you know, guys
not all republicans
The only political thing I’ve agreed with on tumblr.
Alright, going to get some history nerd cred down here…
I’m not saying that all Republicans are evil, that would be hyperbole to the extreme— but one thing people need to understand is that the Republican Party of Lincoln was not the Republican Party of Teddy was not the Republican party of Mitt Romney.
It’s a little thing called realignment.
Realignment is a period where a party’s ideology, platform, and target audience shifts. There has been many periods of realignment, from early on in our history. The shift from the Federalist party to the Democratic-Republican party, the split of the Democratic-Republicans to the Democratic Party and the Whig Party, and the dissolution of the Whigs in 1852 and the founding of the Republican party of 1858- leaving us with the Democrat vs. Republican split we have today.
But the parties were not the same as they are now. The Democratic party was very much the party of the South at this point- states rights, anti-abolitionist and pro-slavery. Likewise, this early Republican party rose as the anti-slavery party, with Lincoln being the first Republican president under this platform (Their slogan was free labor, free land, and free men).
Eventually, as America moved away from the Civil War and into its industrial revolution, the Republican party began to shift towards industrial interests and the interests of “Big Business,” increasing tariffs and so on.
With the realigning election of 1896, electing William McKinley, the Republican party shifted to becoming the party of Big Business.
Moving on to the example of Roosevelt. When Roosevelt was made McKinley’s Vice President, NOBODY WANTED HIM TO EVER BECOME PRESIDENT. Especially the Republican Party. Good old Teddy was trying to dismantle the political machine of Tammamy Hall, local political bosses made sure he was nominated as the Vice Presidential candidate, to get him into what was widely viewed as a completely ineffectual position and out of their hair.
However, McKinley was shot, and Roosevelt became president for two terms. However, when he demanded to be nominated by the Republican party after the presidency of Taft, they refused— his political stance was not the same as the Republican party’s, and they renominated Taft.
At this point the Democrats were realigning too, to become the party of worker’s rights, as well as the party of the South.
Eventually, more and more African American voters broke from the Republican party and started to vote Democrat, because the Democratic party’s new stated aim of 1948 was civil rights. The so-called “Dixiecrats,” the Southern Democrats, didn’t like this one bit- which led to our next realignment period, signaled by the election of this man:
The Southern Strategy, pioneered first by Nixon, sought to realign these Dixiecrats with the Republican party, some analysts claim trying to appeal to their racist tendencies. Bob Herbert wrote in the New York Times:
“The truth is that there was very little that was subconscious about the G.O.P.’s relentless appeal to racist whites. Tired of losing elections, it saw an opportunity to renew itself by opening its arms wide to white voters who could never forgive the Democratic Party for its support of civil rights and voting rights for blacks.”
Analysts also claim that the South, with its new growing middle class, sought to vote with the party that more closely identified with its values. Whichever is the case, the predominantly WASP middle-class Americans of the South aligned with the Republican party during what was known as the neoconservative movement.
The neoconservative movement defined the modern Republican party, and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s (especially under the work of President Lyndon B. Johnson) began to define the modern Democratic party.
So, now we have the Democrats and Republicans of today. Solid Republicans, tend to have deeply sincere religious beliefs and favor state’s rights and hands-off Government (i.e. Mitt Romney), while the Democrats tend to be the party of civil rights and strong government intervention.
The point of this post is not to call either side morally just or injust. It’s merely my attempt at a clarification about the nature of US political history that many people forget about, including Ann Coulter in her latest book, Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama.
If you read this, congratulations! I know not many people are going to want to bother with this wall of text, but it’s a really common misconception that I’ve been seeing thrown around a lot lately.
After serving two terms, President Washington prepared to step down and another leader (John Adams.) was elected to take his place, and everything went along without the presence of violence.
Does anyone remember learning about a little thing called the American Civil War? Do I need to paint a picture about how atrocious that was? 750,000 soldiers died, many families starved, and estimated 412,00 people were left broken and maimed from the fighting. Full cities were destroyed. It was a dark dark corner of our nation’s history that almost left us completely broken. Started in the wake of an election, and changing of laws.
One thing that makes America so great is that every 4 years we have an election to pick the leader of our country. The people can vote, and the people choose who our president will be. We can vote on so much in this country.
People legitimately want it to change how our process works. How about the 4 Soldiers (*cough terrorist cough*) in Georgia that bought almost $100,000 worth of weapons and explosives, with plans to bomb parks and a water dam, poison produce, and assassinate our President. All to give the government “Back to the People”? Don’t take those guys seriously? They took themselves seriously enough to murder 2 people, a fellow service member, and his girlfriend, who discovered their plans, and decided to report them to the authorities.
Of course there is a Texas Judge calling for Tax Increases so his county can hire more armed police officers, because he is convinced there will be a civil war if Obama is re-elected.
