Right Side Of The Aisle Goes Dark

“Well,” Ronald Reagan would say, before launching into an oration describing how far today’s Republican Party has strayed from his own brand of sun-drenched feudalism with a human face. His policies began a thirty year assault on the means and security of the middle-class, yet his public persona attempted to identify with the middle-class for the most part, bothering at least to seduce them before he royally screwed them.

Current Republicans take more the dominatrix approach, all whips, black leather and masks, excoriating you as a worthless piece of detritus, instructing you you better like it when they bend you over for abuse. Being Republicans, it tends to be a little blander than that in practice, but a kind of sulfuric blandness, certainly far from any sunny sort of “making love”.

Mitch Daniels, advertised as one of Republicans’ less psychiatrically interesting specimens and less villainous villains, played the doom card early in his response to the State of the Union, warning, “So 2012 is a year of true opportunity, maybe our last, to restore an America of hope and upward mobility and greater equality.”  Frankly, with the Mayan doomsday talk surrounding 2012, here was another harbinger that made me a little nervous.

When Daniels averred, “But when President Obama claims that the state of our union is anything but grave, he must know in his heart that this is not true.” I began to worry for real whether I’ll even live to see the iphone 5. Grave?  I thought the economy was getting a little better? Haven’t we killed whole posses of terrorists, including jihad’s Big Kahuna bin Laden in the last several years? Whatever is coming, Mitch, will you please save me from it, even if that requires a President Mitt or Newt?

Old Reagan would shake his head and say, “Oh, those silly Democrats are so doggone misguided” while marketing his vicious welfare queen stereotype or equating liberal altruism with pedophilia. Mitch Daniels accuses Obama of being “pro-poverty”.  Hell, if you’re going to try to sell the idea Obama is actually in favor of poverty you might as well accuse him of being pro-death, pro-syphilis, pro-acne, pro-tooth ache, pro-pestilence and pro-malignant neoplasm. Good luck with that, guys.

Still, Daniels had more and better. He said, “No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others.”  Yes, a Republican actually said that. I know he said it, because I saw it come right out of his mouth at the same time I heard the words. If he can successfully sell the notion that the Republican Party is the party that doesn’t castigate others he’s good enough to be the next L. Ron Hubbard. I wish him all the riches and peculiar adoration the position would afford him should he be successful.

By contrast, President Obama remains a profile in American optimism, and still an emphatic proponent of American togetherness, of united endeavors for the common good. Over and over last night the president recounted tales of Americans working together toward overarching American goals, of shared rather than partisan values, of Americans united despite differences they may have. You won’t hear anything remotely like that from today’s Republican Party.

In fact, you can’t get yourself nominated by the Republican base if you as much as whisper that Obama may be anything less than an existential threat to  the future of the United States, or his Democratic Party other than a trespasser in the body politic and wholly illegitimate.  This isn’t new. The glowering demeanor of Richard Cheney was the physical representation of the Era of Bush, all fear and dark foreboding all the time. Then, it was the unholy matrimony of Islamophobia and homophobia darkening our horizons, gays and Muslims crawling right into bed beside you at night if you weren’t alert, at all times vigilant, and voting Republican of course.

Though republican Machiavellianism and of late nihilism have afforded Republicans their share of success over the years, Americans are perceptibly wearying of it. It was evident in explicit reactions to and in polling regarding congressional Republican obstructionism and intransigence during their manufacture of the “debt ceiling crisis.” Little light can escape the Republicans’ nominating process with its suffocating negativity and consuming hostility, which instead of an argument against the opposing party or the current president is a blizzard of acid, epithet, ad-hominem and bilious rancor.

Republicans ask Americans to credit them with outsized love of country and with being the supreme embodiment of “American values,” yet afford the elected president of their own nation no ounce of dignity, respect or even legitimate right to office. Rather than Reagan, the face of the party today is the sallow gloom of Boehner, the grimace of Gingrich and the cold-blooded grin of Mitt. But one can feel Americans pulling away, sense them recoiling, increasingly unwilling to endorse, and certainly not wishing to inhabit Republicans’ bitter Manicheanism and gloom.

