Monday, March 28, 2016

What Will They Find When They Open the Bloated Corpse of the Grand Old Party

The GOP, the party of Abraham Lincoln, lies on its deathbed afflicted with a dangerous case of the Creeping Damp, also known as rectovesical trumposis. The prognosis does not look good and the attending physicians say the patient may expire by November and it's time to consider palliative options.

It's the sort of case in which the next of kin will definitely want an autopsy to find out just what went wrong. The New York Times could spare them the wait:

In dozens of interviews, Republican lawmakers, donors, activists and others described — some with resignation, some with anger — a party that paved the way for a Trump-like figure to steal its base, as it lost touch with less affluent voters and misunderstood their growing anguish.

“This is absolutely a crisis for the party elite — and beyond the party elite, for elected officials, and for the way people have been raised as Republicans in the power structure for a generation,” said Ari Fleischer, who served as press secretary for President George W. Bush. “If Donald Trump wins, he will change what it means to be a Republican.”

Many trace the rupture to the country’s economic crisis eight years ago: While Americans grew more skeptical of the banking industry in the aftermath, some Republicans played down the frustrations of their own voters.

While wages declined and workers grew anxious about retirement, Republicans offered an economic program still centered on tax cuts for the affluent and the curtailing of popular entitlements like Medicare and Social Security. And where working-class voters saw immigrants filling their schools and competing against them for jobs, Republican leaders saw an emerging pool of voters to court.

“They have to come to terms with what they created,” said Laura Ingraham, a conservative activist and talk-radio host. “They’ll talk about everything except the fact that their policies are unpopular.”

The distance was magnified by the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United case, which gave wealthy donors rising weight in Republican circles, even amid signs that the party’s downscale voters were demanding more of a voice.

...Some conservative intellectuals warned that the party was headed for trouble. Republicans had become too identified with big business and the wealthy — their donor class. They urged Republican lawmakers to embrace policies that could have a more direct impact on pay and economic prospects for these voters: wage subsidies, relocation aid to the long-term unemployed, even targeted infrastructure spending. But much of the party’s agenda remained frozen.

“They figured, ‘These are conservative voters, anti-Obama voters. We’ll give them the same policies we’ve always given them,’” said James Pethokoukis, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. “High-earner tax cuts, which people are skeptical of; business tax cuts, even though these businesses seem to be doing great. It didn’t resonate with the problems in their lives.”

...During a recent interview with CNBC, [Republican House leader, Paul] Ryan was asked if Republicans needed to respond to less-affluent voters who believed that Republicans were tending only to the interests of those at the top.

Mr. Ryan, who during the same interview called again for the overhaul of entitlements and the reduction of debt, rejected that idea.

“People don’t think like that,” he said. “People want to know the deck is fair. Bernie Sanders talks about that stuff. That’s not who we are.”

In other words, the Republican establishment, the GOP elite, are doubling down. They're in the pockets of people named Charlie and David and Sheldon, munching on the free snacks from APEC. They know there's a bad rumbling in the lower G.I. tract but they're gambling it'll pass. November nears.


rumleyfips said...

The Republican party has been expert in getting people to vote against their own interest. A bunch of these voters, angry and confused see Trump as the answer but he would betray them if he won. He is a member of the 1%, used to lying and cheating investors for his income ( Trump U ). He is also a child of inherited wealth, born on third and certain he hit a triple . He has tried since his father died to attract the attention and approval of America's wealthy . His low status supporters are a means to an end ; his end.

The Mound of Sound said...

Yes, but if, as many suggest, the Democrats will trounce the GOP on the presidential vote there will be some soul-searching. They're coming increasingly close to self-destructing.

Anonymous said...

Oxymoron = conservative intellectuals

Unknown said...

The GOP has been living on borrowed time for awhile Mound. A political party that holds no political ideas, but instead practices and preaches fundamental Christianity and Neoliberalism, both dogmatic faith based beliefs as their source of knowing is bound to die an intellectually anemic death. I think it is the money from the 1% that has kept it alive. The GOP like American society itself has replaced a system of ideas, grounded in conceptual thought and intelligence with a fundamentalist religion, combined with a Neoliberal economic doctrine both grounded in dogma. It is human intelligence that has created ideas that have advanced human kind. When that intelligence is abandoned, in this case politically, then you are left with the carcass of the GOP. When's the last time you heard presidential candidates debate political ideas? Our greatest resource our mind and what it can do is not only not valued, but is in fact discarded. We live in a time where a presidential candidate (Cruz) can say he has been appointed by God to be the president of the USA and get away with it. The democrats are no different, they just happen to be more articulate. I do not hold much hope for the US politically and culturally changing for the better. The tragedy of it is, that when it does self-destruct, it will take a number of countries with it.

The Mound of Sound said...

I agree with your points, Pamela. I'll be posting an excerpt from Galbraith's "The End of Normal" that posits the US, its political and financial institutions, as a de facto criminal enterprise in which fraud is employed to maintain the illusion of prosperity.

Anonymous said...

The American Public; Democrats and Republicans look for a super hero to return them to the glory days of the USA.
I have thought for years that the average American is a the point where Superman is real!
It started with Hollywood heros now we have an explosion of comic book characters that attract the masses.
By enlarge the USA electorate are oblivious to Ryans remarks, indeed they are toting this gunslinging Bible pushing idiot as a 'moderate".
Much has been made on the demise of the USA.
It's happening quicker than envisioned but who will they take down with them?
Anglophiles suck air!