, which were launched in the spring of 2009, should have been 'From whom do you wish to take the country back?'
There is, and has been for some time, a looming fear that has been offered in deliberate, hushed tones of dread by conservatives and those within the Republican Party, concerning the changing demographics in America regarding what has been labeled the 'browning' of America.
Most news agencies have not mentioned this predicted statistical reality which has been a rallying point for many espousing Right Wing ideology and has fiercely fueled nativist elements within the Right Wing.
Former presidential candidate and conservative Republican Patrick Buchanan has addressed the change in several books and so has former Republican Louisiana Representative and Klansman David Duke. Former Republican Representative Tom Tancredo muses the acceptance of cultural differences among citizens living in America weakens America, encouraging the development of a 'cult of multiculturalism'.
The three mentioned above have not been alone in sounding the clarion call about the dangers of the browning of America. The Right Wing has filled the airwaves in angry tones regarding changing demographics in America for nearly 40 years.
At the first TEA Party convention, hosted in February 2010 by Judson Phillips' TEA Party Nation in Nashville, Tennessee, while delivering the event's opening night keynote address, former 10 year Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo called for the reinstitution of the use of literacy tests at the polls before allowing U.S. citizens to vote. His remarks were well received by his audience.
On previous occasions and since his appearance at the TEA Party convention, Tom Tancredo has continued his call for ending legal immigration as a means of preserving 'American values'.
Literacy tests, in conjunction with the poll tax and grandfather clause, prevented millions of descendants of enslaved Africans from exercising newly acquired voting rights granted after the Civil War for almost another 100 years. Those practices were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the 1960s.
After the Civil War and Reconstruction, southern states employed a range of tactics to prevent blacks from exercising their right to vote.
They used violence, vote fraud, gerrymandering, literacy tests, white primaries, among others. These tactics caused registration by blacks to drop significantly. Such measures as the poll tax, literacy tests, grandfather clauses, and the white primary proved especially effective in disfranchising blacks.
The poll tax, as it applied to primary elections leading to general elections for federal office, was abolished in the Twenty-fourth Amendment, ratified in 1964. Qualifications to vote based on some element of property ownership have a history that extends to colonial days. However, the poll tax was instituted in seven southern states following Reconstruction. The poll tax was a flat fee required before voting; it was often levied as high as $200 per person. The voting rights of poor blacks were disproportionately discriminated against in this method.
Today, a great deal of the political motion of the Right Wing centers around the fear that 'others', those not like 'us', not deserving of whatever it may be that America can offer to its citizens, may be the undeserving recipients of some unearned benefit or service to be gained in American society.
- TEA Party Nation Leader Judson Phillips Advocates Stripping Voting Rights from Those Not Owning Property
Ultimately, there is a glaring question that must be addressed by the Republican Party and that is why it is, 3 years after the election of the first African American president of the United States, as the election cycle for 2012 gears up, with President Obama seeking re-election, that of those attracted to the Republican Party, including so called independents, more than 60% will not accept Barack Obama as President of the United States, tenaciously clinging to the discredited belief he is a Kenyan national, or British national if one considers the views of birther Phil Berg's lawsuit and logic and in many instances, also believing the President to be a closet Muslim sent by Satan to help establish an Islamic Caliphate to rule America through Sharia law?
The Right Wing's Islamophobic aspect regarding President Obama has been primarily generated from the obsession of former Reagan cabinet member Frank Gaffney, who has promoted several near lunatic beliefs regarding the President and is given much attention within Right Wing circles.
One of Mr. Gaffney's most recent nutty, conspiratorial claims declared that President Obama was responsible for the redesign of the Missile Defense Agency logo, at first claiming it had been designed to resemble the Obama campaign's logo in use during the 2008 presidential election cycle. That theory, accepted by many within Right Wing circles as true, evolved into the logo being alleged to mimic a stylized star and crescent, meant as a nod to the Muslim world as a sign of subservience.
.... Gaffney is a prominent member of the right wing security establishment. He writes a regular column for the Washington Times, is a frequent commentator on cable television, and runs his own right-wing defense organization. Just this past October, at Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy “Keeper of the Flame” annual award dinner, Vice President Cheney was the featured speaker and recipient of the reward. Other guest speakers included Sen. Jon Kyl and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
By spreading this crazy paranoid conspiracy, Gaffney not only is defaming the President, he is also defaming the people who work and lead the Missile Defense Agency. The idea that the President would pay attention to an agency logo redesign or that the design in anyway reflected some secret Muslim agenda, as Richard Lehner of the Missile Defense Agency noted, “is ridiculous.”
Lehner told Fox that “it isn’t a new logo to replace the official logo. It’s a logo developed for recruiting materials and for our public Web site. Also, it was used prior to the 2008 election and it has no link to any political campaign.”
The percentages for adherence to one, several or all of these beliefs have been steadily rising, mostly among conservatives and Republicans, since the election of Barack Obama as president in 2008.
The various conspiratorial theories offered by the Right Wing have been disseminated by all aspects of the Right Wing media ever since February 2007, when Senator Obama declared his run for President of the United States.
Long discredited theories, on a regular basis, find new life every several months when rediscovered by individuals that hadn't heard of the ravings during the time they first appeared in the press, with the mainstream press continuing to act as co-conspirators, offering the nonsensical and discredited assertions as if they are worthy of consideration.
Luckily, the contagion factor and susceptibility to this particular madness seems confined mainly to those identifying as conservatives, Republican leaning independents and members of the Republican Party.
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