Or the Greene County Republican Committee in Virginia calling for an armed revolution in their newsletter in the event of an Obama victory.
(The amount of googling I’ve done for this post has probably lead to a tap being put on my internet activities from the FBI. But really, google “Armed Revolution Obama Re-election.” and see what comes up. Pages and pages of personal blogs and narratives from American’s claiming the desire to revolt if our President is reelected. )
Are Republican’s really so incapable of handling life through another 4 years of President Obama? They are so opposed to his healthcare plan, copious spending, and the threat of having millionaire taxes raised, that they would rather overthrow our current system in a violent and bloody revolution than respect our democratic process that the Framers of our nation worked so hard to implement? We are allowed to vote in this country, the people decide who leads our nation, and every 4-8 years a new leader emerges, and the old leader hands over responsibility peacefully and with much ceremony. The key point there is the people decide.
Maybe, there is a threat to the people deciding. But President Obama isn’t that threat. If you’re concerned the Government no longer belongs to the people, you need to question this.
Question the Supreme Courts decision on Citizens United. That allows corporations to funnel as much money, and resources as they want to political endeavors all protected by the First Amendment.
Question the amount of Police brutality in this country, particularly Police Brutality towards minorities.
Question why more than two dozen states are trying to pass new voter ID laws that end up siginificantly restricting the right to vote in students, elderly and minority communities. (all groups that typically vote liberally.) States are going so far that South Carolina, Arizona, South Dakota, Texas, Georgia and Alabama GOP Attorney Generals have filed an Amicus Brief with the Supreme Court challenging KEY PROVISIONS within the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that allows racial minorities to vote, as Unconstitutional.
I will respect the democratic process, even if President Obama is not reelected. Because I know in 4 more years, I can vote. I know that my country was founded on the idea of majority decides. My worry is that other people will not. With the amount of violence already present in this country, the violent rhetoric flying around the campaign trail, and a summer filled with mass shootings, I don’t think this fear is unfounded.
MSNBC and Fox News are both hammering home that out of all the candidates in the GOP primary in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich’s support was the highest among people who said the most important factor in their selection was a candidate who could defeat Barack Obama. Coincidentally, beating Obama was the most important factor in candidate choice to nearly 50% of voters. Fox News is also pointing out his strong performances in debates with his zingers at the media and fellow candidates and his stubborn refusal to go gently into that good night as factors in his rise in the polls, and his overall victory in South Carolina.
You know that after January 20, 2013, the president-elect is now the president. That means said president has to actually do shit. Things will not be magically fixed just because you voted out Barack Obama. In fact, much of what Gingrich wants to do in office could make things worse.
I imagine the thought process of many voters when considering Gingrich goes like this:
- Doughy white guy says shit I like. He sounds smart. He says he’s going to beat Obama. He sounds confident, unlike that sputtering asshat with tax problems. Plus, he’ll end Obama’s war on
- Fuck the lazy-ass poor people. Get jobs, douchebags. He’ll even put kids to work, too.
- Open marriage? Shit, at least he could beat Obama.
- Vote Newt Gingrich.
- *POOF* Teatopia, y’all!
This is remarkably similar to liberal pals of mine who are pissed Obama didn’t unbreak everything in four years and bring about the opposite of Teatopia. If you listened to Obama and examined his voting record, you’d see he’s fairly moderate. In fact, compared to past Republicans, i.e. Richard Nixon, he’s more to the right.
But in the 2012 Electoral Race to the Bottom, sponsored by Citizens United v. FEC (2010), the facts don’t matter and Barack Obama must be defeated. Even if it means nominating a man with absolutely no character or ability to lead. Why is it so tough to wrap my brain around voters supporting Newt Gingrich?
- Speaking of the Citizens United decision, Gingrich Productions has “produced three films on religion and one each on energy, Ronald Reagan and the threat of radical Islam.” These films are little more than GOP talking point advertisements. Gingrich’s funding partner? As The Wall Street Journal points out, these were “all done as joint projects with the conservative activist group, Citizens United. The latest project: A film on American exceptionalism, another likely campaign theme.”
- He’s admitted to multiple affairs, while attacking others on “family values” and holding himself up as a moral paragon. His personal life is irrelevant until he begins throwing stones in his obviously glass house.
- He doesn’t use a racism dog-whistle so much as a racism air-raid siren. Gingrich defended his diatribe from the Jan. 16th GOP debate, which he launched into when Juan Williams asked him about the racial overtones of his comments regarding poor children lacking “work habits”, employing children as janitors in poor, urban neighborhoods, and the black community needing to demand food stamps versus paychecks. And how did he choose to defend this?
