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JD

"By Them, the Religious Right and the Tea Party Right mean those who don’t look like “us”, who don’t talk like “us”, who don’t believe exactly what “we” believe. The corporatists mean everybody who isn’t rich, which includes most members of the Religious Right and the Tea Party Right who haven’t caught on that many of their fellow Republicans regard them as Them."

Exactly! They haven't caught on yet that the Corporatists don't want them playing on their lawn any more than they want the Others.

El Jefe

Lance,

Re: the title two things. First, fun to see we're thinking on just the same lines. Second, nice Rogers & Hammerstein reference. Daughter Number Two (the one who's going to be President one day, or in the real world at the very least Governor of Oregon) just made it into her middle-school version of "Cinderella" (theirs, not Disney's, and did you know the Sixties' TV version introduced Lesley Ann Warren? I didn't. Must've been in my own little corner of my own little room ;) She's in the chorus and understudying Portia, the stupid stepsister. (Once upon a time, general audiences actually got the ironic Shakespeare reference there. About the same time Harry Caul's tie was first in fashion, I'm thinking.)

nancy

Lance, I'm hearing "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands." Am I close?

El Jefe

nancy,

Second (third? Guess it depends how they split the production)act of Oklahoma, "The Cowboy and the Farmer Should Be Friends." Best version ever is Maureen Lipmann in the Royal Festival Theatre revival in London. Never, ever has a nice Jewish girl from North London been so convincing a hardscrabble Okie. She could've been my great-grandmammaw in that production.

Ken Muldrew

"Republicans have themselves or at least have their most faithful voters convinced that all government spending that doesn’t buy bombs or bullets is a combination of theft and bribery"

How is it possible that half the country goes along with this nonsense? That's a serious question. What is the underlying pathology that has caused over 150 million people to completely lose their belief in the ideals and principles of the United States of America? Why are they so desperate to implement an oligarchy?

El Jefe

Ken,

One important thing to remember is that they aren't "half the country" -- this is a very, very, very carefully cultivated image produced by the demographics-conscious media (many of these folks still have enough disposable income to be worth advertising to) and the Movementarian Noise Machine. They are a large majority of self-identified GOP voters, to be sure. The reason "increasing numbers of Americans believe Gummint Iz Eebil and Obamacare Will Steal All Our Plastic Baby Freedoms" is solely due to an ever increasing number of Republicans believing it. The Atlantic has run some nice short pieces breaking down the statistics. And it proves that the Fox News-based system works just as Roger Ailes advertised when he wrote a précis on the idea for Richard Nixon in 1971.

But they aren't half the country. They are probably around forty percent of registered voters, and so somewhere around 33-35 percent of the actual country at large. It should scare all of us that the last time 33-35% of the country so substantially pretended they were half of it, and the Real Americans to boot, it blew up into A Certain Historical Event in the 1860s. I'm not saying it will this time (for one thing it would be far messier, no Mason-Dixon Line this time but rather fracturing across the country on largely but not simply urban/rural lines.) But the dynamic is quite similar.

And that gets at something about them. It's not just pathology, or rather it's nothing new. I'm going to dip in and quote the closing grafs of something I wrote to my father (a fellow liberal and veteran of fifty-plus years of fighting these bastards, since he reached college in 1960 and the Nixonian scales fell from his eyes at any rate.) I think it covers the ground:

"Substantial threads of American culture have never, ever, ever liked the Federalist United States. Ever. And when you could wander or flee into the innards of a big continent and talk yourself into thinking you could make a world in your own image, it had a seeming substance as well, the kind that could be passed on to later generations and mistaken for fact.

"For the very people trying to wreck it at the moment (the footsoldiers, anyway) sure the US is a great tribal flag to claim when it's convenient, a great legacy to claim when it suits you. And this is particularly true for people whose common thread is that they want a tribe whose collective limbic system can reliably beat up the limbic systems of the very many Others who frighten them. But other than that, they have no sense of commonality with the United States as a living network of institutions and relationships. The oligarchs are bastard-feudalists to the core and have been since they landed looking for gold at Jamestown. The backwoods rebels are exactly that, poor and suspicious and fueled by the rage it takes to keep that raggedy sense of self-justifying honor that is all the political sense of self they've had since long before the Whiskey Rebellion. The Southern Nationalists, well, we know all the bars to that song. And the pure bigots -- that final marriage of the Goldwaterites and Wallace's AIP voters -- theirs is a deep and a long history. Honestly we don't even begin to look over the whole course of it. These are the great-great-whatever-grandchildren, in quite literal terms when you go back through their genealogies, of parts of the British Isles and the German-speaking world in particular, where the traumas of the Middle Ages and what we misguidedly call the "early modern" period usually led, not to great political movements, but to tight-knit and repeated local pogroms against Jews, witches, and any other marginal sorts on whom they could vent their fears. This is why those appeals work so well with these folks -- coming from communities (and specific ones, not always like the folks even down the road in Lancashire, Dorset, East Anglia, southern Bavaria, the Moselle Valley between modern Germany and France) whose response to the great Wars of Religion, as I said, wasn't to marshal flags and ideologies against the other confession (unless their betters made them) but, as I just said, to burn down synagogues and witches with gusto. They bred with one another, crossed the ocean, and kept breeding largely with one another for the old human reason of being like-minded. And now they've become the manpower of an orchestrated political movement uniting the worst elements of the old Republican Party (oligarchs and Know-Nothings) with the worst of the Dixiecrats, and the worst of the looney backwoods rebels from the Alleghenies to the Cascades. I'll give you another hyperlink about another useful data set: how the public negativity about "gummint interference" is almost entirely found, when you break down the demographics, among self-identified Republican voters. Unsurprisingly, that intensified when they doubled-down on their prejudices when faced with the Panic of '08. And it reactivated that old siren song about rejecting any structured political system for the genius of their own id."

I think that's the whole deal. Most of them don't want oligarchy (except the oligarchs): they want an Aristocracy of Self. Not the same one as the "objectivists," theirs is simpler, stupider, and more honestly human. They just want to take their little corners of this unfathomably big continent and the complex society that frustrates and scares them, and reduce it down to their own little empire as far as their short-sightedness can see.

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