Monday, June 20, 2011

The Three Wings of the Republican Party.

I wish I would have written this piece (PLEASE READ IT! It's really insightful). Drew Weston, a psychologist who is now teaching at Emory University wrote a post for Huffingtonpost, describing three wings to the modern Republican party.
The first wing, the psychiatric wing, is defined by severe psychological and intellectual impairments, exemplified by the inability to read a birth certificate.
He cites the likes of Sarah Palin who rewrites history or factual information to cover gaffes, (or just don't realize their version of reality is actually just in their heads. Michelle Bachmann is another easy example that he comes up with. Politicians like these would stand no chance in elections if mainstream media types treated elections with greater importance instead of just popularity contests and celebrity reality shows.
The second wing is the corporate wing, also known as the wing-tip wing. Once the home of moderate Republicans such as Bob Dole, this wing used to be slightly to the right of the American center. Its advocates held beliefs now seen as "quaint" by modern-day wing-tips (e.g., that humans evolved the same way other animals did, that a fertilized egg does not hold property rights any more than an omelet does, and that cutting the jobs of hundreds of thousands of teachers, police, and firefighters does not reduce unemployment).
According to Weston, a wing-tip politician holds three principles above all others: 1. when there is a problem, cut taxes for the rich, 2. There's no shame in being bought and paid for by special interest groups like the Chamber of Commerce, Big Oil, Pharma, Wall St, or anyone else out to make a profit at taxpayer expense 3. When not in power, deficits are the worst thing for the government; when in power, deficits do not matter (Pres. George W. Bush). Politicians who belong to this wing include the more 'pragmatic' legislators like Sen. Richard Lugar and Rep. John Boehner. It looks like Sen. Scott Brown is trying to embody this type of philosophy, but bounces back to the psychiatric wing when he's trying to win votes.

And that brings us to the third wing of the Republican Party, the Democrats. Their standard-bearer, President Obama, has proven himself perhaps the strongest potential challenger to Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination if he decides to join the debates, having established his conservative bona fides on a wide range of social and economic issues:
  • Deporting more immigrants and breaking up more families than George W. Bush (or to put it in more business-friendly language, increasing U.S. "exports" of poorly documented human capital).
  • Coming out in support of expanded off-shoring drilling just before the BP catastrophe in the Gulf; repeatedly touting production of a mythical substance (seen only, legend has it, by industry executives) as "clean coal" (widely believed to be found in the Fountain of Youth); and calling for the building of more nuclear plants, which the Japanese have shown to be a safe complement to offshore drilling (perhaps with the hope that water contaminated with radioactive materials discharged into the ocean might prove useful as a dispersant for oil).
  • Extending the "Hyde Amendment" to allow GOP lawmakers to exclude abortion coverage from even private health insurance.
  • Cutting 120 billion in taxes for the rich while proposing billions in cuts to "entitlements," such as home heating subsidies to people who are poor or elderly.
  • Making sure the nation's largest banks remained solvent so they could continue to foreclose on the homes of millions of Americans, whose tax dollars supported the multi-million-dollar bonuses of the executives who continue to refuse to renegotiate their mortgages.
  • Saying virtually nothing as Republican governors and state legislators around the country attack organized labor (e.g., remaining almost entirely mum on the Wisconsin law stripping workers of the right to negotiate their contracts).
But that's just the president. We can't blame the party whose name he never utters for the actions or inactions of its titular leader, who prefers to remain "post-partisan."
I know it's a long quote, but I could not have said it better myself. This complaint that Democrats are beginning to sound like, look like, and act like Republicans is something I've noticed since becoming interested in politics, and I've blogged about before, here, and here. If you've read this far, you should really read the rest. I'm all for progressive politics. We need to hold our elected leaders' feet to the fire, and remind them why we put them there in the first place. TO HELP US GET BACK TO WORK! Not to create a better environment for businesses to reap in record profits and take advantage of the little guy, or to police our social lives and bedrooms. For those interested in progressive coalition building, some good information can be found here.

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