Next to Daniels, Republican presidential candidates and the Republican teapot marauders occupying congress it is Obama who is Reaganesque.

6 responses

  1. Obama has done nothing you could define as “Reaganesque.” He isn’t putting people back to work — and no, creating millions of government jobs to make us more dependent on the corrupt government isn’t “putting people back to work.” It’s drawing us closer to a type of society that has already failed miserably in Greece.

    • It’s true Obama’s policies seek to lift the middle class up while Reagan’s sought to stifle them, yet both possess or possessed a sunny, optimistic demeanor, much in contrast to the surly, acrimonious, doomsayer Republicans of today. Reagan and Obama also have the similarity of using Keynesian deficit-spending as stimulus for weak economies.

      In fact an economy losing jobs each month for months on end, including nearly a million when Obama took office has been adding jobs since. Contrary to your claim, almost all of the job growth has been in the private sector, government employment greatly reduced by the recession and the subsequent cutbacks in state governments around the country. Indeed, it is the loss of government jobs (Republicans in congress have opposed and obstructed additional stimulus funds to states for the purpose of rehiring state workers) that is the principal cause of the continuing high unemployment rate.

      It should be noted that: millions of private sector jobs are directly or indirectly created or subsidized by government or government contracts; that a government worker pays taxes into the revenue pool just as others do, and that government paychecks make government workers into consumers whose spending stimulates growth just as private sector paychecks do; and that Republicans tend to dismiss government jobs as jobs except when calculating unemployment numbers. Then, they’re definitely jobs.

      The United States and Greece could not be more dissimilar, the United States with an enormous GDP and a central bank, Greece with a tiny GDP and operating with a shared currency (the Euro). Though with his and a Republican congress’s unpaid for tax cuts and foreign policy adventurism George Bush left the nation with trillions in debt, American treasury bonds are highly desirable, Greek debt not at all.

      Furthermore, the larger the government in Europe as a percentage of GDP, in other words the larger the welfare state the more economically sound the nation is today. America retains a tiny government as a percentage of GDP and a miniscule safety net by comparison. In fact, America’s government ranks 144th in size among the nations of the world.

      • Home values have fallen. Millions more Americans are in poverty. Tuition rates have gone up. $5 trillion more in debt. Global competitiveness — from No. 1 in the world to No. 5. All this in the last three years. I’m sick of the excuses…he said he’d need 100 days to turn this in the right direction and he still hasn’t done it. And conservatives are the ones who are off-base? At least they can identify a problem when they see one. Too bad they have to fight through the claims of racism to stay strong on their ideals.

        • If conservatives have failed to notice it was their own policies that created the housing fiasco, the bloated debt and the smoldering economy then they clearly are unable to identify a problem.

          While their born-again deficit religion conveniently returned after their “deficits don’t matter” phase under George Bush, and is highly inspirational, most Americans understand who and what wrecked the economy and created the enormous debt with reckless, unpaid for spending and tax cuts. No amount of fantasy or propaganda can cover it up.

          Americans are aware GDP has continued to grow under the current president, recovered from its freefall under the last guy, and that unemployment has continued its decrease as well. There probably is a planet somewhere in the galaxy on which discredited supply side saves the day, and inhabitants return to policies that destroyed them shortly after they finished destroying them the first time, but it isn’t this one.

          Listening to Republicans in their debates, one imagines they understand the precariousness of their standing with the American people, hoping to fall back upon their reliable staple of racial stereotyping as their last best hope.

          • And yet the fact remains that this country is still in the dumps, three years after the current president took over. Funny how he said that if this were the case, he’d be a one-term president. It’s sad that he has apologists such as yourself who continue to find selective facts that protect his continual trillions of additional debt. It’s going to screw us, regardless of whether it’s four years from now or forty.

          • It’s unfortunate conservatives feel compelled to root against a successful economy, and regrettable they are unable to take pleasure and pride in renewed economic growth and declining unemployment. Again it’s not surprising Americans do not trust those who created the bulk of the debt (Republicans), nor accept advice from these same Republicans whose woeful understanding of basic economics prevents them from offering realistic prescriptions for economic progress.

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