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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

US: Republican politics « Previous | |Next »
November 1, 2010

Frank Rich in The Grand Old Plot Against the Tea Party in the New York Times argues that the Tea Party movement, despite its 'take back America' campaign supported by Fox News, is going to hit the wall of political power in The Republican party after the mid-term elections.

ThompsonMFoxNews.jpg Mike Thompson

Rich says:

the Republican elites found the Tea Party invaluable on the way to this Election Day. And not merely, as Huckabee has it, because they wanted its foot soldiers. What made the Tea Party most useful was that its loud populist message gave the G.O.P. just the cover it needed both to camouflage its corporate patrons and to rebrand itself as a party miraculously antithetical to the despised G.O.P. that gave us George W. Bush and record deficits only yesterday.Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News and Wall Street Journal have been arduous in promoting and inflating Tea Party events and celebrities to this propagandistic end. The more the Tea Party looks as if it’s calling the shots in the G.O.P., the easier it is to distract attention from those who are actually calling them — namely, those who’ve cashed in and cashed out as ordinary Americans lost their jobs, homes and 401(k)’s [retirement savings plans].

The ordinary Americans in this movement lack the numbers and financial clout to muscle their way into the back rooms of Republican power no matter how well their candidates perform.The backrooms of those of corporate America where Wall Street money flows freely to cut taxes and regulation of their favored industries.

Environmental regulation will be rolled back through aggressive investigations from the incoming Republican majority. So there will be gridlock on climate change for the next two years, given the Republicans mantra of 'No compromise' and saying no to everything. Gridlock is wonderful when the Republicans are doing it. Whatever gets Republicans elected is just fantastic no matter how much harm it does to the country or the economy.

Behind this politics sits the global financial crisis, which has been followed by a protracted period of very high unemployment. In a contracting economy people are scared of losing their jobs, not being able to pay their mortgage or being foreclosed and falling sick from a major illness. And as, Paul Krugman points out, we have the failed economic policies of the Obama administration.

What is sad is the capitulation concerning any real financial reform by the Democrats, who proved themselves only loyal to Wall Street and the big banks. You would think that it would be good politics for the Obama administration, which has a hard time establishing credibility with ordinary people, to bring the foreclosures to a halt---a foreclosure moratorium, by temporarily halting the flood of foreclosed houses onto the market--given all the fraud involved.

The Obama administration appears to be protecting the big banks again.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:59 AM | | Comments (19)


The resurgent Republicans want to make Obama a one term president. They will do anything they can to undermine Obama. That means being confrontational.

its ironic --the resurgent Republicans are the ones that got America into its current economic mess.

In fairness, its the Republicans AND some foolish Democrats AND a corrupt corporate media AND a disengaged, disinterested public that got America into its current economic mess.

I've been reading William Shirer's other book - "The Collapse of the Third Republic", and the parallels between the French malaise of the later 1920s and 1930s with the current American malaise are quite remarkable.

Rising social inequality, mistrust of the political and financial systems, violent political antagonisms, widespread corruption, an irresponsible ruling class - they're all there.

The "modern" world is starting to smell like the 1930s.

The Tea Party's 'take back America' refers to its nativism--to attacks on the “cult of multiculturalism” and accusing immigrants of threatening America’s Judeo-Christian values.

“This is our country” .“Take it back!” is their cry.

mars 08
you say:

In fairness, its the Republicans AND some foolish Democrats AND a corrupt corporate media AND a disengaged, disinterested public that got America into its current economic mess.

I though that it was Wall Street and the global financial crisis. That is why many Americans are in trouble. Their jobs, incomes, savings, and even homes are on the line.

Nan, I think you and mars08 are saying the same thing. Building on anon's comment, I'd agree with that we are seeing the phenomena of astro turfing in action again: the Tea Party is just a front for Republican aspirations that go diametrically against the promises of the TeaParty to "return" the country to the People.
As with Howard and Hansonism, over refugees, women, ethnics and aborigines, the wedge splits the community between whites and "others", leaving both vulnerable in their resulting weakness to further expropriations as occurred, most spectacularly during the GFC of 2007, but also occuring surreptiously thru incremental removal of worker and community rights thru labor "reform" and free trade protocols that kneecap resistance to outside interests; rules that facilitate the take over people's and communities lives by feral global capital.

I see the global financial crisis as just the latest nail in the coffin. What created the conditions that allowed the "system" to go off the rails?

mars 08 asks: 'What created the conditions that allowed the "system" to go off the rails?'

Ross Douthat's account in the New York Times. My view is similar to Robert Reich's. It was:

(1) the turn to a neo-liberal mode of governance that deregulated Wall Street, favoured deficit reduction, tax cuts and low interest rates-- Alan Greenspan's policy of trusting the free market to deliver prosperity for all'. That lead to a giant housing bubble.