Newt Gingrich decided to attack Juan Williams, claiming on Friday, “I had a very interesting dialogue Monday night in Myrtle Beach with Juan Williams about the idea of work, which seemed to Juan Williams to be a strange, distant concept.” So in order to defend himself against charges of racism, he essentially states Williams is lazy. Williams was the African-American man who had the audacity to ask him a tough question, and that does not seem to sit well with Newt several days later.
- As a US House Representative, he kited twenty-two personal checks using the now-defunct House Bank, charges uncovered during the “Rubbergate” scandal - including a check for over $9,000 to the IRS. One of the whistleblowers on this scandal? Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn.
- He blasted colleagues for ties to lobbyists and corruption, yet Gingrich accepted a check from Employment Policies Institute lobbyist Richard B. Berman for $25,000. This particular check, supposedly given to Gingrich as a donation for a college course he was teaching, led former Rep. Ben Jones (D-Ga.) to demand an ethics investigation by the US House because the note attached to the contribution raised questions of possible criminal wrongdoing by suggesting Gingrich used his influence on behalf of the lobbyist at a 1993 congressional hearing.
The note stated in a postscript: “Newt - Thanks again for the help on today’s committee hearing.” The subsequent investigation into this charge, shady book deals, and other fundraising activity lead to over 80 ethics charges against Gingrich and a plea deal with an unprecedented $300,000 fine. Gingrich resigned as well.
A side note from Esquire on the ethics investigation: [Emphasis mine]
The House Ethics Committee started investigating GOPAC’s donations to his college class and caught him trying to hide his tracks by raising money through a charity for inner-city kids called the Abraham Lincoln Opportunity Foundation. Another charity of his called Earning by Learning actually spent half its money supporting a former Gingrich staffer who was writing his biography… The Ethics Committee found him guilty of laundering donations through charities, submitting “inaccurate, incomplete, and unreliable” testimony, and making “an effort to have the material appear to be nonpartisan on its face, yet serve as a partisan, political message for the purpose of building the Republican party.”
And yes, it’s those same inner-city kids he wants to make janitors.
Gingrich is running what he claims to be a revolutionary campaign of ideas. Yet those ideas are little more than attacking fellow candidates, the media, and Barack Obama for issues ranging from corruption and immorality, to favoritism and anti-Americanism. Gingrich employs a set of cliches and fiery debate invective that gets voters in the booth on primary day as evidenced by South Carolina. Can he continue this into the general election?
As multiple news outlets discussed today, Gingrich’s unfavorability rating is the highest of any candidate among moderates and independents. This is a significant voting bloc the GOP will seek to court from Obama. Gingrich is not stupid. He is effective in debates. He calls other candidates “Washington elites” (when he spent significantly more time in Washington than any other candidate running) and the crowd goes wild.
Mitt Romney, the ostensible front-runner, is a terrible candidate in debates. He is easily rattled and incapable of answering a direct question. The GOP field is in disarray and looking for unity. The former Speaker of the House is an experienced politician - though divisive - and may be the one to watch going into Super Tuesday in the next several weeks. Perhaps a theory posited by Gingrich in 1988 explains his success: “In every election in American history, both parties have their cliches. The party that has the cliches that ring true wins.”
The 2012 primary season promises to be a dog and pony show until the bitter end - or until the money runs out. This election cycle reinforces the idea that American politics is little more than contemporary bread and circuses, only less bread and more circuses. Elections are ideally about issues and governance. This year, the only stated mission of the GOP is to rid the White House of Obama, and Gingrich is the candidate best at smearing Obama as somewhere between Benedict Arnold and Benito Mussolini.
Voters are responding well in the primary to this kind of messaging, but the GOP will hopefully discover it’s difficult to run on a platform of needing to do nothing besides regain control of the presidency. To run on a platform that consists of “beat the other guy and BAM! TEATOPIA!” is simply intellectually dishonest. But if it’s intellectually (and morally) dishonest they want, the GOP has their man in Gingrich. If it’s beat Obama they want, they may get it. However, January 21, 2013 and every day after is another day Obama will no longer be available as the executive target, and another day when the new president will be expected to lead. The GOP may be content to run a cliche-machine, powered by egomaniacal bile, but it is my belief that the American voters deserve more than just some guy nominated to beat Obama.
Case in point.
NYC’s Mayor Bloomberg on Occupy Wallstreet
He was speaking Republican, let me translate this for people who don’t speak that strange language….
“Destroy jobs”- Try to create a level playing field so 1% doesn’t control the majority of the country’s wealth.
“Not productive”- It’s scary how many people are showing up, we must label them as slackers to discredit their cause.
“Assist companies”- Keep quiet while they reap in more wealth by standing with their foot on the neck of the working class.
“Give them confidence”- Give them more corporate tax cuts now or else.
“Hire people”- Layoff Americans and outsource the jobs to other countries because those people will work for peanuts and they don’t have silly laws against things like child labor sweatshops.