(2) Greenspan's libertarian politics of tough love being good for the individual and good for society. That implies much less government support for poor Americans.

After 1980, instead of helping the middle class prosper in the new global, high-tech economy, the US government did just the opposite. It narrowed prosperity. The result was stagnant wages. The middle class steadily lost ground, while more and more of the benefits of economic growth flowed to the top.

In Aftershock Robert Reich suggests two ways forward. One is the Tea Party path. The leader of this right wing populist movement says in a speech after victory:

“My fellow Americans: You have voted to reclaim America. Voted to take it back from big government, big business, and big finance. To take it back from the politicians who would rob us of our freedoms, from foreigners who rob us of our jobs, from the rich who have no loyalty to this nation, and from immigrants who live off our hard work. (Wild applause.) We are reclaiming America from the elites who have rigged the system to their benefit, from the money manipulators on Wall Street and the greed masters in corporate executive suites, from the influence peddlers and pork peddlers in Washington—from all the privileged and the powerful who have conspired against us. (Wild applause and cheers.) They will no longer sell Americans out to global money and pad their nests by taking away our jobs and livelihoods! (Wild applause and cheers.) This is our nation, now! (Wild applause and cheers that continue to build.) A nation of good jobs and good wages for anyone willing to work hard! Our nation! America for Americans! (Thunderous applause.)

The platform of the Independence Party, as well as its message, is clear and uncompromising: zero tolerance of illegal immigrants; a freeze on legal immigration from Latin America, Africa, and Asia; increased tariffs on all imports; a ban on American companies moving their operations to another country or outsourcing abroad; a prohibition on foreign “sovereign wealth funds” investing in the United States. America will withdraw from the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund; end all “involvements” in foreign countries; refuse to pay any more interest on our debt to China, essentially defaulting on it; and stop trading with China unless China freely floats its currency.

watching Fox all day means that you are being fed a steady stream of volcanic rhetoric, bonkers conspiracy theories, partisan political abuse and outright misinformation.

The “fair and balanced” Fox News keep their audience through scaremonging and they turn regular Republicans into raging ultra-conservatives blinded by hate.

Fox News is mass deception parading as journalism.

For the Republicans "American Muslim" is a synonym for "homegrown terrorist."

I think there is a discord in the rhetoric and the hardness of the policies. It's all too feel good- very slick but 'thirties economics and poleconomics seem involved in it.
What makes it less stable is tabloid media. They are getting better at engineering quick political fixes; perhaps what's Cameron Britain is an example.
The two points responding to mars 08, takes it from there.
The sad thing is, that elements of the reactive new politics have seeped into our culture and political life also.

Michael Tomasky in The Guardian says:

From the president down, they have never – against the right-populist onslaught – defended their idea of what society should look like. Split between their centrist and liberal wings, they saw the lightning on the horizon and ran for cover. They flailed around for different messages this fall like a bad singer searching for the right key.

Sounds like the ALP in Australia.

The exist polls show that 86% of American voters were concerned about the economy, dwarfing any other issue – that is bad news for the Democrats. American voters will vote against them.

Just holding on to the Senate will be a victory for the Democrats.

The Republicans have won the 40 seats they needed to gain control of the House--- as expected. They outperformed expectations, and are projected to win another 20 or more. The Democrats look to still control the Senate--just.

The fired up Republicans "are out to destroy Obama". Obama will have to fight a rearguard action just to defend health reform, financial regulation and other legislation he has managed to get through.

The midterm elections were a disaster for the Democrats. the Republicans took 60-plus seats in the House of Representatives, winning a majority (with 30 results still to come); they took control of a 15 or 16 state legislatures, and at least 10 governorships.

The Democrats retain control of the Senate and the margin may be enough to prevent them from losing control of the Senate even if both Joseph I. Lieberman and Ben Nelson decided to caucus with Republicans.

It is a remarkable comeback for Republicans two years after they suffered a crushing defeat in the White House and four years after Democrats swept control of the House and Senate.The tea party-fueled tsunami of discontent, in washing away the House Democratic majority and eroded much of the Democrats' territory in the Senate, was a historic rout.

Obama is facing tremendous national problems and is now challenged by a hostile House.

So... did the people who voted Democrat last time desert Obama this time, or did more Republicans decide to bet off their bums and vote?

Either way, it's clearly what the people want. Looks like the worst of the Bush years has been well-and-truly forgotten.

I truly would not have an issue with this debacle if it wasn't for the fact that the US has so much influence around the world. If this sort of thing had happened in Venezuela, I'd shake my head and ignore the repercussions.

Instead I fear that this result will hurt people right across the globe.